Today I was officially discharged from the psychiatric hospital. Hooray!
I really didn’t want to have to go back there for the discharge meeting, but I knew it was a necessary evil. My policy from day 1 was to be as compliant as possible in order to get it all over with as fast as I could. Although I’ve been home for a few days now, I was still an inpatient on paper, just visiting home. So this appointment was necessary.
The purpose of the meeting was to assess risk and for the inpatient team to hand me over to the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). That’s just their procedure. They don’t want to just send us nutty people out into the wild immediately after being hospitalised. That makes sense to me.
At the same time, I am well acquainted with the many inadequacies of the CMHT. I agreed to this ‘care planning’ meeting because I knew it was a formality I had to comply with. I had low expectations. Although they call it a Care Planning Meeting, I knew the CMHT wouldn’t be able to offer me anything useful or supportive. I’ve been in that system for years and there’s a reason I don’t engage with it anymore.
It was no surprise to my wife and I when the ‘Care Coordinator’ from the CMHT didn’t even show up today. The psychiatrist from inpatients couldn’t get a response from anyone to find out where she was. She’d been assigned to me and was meant to be my point of contact and someone who could help ensure I was safe outside hospital. The meeting today was meant to be about handing me into her care and planning how she could support me.
This would be pretty upsetting to people who actually expect something from the NHS mental health system. But I have a healthy cynicism about it, so I actually found it funny. It made me angry too, but mostly I just wanted to laugh at how stupid and broken and totally shite mental health services are. You’ve got to laugh really, because otherwise you think about the real consequences of this woeful lack of care for people with life threatening conditions. It just isn’t acceptable, and that makes me furious if I linger too long on it.
The good thing is, this blatant illustration of how terrible the service is meant that I could easily argue my case for not being referred to the CMHT. The psychiatrist was on board with it. I think I shared in a previous post that she is an excellent doctor. She listened to me, respected my opinion, treated me like a rational adult, and again mentioned that she doesn’t think it will be helpful for me to go back on medication.
It’s good to know that there are at least some people like her treating people with mental health problems in the NHS. I made a point of thanking her for the way she has treated me and letting her know that I appreciated it. I explained how much better interacting with her was than the way I’ve experienced psychiatrists in the past. She seemed to be quite touched by that. I guess it must be a generally stressful and thankless task.
Now I’m done with that horrible chapter, I have to face the reality of getting back to life and to treatment. Tomorrow I am going into the office for the first time in 7 weeks. I am extremely nervous about that. People are going to be awkward with me and I am going to feel massively self-conscious and anxious. I also know that the first day will be the hardest, and once it’s done it will feel easier to go back. I’d just rather not have to go back at all.
Then, on Monday, I’ve got my assessment at the eating disorders clinic. There are so many reasons I’m anxious about that. I need to write more on it later. For now, I think getting through the work visit tomorrow has to take priority. The ED appointment is a few days away, and I need to keep that in perspective. I’m going to try to just be anxious about one thing at a time…
P.S. – That photo is of a ‘gel art’ I made in sheer desperation to kill the boredom on the ward. I was kind of happy to see it still there when I went back today. It’s good to know I’ve made a mark.