2

A&E, sectioning & medication

What an experience the past 24 hours have been!!!

I phoned the GP yesterday as Anon’s panic is unreal. The GP that called back was the bloody Doctor who said “what do you want me to do about it?” one of the other times.

He basically said there was no way to prescribe Anon medications at all without seeing her. When I again said the reason we can’t see anyone is because Anon is so scared, and so we need something to get her to the point where she can attend an appointment, he said there was nothing he could do.

I asked about a home visit, because GP’s (unlike the psychiatrists or social workers in this area) WILL do home visits. He said he could do that, and someone would let us know within the next few days when the home visit would be.

I then asked if we could have a female Doctor come – he said we would get what we were given unfortunately. Bullshit!

As soon as I got off the phone, Anon had a panic attack and said she couldn’t do a home visit. She already had a day of immense panic and terror yesterday, and as ever appointments made it all worse.

I did my best to calm her down and said we’d find another way around it.

I called 111 early afternoon and spoke with someone who was very helpful. He said there should be a way that a Doctor can prescribe medications without seeing Anon, and where we can wait to see if the medication helps, and at that point we should be able to attend appointments again. He advised me to call 111 after 6.30pm, as there would be more GPs working who could give accurate advice.

I called 111 at about 730pm, and spoke with the first initial assessor (not a GP, not a nurse)

When I answered the questions and tried to explain the situation – which took about 25 minutes – she wanted to send an ambulance out to bring Anon to A&E. WHAT?!

Apparently her panic counted as an ‘immediate emergency’ (despite the fact Anon has struggled with this for months and months, and every GP / social worker / Crisis Team we have spoken to haven’t cared!) and because Anon’s heart was racing (due to her anxiety about the phone call!!!) she needed to go to A&E!!

I very calmly but firmly argued her down, re-explaining that going to appointments and medical facilities terrifies Anon, because of our last experience at A&E. Forcibly taking her to A&E when she’s incredibly anxious and you’ve already mentioned sectioning her is a absolutely stupid idea!

This went round and round a few times, and eventually she sighed and said a nurse would call me back. Ten minutes later I got the call, and the nurse was a little better. She understood that it wasn’t an emergency situation with the need of hospital/sectioning, but she didn’t really understand that I was phoning for advice, and NOT for immediate help.

I was then told a GP would call me back within a few hours. It was already 10pm by this point, and we were tired.

We waited for half an hour, and I talked to Anon about it, and we decided they clearly weren’t going to understand the situation. They weren’t going to offer advice, and they were going to continue as if it was an urgent situation – the threat of sectioning is always in their power.

I called 111 to say I wanted to end my interaction with the service. I had to answer the assessment questions about Anon yet again (third time in three hours) and the person then spent fifteen minutes telling me over and over (and getting increasingly aggressive) that I should get a phone back from a Doctor in case I needed urgent help, Doctors know best etc.

I kept saying ‘no, you’re not understanding, this isn’t an urgent situation – I only called for advice!’ Eventually they said I was off the system, and they ended the call.

Today I called the GP surgery and cancelled the home visit, asking for a call from a GP.

Talking to the GP I explained very clearly what was wrong, what was happening, what could be done to fix it, and how I’d spoken to someone via 111 who said it should be possible.

I said we could bring in written consent from Anon, and she could check her blood pressure on the machine the public can use in the waiting room, if those were things that could prevent Anon getting medication with no physical appointment.

The GP was actually very good this time, and said he could see where we were coming from but it would be hard to get medications with no appointment. I said he had seen Anon several times when she could make it to appointments, so he HAD seen her before, and he had seen her when she was very much struggling too.

He then said he would prescribe something but wasn’t sure what. He said he would prescribe benzodiazepines, but wasn’t comfortable about their addictive quality and they were only short term.

I said I understood that, but from what I had read on the NHS website, SSRIs are usually used to treat GAD / panic disorder, and they are prescribed for long term use. Anon had been on Citalopram many times in the past for long periods of time, so could we not try that?

