NHS psychiatric care: Trying to keep an open mind

I woke up feeling OK about the week ahead, despite having a lot of anxious dreams that have disturbed my sleep the last two nights. I’m used to feeling tired now, that’s been going on for months. On the plus side, the sun was shining this morning for my walk. While I enjoyed all the muddy browns of Autumn, the dog had a super time wearing them.

I’ve got a lot going on right now, but it feels quite good to be busy. I’m in the process of taking legal advice regarding how horrendously I was treated by hospital staff when I overdosed a few months ago. I’ll save going into detail about that for now. It’s a long story.

I went through the hospital’s complaints process. They apparently conducted an internal investigation and came back to me six weeks later with a massively unsatisfactory response. It’s difficult, because it is my word against theirs, and they have closed ranks to fabricate excuses that cover their backs. It is actually really upsetting. After being subjected to inhumane and humiliating care at their hospital, their letter pretty much just says it wasn’t all that bad and I am exaggerating.

This problem connects with the other source of anxiety for me this week. I’ve run out of PMI cover, so I’ve got my first appointment with my new NHS psychiatrist tomorrow. I know nothing about him and what to expect from the consultation. All I know is that the staff I’ve encountered at this psychiatric hospital are fairly insensitive. Everything is very formulaic for them. I’m worried he is going to grill me and then change my meds. I’m aware that the ones I’m on are expensive and I’ve heard the NHS guys like to go for the most ‘cost effective’ options. At the same time, I’ve definitely been more stable in the last few weeks, so it feels like a really bad time to start changing things.

So it’s difficult for me to quell my anxiety and keep an open mind. The hospital I go to has just built a massive new extension, which their PR people are signalling as a huge investment in caring for mental illness in the county. Of course, I am glad about this, but I’m also cynical. Because it remains to be seen whether the service provided lives up to expectations. While it’s great to have a state-of-the-art new building, it means nothing if they are chronically understaffed by minimally-trained and underpaid staff.

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