Hidden truths -revelations of betrayal

Yesterday I realised just how much some Mental Health professionals have judged me in the past and how because of my Dissociative Identity Disorder I am at times seen as complicated and complex. You would think I’d be more able to deal with these kind of situations, but when the envelope arrived yesterday morning containing a few documents from my medical records I found myself quickly getting annoyed.

I had requested some very basic information, I wanted to know how many contacts I had had with my local community mental health team over a given period of time, and how many nights I had spent in psychiatric inpatient services. Simple you would think in this age of modern technology for any NHS trust to gather this type of data and forward it to me the patient. Well I thought it would be simple I was wrong.

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Firstly whilst modern technology exists it is only as good as the data entered into the system, my local NHS trust doesn’t keep at hand a record of such things. Instead 40 days after my original request they sent me some documents which didn’t actually give me answers to most of the questions I had asked. For instance they have no accurate record of my admissions to hospital, well they didn’t send me the data. In fact some data was withheld because despite the various documents being about me, I’m not allowed access to them if there are compiled by a third party such as the private hospitals the NHS paid for me to be held in.

But what I did receive was eye opening, in this small bundle of papers were letters written about me from various medical professionals. They contained the reasons I was sent to secure services and the reason I was kept detained in a medium secure hospital longer than the psychiatrist based there felt I needed to be. I found out how people have over time judged me in ways you just wouldn’t believe and being judged well that makes me cross. I also realised how financial issues have impacted upon my care and how little my views and wishes were taken into account previously.

In one letter it states the reasoning behind my being sent from an open mental health ward to a forensic secure service. It states that I was transferred to the forensic unit because I was struggling with depression and self harm related to remembering and subsequently disclosing childhood abuse. The primary thrust of the secure placement was to ensure that I could engage in the necessary therapy whilst being in a safe environment that I couldn’t walk out of. Of course there was no evidence I wouldn’t engage in therapy, in fact quite the opposite.

To think that my move there was because I was depressed, self harming and in need of talking therapy infuriates me. If depression and self harm really lead to me being placed in what I can only describe as a hell hole, then it’s scandalous. Talking therapies are available in the community, I really didn’t need to be incarcerated amongst murderers and other criminals. But I guess it was easier for the local team to just move me on and not have to provide any support, that and the funding came from a different pot of money so their budget remained in tact.

In another letter they talk of my being kept in that hell hole for longer than needed, it transpired that my psychiatrist at the medium secure unit felt I didn’t need to be there he felt I should be moved to a secure rehab unit and yet my local team and others over ruled him, not because it was in my best interests but for budget reasons. The local team needed time to put in place a funding request as lower secure services were financed out of a different pot of money.

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To think I suffered that trauma, that loss of liberty over a simple budgeting matter is hard, we never knew before. I took what they told me at face value, I guess I expected them to serve my best interests and my family trusted them to look after me and to ensure my needs were met in a safe way. It does feel like a betrayal, a betrayal of trust.

The letters that I now have talk of me having issues, being a nuisance, being complex, having flawed behaviours, having considerable contact with services and being detained. They seem at times critical of the fact I understand my condition, have insight and awareness, perhaps it’s more difficult for the Mental Health professionals to accept that.

Of course besides the letters, I still need the information that I initially requested and so I will have to pursue that over the coming weeks. It’s clear attitudes at times towards me have been misguided, professionals clearly unable to understand or consider my view point or feelings. It’s clear too that finance or rather the lack of it have played and continue to play a significant role in how mental health services are delivered. I can’t help wondering how many more people suffering depression and self harm are being sent to inappropriate placements for talking therapy when it would be far cheaper to deliver this in the community.

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The letters and documents I have received will now be filed away, I’m not going to focus on the past too much or let them upset and distress me. I know yesterday when I did get distressed and annoyed it affected my alters; the other parts of me. I had to spend time calming myself down and I did walk away from the paperwork and do other things. In fact one of my alters intervened she told me to stop, to put the file out of sight and not get upset, she was worrying about me. For once in my life I listened to advise and the file did get put down, I realised this could overwhelm my weekend. But I know now I am far better and worth much more than others silly attitudes and stupid judgements. Yes it hurts to think they misjudged me, to think they don’t understand but I can choose how I respond.

If I’m honest I feel sad for those mental health staff who have no understanding of what it’s like from a patients perspective, who feel threatened by patients who understand their condition and who have no idea of the impact of secure units on people. Most of all I worry that talking therapy for trauma and D.I.D is at times seen by medical staff as just impossible, whether that be because of funding restraints, time limits or a simple lack of awareness.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2015

My Battle With ‘Self Harm’

TRIGGER WARNING

 

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The feelings come suddenly swooping down and descending upon me, the darkness hits me when I least expect it. I’m use to my mood changing, it fluctuates quite often as I switch from one alter to another but this is different. A part of me is clearly struggling and her mood is more lower than usual, she feels despondent and so negative and I am finding it difficult to know what to do.

This alter, this part of me has never been so evident until now and yet suddenly the emotions and feelings overwhelm. She loathes herself and it’s seeping slowly into me and whilst I try to not feel so negative it’s in built in some weird kind of way. I was never good enough as a child and it’s clearly influenced my thinking and now I’m more aware of just how self critical and self loathing I am prone to be. So it’s no wonder my feelings this week have been far more negative than in recent months and it’s impacting upon life.

I wrote earlier this week about the desire to self harm being strong, I thought it might be helpful to explain what that’s like for me. The urges come from nowhere suddenly appearing and so powerful and strong, they start often without any warning and they catch me by surprise.

The other night I couldn’t sleep, no matter how hard I try it just wasn’t happening and I felt on edge and agitated. I couldn’t explain why I was so anxious or agitated I really didn’t understand, however I did know I felt a dark cloud hanging over me. I tried distraction, relaxation techniques and even the hot drink that I knew my crisis worker would suggest yet nothing worked. As the time ticked by once again and I felt exhausted but still couldn’t sleep my feelings towards myself sank lower and lower. I guess I get illogical at these times in some kind of way and soon everything bad that ever happened in my childhood was my fault, I was bad, I was to blame. Then began the urges, I found myself searching for objects that I could use, I haven’t done that in a while. A few years ago I wouldn’t have had to search, the blades were close by and all I had to do was take a few paces to find one.

Now I have a somewhat different tactic I try not to have any blades in the house, yes there are knives in my kitchen but they are usually not great ones more blunt than anything. So I had begun looking at things and deciding what to use, I was logically working out where I would cut to avoid it being seen by others. My children are far more sharp eyed these days and I can’t just hide a scar like I use to, as all these thoughts raced through my mind the urge to cut was growing stronger by the minute. My head was a whirlwind, voices raced away in conversation some clearly urging me on whilst others condemned me. Meanwhile others mainly my protector alter were stating quite clearly that harming wouldn’t help and telling me I didn’t want to do this.

The feelings of confusion kept growing and tears were streaming down my face, in truth when I’m strong and coping with life I don’t want to harm, but I know I might and that is something I have to accept. You see harming is my default position when emotions become too strong too much to bear and when I feel I’m bad it’s even harder. I looked at my arms and I saw my veins and began thinking of the her DNA, her blood running through me. I can never escape the reality that my Mother made up half of my genetic code and without her I wouldn’t be here. Years ago I wanted to just cut her out of me, but of course that isn’t possible and I found out that after years of cutting and harming it didn’t eradicate her from me. So today I know that deep down I can’t take her away by hurting me, maybe that’s why I worked harder than ever the other night at trying to stop myself from giving in to the urges to harm and eventually resorted to extra medication yet again to help numb my pain.

The desire to harm has continued at a pace this week often linked to feelings of anguish and turmoil and the pain of years ago suddenly overwhelming me clearly demonstrates that healing hurts. I think feeling such self loathing and negativity; it’s been stronger than ever recently, hasn’t helped either as I feel I need to be hurting physically not just emotionally.

This evening I had been doing ok and then it swooped out from above and descended like a thick heavy cloud squishing me. I felt like my heart was being ripped in two and tears began to stream once more down my face. The feelings of self loathing grew instantly like a huge crescendoing wave battering me as if I’m being tossed in a storm. I realised I was scratching my arm, desperate to self inflict harm, desperate to hurt me for being so pathetic and so definitely to blame for my past. I want to somehow express in a physical sense the emotional hurt I am feeling, but I know self harming isn’t going to stop this pain well not for long anyway.

I am surrounded in lots of ways by a loving family and tonight my daughter and eldest son have been a big help. They have phoned me often, made me cups of tea, distracted me, reassured me and generally badgered me. Telling me how good I am, how it’s not my fault and reminding me of the words my psychologist has said about not being to blame. It hasn’t stopped the urges far from it, but it’s helped me reach into my tool box of resources and work at trying to stay safe.

Earlier this week my psychologist kindly emailed me and I have re-read his email over and over, slowly the words are sinking in. Slowly all the stabilisation work we have done in the last year of therapy is coming to the forefront of my mind and I’m able to use it to good effect. Internally parts of me are hurting, others though are rallying to help and yes my protector has been telling me I deserve better and reminding me who was to blame in the past. My teen alter has also been present and using her way of communicating to reassure me, I know my distress impacts upon her and I don’t want to hurt her. It’s strange how getting to know my parts, my alters has meant I care about them more and as such I don’t want to cause them more distress.

I’m still here and I’m still trying to not self harm, but if I do please don’t look down at me or think I’m attention seeking or bad. If you only knew how hard it was, the anguish and the pain we go through, then maybe you’d understand why it’s difficult to not self harm. Why I’m in the midst of a battle and I’m not sure if I’ll win.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2015

Understanding the Fears of my Alters

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Part one 

Facing the stark reality of understanding the fears of my alters; the other parts of me, is hard at times especially when I realise just how much my past has influenced who I am, who all of me are. I encouraged my alters to express through art their feelings and concerns about beginning trauma work the results were at points difficult to comprehend.

Yes parts of me are anxious at trauma work beginning, they fear my reaction and responses to processing the past. Some are clearly fearful I will respond in negative ways and fall back into self harming or begin to lose control and get angry. But others have more deep seated fears, fear of people from my past and the fear of telling the secrets they were told I assume not to share.

Of course all the alters are parts of me, they are fragments formed as I developed as a child and dissociated to avoid the unimaginable horrors of my childhood. So their concerns are my concerns, their fears my fears, but they are deep seated within me and as such the adult me is far more unlikely to realise how important these issues are.

But of course they are important, I don’t want to fall back in old negative coping behaviours which at one time were my only survival technique. So my desire to not self harm or lose control and become angry is quite high and yet I hadn’t thought just how frightened I really am of returning to those dark days. Where I dare not get out of bed until I’d made the first cut of the day, I couldn’t express my inner pain back then and cutting seemed the only way of letting out some of the excruciating pain I felt. It was a bit like the safety valve on a steam generator, if it didn’t reduce pressure I’d have exploded from within, overwhelmed by the turmoil of flashbacks and memories that seemed to fill my days.

Parts of me of course are anxious about the consequences of self harming, the last time it was a major major problem we ended up being hospitalised, on observation levels we hated and in places I wouldn’t wish to ever return to. I have to say that not only do my alters fear this but it’s somewhere I vowed on my last release never to return to. Those feelings of not wanting to ever go back into that spiral of admissions are immense, such was the impact of that time.

Today of course I know I will be letting out that pain in a controlled and safe manner, I’ll be in the safety of the therapy room and I will be supported. Yet each time I will return home and need to try and utilise new techniques to help me stay safe in the days following each session. By realising the fear held deep within me I can at least think ahead of what those techniques need to be, it’s probably going to be a good idea to have support from a PA on the day following my session.
I need to ensure as well that I keep my diary relatively free on the day after therapy too, to allow me time to do art, to give time to my alters and to just be kind to myself.

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The anger I hold deep within too use to explode out every now and again this wasn’t directed at people, usually it meant throwing objects around. Throwing objects allowed me an outlet to release some of the built up pressure deep within. Just venting out some of that pressure meant I could carry on living for the rest of a day, of course I would always feel guilty at losing control and so tears of sorrow always ensued.

Even in my relatively new home there are shoe marks on walls were I have just vented, in what I now realise is an inappropriate manner. But my experiences as a child meant I couldn’t express the anger I felt about what was happening to me, so it got bottled up and left to sit deep within me for years. The inner turmoil I felt as memories came flooding back would often result in shoes or books being thrown, that or the pain would become unbearable and I’d resort to harming.

Yet today I need to find solutions to ensure I don’t leave more black marks on walls, or behave in a way that really is not acceptable. I currently don’t deal well with anger in fact it still gets bottled up, I hate it in fact as my experiences tell me anger is bad. Those experiences are based on being on the receiving end of my mothers rage and anger, or the anger and aggression of others.

Part of trauma work is to process the emotions and feelings of the past, I am going to get angry as a result of accepting what happened to me and rightly so, but I need to do that safely. Not throw objects but punch a pillow or bang on cushions and vent it out in words rather than in actions. Most of this processing will be done in the safety of the therapy room and I’ll have help to keep safe. My therapist has rules about throwing objects and damaging myself, other people or objects with serious consequences if I breach those rules. I know he can de-escalate me before it becomes too much and so I don’t fear breaching his rules as I’m in a contained environment.

Yet I realise I really need to plan ahead so at home I’m going to attempt to make reminder signs for key rooms where I usually escape to, to throw objects, my bedroom is a key room for this. A sign that gives me other options maybe helpful as a prompt so that in the heat of a moment I can stay safe. Giving myself de-escalation techniques of my own will help too, I guess I’m going to need to spot the signs of being overwhelmed by the intensity of a moment and reduce agitation at that point, so I learn to contain myself.

If anger is allowed to fester that’s when it can become an issue, and my current style of anger management is to block it, deny it and let it fester. Well I’m on a steep learning curve right now but I really hope I can adapt and learn to not let my emotions be blocked, denied and ultimately fester to a point were they become a problem.

Understanding theses fears and anxieties before we start trauma work is really helpful, at least I can be proactive instead of reactive which in my world of living with D.I.D is a rarity right now.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Self harm and the attitudes of medical professionals

Self harm and the attitudes of medical professionals

 

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This week I heard from a friend who had to attend her local hospital to receive treatment as a result of self harm and her treatment was unfortunately not very helpful. This led me to thinking about the times I either attended A & E or was taken there by the police for treatment, usually as a result of self harming or being deemed mentally unwell and requiring treatment.

It is nearly ten years since my first ever hospital admission, but for many months before I had hidden the self harm that was taking place. I tried hard to wear long sleeves to hide the cuts and dressings which I needed to stem bleeding etc. I was determined not to require anyone to know that I felt so desperate and confused that I could only survive by self harming. This was in the form of cuts, burns, starvation, restricting my fluid intake or overdoses, by the time I was admitted to hospital my self harm was a daily occurrence such was the turmoil I found myself in.

I hid my self harm from medical professionals, my family and my friends no one but me; I thought, knew I was living this life. I can recall going out for days with the children carrying implements in my bag ready to harm, and hibernating in bathrooms and cutting during these days out. I would feel myself getting so distressed during the day that I couldn’t survive any longer and so self harm took place. Yet once it was done and I felt a wave of release that I had punished myself which I felt I deserved I could then calmly walk back out and carry on with life.

I was confused to such an extent that I believed I needed to punish myself because that way I would be safe from others hurting me, and I was terrified that past abusers would come and hunt me down and hurt me. I even had a notion that because one of my abusers was my mother that I was bad as I had her blood inside me, thus if I bled enough I would rid myself of her badness.

Now all this time no one knew how much I was struggling, the GP knew I wasn’t too great but all they kept saying was ‘take time out and relax more’, and ‘all women go through these phases’.
They never asked if I felt suicidal or what scale my mood was, they did eventually arrange for me to see a doctor and thereafter just told me I was on a waiting list to see a psychiatrist. Yet in the meantime I was continually told to ‘hang in there’, occasionally they’d tell me things would improve.

Of course things just kept getting worse and when I attended the GP one day and I saw a different doctor who asked to test my blood pressure; because I looked like I was going to faint, he saw the wounds that by now littered my arms. Recent cuts had been deeper and the blood loss alongside starving myself wasn’t helping me feel any better. It was then that he made the call and I was suddenly being sent to the local psychiatric unit for assessment. At this time I realised my eldest child had sensed something was wrong and had suspected I was self injuring, but we had both said nothing until I was en-route to the unit.

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A & E staff from the start were slightly arrogant and mainly uncaring, if I had to attend as a result of cutting I lost count of the times I felt to blame by their attitude towards me. It was as if they weren’t best pleased to be treating me after all in their eyes I had self inflicted this injury upon myself, they never looked beyond the injury to the person. On only one occasion can I recall a doctor being helpful, he was actually concerned for me wanting to know why I hurt and was I getting help for my mental health. He treated me like a human being and not an attention seeking time waster which is what many other medical professionals seemed to treat me as.

The sad fact is the attitudes that I faced ten years ago still exist today, that means the medical profession has failed to learn about or understand self harming behaviours in a decade. That concerns me because I am aware of the efforts of so many different groups including government health organisations whose aim was to educate about self harm and improve outcomes for patients. A decade ago these organisation were trying to produce guidance to end the stigma that exists around those who self harm, if attitudes haven’t changed does that mean their efforts failed?

Self harm is not something we should ignore or take for granted for behind every scar, every injury there is human suffering. I didn’t harm for the fun of it and if I wanted to seek attention believe me I can think of lots of better ways of doing that. I wasn’t time wasting either, I was in acute emotional distress and I needed help. I couldn’t explain the anguish I was going through, the only way I could find to deal with the turmoil that was my life was to inflict injuries upon my own body.

Be that cutting, burning, overdosing or restricting the amount of food or fluids I took in, each act was either an attempt to deal with intense pain and turmoil, or the result of irrational thoughts. I wasn’t doing this because I enjoyed it, truth be known I hated myself for doing it, in fact I loathed my scars. The reality was I tried so desperately to avoid seeking medical attention as the last place I wanted to go to was A & E where I would be made to feel even more ashamed and be stigmatised.

Self harm controlled me a decade ago and at times of crisis it can still take control of my life today, it is sadly my default position when the pain is too much. Now when I lapse back into self harming I tend to injure in other ways in the hope it’s less visual, but it’s still harming all the same. Now I am not proud of the fact I self harm and I don’t want these feelings either, I would like to be free of self harm and yet I now understand it is a symptom of the life I lived as a child. A life which caused untold damage and will take a long time to deal with and heal from, my self harming is a symptom of my mental health not the cause.

The cause is my past and today I am having to face the harsh reality that I was betrayed, abused and psychologically damaged. Currently I am feeling emotions for the first time and I am starting to grieve over the fact I was hurt, I’m starting to come to terms with the dawning realisation that the horrific memories I hold and continue to recall don’t belong to my alters at all. They just carry my memories, and it was this body, it was me as a child and a teenager who the abusers defiled. Believe me that’s tough, it’s a harsh journey survivors walk there is a lot of pain and anguish that has to be processed and dealt with.

Perhaps when dealing with a person who is self harming instead of vilifying them and judging them medical professionals should remember to gently seek out the cause of this symptom. They should in my opinion treat those who self harm with the dignity, care and respect they so badly need, and they should afford them the right treatment to help them move forwards.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

 

 

 

Living with D.I.D

I have been thinking for sometime about how best to explain what it is like to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and eventually have decided that on this occasion  pictures speak far more than words.

About 2 and half years ago I made a short video  in preparation for a conference organised by An Infinite Mind, a US based non-profit organisation (a link is available in the Resources tab).  The  video formed part of a presentation that I gave at the organisations 2012 Healing Together conference entitled ‘Living with DID’. It explains far more easily the impact of DID and other dissociative disorders, then I could possibly do in a blog.

Whilst the film is a little dated, the content relating to Dissociative Identity Disorder is still highly relevant and accurate, the only thing that has changed; a little at least, is my appearance and some of the personal information as I have progressed on my journey towards becoming a survivor and my care needs have changed.

The film is relevant to anyone who wants to know more about this rather complex disorder, including those with a dissociative disorder and those supporting them, as well as professionals from health, social care and the police.

This video will mean you all at least have an idea what I look like, and I hope will help you to understand more about the disorder that impacts every day of my life.  Its time for people to become more aware, of conditions like mine and I hope you all find this useful.

If anyone as any questions after watching this, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, you can either leave a comment, use the questions tab or email us at diddispatches@gmail.com

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

 

Holding out an olive branch to my Community mental health team

Like many people with a mental health issue I am meant to have access to and services & support from a local community mental health team, (CMHT).

In my own case I have only received a visit from my care co-ordinator twice since September, despite having real needs and real issues, the support provided to me has been sparse to say the least.

Now you might think perhaps things weren’t too bad and so they had prioritised others needs ahead of my own, but that wasn’t the case, we have faced a huge crisis period including a key trigger date which sent us into a spiral, we were utilising bad coping strategies including self harming; something we hadn’t had to resort to for some time previously and in the past few weeks we have just started working with a new therapist, yet throughout all of this our CPN and the CMHT have been absent. 

Is this unusual? I don’t think so, sadly it appears that this is the state of care in the community for many people. In my opinion the government and the management of the NHS should hang their heads in shame, they are allowing service users, vulnerable people to be failed.

Since my discharge from hospital 4 years ago I have had so many CPN’s, 9 in total, this equates to 1 every 6 months…now to be fair our current CPN has stayed in post more than a year. .. but 9 in 4 years isn’t giving consistency of care.

Unsurprisingly relationships with my CMHT are to be blunt at an all time low. We have had to endure months of waiting and protracted dialogue in order to finally start getting the therapy everyone agrees we require. Much of this as a result of the way Clinical Commissioning Group’s organise their funding panels; which need to make decisions about client services. In my own case therapy has had to be sourced externally as my own local NHS trust didn’t have anyone suitable to undertake the work.

We have faced hi-jacked meetings where we were invited to attend the CMHT offices to discuss a plan for potential therapy starting, only to find on arrival they had plans of their own which revolved around me signing away any right to therapy again if this new therapeutic relationship didn’t work out. No matter what the cause, so if my therapist needed to end our contract early They wanted me to sign away any right to ask for a new therapist!

Luckily myself and my nearest relative realised what was going on and managed to seek legal advice before we did anything, and surprisingly once they knew that I would not sign anything they no longer wanted to meet to discuss this issue.

 Now I know that having dissociative identity disorder makes me ‘complex’; their words not mine. But as a survivor of child abuse we need consistency, understanding and someone who we can both trust and build a rapport with. None of these difficulties have helped us in any way, all they have led to is me relying more and more on my family and friends and less and less on the statutory services put in place to assist me.

I recognise that my relationship with the CMHT is flawed, I have real issues with the power imbalances that exist, I am left feeling out of control and that triggers me and frightens me. I can’t help that, it’s just my reality and one which I am trying hard to work through.

You see these individuals belong to the body of professionals who sent us miles from home, detained us, forced medication upon us, stripped us of our dignity and worse. They are the people who would use coercion to get us to go into hospital as a voluntary patient with the words “if you are not willing to come in voluntarily then you leave us no choice but to detain you”. It was in reality a section by all but name, and I knew each time that if I chose to leave then they would just bring me back and detain me anyway. So a 2 week stay would become 6 months and I really had no say in all of this.

Being detained or forced into staying by coercion is not only an unpleasant experience, but it strips you of any feeling of control and for me as a victim the last thing I wanted was to feel out of control, worse still to feel controlled. So sudden transfers, locked doors, forcible treatment is horrendous.

But these professionals are the only source of help I can access and so 2 visits in 4 months isn’t helping me maintain stability or providing care in the community. It leaves me vulnerable and at greater risk. Risk of mismanaging my medication, self-harming  or worse.

Am I the only person that is treated like this, sadly NO many people are left alone and vulnerable to cope in intolerable situations. I know I am fortunate I have a family close by who can offer some support, many don’t have that luxury. CMHT’s appear to have ever decreasing staffing levels and increasing demands placed upon them it’s a further example of the disparity that exists between mental health and physical health care.

So I decided last week I needed to try and rectify my relationship with my CMHT, I emailed my CPN requesting a visit. This week on Monday, I met with my CPN in the hope that we can get back on track and in turn they can provide us with the support we need. I am willing to work at this, but now I wait wondering if they will be able to understand me and my condition, will they offer support and be willing to help. I can’t predict if they like me will be willing to adapt and work at making this a more positive working relationship. One that I hope can be based on equality, fairness and collaboratively working.

But what I do know is that when NHS services work well it has such a huge impact upon the service users, leading in turn to better outcomes and the use of less resources. In other words it’s a win, win for everyone.

I also know that there are examples of good practice out there, there are service users receiving a positive experience and support from their CMHT’s. I just need that to be replicated locally, not just for my benefit but for others too. I need my CPN and my CMHT if I want to maintain good progress and stability in my mental health.

Maybe this Christmas mental health professionals could think about how they work, how they engage service users and review if they are able to improve services. 
I know they are over worked, under resourced and placed in impossible situations, day after day. But perhaps if they could remember we are human beings as well, with feelings and needs ,just like they are it might make a difference.

I know I didn’t ask to have my condition, it’s not easy for me or my family. But neither would I wish this on anyone else, yet mental health issues affect people from all walks of life. With statistics of 1 in 4 people having a mental health issue it so easily could be my CPN or any other mental health professional facing my dilemma this time next Christmas. I do wonder if any of them have ever thought that It could be them standing in my shoes!

My hope personally is that the relationship with my CMHT can get back on track. As much for my sake as theirs, I have been willing to reach out an ‘olive branch’ towards my team. That hasn’t been an easy step, it has taken me a lot of courage, but I knew it was a step I needed to take, and one that I took knowing I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

My wish this Christmas is that the CMHT are willing to take hold of that ‘branch’ and seize the positive opportunity they have been offered. I guess only time will tell.