I’ve known for weeks that I wanted to blog about this, but I couldn’t find the energy to put it into words. I had a lot of feelings, and they made the whole experience just exhausting. I’m still not sure how well this will translate into a written post, but I’m ready to give it a go.
I was referred by my GP (General Practitioner a.k.a. doctor) to the local NHS mental health specialist for assessment in May 2016. I even called them at the time to make sure they had the correct address for me. By late October I still hadn’t heard anything, so I went back to my GP and told her that I couldn’t wait much longer and she was appalled to discover that I still hadn’t received an appointment with the specialist. She re-referred me, and once again I called them only to find out that I had been offered an appointment months earlier, but the letter had been sent to the wrong address.
I was frustrated and upset.
I gave the correct address once more, and pleaded for the soonest appointment possible. A week later I returned to my GP (as per her instructions if I still hadn’t heard anything), and even she couldn’t seem to figure out why my referral was being thrown around so much from person to person. It felt like nobody wanted to deal with me, and I was being passed around like a hot potato. As I stood to leave, she told me to leave her a message if I still hadn’t received my letter within the next week, and she would chase it up for me. It was important that she seemed to genuinely give a crap. I came so close to giving up so many times, but having a doctor like that can really help. She sincerely believed that the system could help me.
Of course 7 days came and went, and still there was nothing, so I left her a message. She must have done something right because a few days later I received a letter with an appointment for the following Monday. I was to journey to the next town over, with a list of my current medication in my pocket, to be assessed by a mental health specialist. It was a relief, yet completely terrifying. I had all of my hopes pinned on it. I was convinced that it was the only thing that would help me. Whenever I felt low I told myself to just hang on until the specialist could fix me, then everything would be ok.
Spoiler – I was wrong.
To Be Continued…