GP, my saviour and worst nightmare as there is no preventative care, only care in crisis

I’ve been seeing the GP about my mental health for over ten years and so you’d think it would be second nature to me by now. I saw the same GP for around eight years and we ended up with a brilliant professional relationship. He kept the boundaries I needed to not become attached, he treated me with medication for my mental health when I was that young it meant nobody else would. He always made time for myself and my mum and he would do his best to refer me to where I needed to be. I’ve always been extremely anxious when visiting the doctor and although I’d struggle every time I went, I felt safe with him and felt that I could trust him. 

 

After a bad experience in a mental health ward, my GP made me a promise that it wasn’t the right environment for me and I shouldn’t ever need to return. He arranged for therapy to work through some of the things I had witnessed and worked through the list of SSRI antidepressants, when one after another they stopped working. 

 

Then he left.

 

It just so happened that in an unfortunate coincidence around the time he left I had one of my scariest relapses to date and so was left with no choice but to see a new doctor, a new face to tell me most private and confidential worries too. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I was in crisis and this new GP was so wonderful and efficient, she would stay late to ensure she could see me every day for weeks, she did everything in her power to prevent the crisis team getting involved (cough* because they’re shit) and she looked into my medication and personal circumstances immediately. She took my illness seriously and treated it with the severity it needed. She saved me in that moment which is brilliant. The NHS in that moment were brilliant. 

 

It took 18 months of hard work to get where I am now. I left university through sickness, had 6 months off work, lost friends, lost independence but over time gained strength again. This relapse wiped me out.  I found I couldn’t read or write as well as before, at times I couldn’t hear properly, I had little control on my thoughts and couldnt imagine it getting better. My CBT and family pulled me through, along with my hard work, and here I am. 

 

Here is where I introduce the problem in my eyes. Once my therapy finished that was it, no continuity of care. No follow ups, no support, no where to turn. Now I understand the services are stretched and I cant have help all the time but I thought once my crisis ended I would have minimal support – not no support at all. I am over the moon I am in my recovery and doing really well, I am so lucky I had the strength to resume my normal life again. I am however scared that if my illness comes back as unexpected as before I have no medical support.

 

There is no preventative care, only care in crisis. Now that same amazing new doctor I mentioned before saw me a few weeks ago, 9 weeks after trying to get an appointment. The last time we spoke was a telephone consultation because I was struggling with dangerous thoughts and was scared. She told me that she believed it would pass. Months later I return to get a three month prescription of medication and it is handed over with no question.

No – ‘how are you?’ 

No – ‘do you feel in control?’

No – ‘how have you been doing?’

No – is there anything else I can help you with?’

 

NO CARE. This is where the system becomes dangerous in my eyes, the support you receive in a crisis is amazing, the rest of the time you need to get on with it. Its wrong. With continuous support for those with a longstanding mental health condition I believe more would survive. Mental health cannot afford to be treated the way it still is within the NHS, with a lack of urgency if somebody doesnt seem in crisis because it takes so much strength to battle day in day out, it takes support. I refuse to accept that medically I am alone, because if that is the case it is wrong.

gp care

 If anyone has similar experiences please let me know! I’d love to know I’m not alone.

 

Can I finish by saying if you are struggling please do not let this put you off going to see a GP because there are amazing ones out there that can help. Please don’t suffer in silence, i am simply venting my frustrations over my own experiences, remember for eight years I was well supported – and you can be too.

 

As always remember, its okay to talk

 

 

3 Responses

  1. Karen
    | Reply

    This is sooooo true , there is no support unless you are in crisis I have experienced this first hand in my job. It’s about time the bosses in mental health realised this!!!!

    However on a brighter note once again Ange you a such an inspiration to many others including myself! 😀

    Keep blogging and talking about mental health hopefully one day the changes that are soooo desperately needed will come about 😀❤️

  2. Becky
    | Reply

    I can 100% relate to your story!!!!
    I have battled anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. Only in the past couple of weeks am I actually seeing a life without it. 2 years ago I had a breakdown and was referred to the crisis team through A&E. The day I was admitted was the scariest of my life, but the team were incredible. The doctors and nurses seemed to understand, and would do anything to keep me safe. But that’s the thing I have come to realise – they will do anything to keep people SAFE. Once you no longer have intentions to commit suicide you’re ‘cured.’ One doctor said to me ‘this ward is for people who have tried to commit suicide on multiple occasions, you’ve only made plans, so I’m going to discharge you. Your gp will deal with you now.’ So I stepped into the big wide world. Alone. I did go to my gp, but only because my mum forced me – I had seen so many ‘specialists’ through the NHS that I was tired of telling them my story. My gp, like yours, was incredible. But he lacked that real knowledge that I so desperately needed. What saved me in my time of crisis when I was not quite ill enough to receive the treatment I needed, was my families ability to pay for private treatment. Within days I was seeing a psychotherapist who got me, who had been there herself and assured me I would get better. 2 years on I have made it, just about. If it wasn’t for private treatment I probably wouldn’t be here today. The NHS need to realise that if they turn away people who aren’t quite sick enough, they are likely to become one of the devastating statistics.

    • Andrea Wade
      | Reply

      Hello!
      Thank you so much for your reply, I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to reply, I’ve been unable to blog for the last month or so and my site has been quite neglected.
      Thank you for sharing your story, I relate with it so much, it can be so difficult feeling like you’re the only one in the world that knows what you’re going through, especially when it comes to doctors. I always felt like I needed them to have all the answers because put simply – I didn’t.

      I am so glad you got through that time and I hope that any future experiences will be much easier for you, I also wish that for myself. Again thanks for sharing your story with me – it makes what I do less scary and worthwhile

      lots of love x

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