A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Monday, 5 March 2012

In correspondence

On Friday I got a letter from my psychiatrist in response to the letter I'd written her.  I was actually quite surprised to hear back from her, and in some respects surprised by her response.

In my letter I had told her about how stressful I've found the time since my last appointment with her in respects to my physical health, and went into some detail about the various admissions that I've had since the beginning of October.  I also told her that I was finding things quite difficult at the moment and had been relying upon the appointment with her that she cancelled, and that I was unhappy about having to wait until 21st March for a replacement appointment.  I reminded her that she'd originally said she'd see me every six weeks and pointed out that times between appointments have gradually lengthened and lengthened until the most recent gap would, after the latest cancellation, make it five and a half months.  I did say that perhaps I don't need to be seen as often as six weekly, and that I know I'm low priority as I haven't been mentally ill (a normal stress response to life threatening situations isn't mental illness) for many years now.  The latter is fantastic and I feel very privileged to have regained my mental health after so many years of such terrible depression, but the psychiatrist had said that she would try to fill the gap left by the lack of any other support for people in my situation.  The gap isn't being filled though and I thought she ought to know that.

In the letter I got in response to mine, one of the things the psychiatrist says is that my expectations of what she can provide are too high.  This puzzles me as I've only ever expected to receive from her what she said she would provide.  She reiterates that I have shown no signs of mental illness whilst I've been under her care and am therefore low priority, which is fair enough, but I do feel that 'low priority' should not come to mean 'no priority'.  I had said in my letter to her that I understood that this recent cancellation was due to an emergency and I understand that emergencies must take priority, but I did also say that this is not the first appointment of mine (by a long way) to be cancelled and that at the moment I do need the support.  She responded by stating again that this emergency needed to be prioritised.

Towards to the end of my letter to the psychiatrist I had said that either the support that had been promised should be provided or, in light of the lack of mental illness, then I ought to be discharged because repeatedly being let down is more stressful than no support at all.  The psychiatrist has opted to discharge me.

I was sincere in what I said about discharge, and in some ways it's very encouraging and very positive that she thinks I'm well enough to be discharged from the psychiatric services.  In other ways it seems like an odd time for her to discharge me, when I've just said that I've been having a stressful time and in need of support...

She says in her letter that she still feels that Health Psychology would be of benefit to me, but she hasn't made any moves towards referring me on to them, and she knows nothing of the referral my GP made to them last week.

I'm a little confused about how I feel about all this.  My discharge appointment with her is at 10.30 tomorrow morning.


B said...

But surely due to your circumstances if you are not *given* support you're at higher risk of actually becoming mentally ill once more???

I'm confused.

I hope you can get some decent support xx

BeckyG said...

Thanks, B. I'm very confused too. No idea what I think about it all, or how things will turn out. I find the pdoc's response quite odd really...

Sal said...

Hunny, this is so wrong! I would go above her head & complain. Everything you have been through in the last few months should mean you should be monitored in some way, regardless of how bus she is. You made it clear you didn't expect too much of her but that you didn't want to be let down all the time. She should know that, in mental health, it's very important to be able to depend on your support. Its a disgrace. If you need help with a complaint, let me know. I've been through the whole process before - I'll send you a link to the people who helped me. xxx

Dawn said...

Hmmmm my response to that response is 'what?!?!?!?!'. The fact that you've recovered from such awful depression is great, but the fact remains that you're possibly still vulnerable to relapses, and you're acknowledging that you're finding things difficult, therefore, discharge from the services seems a little strange.
If you're told you will be seen every 6 weeks, then that is what should happen. Sure, emergencies happen and of course take priority. But for 6 weeks to turn into 5 and a half months is disgraceful. You should not have been offered the support if you can't be given it.

I hope the discharge appointment went well, and you left feeling a little less confused!

Hugs, Dawn x

BeckyG said...

Sal and Dawn, thank you for your support. I still don't understand why the psychiatrist is discharging me so quickly (only a week after she will have received the letter I sent), or at this time when I've said that things are difficult. I suppose I'm getting used to the idea though ... sort of. I also don't understand why the doc made a promise that she could never fulfil either, especially as trust is fundamental to an effective therapeutic relationship. However, I don't think I'll be making a complaint. I need what energy I have for finding the right support rather than complaining about a failing system.