He said that was a good idea. He was happy to do that, apart from the danger of a manic episode. I said I’m with her 24/7, she’s been on Citalopram before and never went manic, and if I saw any symptoms of mania I would get in touch.

After all that, we have a prescription for Citalopram 😀

The GP asked that I book an appointment to see him in a months’ time, but that if Anon is still struggling at the time, we can cancel and push it further back.

It was a lot of stress and a lot of effort, but I am so relieved to be where we are, and I really hope this medication can help reduce the panic just a little.

WOW, sorry that was so long!

1

When everything goes wrong…

…take Valium!!

This week has been rough as hell.

For a while we have been trying our hardest to work with the rescue puppy that we found tied to a tree over a month ago. We have overcome a lot with her…she started off terrified of the world, and now she is confident with almost everything.

We trained her sit, touch, leave it, lie down, paw, and her name / recall. We taught her to be calm with body handling, and to wait patiently with food. We socialised her with as much as possible. We paid for vet treatment (from the usual puppy costs to medication for her neck and —>), we took her to the vets when it was thought she had broken her leg, we fed her high quality food and treated a UTI.

Throughout all this we were crate training her, and the further in we got, the more signs of separation anxiety we were met with…it wasn’t until the past week we began filming her every time we left, and neither of us were prepared for how panicked she was when left alone.

She loved her crate when we were home, but when we left she lost it completely…frozen Kongs, pigs ears, and calming music did nothing. She *screamed* the entire time, and was panting, lip licking, and just entirely stressed.

To make this shorter, earlier this week we took her to a training facility connected to the rescue we’ve volunteered at since I was 19, and met with a trainer for hours.

The end result was she has extreme separation anxiety, most likely because before being dumped she had only every lived with dogs, and had little human interaction. We found at the facility that she can be left with no issues as long as there is another dog she can physically sleep with (her head has to be on the other dog’s back).

We can’t offer that, we can’t take things slower and not leave her alone…so we had to hand her over to foster. She’s doing well, and is in a home with another young dog, a Collie cross.

That was extremely, extremely stressful and very hard to deal with.

Throughout all that my relationship seriously deteriorated with Gog (all my fault, not his at all) and I was ready to break up with him. I tried to, several times. Lots of arguments on my part, hurtful things said, and tears.

My mood was in the pits and I was actively suicidal, and everything had just gone to shit.

At the end of last week I began sleeping a lot less (from 10 hours to 5 hours) and went manic, but not in any way nice mania, mania filled with psychosis and terror. Constant anxiety.

By yesterday that had eased somewhat, my mood was more low than manic, then today I happened to go on facebook and saw post after post about how the UK was ruined after leaving the EU, disabled people and benefits would be fucked etc.

I had a huge panic attack.

I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, and I was crying. I curled into a ball and just shuddered with terror.

Gog came in about 20 minutes later (he’d been asleep in the other room) and I couldn’t even talk to him because I was so scared. I managed to ask for a Valium, and I took 5mg…that’s a lot for me, 2.5mg is usually more than enough.

Twenty minutes later I was lost to the world, but feeling MUCH better.

I couldn’t really talk or focus on anything haha, but I was way calmer. The panic was gone, and that’s all I cared about. The calmness lasted most the day; I took 2.5mg a while back because I was getting anxious again, and today has gone far better than how it started.

My parents are coming up tonight, and I feel anxious about seeing them. For no real reason, just because it’s hard to put on a happy face and act normal when you feel like crap and are very anxious.

Long post, sorry for the ramble.

2

Stuck stuck stuck

Gog phoned up Mind and Bipolar UK today, to ask for absolutely any ideas on how we can move forward in getting help…neither had any suggestions.

