Different Healthcare Professionals & Different Opinions
There's no one way to treat a Mental illness. There's no set path to follow.
There is just a rough guide of things that could potentially help and it's luck of the draw if one or a combination of these things actually works, unlike a physical illness where we have proven methods which work time and time again and our healthcare professionals know the exact route to take to get the best results the first time around.
Mental Health is nothing new but it is only now getting the recognition it deserves. Only now getting the limelight it needs to help improve how things are currently and to understand it all better.
In the last few years we have started to see it more and more in the news, charities are doing their bit to raise awareness and help people and people are coming forward and opening up and talking about the difficulties they are facing which allow people to come together and not feel so alone in this ongoing battle so many of us face.
different healthcare professionals
I have written about each of these in the past in a lot more detail and you can click this link and scroll through to have a read. The options we have are;
- See a GP (General Practitioner) - they are typically the first port of call and will try to find out the problem and then lay out what is available to you as well as prescribe any necessary medication and refer you to counsellors, therapists, psychiatrists through the NHS.
- See a Psychiatrist - a Psychiatrist is a much more qualified GP specialising in the medical field of psychiatry. They will spend a lot longer analysing the issue at present and offer a diagnosis as well as the appropriate medication they believe and next steps available and take.
- See a Therapist/Counsellor - Not typically as qualified but still have qualifications. Usually, you will have seen a GP or Psychiatrist prior to getting to this point. There are various different types of therapy offering various different types of help. It is trial and error whether or not one benefits you.
Personally, I have seen more GP's that I can remember, a private Psychiatrist and six different therapists if I remember correctly over the few years.
From what I can tell the problems I face today started way back when I was roughly ten years old. Since then I have been a frequent visitor of my local doctor's surgery knowing something wasn't quite right and over time has got considerably worse.
I first remember describing what was wrong when I was 12 or 13 to a GP and being told that I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). *Opinion no.1* I was prescribed some medication that did absolutely nothing for me by the way and that was it, I carried on as I had been doing before still knowing something wasn't quite right.
Fast forward two or three years and things were a lot worse with some new issues present so I took myself back to the doctors and this time they sent me to have an ultrasound on my bladder due to a constant need to urinate. When I went into the room for the ultrasound to be performed I felt like I was about to piss my pants yet the ultrasound showed my bladder was completely empty and there was no need for me to be needing the toilet so badly. I had to go back to the GP to discuss the results and they came to the conclusion I had an overreactive bladder *Opinion no.2* and that was it, they didn't offer any help. I think they told me if the problem consists to come back and it did for quite some time but again I just carried on as I had.
I didn't know what was going on in my head and I couldn't understand why my body was reacting the way it was so I didn't think the doctors would ever understand and be able to truly help me. I wasn't getting the answers I was looking for and started to think I never would. I was getting by just about and I didn't want to keep wasting my time with these pointless trips to the doctors.
At the age of 19 whilst studying at university things took a turn for the worse again. This was the first time I realised I suffered a panic attack and it was horrific. Probably the worst I had ever felt up to that point in life and it scared the living shit out of me. I couldn't explain how I felt and more important part of me didn't want to because I felt like no one would take me seriously. Looking back now I had been experiencing panic attacks on a much smaller scale almost daily and never really knew what was going on. I started to do my research around panic attacks and came across anxiety and at some point, I read something and it felt like a lightbulb went off in my head. After all these years I couldn't believe there were other people who felt exactly like I did. It was none of the stuff I had been previously diagnosed with and it was a Mental Health illness. It was a huge relief because now I could start to look for help and that's just what I did. My first step was to self-refer to talking mental health and then move back home and go back to my GP and talk it through with them.
My GP didn't take much persuading and prescribed me my first set of antidepressants and told me I had done the right thing by self-referring. I wouldn't class this as an opinion because they basically went along and agreed with everything I had said. The same goes for a visit a couple of years later when I was suffering from depressive episodes due to very erratic moods and they once again took my word for it and prescribed me more antidepressants.
I was given therapy in the course of group sessions and then one on one afterwards, whilst in the group therapy the therapist told me I had what he believed was a Generalised Anxiety Disorder *Opinion no.3*. This was about the time I started blogging about what I was going through.
The next couple of years were a rollercoaster of different antidepressants and therapy. Things improved significantly to the point where I left it all behind and thought I was done with it all and then once again I found myself slipping to rock bottom. The point where my mood became a focus, probably due to the anxiety but it was fairly new and I couldn't get my head around it just like when I had no idea I was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.
Around this time I saw a Psychiatrist and if you've followed my blog posts you will know the hassle I had with this and inevitably ended up going private. This is where I was told there was an Anxiety Disorder present, I had all the symptoms of Depression and also a Mood Disorder present *Opinion no.4*. I was given more antidepressants but again to no avail. I had little success this time around for my anxiety but in my opinion made other factors worse such as my mood. I am still ongoing with the Psychiatrist as we more or less approach the present day.
With the Psychiatrist kind of on the back burner because of having to wait for an appointment and nothing really going on having come off of the medication, I decided to go and see a Hypnotherapist. It was something I hadn't tried before but had heard success stories from people I knew. A Hypnotherapist unlike any of the other healthcare professionals doesn't believe in medication and that something has had to happen to get to the point we are at and because of that, we are capable with their help to help ourselves through hypnosis and talking. The guy I am currently seeing believes there is no mood disorder and the problems with my mood are down to the anxiety causing them *Opinion no.5*.
How all the opinions affect me
What I have realised is none of the healthcare professionals are on the same page. They all have a different opinion and there is basically no continuity of care throughout it all, and for people suffering as I am, this is one of the things we so desperately need.
Getting told something different time and time again plays with our head and our emotions. We get our hopes up that things are going to improve and they so rarely do.
I don't know the answers or have a solution but hopefully things with only keep improving and eventually we will be on the same page as physical illness in the respect of getting the help we need in a timely and lifesaving manner.
I am going to keep going until all of this is behind me and I hope you do also. There is hope, we will get better and things will improve.