As I mentioned previously, Anon had an appointment with Single Point of Access on Tuesday. This was the appointment we had been waiting for, the appointment to see a psychiatrist our GP promised us mid November.
The morning of the appointment (the day after my last post) we got a letter in the mail, a little pamphlet giving us information about the appointment we would have later that day…and it said we would be seeing a mental health nurse.
Oh. My. God.
No no no no no no! We had been promised an appointment with a psychiatrist. We needed an appointment with a psychiatrist! Someone who could review Anon’s diagnosis, her symptoms and, most importantly, help prescribe a medication that would help mute her psychotic symptoms.
I phoned SPOA and spoke with someone at the hospital, who said that the appointment was with a nurse and that we would have to wait at least 3 extra weeks for an appointment with a psychiatrist. I phoned the mental health charity Mind to ask for advice (they didn’t have any and started wittering about sending a volunteer around to talk with us and ‘provide structure’ – ??) and I phoned the charity Bipolar UK, who were more helpful.
I phoned SPOA back to cancel Anon’s appointment. It just made no sense for us to go when it wasn’t to see a psychiatrist, the appointment was over three hours travel there and back, and Anon was super stressed and the rain was torrential!
When I started trying to cancel the appointment the person on the phone transferred me to a clinician, and they said that after the appointment with the nurse we could see a psychiatrist…dear god!
By this point we were late for the appointment because I’d been phoning places asking for help, so I told them we’d be 20 minutes late and we set off in the rain.
The appointment with the nurse went really well. Anon was super stressed and anxious, but the nurse was calm, supportive and reassuring. Very gentle, which is exactly what we needed. She listened when we corrected her (eg. she thought the extreme anxiety came first, then the hallucinations began as a result of the anxiety, and it was the other way around) and said we were doing absolutely everything right.
Anon did really well, I was so proud. To begin with she couldn’t even look at the nurse or answer any questions, but the nurse was happy for me to chip in and get the notebook of things I / we had written down. Towards the latter of the 60+ minute appointment Anon was able to talk more and calmed down a little, although she did break down at one point and struggled to stop crying. It was good crying though, not like when our last social worker bullied Anon to tears.
Unfortunately at the end of the appointment the nurse told us that there was no psychiatrist, and that their service didn’t have one. Fuck!! Then what was the clinician I spoke with earlier on about? Were they just lying?!
The nurse is trying to get us into another service to have Anon seen by a psychiatrist as quickly as possible, and until then we’re having to rely on the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team. Worrying.
Anon’s anxiety seems a little better since the day it was at it’s worst. She’s not extremely depressed, but when we were walking our dog today she said her head was “loud” (auditory hallucinations) and you could see she was very distracted, found it hard to concentrate and was irritable.
I honestly can’t imagine what it is like to live not just with episodes of mania and depression (with no stability in between), but also with the added joy of constant psychosis now. Life certainly is unfair.