Wednesday, 5 October 2011

WARNING! Mental health services can drive you mad

Feeling low or having trouble coping?
Well I was fine half an hour ago but not too great now.

Suffering from anxiety or stress?
Yep, I am now.

Experiencing panic attacks?
Haven’t had one for years but could well have one coming on.

Suffering from depression?
Pretty pissed off at the minute.

Need support in finding or keeping a job?
No but I’m frankly surprised that half the people I’ve spoken to today have actually got one.

(The above questions were written on a Psychological Therapies and Wellbeing Service card given to me by my mum’s doctor.)

So how did I spend yesterday morning then?

I’ll tell you how … chasing up an NHS ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ (CBT) appointment for my mother.

And, as usual, I’ve been pushed from pillar to post by NVQ-wielding morons who lack any common sense (do they do an NVQ in that?) and neither listened to my questions or had any real intention of taking responsibility for my enquiry.  And sometimes they just got their kicks from cutting me off.

My mother has been waiting for an appointment now for a couple of months and her GP has told us to chase it up - OK, shouldn’t be too difficult, except none of the numbers I was given delivered any joy.

At one point I was put through to a very sing-songy young lady who answered the phone with “OCDBDCC”  What?  And yet when I matched her ‘OCDBDCC’ with my ‘CBT’, I merely got a “What’s that then?”  And she’s working in mental health.  Heaven help us all.

While these people mess about at playing grown ups, my mother slips further into her depression and the grip of panic attacks, and I’m left to pick up the pieces.

Frankly if she is ever lucky enough to get an appointment, I don’t hold out much hope of it doing her any good.  The ‘health professional’ who initially assessed her had the handshake of a wet lettuce, the voice of a laryngitis-struck mouse (my mother is quite deaf) and the energy levels of a sloth on Prozac.  And of course, she had hairy legs with socks and sandals.  Not that this should make any difference to her ability to do the job but purlease - have some pride, woman.

I’ve achieved nothing - I’m no closer to an appointment now than I was when I started.  I may have a few more grey hairs and a larger phone bill but apart from that, nothing’s changed.

And, while we’re on the subject of mental health, my neighbour is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.  The police are here regularly listening to her stories of ‘voices in her head’ and ‘electromagnetic fields.’  She lives alone so we thought we’d try to help. 

I was told by the on-call nurse at the mental health helpline that they could only get involved if I was prepared for my comments to be reported back to my neighbour.

Well that makes a whole heap of sense, doesn’t it?  We’re dealing with a severely unwell woman who mistrusts and hates everyone and I’m meant to agree to that!

The world has gone mad and I think I’ve now joined it.

I’ll be next on the list for some therapy but, in the meantime, I’ll wait for my neighbour to stick a letter-bomb through the door.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.


  1. My mum has exserienced very simiar treatment while trying to get a care package for my nan who is in her 80's, lives alone and increasingly frail and forgetful. Recently she had to complain as the carerers who check in on her had left an overflowing commode and soiled bed linen. So sorry about your stressful exsperience-I hope you get some results soon xxx

  2. oh what a well written peice!! I know what you mean though, sometimes you wonder what planet other people are on :)

    I can feel the anger radiating out of this peice, so I really hope your mum gets the help she needs!!!! In the mean time, I suggest counting to 10 and taking deep breaths! X