Friday, 6 March 2015

How the Mental Health System has Failed me

Following previous posts on Mental Health I wanted to share something that happened to me this week; On Wednesday I attended an assessment for therapy. Before I explain what happened I wanted to share with you my journey there:

I suffer from a Dependant Personality Disorder and I also suffer from PTSD.  Over the last four years these two have been interlocked with other aspects but ultimately these have always been the source of it.
3 years ago a lot of things hit triggering the above conditions, subsequently around November 2012 I had a nervous breakdown and was admitted into hospital after an attempt to take my life.  
At that time they rationalised a lot and promoted my inner strength; the Doctors specified 10 reasons for someone to have a nervous breakdown and that 3 or more at one time could be seen as the cause. Upon that scale I was scoring 8/10 on events that had happened to me within a 2 year time frame. (The two exceptions were Pregnancy and Drug Abuse)
However; they treated me initially and put me into the world with a care support team. In getting therapy support difficulties started appearing: I was at that point an alcoholic and subsequently I failed the ‘alcohol test’ that permitted me to be treated by a psychology team. Having D.P.D and having a substance dependency meant that I would not, at that time, be suitable for treatment as it would be counterproductive. Failing that meant I had to wait for 2 years before I could reapply for secondary therapy.
Alternative therapy was sought through counselling, however, because a larger part of my MH was associated with a personality disorder I was deemed unsuitable for that service with the reasoning being that a 6 – 12 week therapy wouldn’t actually resolve the deeper issues. On being denied counselling I had to wait 6 months before applying again.
Those 2 years I worked hard at maintaining my Mental Health. I was 2 years sober January 2015
(not an easy task for anyone, especially someone with D.P.D)
I attended self-help groups for self-esteem and loneliness, I lowered social aspects of my life to limit the possibilities for interpersonal triggers (Again a difficult task for someone with a D.P.D) and every 6 months I applied to three different local (Medway, Kent) counselling services (With no new outcome)
I did these things through hard work, strength and many tears. I did it myself and more importantly for my Boys
Although this was done for myself and my children there was an added goal; if I was sober, if I could survive and if I could get to the 2 year mark then I could reapply and get the help that I deserve and no longer continue this fight alone.
Reaching 2 years sober I applied to both counselling and psychology; counselling had the same outcome. However; I was approved for psychology triage assessment. It would mean a wait for another 3 months but I could get one.
Hence the reason for this post and where I went on Wednesday.
It is with sadness that I write this and say that I wasn’t approved for therapy; on the grounds that I am unsuitable due to my PTSD, which is targeted through counselling, and although they see a relevant need for me due to my D.P.D it would be counterproductive to run two therapy services parallel to each other. I should, therefore, go home, contact my Doctor and reassess the possibility of counselling. (Which I hope you have all seen is pretty closed off to me, especially for another 4 – 6 months) They gave me the number for our Crisis team and did say that if I felt like I was in a place of danger that I should ring them and I will be admitted to hospital again, but, they did inform me though that because of my prior admittance that there is a higher possibility that I would be sectioned.

So what are my options?
  1. 1. To cope and carry on finding new and stronger coping mechanisms.
  2. 2. To try to cope, fail and subsequently face hospital.
  3. 3. To admit myself to hospital.

I attended a Doctor’s appointment following up from Wednesday because in truth I do feel hopeless and helpless and really didn’t like the above options; I feel that every path is now shut to me and that I have to somehow find that strength that I feel is depleted after pushing towards the 2 year target. The Doctor has said, apart for her complete disgust with the mental health system, that at the moment her hands are completely tied due to red tape. (Although she did say that the moment, in up to 8 weeks, that the letter comes in she will appeal the decision)
I just don’t seem to ‘fit’ into any clear categories of support and subsequently am getting left to ‘survive’. This is, from my point of view, frustrating and why I feel that we see cases reported about suicide and self-harm with people who had been seen by a Mental Health team; a system that puts people in tick boxes rather than seeing them as a person and a person who needs help.
(Although I am aware that for some it is just because of the severity of the health)
I know I have shown strength and I also know that the steps that I have made independently are a massive achievement; what I have been able to do by myself is something that I am proud of.
I am not, at the moment or hopefully the foreseeable future, in a place of danger; but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need help. I am just not sure what to try next.

