This is a list that me and Anon came up with some time ago.
We plan on writing / printing it out and taking it with us whenever we are assigned somebody new to our case, who we would see regularly…a social worker for example. It’s a list of things that we think would be helpful for us, and pointers that we think professionals need because they are consistently doing things that don’t help, make things worse or stress us out
1) Be gentle and supportive, instead of clinical or patronising
2) Be someone who we would like to talk to; talk about ‘easy’ things, even if it’s just for a few minutes at the start of an appointment (eg. talking about pets)
One of the things Anon struggles with most is that the instant she enters the room with a social worker / psychiatrist she has never met before, she is asked to tell them about the most vulnerable and scary parts of herself
3) At the first appointment, establish if there are things that we don’t want to talk about. Either things we never want to talk about, or things we will only talk about if we bring them up or if we are doing well.
4) Listen. Be open to the fact that your interpretation could be wrong and we might not feel able to correct you. “Is that right?” “Have I got that right?” “Do I understand correctly?” would be helpful.
5)) Believe that we are not over-exaggerating. Anon saying “I am suicidal” means she actively wants to kill herself, not ‘I am feeling a little blue today’.
6) Talk to us like we are real people – because we are! Yes, one of us might be very ill, but there is no need to look down on us, talk over us or act like we’re dirt on the bottom of your shoe.
7) If you say you will get in touch with us on a specific day, make sure you do. We depend on you for help, and not getting in touch when you say you will only heightens our feeling of loneliness and means we lose a huge amount of trust in you.
Anon is still very manic, she’s only creeping higher…every morning she seems more intense, then she calms a little during the day, and it seeps back at night.
Still waiting for help. Still heard nothing from the NHS.
It will be a week tomorrow since they tried, once, to get in touch with us. We can’t phone them back.
Still don’t know where we can get help….