Do GPs need better training for mental health?

I found out on Friday past that I have been discharged from my counselling sessions. The reason for this is because I’ve moved to a new house and Royal Mail had only gone and messed up my redirection! So, with the letters not being received and appointments being missed, I was discharged. I have gone to Royal Mail and raised a complaint, but this doesn’t help me with my counselling. Tonight, I had an appointment with my GP to see about being referred to finish off my sessions, but also to see about reassessing my diagnosis.

Why do I want to have my diagnosis reassessed?

Being in counselling and discussing my ways of thinking, reasoning, coping etc, it has made more issues come to light. Well certainly for me. They may have been abundantly clear to others. Some of the things that have been discussed around my ways of behaving and coping, are things I’ve done all of my life. Well at least for as long as I can remember. To find out that these are not ‘normal’ ways to deal with things, wasn’t an entire shock, but it’s raised more questions.

I have been telling doctors for years that I feel like I’m on an emotional rollercoaster. One minute I’m up, loving life, feeling optimistic, can see a future, and the next, usually without warning, I’m down. Feeling sad, the outlook on life is bleak, no-one loves me, I’m gonna eat some worms. I’m up and down from one day to the next, or sometimes it can happen over long periods of time. There is sometimes a catalyst for the sudden feeling of being sad, and sometimes there isn’t. I’m moody and irritable ALL the time (just ask my husband). I have a very abundant anxiety disorder, that can send me into some pretty horrible negative spirals. Insomnia? Ummm yup! I’m really not sleeping well just now, and I’m definitely starting to feel down again. I’ve been so emotional, tearful, angry, sad & just generally agitated.

I am not suicidal in the respect that I would actually inflict harm on myself, but, do I have thoughts about being free of all of this, and dying being my only way? Hell yes! I had a bout of health anxiety over a burger (yes, I appreciate how lame this sounds!) a couple of weeks ago, and I was really winding myself up until I had a thought. I realised that if I was to die (yes from a burger – stay with me here), at least I’d be free! I wouldn’t have to get up and do this shit anymore. For a brief moment, this thought made me happy! Now, I say this, but believe me, I’d never actually do any harm to myself. I’d not leave my children for a start, and secondly, I’d only get really worried and anxious about it and probably end up having a panic attack and passing out!

GP’s response?

I discussed all of this with my GP, advised that this should all be in my notes from our counselling and that it was touched upon that there may be more to my diagnosis. My GP went on to say things like:

GP “Do you find that the counselling is helping?”

ME “Yes, it’s really helped my anxiety. I’m definitely feeling that I’m coping better. However, not for my other issues”

GP “Well sometimes things can be helped, sometimes they can be fixed, and sometimes they just can’t, and maybe we just can’t fix this”

Eeeeeeer sorry what? At this point my bottom lip went, because the idea of not being able to improve my situation fills my stomach with dread. I honestly cannot live like this.

ME “Can we not look at the fact my counselling has been very much focused towards my anxiety, and that if I was to be given help for my other issues, I could better cope with them too?”

GP “Well yes, I mean I could refer you to a psychologist for an assessment, but this could take weeks, and to be honest, they only really deal with people with more severe issues….”

Me “I’m sorry, more severe issues? I’m telling you my issues, and the fact I’m not coping, I’m not sure I want to wait until it’s more severe to get help” – Although in hindsight I appreciate that makes me sound like I’m making my issues sound more important than those who are in a worse position than me, I honestly didn’t mean it this way, I just don’t want to wait until I’m at that point!

GP “Well, like I say I can refer you, but then it will be up to them to assess whether or not they will want to see you, and this could take weeks for them to reply”

And with that, I thanked my GP, left, and sat in my car and had a good frustrated cry.

How could this have gone better?

Well, maybe GP’s need to look at mental health issues a little bit more empathetically as they would a broken leg. I’m sat here, telling you something is broken! Albeit, in my head, but broken none the less, and I’m being told “maybe we just can’t fix this”. What? Why? Because you, as an individual have limited understanding? Or because our health care system has limited understanding? Or is this because I’m so utterly broken I just cannot be fixed? It cannot be the latter. I refuse to let it be. I cannot live knowing that I will be this way for the rest of my life.

This GP should have been completely free of opinions and dealt with the facts. The facts are, they don’t know what to suggest, so they’re going to put me in touch with people who will. This can take a few weeks, really sorry about that, but they’ll let me know either way. How about that? A dry response, but a bloody honest one, that would have caused no further upset.

Conclusion of this blog?

Well I’m not feeling terribly positive about this. I’m feeling really hacked off at my GP’s response, and the fact there could be no help for me out there. Not until I’ve gotten to more severe levels. Not until I’ve decided enough is enough, and what then? Will it then be too late? Ah well, one less nut job to worry about on the NHS right?

I’m currently fuelled on like 3 hours sleep, of which is never good for anyone. I’m highly strung, emotional, upset and now worried. I think the best thing for me to do is go to bed, and just hope that I waken up tomorrow with a more positive outlook on things. As is my hope every single night before bed. I will myself to be happy. For tomorrow to bring all the things I need to feel better. I can but hope right?

Any of you had issues when going to your GP for help? It would be great to hear from you!


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