Following on from yesterday’s post, Ella Shaw (@DiagnosisLOB) posted the second part of her blog today, which you can find here. So I’m finally “in print” on a well-read and popular blog! Very exciting.
Please check out Ella’s 3-part “Pass the Donkey” blog – which also includes contributions from guest bloggers Laptop Cop, Mental Health Cop (@MentalHealthCop) and Jakki Cowley (@jakkicowley) – for the full story.
Here’s an excerpt, which includes my contribution:
I’d like to introduce @Sectioned_ who has been a patient who’s experienced the our ailing mental health system and has had dealings with the police, ambulance and hospital from a patient’s perspective. I asked her what it is like to be a patient in a similar situation. What is the mindset? Where no one wants to know, being forced to do things you don’t want to do and having doors closed on you by the services supposedly there to help:
“When you’re suffering extreme emotional distress, let’s face it: you’re not at your best. You may not be great company or easy to deal with. That’s because you’re in pain. Not the bleeding-from-the-head-put-on-the-oxygen-mask kind, but pain nonetheless. And you want that pain to stop. But you don’t know how to make it stop. And you don’t necessarily pick the best options for making that happen because you’re not in an especially “resourceful” state of mind. (At least not in a helpful way: after all, swigging from strangers’ pints is a pretty resourceful way to get drunk and blot out the pain … but it’s never going to end in a good way.)
Whenever I’ve dealt with emergency services personnel, they’ve arrived at a time of crisis. Of course they’re human beings, good and bad; but in a crisis they interact in institutional ways, according to training, codes and protocols. They’re there to do a job, which is to somehow resolve the situation that presents itself to them in the moment.
They’re not there to fix your life. They’re not your mummy. They don’t love you. Similarly they’re not the housing benefit office that’s just written to say your benefit’s being cut; or the doctor’s receptionist who didn’t give you an appointment right away; or the hole in your pocket that meant you lost your purse. But it’s all these sorts of things and a million others that will be pressing on you in that one moment to contribute to your emotional distress.
Sometimes when you don’t know how to deal with these emotions you end up feeling completely worthless. Totally messed up. That you’re a burden. That people would be better off if you were dead. And that you’d be better off dead.
But here are the emergency services standing in front of you, trying to get you to do something you don’t want to, like move here, sit there, when all you want to do is cry out in pain. The priority of the emergency services is not to make your pain go away. Though they might well see you as a pain to be resolved, one way or another.”