TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH ELIZABETH AND EXTRACTS FROM “THE NEW PSYCHIATRY”

I spoke to Elizabeth yesterday and she is better now.  Unfortunately, Elizabeth was not well during her stay but there is so much going around and the entire family have had the misfortune of suffering flu over the Xmas period but never mind.   I myself rarely go to the doctors but speaking of which I had cause to contact my GP surgery recently and it would appear they have washed their hands of my daughter Elizabeth.  No-one bothered to let any of us know of the retirement of the family doctor who has known the entire family for years on end.  This has led me to doubt the effectiveness of GPs taking over the care and especially the charging of patients as someone like my daughter for time wasting who could be deeply affected.  I rarely ever go to the GP surgery myself and I look back on years ago at a difficult time in my life when my mother died of cancer.  The first thing I got offered was the drug Valium.  Luckily I realised quickly how very addictive this drug is and I am anti drugs quite rightly so even since – it was no answer to my problems at the time when I was quite young.  The effects of stopping taking even a small portion of these chemicals was very notable.   I  now as a result avoid having any drugs apart from the odd Parcetamol  or say a cough sweet but only when really necessary. 

 

If only I had known Elizabeth was going to the GP surgery –  I would have said “STOP!”  –  before going there I would have warned Elizabeth about my experience. It was the GP Surgery that prescribed Cipralex that had the most devastating affects resulting in shocking skin problems caused by irritation and a complete change in personality.  I did not at first put this change down to the drug however having read up so much on anti-depressants,  I realise that it was the drug that had caused severe adverse reactions to my daughter back then.  Whilst I know that some people can get on with these drugs effectively there are no proper tests being carried out to see if someone can in fact metabolize the drugs and if not then these drugs can prove very harmful.  it was very noticeable to the entire family that there was something very wrong but at the time I as a mother had a lot of trust in doctors and their expertise.  I know now that there is quite a divide in opinion amongst the professionals themselves which has made me question everything and unfortunately, after experiencing severe side effects from Cipralex when Elizabeth took herself off the 30mg of Cipralex I as a mother now wish that I had done my research then on these drugs and I would have said to her that on no account should she take herself off in one go.  I wish I could turn back the clock but many people are not advised proplerly as to how safe these drugs are let alone about withdrawal from them. In fact as I have been told even some of the professionals themselves do not know the full workings of the drugs and how to properly reduce someone off them.     I remember Elizabeth suffering severe mood swings and headaches on Cipralex and this in turn this affected her behaviour and sadly led to hospitalization and that was the biggest shock of all where the care has been the prescription of more and more and more drugs pushed at my young daughter then just 19 years of age who eventually just gave up hope after having been given several diagnosis and then quite a serious label.  Before that she wanted to work and get on with life but there was no encouragement whilst in hospital and I even tried to help by getting her little jobs and this was not looked upon well by the professionals. 

 

So now the GP surgery do not want to know about my daughter because they have not seen her for some time.  I as a mother had not been advised by them of the retirement of the longstanding family doctor.   Whilst I understand about confidentiality I believe that there are occasions when you may need to consult with the family GP – for instance when someone staying with you is very ill and if in certain instances you are requested for such information but you are denied even the most basic information.

When I asked Elizabeth she said she did not know who her GP was. It was like at the Bethlem when Elizabeth did not know what the drug was beginning with the Letter M.   This led to me being banned when I got to find out she was on the diabetes drug Metformine – contra indicated when given alongside Clozapine which has recently been raised.    Elizabeth is not capable of dealing with information or organising things herself, picking up a phone to speak to the hospital’s recommended solicitor or advocates  It is not that she has no knowledge whatsoever, it is the fact she does not have the strength to deal with things as the drugs have weakened her.    When someone is under a section and strict, strict control of a team everything is closely monitored and things are organised for that person if that person no longer has the strength of character to pick up a phone and do things for themselves unless that person is capable of asking things are not done fairly.  That person may also feel under pressure from having to go along with advice from the team so this is the full picture and I know of people who no longer have the strength to stand before a Tribunal and remain in hospital for years at huge cost to the public simply because they feel they cannot go through with the stress of a tribunal.

