Playing the waiting game

Ahh, it’s that time again.

No, not this Friday’s blog, but the usual round of Doctor’s appointments and supposedly my three monthly visit to the Psychiatrist.

Except, I’ve not actually seen a Psychiatrist since last November. My appointments are repeatedly cancelled by my local Mental Health Department at the Hospital. Every time I think I’m getting close to an appointment – oh, there you go, it’s been cancelled and moved again. I receive the letters, and let out a deep sigh of disappointment. This happened again on Wednesday, my appointment was due to be on the morning of 8th August, but quelle surprise – this has been moved to October. Whilst I wasn’t expecting this to happen again, I do, for once, actually need to see a Psychiatrist. Now I know a lot of people will be wondering why this is such a problem, surely the Doctor will be able to change my medication and keep me on an even keel. Except they can’t. Bipolar I is a handful of mental illness that the average GP isn’t allowed to mess around with. There are too many variables, or so I was told this morning.

I have a rather nice GP, and she’s becoming just as frustrated by this mess of events as I am. She’s now contacted them several times (I’m rather impressed by this, I know how busy she is) because she can see that I’m having trouble at the moment. My mood is slowly lurching towards the bottom end of the depressed scale (I’m doing the usual of hiding it quite well), and there’s not much I can do about it. I recently tried calling the Mental Health department to try to speak to someone, but I was roughly rebuked and told me appointment wasn’t too far away and could I wait? I wondered if that would have been the same reaction had I said I was contemplating suicide (I’m not, I promise – and if I did ever get that low, I know people I can turn to) – would I be here now?

Another problem is that there seems to be some miscommunication of my medication dosage, and no one seems to be able to answer the riddle. I don’t have a set Psychiatrist, every three months I see a different one – they all ask the same, deeply personal questions, each time they type as I speak; yet none of them seem to have read my notes. Each time they come up with a different solution and medication. Ok, perhaps I’m to blame, I don’t want to put on weight – and most of these pills make me balloon. Call me vain, but I’ve been there before, and I really don’t want to compound things by feeling depressed about why I can’t fit into any of my clothes. I know, I know, I’m sure I’m enraging a couple of you out there – surely better mental health is worth the weight gain. Well no. Not to me.

But this is by-the-by, back to the different meds. I’ve tried Lithium, but I had a severe reaction to it, so I’m managed on others – but obviously these need to be upped and lowered as necessary (as long as I see a Psychiatrist – you can see my problem). However it appears that they’ve said one thing, given me a prescription; however, they sent a letter to the GP with a different dose. Oh – and that Psychiatrist was just a locum and has apparently vanished off the face of Hammersmith and Fulham Mental Health Team (I do sometimes wonder whether I dreamed all this). I can’t get through to them, and worryingly nor can my GP.

Frustration is the word I’m looking for. I’m doing everything I can to look after myself as best I can. I’m getting out of the house, going to the gym, seeing people as and when I force myself to. I’m trying to use all the CBT and Mindfulness that I can remember (even going so far as to try to find the books I was given by the therapist – I’ve been using them to prop up shelves), but down I go. Which is frustrating in itself – I have that nagging feeling that I shouldn’t be feeling like this. In fact my head is partly telling me I should be on top of the world (exciting things are afoot!).

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Actually, frustration is slowly turning to anger. For all our efforts in trying to move forward, trying to make people more Metal Health aware, why do I feel that it’s on the back burner? Are we the forgotten lot? No, it’s not life threatening, but it can destroy lives – something I’m only too aware of.

I feel doomed to spend my life waiting, waiting, waiting.

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