Mind was the most helpful surprisingly (in fact Bipolar UK kinda sucked, which shocked us because they’re normally *really* helpful). Mind told us to ring a different local branch of social services, and said they can send out one of their trained volunteers to offer support, as a kind of in-between step, a kind of practice appt.

I’ve had Valium a few times today, whenever my panic’s been suffocating. I can feel the fear bubbling beneath, but it’s not overwhelming when I’ve had a Valium, and I can let my mind rest and concentrate on other things. I’ve been colouring again.

I’ve had some wildly low moments today. I’ve had some incredibly angry and frustrated moments, and I’ve felt lonely and hopeless all day.

I feel stuck, and like my Bipolar has bested me once and for all. I’m ready to give up. Really, I just want all this fear and pain to stop.

I don’t know where we go from here, because I can’t get help, I can’t go to appts…I have a panic attack whenever I talk about them with my partner.

fucking hate Bipolar.

1

Panic and Valium

The past few days I’ve been taking Valium as needed.

I have Valium left over from when I was really psychotic, and all the crap GP we saw wanted to do was dope me out of my eyeballs…the first few days I took the dose he prescribed, and I was so zombied out I couldn’t move or talk.

We lowered the dose ourselves, so we have a lot left over.

I’ve been feeling so terrified these past few days that I’ve been taking 2.5mg of Valium whenever I need to, and it’s been immensely helpful. It winds the panic down to anxiety, which I can cope with.

This morning I’m so scared, for no apparent reason. I’m trembling, I feel sick, my heart is racing, and my palms are sweating. I feel on the verge of a panic attack.

I think what’s triggered this immense terror is that we’ve said we’re going to call the charity Bipolar UK today, and even though that shouldn’t be scary at all…apparently it is.

My mood is still extremely low. My psychosis has been worse than usual for a week or so now, so I guess the increase in anxiety could be linked to that too. I feel drained and scrambled.

I just raged at my partner because he talked about him ‘trying to keep me safe’, and I asked him if he realised how fucking cruel he was being. Yes, he’s trying to keep me physically safe, but he’s not lifting a fucking finger to try and help me mentally.

It’s TORTURE being unable to end this misery. I told him he’s like a zoo ‘rescuing’ an endangered animal, then letting it live for years in a tiny concrete enclosure. Sure it’s physically safe, but mentally it would have been better off dead.

It’s all well and good keeping me safe, but I also need help to fix my mental state. I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS.

Time to take half a Valium…

0

From 0 to 100

Gog here

Such small things trigger such severe mood episodes.

We’d been doing well for two, maybe even three weeks. Anon wasn’t stable, but she was doing great. Days were enjoyable and Anon was trying hard to avoid stress and cope with symptoms.

Then I tried to sort out some benefit information, and as ever they asked to speak to Anon on the phone.

Now even though I am her registered carer, and Anon’s illness means she can’t talk on the phone, AND I am on the records, they insist they go through security questions with Anon before they will talk to me about anything.

The security questions vary in length; the shortest is just getting Anon to give her name, date of birth, and agree that I can talk for her…if they make it longer for no apparent reason they try get her to talk to them about why I’m phoning, too.

Because Anon’s anxiety, paranoia and psychosis has gotten so bad this past year, I no longer try and pressure her to talk on the phone – it doesn’t help.

A few days ago I made the huge mistake of saying “they want to talk to you for security checks…?” and it completely broke her. She completely shut down and sat staring at nothing, crying. This is what no professional or assessor can ever understand; if Anon struggles with something (even if to them it is insignificant) it is enough to cause an episode.

This is why saying she “just” needs to do it doesn’t help, at all.

Since Tuesday her mood has been much worse. She’s still trying hard, but the stress certainly has triggered an episode.

Today we walked to a nearby supermarket to pick up a handful of items. I asked Anon how she was doing and she was low, anxious and very paranoid.

As soon as we entered the supermarket she began to panic; too much stimulation, too bright, too many people etc. Within two minutes of entering Anon had to leave. She sat outside whilst I grabbed a few things.