 

This kind of thing throws into question how can someone like Elizabeth survive without adequate and fair backing in the community?  How can someone like Elizabeth report to say the Job Centre and fill out necessary forms.   What when benefits are stopped for someone like Elizabeth who now suffers from severe panic attacks and anxiety?   For instance when Elizabeth was in the community I often found letters on the floor and cheques unpaid.  I once found bank cards in the bin.  Elizabeth needs a lot of help to get by in the community and someone like Elizabeth who cannot get to vital appointments on time, cannot work due to being on a high level of mind altering drugs but that does not mean that Elizabeth is lazy and should be written off.  I as a mother am confident that with the right help in the community Elizabeth could do something however I have had to contact a privately funded charitable organisation to see if they can offer any kind of advice as if they have managed to get some people who are classed as being untreatable the right kind of help I never stop having hope that somewhere in the UK there is the right kind of assistance.  (I am not talking about the stopping of drugs by the way!).   What about the proposal of GPs that someone should pay £10 for “time wasting” –  here is what I think of this proposal: –  I quite rightly think that this is very bad.  Whilst initially I was all for GPs thinking that my longstanding family doctor had the whole picture – the whole family background unlike psychiatrists who appeared dismissive well now I have a different opinion.

Whilst I am not against all MH professionals,  I truly think that by spending so many millions on  having MH professionals at the police station is not the answer and would be better spent on providing a choice of  facilities and care in the community to avoid the hospitalisation revolving door scenario of some patients that are considered “treatment resistant” and who do not improve. The Government should listen to the former patients and families –  if a system is failing then someone like my guest blogger could come up with some good proposals. I think as a mother that if patients themselves could be involved in helping someone like my daughter (some truly wish to be involved like my guest blogger) then they could be the very people who could better help someone in a state of crisis, who have been through crisis experiences themselves.  This may be more reassuring to the patient in crisis in some cases like my daughter than to be faced with  police or professionals, not all of whom have understanding and maybe this could avoid the admission of some patients to  shocking acute wards or avoid arrest. Perhaps someone like my guest blogger could be employed in such a useful capacity under Open Dialogue scheme that is so successful in Tornio, Finland.   Whilst some professionals do not handle a situation well at all they can cause more damage through their to interventions and destruction of family relationships based on wrong assumptions, without  getting the full facts –  this is something else that could be tackled under  Open Dialogue involving groups of former patients themselves and more involvement of families where possible.   Being discarded like rubbish and controlled and kept down is not therapeutic in my opinion and that is what is going on under psychiatry.  It is not a professionals or the police who could help someone like my daughter – it is none other than a former patient who has the true wisdom and understanding.  It is having the right companions and not everyone is bad under the MH – far from it and many could have a very beneficial role in this respect.   If there were facilities like in the States such as Earth House and Cooper Riis this would be a good investment.  More research should be done into epigenetics re MH and PTSD instead as this could be the real answer to some patients getting better who are classed as “untreatable”.   I cannot accept “treatment resistant”! 

Extracts from the Introductory Paragraph of “New Psychiatry” written by my Guest Blogger.

I shall feature extracts from this brilliant piece of writing on a weekly basis.  It may be critical but there are some valid points that should be considered before any professional can just dismiss matters”. 

“Providers have a congenital inability to overcome any obstacle more challenging than getting a job with the Service Providers (which clearly can’t be that difficult judging by the incompetence-founded haplessness of most of the staff that I have had the misfortune to have had to engage with so far).

And, even the good staff I have encountered so far, seem to have no ideas whatsoever about how to influence the bad ones, other than by dropping hints and fruitlessly hoping that the bad staff will find ways of turning hints into miracles.  Some of the worst problems are “bad culture”, “bad leadership”, “bad internal communications”, “putting a gloss on everything for the purposes of cover up”, “an aversion to setting expectations (because then failure becomes possible)”, “an aversion to upsetting colleagues”, and “a cruel and callous disregard when it comes to the matter of upsetting large numbers of Service Users, even seriously”.

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