The Lion’s Den of Broadcasting

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This week has been bad in terms of anxiety and dp; simple things like a busy bus or a doubting thought, that normally I can deal with absolutely fine, have been sources of fear and thought-loops instead.

Considering this was also the week where I started the Broadcasting module, I was worried. While the course as a whole is outside of my comfort zone, a module where I’d potentially have to appear on microphone and on camera is lightyears away from comfortable.

But today, I woke up feeling calmer. Then something happened that put the last few years in perspective.
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Dissociative Disorder Diagnosis Adventure

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For people in the UK, there are two ways to go about investigating dissociation (using that as the catch-all term for everything on the dissociative symptom spectrum).

The first option to to straight-out ask your GP, if you have an alright relationship with them. As the majority of GP’s won’t be knowledgeable about dissociation, that will probably involve bringing some information about it to the appointment. It would also be best to specifically asking for a referral to the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, rather than a local psychologist.

If you’re not sure how your GP will respond, or want extra support in the decision beforehand, then another option is to contact the Pottergate Centre, a dissociation-focused organisation with an office in Norwich, UK. They have an online contact option, where you can get two dissociation screening tests from them, and send the tests back to them to be analysed, all for free. You can then take the results, and their analysis, to your GP- they will also include extra information about dissociation with the results.
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My Diagnosis Experience, Part 4

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Background

Despite having sat through my fair share of mental health assessments, I don’t know much about them. As I don’t personally know anyone who has experienced one, and don’t really have many people I could ask about how they work, my knowledge is entirely from what people have said online.

Out of everything I’ve written about in the last few posts, one meeting has always remained in my mind, because it was simultaneously the worst and the best experience I had with mental health professionals.

Having never had anyone to “compare notes” with, I’m going to explain it here, in case it comes in useful for future reference or for anyone else. Again, personal information has been removed.
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My Diagnosis Experience, Part 3

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Some notes for this series; I’m not going to be using any identifying information, so I’ll be referring to each  person involved by a letter+ number to tell them apart, as it does get rather confusing. The colour-coding is also just to keep track.

K1– university counsellor
K2– university wellbeing practitioner
L– one of my friends, who I needed to bring with me to some meetings.
C1– first mental health assessor at the community services.
C2– second  assessor at the community services.
C3– final assessor at the community services.

Community Mental Health Services

I was referred to the community mental health services (CMS for short) 3 separate times; once from the hospital, once when I finished seeing K1, and by K2 during the relapse I mentioned earlier.  This meant I had 3 separate mental health assessments in just over a year.

Each time I was assessed like I’d never been there before, with a different staff member. This seemed really inefficient, especially as each asked me the same questions and mentioned me having used the services recently.

 

My first assessor ,C1, was friendly and I was able to talk to her. However, while I went in assuming my issue was solely/mostly depression and I would be offered CBT, C1 threw a curveball by giving me a leaflet for Mentalization Based Therapy, a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. Continue reading

My Diagnosis Experience, Part 2

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Some notes for this series; I’m not going to be using any identifying information, so I’ll be referring to each  person involved by a letter+ number to tell them apart, as it does get rather confusing. The colour-coding is also just to keep track.
K1– university counsellor
K2– university wellbeing practitioner
L-   one of my friends, who I needed to bring with me to some meetings. 
C1– first mental health assessor at the community services.
C2– second  assessor at the community services.
C3– final assessor at the community services.

Doctor’s Surgery

One of the services involved in my treatment was my GP’s surgery.I don’t have much to write about this part,  as I chose to avoid them as much as possible. While  they technically knew everything that was going on, because each other service wrote letters to the GP updating them with new developments, this didn’t have any practical use. 

I wasn’t exactly organised in making appointments to get medication, which meant I didn’t see one doctor consistently. This made it very easy for me to slip through the cracks, avoiding all of their questions.
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My Diagnosis Experience, Part 1

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Some notes for this series; I’m not going to be using any identifying information, so I’ll be referring to each  person involved by a letter+ number to tell them apart, as it does get rather confusing. The colour-coding is also just to keep track.
K1– university counsellor
K2– university wellbeing practitioner
L-   one of my friends, who I needed to bring with me to some meetings. 
C1– first mental health assessor at the community services.
C2– second  assessor at the community services.
C3– third assessor at the community services.

Beginning

Although I’d had mental health difficulties for a long time, since probably age 10, I didn’t see any mental health services until I was 19. Accessing them wasn’t by choice; when a friend needed to take me to A&E, the hospital had to refer me to community services. My friend also booked a GP appointment for me, and contacted my university to see if they could help me. So I went from knowing nothing about mental health services to being seen by three types at once. It was a confusing period of time, because it felt like my only option was to be bounced around from person to person, and do everything they said, even though I wasn’t really sure of what was going on.
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Diagnosing Mental Health: My Experience

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One of the things that can stop people looking for help with mental health issues is the uncertainty of not knowing how they are referred and diagnosed, what kind of place they need to go to, or what person they need to see.

This is especially true for people under 18, who may not want to see anyone in case it means involving their families or sacrificing their ability to keep information confidential.

Online communities can answer these questions to an extent, giving some people’s experiences. But these sometimes focus on only the easiest experiences or the worst experiences in getting help.

Personally, my experience was in-between these extremes; some of the services I used were really accessible and useful while others made less sense. Similarly, some of the people I saw were really supportive and helpful, and some weren’t. So I thought I would explain my experience getting support, in case it’s helpful to anyone.

2012-
Part 1 (Uni)
Part 2 (GP)
Part 3/ Part 4(Community Services)

2015-

Part 1-Pottergate Centre Screening
Part 2- GP
Part 3- Community Services