By the time we got home ten minutes later Anon was really, really struggling.

She took 5mg of Valium, and the great thing about this med is that it works insanely quickly – within 20 minutes she was far less anxious, and after an hour or so she fell asleep and had three hours rest.

When she woke up she was still struggling, bouncing from coping well to being surprisingly angry (Valium side-effect, we did notice it last time?) and feeling like she’s about to burst  into tears.

She’s just taken 2.5mg of Valium to see if it can soothe her and help her sleep, as we haven’t been to bed yet and it’s 5.30am.

If anybody is wondering, she was prescribed these Valium a while back, and told to take such a high dose by an idiotic Doctor that we have a lot left over. I have no problem with Anon taking meds we have in the house if she needs to, at a low dose especially.

It’s not like the NHS  are helping her.

We’ve been waiting 21 days now for the service to get back in touch after the emergency GP appointment

0

1 call missed, no call back

Gog here.

Yesterday was the last time Anon had been told to take Valium, because the crap GP we saw optimistically said “things will be sorted by then and she will have an appointment with a psychiatrist” – HA!

We do still have a lot of Valium left over though, in case of emergency, because the dose we were supposed to take left Anon drooling in a chair unable to move.

The GP told me to give her up to 40mg a day, and I could give Anon 10mg at once if she was extremely anxious…I then read on a few drug info sites that only people with a tolerance should take 10mg at once. This was Anon’s first time taking Valium, AND she is sensitive to most meds. Wow.

Anyway.

If you remember, the mental health nurse from Single Point of Access was originally supposed to ring the Tuesday before last, but didn’t. You can read that here.

She then said she would phone us this (last) Tuesday, but because the Valium completely fucked with Anon’s sleep (which we spent so long sorting out prior to this…) we have been sleeping weird.

Anon takes a Valium, it knocks her out and she sleeps for 3-4 hours, she’s up for a few then supposed to take another Valium etc. So not only is her sleep screwed but mine too as I tried to fit around when she was awake.

This meant that when an unknown number phoned at 11am, which I have since traced back to the NHS, we were both asleep. Shiiiit.

Of course when I saw the missed call I tried to phone back, but it’s a number where they can call you but you can’t call them – you just get diverted to a message that says ‘we will try phone you again soon.’

Only they haven’t. 

That was Tuesday morning and now it’s almost exactly two days later and they haven’t tried to call once, and I can’t get in touch with them. I just want to type lots of expletives at the moment.

So much for “things being sorted”…

I don’t know who to ring or where to ask to get help. As if that isn’t confusing enough Anon is saying point blank she DOES NOT want to see anybody else, and especially not a psychiatrist. I completely get this. The last few appointments have done nothing but break her and destroy her trust in medical professionals.

She saw one person she liked and actually trusted; they let her down. Another Doctor told me to take her to A&E and get her sectioned. I wouldn’t trust them either!

There’s also the issue that almost all the psychiatrists we have seen have relied on bullying tactics, and have really pressured Anon into taking meds she doesn’t feel at all comfortable with. I have a few ways to get around this…

  1. Contact the psychiatrist via email before a physical appointment, so we can tell them which meds Anon would like to try, and they can research them / see what they think. Saves us going to a pointless appointment and being disappointed when they try give her Quetiapine again.
  2. Have a video call / appointment with the psychiatrist. That way Anon can be seen in an environment where she is comfortable, and she can have one of our animals nearby to comfort her. There’s no stress from travel to the appointment, it’s not in a scary place…let’s be honest it’s just much nicer
  3. Have negotiations about medications go between either myself and the psychiatrist, or Anon’s GP and the psychiatrist, over the phone. This has been done in the past; the first psychiatrist Anon saw was obnoxious so our fabulous GP at the time asked what med Anon wanted to be on and phoned the psychiatrist herself. A day later Anon was on a new med.

So. That’s where we’re at.