Battling Mental Illness

For all of my adult life I have battled with episodes of anxiety and depression.  Indeed, for many years I have been taking a very strong anti-depressant to treat my symptoms.

Unfortunately, this year has been far from my best in terms of battling with my poor mental health.  I’ve experienced two ‘breakdowns’ and in September I was very close to ending my life by taking an overdose of my anti-depressants.

Thankfully I didn’t, and the local Mental Health Crisis Team provided fantastic support, including the arranging of a two-hour appointment with their psychiatrist within two days.

The upshot of that meeting was that I needed to come off the ‘supplementary’ beta blocker, prescribed by my GP for the past four years as it was felt that this has probably been contributing to my anxiety!   In addition, I was strongly advised to abstain completely from alcohol.  (I’ve gone almost 8 weeks now without a drop of it!!)

After 10 days I was discharged by the Crisis Team back into the care of my GP.  However, at this stage no out patients follow up appointment was made for me.

Having spent two difficult weeks coming off the beta blocker my mood began to change rapidly, and I suddenly started feeling very ‘manic’ and was struggling to sleep for more than 3-4 hours a night.

I made an appointment to see my GP and he agreed that I needed to see the mental health team as a matter of urgency.  He made the referral by ‘fax’ and finally 3 weeks later (last Saturday) I received an acknowledgement letter in the post to say that the average waiting time for an initial mental health assessment is between 16-18 weeks.

Understandably I was less than impressed with this news and so on Monday morning I left a message for my GP to call me back and also drafted a letter to my local MP, highlighting my concerns.

Surprisingly late on Monday afternoon I received a telephone call from a CPN inviting me in for an assessment on Wednesday morning!

The appointment went well and having spent and hour and a half speaking to the CPN he concluded that I have probably got Bi Polar II Disorder (see link at end of blog) and that I need to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible to gain an official diagnosis.  The CPN also said that if my diagnosis is Bi Polar II I will need to change my medication from an anti-depressant to a mood stabiliser as this could be contributing to my current artificial high.

This morning I received a call from the CPN to confirm that I will be seeing the psychiatrist next Tuesday.

At last I am feeling optimistic that after 25+ years I may finally receive the correct treatment for my condition.

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