The hospital came through and I had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. Except, I didn’t. The whole point of my GP’s referral, rather than sending me through A&E, was that I get to see my actual consultant rather than whoever was on call. Unfortunately, after waiting over an hour, it became apparent my consultant wasn’t going to appear, and I met someone new. Again. I cannot begin to describe how frustrating I find this, especially as I only really began to trust my psychiatrist the last time I saw her. I find it incredibly difficult to talk to someone I’ve never met before, particularly when it’s all out of context. I told this new doctor I had expected to meet with my consultant, but apparently there was trouble on the ward and she couldn’t get away (UHG psych unit has had a lot of bad press of late). I told her how difficult I find it to speak to someone new. I asked had she read my file, which she said she had, but she then went on to ask questions about things that were very much on my file. She also suggested I try a drug that had had disastrous side effects two years ago (also on my file) which I had to explain to her.

I wanted to much to be open and honest. I wanted to try and describe exactly what’s been going on for me the last while, and it would have made sense to my consultant, because it’s stuff we talked about before. But with this doctor there was no context and I couldn’t make her understand what I was trying to explain. Anyway, after a very frustrating conversation, she left briefly to discuss with my consultant how best to proceed.

So I have a new strategy. Except it’s a version of an old one, one that didn’t work before. I currently take a combination of two drugs – an anti depressant in the morning, and an anti-anxiety/anti-psychotic at night – this one has the added bonus of being very sedating so it helps me sleep. Except now, I’m to take it during the day as well, at a very low dose. We tried this last year. It didn’t work, it had me conked out. I’d get up in the morning, take it, get into the car and absolutely pass out on the way to work, then spend the first couple of my hours each day trying to focus. I’d take it again in the afternoon, and struggle not to fall asleep at my desk. Eventually that strategy was dropped because it clearly wasn’t working out. But now, I’m to try it again, albeit with a slightly lower dose. You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t come over all optimistic, because right now I’m not. I don’t know what I expected going into the appointment, but it wasn’t this. This feels like a step backwards. I asked her what I should do if it makes me too sleepy to function properly. Answer? Stop taking it. Which leaves me exactly where I am now.

So there you have it. I’m to give it a go, and they’ll review me in four weeks. There was also mention of a group for people who self harm, but as yet the group isn’t up and running, they don’t know when it will be, and I’m on a waiting list. I was really angry when I left the appointment, then really frustrated, then overwhelmed at just how challenging this all is. And now? Now I’m really tired but I don’t particularly care. I have to try this so I will. I don’t blame my consultant. She’s working within the confines of an utterly inept system. Today that system doesn’t feel like it’s helping at all.

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