 (There are elements of my Mental Health that I haven't, yet, felt comfortable to share on here but I am open to communicate with anyone about them)

The Dad NetworkWhen the Dust Settles


Ashley Beolens said...

I'm sorry to hear of your issues with the mental health services, they really are becoming a joke in the UK (I know our local doctors are very unhappy with them) I just wish they were treated as seriously as other sides of the medical world by our MPs. You have shown immense strength to cope with what is going on in you life, and should be commended for that, getting sober is no easy task, especially in a country where so much is based around the pub and drinking.

As someone who has suffered with my own mental health demons I can sympathise, although not empathise as mine were different and I was fortunate to have found a good doctor at the time who made sure I got the treatment needed.

I hope things eventually start working out for you, but if you ever need to talk, I'm willing to listen (not that I can do much but agree with you). Feel free to hit me up on Facebook.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting Ashley!
You're right the system is a joke. My doctor is just as disgusted with it all. But there's little that can be done.
Thanks you I know I have done well. It's been tough but am proud what I achieved by myself.
That is possibly one of the hardest things knowing that others can get support where I can't. And honestly can't completely grasp why.
Thank you for your offer I may take you up on the offer.
Thank you for your kind words and your support!

Gary Mathews said...

Martyn I'm sure this was hard to put into words everyday I learn you and I have more in common. The scars of the past never escape us and make us stronger and better men/fathers everyday. I'm so sorry that your journey in seeking help for your mental health is letting you down. I'm frigging proud of you for committing to sobriety for two years just so you could "attempt" to get into the program. Don't let it deter you going forward, you will seek the help you need and DO NOT HESITATE to reach out to me if you need to vent. Great post as always prayers from across the pond.

Plutonium Sox said...

That's shocking. Have you thought about contacting the parliamentary and health ombudsman to raise a complaint? It may be that you need to complain to the NHS first but they are clearly failing you so it is well worth doing. It sounds like you desperately need to get the help you are entitled to but you also have the strength of character to deal with the issue and bring it into the public domain which I think is important in this field because many people won't be willing or able to do that. It is also worth sharing your blog post with publications online and also the local and national press. It's an exceptionally well written and informative article and it deserves to be read by the right people who can sort out the issue.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thank you for commenting Gary! It was exceptionally hard to write and ill be honest I had to stop writing it a few times.
Thank you for your kind words and your support I really do appreciate it. This journey has been exceptionally tough! I am still trying but will admit that it has left me in a slump and subsequently the hill looks much steeper to climb now. And thank you I will contact you if I'm really low if that's ok.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting Natalie! it is shocking isn't it?! I always thought it was just a tabloid smearing of the system or saw the situation as the persons personal fault. But being in it is such an eye opener. I have phoned and complained as will my doctor when she tries to appeal the decision. I do need help. I know that. I can have strength to carry on if I can push towards something as I have in the past. At the moment that is incredibly difficult to see. One of the reasons I blogged it because it gave me strength to bring it openly and publicly...I know others can't or won't and I will speak my mind and so it for them. Do you really think it's something I should share with the press? I am friends with a local journalist so could always ask her. Thanks for your kind words about me and the post. As well as your support its greatly appreciated.

Ally Messed Up Mum said...

Keep writing posts like this, communication is vital (says the girl who hasn't spoken in a week!). See the support you're getting from others, see that people care for you. We'll get you there buddy chum xxc

Unknown said...

I can't imagine how hard that was to write Martyn. It's amazing the amount of people let down by the different systems in the UK and it's not a good amazing. You know you have some good friends now and we're just on the end of the phone. Hopefully that will be of some help :)

Single Mother Ahoy said...

The NHS mental health provision is nothing short of laughable, in my opinion. What they're basically saying is, we can treat either PTSD or DPD but if you've got both (and are therefore arguably more in need of help) you're on your own because there isn't a box for you on the form.

I say screw them. You've come this far on your own, and that's a bloody long way. There's nothing to say you can't do the rest on your own too. When I was sick, I found that (while waiting for the NHS to offer more than a prescription) the best line of defense for me was reading. I read everything I could get my hands on about breakdowns and depression. There are probably fewer books about PTSD and DPD out there, but I would suggest finding them and reading them. Guaranteed, someone else has been where you are, and dragged themselves out of it.
Keep hope, and keep blogging - we are all here to support you.

