I’ve not posted for a while as I just haven’t been well enough to get my head together to write anything. I’ve been under the care of the HTT again. Twice they tried to find me a bed and twice the only choice was not local but at least 50 miles if not 100 mile round trip from home. Thankfully I wasn’t sectioned and refused their offer, though I think I came quite close to not having that option. Bear with this post it is quite long.
My history with the HTT is not good. I don’t get on with most of them especially when I am not very well, which kind of is a problem seeing as that’s when you have most contact with them. I’ve tried everything that I can think of to find a way of working with them. We have had a sit down meeting to discuss care when I have been better. A care plan was drawn up to assist both sides in the event of me having a relapse and coming under their care. They have surpassed themselves this time. I am in crisis at the moment and after giving more than they should have support, my care coord and psychiatrist felt they had no choice but to swap my care over to HTT. They are supposed to be the gate keepers to that extra support etc that I really need at the moment. However this has been beset with issues. The consultant and team I am under have changed. The area that HTT covers has been widened and unfortunately that meant my area went under a different team. It’s taken a few years where my old team knew how to make a difference and give the support that I need when unwell. I admit I can be a right pain in the arse. I’m probably not the easiest of people to manage. But that is their job to know how to manage that. I’m not well, I’m not myself, my brain has gone wonky, I need help!
The way things have been managed so far though has reached a new level of error and incompetence. These aren’t my words, I have been very frustrated with the inaccuracies and sometimes nasty way that I have been dealt with. A couple of their own staff have told me to complain which is saying something. Mostly though it has been family and friends who have become aware of the lack of following of their own policies and procedures. I’m not going to complain though, I’m paranoid enough as things are. I’ve been convinced that the HTT are trying to kill me, complaining about them is not going to make that better; plus I’ve been there before and there reply to everything is ‘we have a duty of care and that’s why we did x to fulfil that duty’. It does seem to be a get out of trouble clause for them to anyone who questions their practises.
This time though things are different. My sister has had to become very involved in my care and she learnt a lot from my crisis earlier on in the year. She is not happy and she is not prepared to let them use that escape route. She doesn’t faff around with simple complaint letters that basically get filed and collect dust. HTT have an official complaint to answer to from her solicitors and she is like a dog with a bone when she gets pissed off. I’m very grateful to her, the enormous stress and pressure that she has been put under because of my relapse is huge and this has been exacerbated by the people who should be helping, not helping. I can’t really list what exactly has happened but I think HTT escaped only having to answer to the solicitor rather than the coroner by the skin of their teeth. Even after being warned by other MH professionals and family they refused to act on the information or intervene for over 5 hours not following their own policies and procedures until they were asked directly what they should be doing with the information. This is just one example of many and I’m worried if I go into too much detail of everything then someone could identify who I am. They may well just from what I have written. I’m paranoid that someone who knows me professionally or personally may find my blog.
All of the above has not stopped me trying to work out how I can work better with them. I’ve asked for advice from others how to do this. I don’t want to go from pussy cat to pitball in 1 second flat whenever they come to visit me. I’ve been told that I can come across as unapproachable, that I have a bubble around me that I don’t allow people through. Well all things considered I understand why I use these as a protective factor. Anyhow I took the advice from someone who has worked with the HTT for many years. It hasn’t worked. It bothers me, it has bothered me a lot. I’m not like the person I think they see me as, it adds to my anxiety.
Today though I think I have worked out why it happens. Why can I work so well with some people involved in my care yet butt heads continuously with so many others. I admit I become very black and white about right and wrong when I am unwell. I do criticise HTT and they do become the focus of my irritability and agitation when I’m under their ‘care’. But also they do leave themselves open to this happening. I’m ill, not stupid so don’t treat me like I am or like I’m a child, even though you may think I am acting like one sometimes. It is just the frustration around not being well, it is part of the symptoms and my reaction to my illness. I do not enjoy feeling this desperate, I do want someone to wave a magical wand and make it all go away. I am aware that that doesn’t happen but it doesn’t make me not want it to. This leads me to what I think happens. The people I can work with, be more open with and allow inside my bubble are the people that see me as a person. They know my diagnosis, they know my symptoms but mostly they recognise that I am more than those two factors. They see the bigger picture, they empathise, they listen and they understand that I am a person who does have a personality and a life beyond mental illness even if it is greatly effected by that mental illness. They are people that can give you some hope when everything seems hopeless. They are the people who want to treat and help the whole person. The flip side to this and from my experience a great many, do not see past the list of symptoms that they need to control, to suppress. They do not see past the diagnosis and make their own judgements about you from what some else has written or within a few minutes of meeting you. They don’t really care about anything else about you. They are very busy, they have a big workload, they have people to manage who are more ill than you in their book. They have lost their compassion and empathy, for some I think it was never there, for others it may well have been beaten out of them by the system, the workload and the paperwork. Whatever it is it is not my problem. If you walk through my door get out a notebook and start asking me questions from your list so you can tick off the boxes I will know, I won’t be truthful and you are likely to get a tongue lashing or silence. If I tell you I can’t cope with the side effects I am getting don’t brush them off and tell me you will log it onto RIO and then leave 5 mins after you arrive. RIO is not a bloody doctor its a computer, it cannot help me with my side effects, I know from experience that doctors and others do not always scroll through and certainly don’t do it every day. I am likely to feel that you aren’t helping me and stop taking them and not tell you that is what I have done. Don’t talk at me and not listen to what I have to say. Even if you do think it’s a load of rubbish. Stop, pause and respond even if I have just told you I have won the lottery and am taking everyone on holiday. The list could go on and on but the point I am making is RECOGNISE ME AS A WHOLE PERSON. I AM JUST LIKE YOU. MY MENTAL ILLNESS AND SYMPTOMS IS NOT ALL THAT I AM. If that is all you can see or want to see then you need to find a different career, a different path. It will make you happier and probably the clients that you come into contact happier too.