‘Independent’ newspaper FB post and my comment

This just popped-up on Facebook. I couldn’t let it go without commenting.

http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/people-are-sharing-this-powerful-message-for-anyone-whos-thought-im-better-off-dead–WyKeZOlwHl

“Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. This isn’t a wholly conscious thing, the desperation and desire to die. It’s an illness; a driving, at cellular level. Hopelessness, ‘I’m better off dead’.. this is par for the course for those who endure depression/BP day after day, year after year. There’s no ‘thought’ involved; it just is, it just seems the natural thing to be done. By the time it happens, thought and reason have long-since left the metaphorical building.

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Afterthought on a few flies in the ointment

The biggest problem I’ve found is that no-one talks to each other – therapists, GPs, psychs, Primary- and Secondary Care professionals.There’s no ‘joined up thinking’ and loads of bureaucracy. And no targeted support. I’d have patients assigned to specific care providers who can manage their treatment and support. A sort of life coach, nopt necessarily providing treatment but giving support, information and guidance. It would be no different from having a GP or dentist or optician. They might have many patients each, depending on various factors, but at least you’d know who to go to for help. And know that that person has your complete record to hand rather than it being split up and divided between various people who don’t share all the information.

After a year of ‘treatment’ the only advice I’ve ever been given if I am ‘in crisis’ or suicidal is to go to Casualty (uh yeah, I’m trying not to kill myself but I’ll just drive to the hospital and try to find somewhere to park first shall I?) or ring 999. I’m sure an ambulance will be here within the hour or 2.

Peer support seems to be almost totally ignored as an aid. And surely that’s a cheap option too?

One year on and has anything changed?

Well here I am a year after finally getting the nerve to tell my GP about my lifelong bipolar II. Thirty-four years of history when I handed over the letter; I really didn’t think I could convey all that ‘stuff’ verbally.

Some of this past year I’ve blogged here, though there are many gaps.

I’ve been having CBT for the past 6 months+ and my final session was last week. Why has it ended? No idea; that wasn’t discussed. I assume money and caseload.

After seeing the psychiatrist again a few months ago, and being given at that meeting a handwritten note of four meds (which I was to take away and Google, then pick one to start on – something I still find utterly bizarre), I am at the moment back where I started a year ago.

With the final CBT session completed, it means I have now been discharged from Secondary Care back to Primary-. Though in effect all that means is I am having no input, support, guidance or treatment at all.

I have um’ed and ah’d about starting meds for these past few months as I am managing to (just about, at times) hold down a professional job along with being a single parent 50% of the week. Lithium was my first choice from the list, only because it seems to have the least side effects (well, until my thyroid and kidneys implode). The psych’s first choice – Quetiapine – seems to be, online including social media at least, universally criticised. I really have no desire to become Mr Blobby by Christmas.

Regarding Lithium, I also worry about my driving licence being revoked by DVLA. I need to be able to drive, to do my job and to be a parent at the mercy of the School Run.

If I decide to battle through this once more by myself, perhaps with occasional random input from Primary Care services, then what was the point of the past year? I really cannot go on an awful lot longer feeling like this. I’m not as physically- and mentally strong as I used to be. Plus, I’ve driven away everyone I’ve ever loved, or those who have loved me. Apart from my son. I have no-one for support. No-one to talk to when – like today – I am being torn apart at every level by bipolar anxiety which is cooking up a new batch of mixed mood several times a day.

‘You shouldn’t have such a strong work ethic’, the psychiatrist told me. I’ve learnt of course that ‘the system’ isn’t designed for those BP people who are managing to hold down a job. There are no groups, clubs, meetings in the evenings or weekends; outside normal office hours.

I keep being told by healthcare professionals ‘you wouldn’t believe how many doctors, lawyers, teachers etc… are bipolar and taking [meds].’

I’ve asked for another psychiatrist appointment, which will take a month or so to manifest. At this moment in time I intend to begin Quetiapine. I’ve turned down the recommendation/offer of beta blockers for my anxiety as I’m going to investigate first whether it actually is BP-related. If it is and the Q works, then bingo. Buy one get one free.

As I keep saying…. watch this space.