Dustbin patient

10 Feb

Today in Nobody Will Take Me Seriously Till I’m Dead …

There was never any need for me to become this unwell and, the more unwell I become, the more services – GP, mental health, social care – withdraw. I have been “reaching out” for such a long time.

What those mental health awareness campaigns don’t tell you is that “reach out”, “just ask for help” is a one-time thing. Miracle cure. Get better, or get lost.

For the first few years after I came into contact with mental health services, I believed I simply had to ask the right way or find the right door or get onto the right waiting list, & that I’d eventually get the care, treatment & support I needed to get back on my feet. Not so.

I started to notice on twitter other people struggling for years to get mental health care. I assumed perhaps services in their area were unusually bad; or they needed a better advocate; or there’d been a mistake. I felt sorry for them.

Then I became one of them.

I didn’t realise till it started being done to me that, the more time that passes, the less likely you are to receive help. That, if you’re not fixed first time or become unwell again, there’s no second chance. That, the longer you are unwell, the less of a priority you become.

That it’s not an individual problem, it’s the system design. That NHS mental health services are designed on an up-or-out basis which excludes people with long-term serious mental ill-health. That I will never get the care, treatment & support I need.

Most people don’t want to see this – they want to believe there’s a just world, that there is hope, that things do come right in the end. But no. No they don’t. Get well soon – or get lost.

Funny how things turn out, isn’t it? All the time I could’ve saved myself if I’d realised this sooner. Instead, I’ve continued to put myself through a system which serves only the professionals. If only I’d realised sooner that all I was doing was prolonging my own suffering.

I tried to fight the system, but the system won.

I don’t have an inspirational story. There’s no happy ending. And there seems to be nothing that anybody can do to either get me needed care or to hold the system to account. I have become a cautionary tale. #mentalhealth

I seem to have been left behind – shoved into a zombie zone where I am the responsibility of nobody; where my suffering is irrelevant (despite what it says in all sorts of fancy laws & policies); and my demise seen as inevitable. Everyone’s got their paperwork squared away.

The professionals can all go home & sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge they’ve maintained their boundaries, protected service resources & done as they’re told – or, otherwise, that there’ll be no comeback because there’s no way to hold them to account.

4 Responses to “Dustbin patient”

  1. Helen 11 February 2021 at 9:49 am #

    Thanks for sharing. You aren’t alone. I once had a series of six counselling sessions. I agreed with the therapist to extend it to nine. When I turned up on the seventh session and cried, she cancelled the remaining sessions because she ‘didn’t want to spend time on therapy that wasn’t working.’ It was worded in such as way as to seem as if I was included in the decision, but in reality there was no way to disagree and engage her services against her will. To add insult to injury, I received a discharge letter reassuring me that I had ‘done nothing wrong’. I wish I had replied and said ‘you’re damn right.’ I’ve heard a host of anecdotal evidence from other service users to back up your points, and I agree the system suits the professionals more than the patients, particularly when it comes to psychiatry. The contempt many of these men feel for their patients is palpable. I can offer you no comfort than to say … your points are valid and I believe them to be true. Also, you are a good writer. All the very best.

  2. Experto Crede 11 February 2021 at 7:50 pm #

    The system of no choice of provider allowed MH Trusts to act with NO accountability or any regulatory input. They can do what they want because they control the narratives and access to every form of support required. Including the s75 duties delegated by councils where MH Trusts are meant to undertake care needs assessments but rarely do.

    To give this amount of power to a monopoly allows for abusive and discriminatory practices to become the norm. I live in a London borough where the Trust has the highest suicide rate year in year out in the country for years and not a single regulator nor the local authorities meant to safeguard have EVER addressed why this is. The overuse of vexatious welfare checks using police instead of health professionals being one e.g. of so many of just how little duty of care is owed and how aggressive the approaches towards vulnerable people are.

    Nor the CCGs who funded yet NEVER acted with the due dilligence they should have.Because the agenda is to treat those with a MH disability as some sort of sub species. And as such it attracts those who hold views that perpetuate stigma and abuse of the worst kind.

    There is no challenge to these practices because far too many professionals prefer to at best turn a blind eye to lethal behaviours by their colleagues and at worst actively encourage.

