Me again. It was the day of Anon’s GP appointment yesterday.
Anon couldn’t think about anything else the entire day, despite the fact the appointment wasn’t until 5.30pm.
Half an hour before the appointment she started feeling increasingly sick, and by the time we were walking to the Doctors she couldn’t breathe easily.
The wait at the Doctors was short, and then our new GP called us through. Anon couldn’t look at him. She let me lead the way and sat on the chair furthest from him, then stared resolutely at the floor.
The Doctor introduced himself, which was nice, and then asked Anon if she wanted to talk about why we were there today or if she’d rather I began, which I thought was nicer still. Anon pointed to me.
I talked about the new symptoms and the Doctor asked a few questions, mainly directed at Anon, and when she struggled to answer or floundered or eventually said “I don’t know”, I was able to jump in.
“Can you hear what the hallucinations are saying?”
“Is it directed at you? Are they always saying unpleasant things?”
“Do you feel like your thoughts or movements are being controlled?”
“Do you think that people are out to harm you?”
“Are you having thoughts of suicide, or are you feeling suicidal?”
The last question proved very hard for Anon to answer. She said she wasn’t feeling suicidal as such, but she wanted to die or be dead. She said even if she was feeling suicidal she wouldn’t get the chance because I’m always with her.
The Doctor asked, if Anon was on her own, would she kill herself. Anon replied that it would depend on how bad she was feeling at the time.
After maybe ten minutes talking to us the Doctor made a few points:
–> Anon clearly wasn’t intensely manic or depressed, not enough to cause psychosis, and so it was weird that she was having psychotic symptoms outside of a mood episode
–> He didn’t have the expertise to deal with Anon or prescribe a new medication, so –
–> He would refer us to Single Point of Access and then we would be seen by a psychiatrist (cue uncomfortable look from Anon); it would be an urgent referral so we should hear from someone in a week
–> As Anon isn’t feeling actively suicidal he doesn’t want to send us to Crisis Team. He doesn’t think they would be of any help, as it would be Anon having to meet someone and explain everything all over again, then after a few days they would drop her and she’d have to see someone new
We couldn’t have agreed more; we have had nothing but bad experiences with crisis team.
The Doctor ended the appointment by reiterating that we can each phone him at any time, and to please do so if things got worse or new symptoms emerged.
He thanked Anon for being so honest and said he appreciated how difficult this must have been. We were both touched by this.
During the appointment Anon had been twisting her fingers so intensely that one had popped out a little, and was extremely painful. After the appointment Anon was truly broken. For the rest of the night she was irritable, close to tears, found it hard to control violent impulses and just totally stressed.
Today we have been talking and have kind of come to the conclusion that Anon can’t see a psychiatrist right now. I don’t know where that leaves us though.
The GP appointment was hard enough, and that’s only a short walk from our house and in a place Anon is fairly comfortable (for medical appointments, anyway). The appointment only lasted fifteen minutes, so Anon knew it wouldn’t be a long one. We also had just one day’s notice, which meant Anon wasn’t able to obsess and stress over it.
The psychiatrist appointment would be either a 30 or 90 minute’s journey away, which is stressful in itself. Then there’s the fact we’d have no idea who we were seeing, or how gentle they would be, as you can’t pick psychiatrists on their suitability like you can with GP’s. We’d have at least a week’s notice of the appointment, in which Anon’s stress levels would boil over, the appointment would last 45 – 60 minutes and Anon has an inherent distrust of psychiatrists anyway.