Whenever speaking to people who are assessing me, or generally speaking about my health, I often don’t know the answers to their questions, or it isn’t a simple case of yes or no.
I think this is something that many with fluctuating mental illnesses can identify with.
Yesterday I decided to finally give the Community Mental Health Team a call (i’d been putting it off since last December) as my last letter from them was last September about being referred to the psychological therapies team, but nothing since. Plus, while in the midst of a crisis in December (for me it was a crisis at least, I think different people have different understandings of the word) I had no professionals to talk to, felt completely powerless, and didn’t know what to do, heightening my anxiety. So I decided then that following new year I would attempt to contact them again.
I dug out all the letters i’d received last year, so that I could refer to them while talking to them.
The lady at the other end of the phone could understand what I was saying, I think, about being in an emergency yet having no support while in crisis. I explained that my GP was happy for me to go to them and have a talk if I needed to do so, but I always feel guilty about going to see her, as she is a GP, and I get the feeling she’d love to be able to do more to help, and it’s frustrating for her that she cannot really do much more than to keep referring me back to the CMHT. This has happened lots of times over the years. Being referred then discharged, like a never ending merry go round. I clearly have long term conditions, why keep discharging me then having to be rereferred?
The lady I was talking to said that she’d be able to fill another referral form over the phone, as I didn’t want to bother my GP again so soon after seeing her. Plus I was already somewhere in the system, but I don’t know where!
She said it would be helpful to have another assessment as it had been a while since my last one. I would be able to explain some of the things that had happened since, which they could then also link into the other information they hold.
Going through the form, there were several questions I wasn’t sure about. For example, my fluctuating anxiety levels, they can change day by day, and week by week. Also the levels of paranoid intrusive thoughts and hypervigilance. Also I explained about my experience of what I think was tinitus, which hasn’t happened since, or from what I can remember beforehand. I forget to mention about the 2 flashbacks towards the end of last year.
Then there was a question I genuinely didn’t know the answer to. ”Are you vulnerable?”
“Erm, I don’t know” I answered. Thinking about it after the call had ended I thought that at times possibly I could be, but that also fluctuates depending on the nature of the symptoms i’m experiencing I guess.