I have suffered with depressive episodes since I was very young, and I began self-harming at the age of 10. My first suicide attempt took place in primary school (and, embarrassingly, involved me flushing my head down a toilet), I was discovered by a teacher and I couldn’t verbalise why or what I was trying to do. As I passed through my teenage years the depression got worse, with regular self-harm and infrequent attempts on my life.
When I was nineteen I began dating Gog, and it was an intense start to our relationship. Shortly after we started dating (literally within the first month) several triggers pushed me into one of the worst depressive episodes of my life, which lasted over six months.
This is the point where things got desperate enough that Gog dragged me to the GP, and for the first time ever I saw a professional for help with my mental health.
I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and prescribed an anti-depressant. Months later Generalised Anxiety Disorder was added to the list and, less than a year after that, Bordlerline Personality Dirsorder.
When I was twenty years old I was referred to Single Point of Access, and the woman I saw was an absolute dragon. She stated that I couldn’t suffer from hallucinations unless I took recreational drugs. Hmm. Along with a terrible experience with the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team (CRHT) at A&E around the same time, I never wanted to seek help again.
We were forced to however when my episodes grew worse and worse. I was struggling to understand what was real, and was hearing voices and experiencing blackouts, where I couldn’t remember what I’d done. We went and saw a new GP, as we had moved house. I was put on a different anti-depressant and referred to a mental health team. They in turn referred me to Early Intervention who, despite me seeing and hearing things that didn’t exist during manic episodes, stated that I had no psychosis and discharged me.
Things continued in the same vein for the next year, until I saw my first psychiatrist (who I really didn’t get along with) and he forcefully started me on an anti-psychotic to treat ‘bipolar like symptoms’. This was the first time anybody had mentioned Bipolar. The AP badly affected my sleep and there was significant weight gain…within 4 months I had gained over 2.5 stones, and after recovering from an eating disorder just two years before, I couldn’t cope with that. I came off it.
We moved house and I fell under the care of a good GP, the first useful mental health professional I had ever been treated by. She spoke to my psychiatrist for me, so I didn’t have to meet him in person, and I was switched to a different anti-psychotic, alongside taking an anti-depressant.
I was also prescribed 5mg Procyclidine to try and erase the horrifying side effects of the anti-psychotic.
Weeks after starting Abilify (anti-psychotic) I developed akathisia, at first only in my right leg. After two years my akathisia had gotten much worse, and had become unbearable…it was so bad I couldn’t hold anything in my hands, couldn’t eat using a knife and fork and people often stared and made fun of me when I was out in public.
Despite quite horrific and extremely embarrassing side-effects, the NHS left me on Abilify for 2.5 years.
We have seen dozens of social workers, even more GPs, and half a dozen psychiatrists. Most of them have been entirely unhelpful; some have been rude, patronising and almost all have been unhelpful.
Currently we’re still battling the NHS to get help…
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Over the years we have visited A&E several times when Gog has felt I was dangerously suicidal and worried that he couldn’t keep me safe. Every time we have been sent home after several hours’ wait with no support, and Gog has been instructed to keep a close eye on me. This hasn’t helped ease his conscience whatsoever, nor did it help us when we were in crisis.
You can read our most recent experience with going to A&E here, and how they sent the police to section Anon when we left.
We have met with the CRHT four times, and each time they have made the situation much worse and increased my suicidal feelings. I have no trust and little respect for them.
One time, when I had been depressed for several months and Gog had interrupted a suicide attempt, I saw them they refused to let Gog sit with me whilst they talked to me. They said they would discuss the situation with him afterwards. Half an hour later, after brutally asking me questions whilst I stared at the carpet, completely shut down and terrified, they walked out the hospital without saying a word to Gog. When he chased after them and asked what had happened and when would they would be speaking to him, they said “[Anon] will tell you” and walked off.