Unknown said...

Congrats on your major achievements so far. The state of care for these issues, in this country is despicable, and the stigma attached toward mental health issues clearly don't help. I am planning to run a piece, in conjunction with mental health awareness week in May. With a bit of luck, and a lot of work, maybe we can make a difference to a lot of people.

I know very little about the subject, apart from what I've just mentioned, but I am willing to step up and make a difference. Even if that's just being an ear for those that need to talk.

Stay strong, and keep fighting the fight.

Unknown said...

I cannot believe how horrendously awful this is. Not everyone can be put into a category. Every person is an individual and the NHS should have a duty to help you some way. I thought mental health services were trying to be improved and awareness is increasing but obviously not. It sounds like you have come such a long way (I only realised how far from this post) and a lot of that can be attributed to your determination and strength. You are an inspiration and keep fighting and as always happy to chat in "cyberland". xxx

Daniel Sexton said...

I know and also know that I need to talk more about this. I know how difficult it is for you not even being able to speak this week but you're right communication is key.
I am trying hard to see that. Thank you.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting Tommy! It wasn't easy at all. There's a lot of emotions backed behind this writing and a lot of other info that I took out to keep it clear and cut and short where possible. I know you are and I appreciate that. Thanks.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting Vicky! It truly is laughable. It's a joke and how you put it is exactly how it is.
I have come far by myself and I do acknowledge that but 2.5 years is one hell of a fight that has depleted a lot from me. Especially when you consider what strength I had to pull out even then. I have and am reading as much out there as possible most of it is online journals but a lot of it is with some sort of support :-/
I'm trying my upmost to battle this by myself. But ultimately I need to get some form of help. It's like someone having two broken legs and being told to walk around on them because each leg needs a different treatment that one can't do if the other is done but ultimately those broken legs do need treatment however much you can do things and get around.
I will keep blogging and I do appreciate the support that I have been getting. It's been lovely. Hope is trying to be there but at the moment that's the hardest thing to keep hold of.
Thank for reading and your lovely comment.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thank you it has been tough.

I too will be doing designed posts in May for mental health week. People...Especially men do need to speak up. It might not make a massive difference but in doing posts like these it highlights the many situations that people come across. I hope that me speaking out will get others to do so.

Daniel Sexton said...

I completely agree with you. I phoned the doctors again and the assessment team and in both cases spoke my mind openly at how disgusted I am with it all. The N'S should be seeing people individually and to be honest I thought that was what the assessment was for!!
Thank you I do feel like I have come far and you're right it is down to me and what I have done which is a massive achievement in itself but there still is only a certain amount that I can do. I won't give up and will keep trying but from this week it has become a massive uphill battle that I thought I would have with an easier climb. But I will get there jut going to be tough going for a bit. Thank you for your support.

Mummybexm said...

Martyn, this is such a humbling read. I am sorry to hear that the system is failing you at this time and is a joke. I have no advice to offer, other than to tell you that through blogging about your own experiences you are undoubtedly helping others - a worthwhile cause. Much love xx

Unknown said...

Courageous post, Martyn. You are an inspiration. What you've accomplished shows true strength. I hope the system improves and you find support. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best.

Ali said...

How utterly appealing that you've been treated like this! I admire your strength to persevere and seek your own path of treatment but you shouldn't have to fight for it, especially as the bigger picture will be that this will also effect your family. Have you tried your local childrens centre for free counselling or perhaps taking a counselling course yourself? Good luck and I hope you have a good outcome soon. #bigfatlinky

Plutonium Sox said...

I definitely think it is something you should share. As you rightly point out, as well as doing this for yourself, you are speaking out for others as well as yourself. Definitely get in touch with your journo friend, see what she says. Perhaps consider sharing it with a mental health charity or something as well. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

Unknown said...

You have come so far already what an inspirational journey ! Medways nhs service is a joke right across the board , so it really doesn't suprise me that they are failing with supporting people who need it the most . My sister has a history of mental illness and when she first was dealt with by medway they were awful and her being sectioned there was really difficult for her. However her next episode happened whilst in a different location and she was treated amazingly. I just wish medway would sort themselves out and stop trying to meet their quotas and fit people into categories that the idiot on the top floor has devised!
You have been hugely courageous in posting this and It sounds like u will not be defeated despite not having the support of the nhs team. I think you are doing the right things to keep yourself afloat and I hope your gp appealing resolves this for you .
Medway hospital needs a complete overhaul . Staff and directors included .