    Every single coroner inquest and preventable death notice in the country follows the same patterns of clear negligence, cruelty and where here a MH Trust is regularly identified by the coroner as falsifying records with not a single professional ever facing the criminal charges that should follow. So ingrained and accepted is the abuse and violence in tne sector.

    MH services are not a part of the NHS anyone can be proud of.

    The CQC role is so light touch its actions endorse the very worst of practices. There is no governance because there is no need for any.

    Am so sorry you are treated like this. It is the norm and shouldn’t be. Personally when asked I tell people unless your condition is mild to moderate then stay away from MH services as they are unsafe for far too many people . In my view and in the view of all those around me they were the most violent people I had ever experienced in my entire life .

    The good people leave or burn out. The jobs for life brigade stay put in the same Trusts for years NEVER allowing outsiders in to challenge or innovate or just act lawfully with the compassion you are meant to show as a professional. Just employ people like themselves to perpetuate appalling and usually unlawful practices .

    Outside of a MH Trust in the street the same behaviours we all have seen and experienced are criminal offences. Inside the protection of an unaccountable MH Trust such actions are acceptable and indeed encouraged.

    I don’t know what the solution is without dismantling the entire structure and management plus every aggressive worker within. Personally believe that nothing will change until these staff face individual criminal charges .

    Trusts are simply not fit for practice. My MH is a disability. The NHS doesn’t do disability and works to a reductionist medical model that harms so many. I was not ” complex ‘ nor ‘ hard to reach ‘. Neither were most. Services were inaccessible.

    God I wish there was a magic wand and a well of compassion we could pull people from. So sorry you, I, all of us have been so abused. Maybe one day it will change but far too many will have been harmed or died on the path.

  3. itsbeyondmental 24 February 2021 at 9:37 pm #

    Your most recent posts resonate with me so much. I remember when doctors were playing pass the parcel with me when I was dealing with severe mental illness. I knew that I wasn’t going to get the help I needed and didn’t think I’d see my next birthday. I had a time frame for when I would end my life, and I had planned on how. I had been severely ill for almost a decade at that point, and knew that I wasn’t going to get better.

    But then I did. The more I treated my illness as the physical illness it is, the more I was able to understand what I needed to do to be well. I radically changed my diet so that I eliminated anything that might be inflammatory (on the link between mental illness and inflammation, see https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/19/inflammation-depression-mind-body). On foods that are inflammatory see https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/anti_inflammatory. For me, my diet consisted of fruit, veg, potatoes, eggs, chicken and fish. That was it- anything else made me really ill.

    The improvements I experienced were significant- far more than any therapy or medication had ever helped. But I was still ill. That’s when I started looking at the other issue that tends to lie at the heart of other chronic illnesses- insulin resistance. I cut out all carbs- the potatoes and the fruit went. In a matter of days, the debilitating brain fog that was making it impossible to think straight disappeared. The chronic pain, the constant agitation- it all disappeared. I now only eat chicken, fish, eggs and veg. I cook with olive oil. And I am- for the first time in a decade- well.

    Watch this video, it’s a great Ted Talk by a doctor who does not believe in the sticking plaster that is modern medicine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaY4m00wXpw

    I know it’s not always possible for people to eat in such a restricted way- the financial barriers being one of those reasons. But chicken legs, eggs, frozen white fish, lettuce, they are all cheap. If you can possibly afford it, it is the best investment you will ever make in your health. Make sure to drink lots of water because the thirst is bad at first.

    I really do wish you well. Post an update when you can.

  4. Chris Anderson 7 April 2021 at 9:34 pm #

    Thanks for this post, absolutely spot on, you put into words exactly what is going on out there. I once wrote in an email to them that the service is run by the staff for the staff and they don’t give a stuff about the patients. This was after they lied and covered up their mistakes many times over a couple of years leaving my relative’s life practically destroyed. They called me ‘unpleasant’ and ignored me.

    Mental health care is like another world, anyone who hasn’t experienced it would not believe how badly mental health staff get away with treating people, as I’m sure you know. They treat patients like dirt and nobody seems to care, complaints are ignored, CQC investigate and you never hear, they lie on FOI Act requests, CEO ignores. Trying GMC and legal next. So we fight on.

    It’s not the end of the story yet for us and it isn’t for you either, there can still be a happy ending, with or without them bringing us down.

    Wish you well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: