Mental Health Judgements and Stigma’s that I have experienced –

Part 1 “You Talk Too Much”

A few years back my mental health was in an OK spot but I could feel that it was declining and so I decided to go to my GP, I was at the time un-medicated – still having the idea in my head that medication for mental illnesses was weakness, a notion I have gratefully gotten over in recent years and now consider it a point of pride to be on medication.

A point of pride for three reasons:

1. It means that I value myself and I care enough about my life and those I care about to be on medication for my illness, something that could not be said five years ago.

2. I realised my mindset on medication was flawed, either all medication I take is bad and should come with shame or none is and having never felt embarrassed after taking penicillin, I decided that I would no longer indulge the shame over my ‘Hed Meds’

3. It bothers people and that amuses me because if you are the type of person that gets offended by someone’s pride over self-care, well – I’m not for you (besides if you wish to be offended, I can point you in the direction of some stuff that will blow your mind)

                Anyway, back to past Sam at the GP’s. I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful Dr who listens and cares. A privilege I am aware most don’t and it is not lost n me having spent most of my years with GP’s who couldn’t get me out the door quick enough. We spoke and she decided that the medication I needed was beyond her purview so she referred be back to my local community mental health team. I was adamant at the time that I didn’t need therapy, just the meds to help stabilise my rapid mood cycles, anxiety and depression (I had yet to learn I also had CPTSD) As I say, I am much further on my journey now and not only am I proud to take meds but I also understand, with chronic mental illnesses, taking meds without dealing with the route cause is like sewing up a bad wound, it will stop bleeding externally but your still bleeding and it will cause serious damage.

The day of my assessment, I was ushered into a room by someone whom was supposed to be mental health professional, I mean she was a mental health professional if we go off of job title but her manner was anything but compassionate and understanding – a bare minimum requirement if your job requires you to speak to people who could be suicidal. She asked me to tell her why I was there, a question I loathe, because it makes it sound immediately like no prior work has gone in. Is glancing at someone’s notes really so hard? I completely understand that they desire to hear about the situation from you but a simple rephrase of, ‘I see from your notes you are here because x,y,z could you tell me a little more about that?’ would make a whole lot of difference. I tried to explain and she cut me off, telling me I was wrong and that a group education program like ‘Coping Skills’ would be more beneficial. I explained to her again this was not what I needed right now and then went it the reasons I believed at the time I did not need this. Once I had finished, she told me that I talk too much and I would never get a man that way because men can’t handle it.

I was genuinely stunned by the complete ignorance and sweeping sexism, the only other time I have been so shocked by a medical professional was when the nurse taking my smear test told me it only hurt because I wasn’t relaxing and then she proceeded to tell me, a rape victim, to lie back and think of England while she hurt me so badly my abdomen swelled to make me look six months pregnant.

I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW NOT PREGNANT I AM IN THIS PICTURE.

So, I was stunned and completely dissociated in the meeting, which turned into her telling me all the reasons I was wrong and would be single a long time if I didn’t ‘fix’ myself. At one point I laughed when she asked if I was married and she fixed me with a death stare and asked why I laughed, I tried to explain but she once again spoke over me. This experience culminated in me being prescribed a medication for EID, after being told there was no medication for EID and when I questioned this, I was told ‘maybe it will work’ I never filled that prescription.

I am happy to report that woman no longer works for the Community Mental Health Team, she never should have but it’s the next best thing.

The reason I’m writing this series is not to scare people away from seeking help, it’s because I know I am not unique, the mental health services are woefully underfunded and everyone I’ve spoken to has a story similar to this. So I’m sharing mine because I want you to know IT ISN’T YOU. The first time I had a bad experience, I thought I must be so beyond hope and help and I had somehow done something wrong and that’s why I was being treated so poorly. But I was wrong.

IT’S NOT US, IT’S THEM.

I am happy to report that woman no longer works for the Community Mental Health Team, she never should have but it’s the next best thing.

If you want to share a similar experience in the comments, I would be honored to read them.

Until next remember, you matter.

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