Unknown said...

Hi Martyn, gosh how frustrating and worrying for you. I agree with everyone who says that you've shown amazing strength of character and that actually you do have the skills to take this further and be the voice of people that 'just can't' do anything. You can really make a difference. It often takes people to speak up and cause a surge of interest to initiate change. I don't know if it's a funding issue or a knowledge issue or quite why they are failing you. It would be lovely if you could find a private therapist that you could work with both on a personal level and with your blog. Someone who is on the same mission as do write so well x

Daniel Sexton said...

Thank you for reading and commenting. Thanks for your comments. I know there's not much that can be said bur like you say I hope this is a platform to help others.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting Mathew! Thank you also for your thoughts and kind words!

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting. I do have qualifications in psychology and a diploma in counselling but is obviously difficult when this is happening to you rather than others. Thank you for your kind words and support. I'm sure if I carry on fighting good will come out of it all.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thank you for commenting. It's incredibly comforting to know that you're aware of how bad the nhs system is in medway and what the medway hospital is like. Sadly I know their mental health wing very well and can sympathise with your sisters time there. The only problem with different location is the inter council procedures. I was eventually treated in Maidstone and the move to medway took us actually a step backwards. Thank you for your kind words and your support. It is appreciated.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thank you for commenting! And for your kind encouraging words! They are appreciated. I've still got a fee ideas up my sleeve to try but if that fails I will look at going privately and maybe working with them in some way as they can be costly. I'm please as well that you enjoy my writing style!! It did take me a few edits to get this right but I am ever so pleased with it.

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks again Natalie. I have a few things up my sleeve this week to try. But will also be trying at some point if these options fail the journalist friend. Will also look into a charity. I will let you know on some as if these things pan out in one way or another I may call upon you. I truly appreciate your support for me on this.

Stevie - A Cornish Mum said...

Wow Martyn well done on the two years sober, I can only imagine how difficult that must be, especially whilst coping with everything else as well!
I think it's disgraceful that anyone who is brave enough to admit they need help to not be given it, and red tape and such tricky rules in mental health care are surely depleting the actual 'care' in that. Sad that to get help it seems you either need to get worse, or miraculously recover from something with no help. I really hope that you can get the help you need, and that you continue to stay strong.
Writing this post has taken real courage, as has seeking help and I hope you feel proud of that.


Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting Stevie! Think that's the worst bit that I should let myself get worse to get the help I need. But even then it'll only be short term and I would have to start again in the whole system of things. I won't quite give up. I do have a tiny bit of energy left. And will use that this week to do everything g in my power. It was difficult to write this post but it's so necessary at the same time. I'm proud that I did but people like me do need to stand up and say what they can on it all.

Life with Six Kids said...

My ex has ptsd and bpd and gets lots of therapy - not sure how exactly but some is though the NHS and some through Royal British Legion. If i was in contact with him, I would ask how he got it - sorry I can't.

I have been trying to get help for my daughters for nearly 18 months. As a result of domestic violence, they self-harm, have non-epilepsy, nightmares, depression and anxiety. Despite referrals from social services and our doctor it took a year to get CAMHS to help. Unfortunately, by then, we were only a month from moving county.

Have started the process again but have almost given up and taken on an extra job to pay for private counselling. They have had two sessions each and I think they are finding it helpful.

I hope that you get what you so deserve. Seems unfair that some seem to get help and others don't. I don't understand it myself and it is nonsense which is why I have given up with it.

Take care and hope you find someone who will help x

Daniel Sexton said...

Thanks for commenting.
Well at least I know people with ptsd and bpd can at least get therapy. So that's a good thing.

It sounds, like me, that you've gone through the mill of it too! The system is a joke and really needs sorting to help people out.
It's a good thing that you've managed to get them help even if it is privately.

Thanks for your kind words and your support

Unknown said...

Thanks for linking up Martyn, hopefully your struggles here will inspire others to get help even though with some places it can be hard (still shocking how bad mental health services in the UK really can be, I got VERY lucky it seems).