Stigma, Mental Health, and the NHS



I haven't written anything for a while as I've been getting used to working and managing my health at the same time. I felt compelled to write today, compelled to write about the prejudice that I face with a mental health condition in modern Britain.

I have noticed a spike in my anxiety recently; I keep focusing on the breathing etc... as I now know it has a great positive effect on my life. But when it gets intense I struggle to think rationally and even sitting down to start relaxing because too difficult a task, I'm too hyped up to relax.

Yesterday I felt it best to book an emergency appointment at my GP to discuss my anxiety.

I entered the GP office but it wasn't my usual GP so in an attempt to clarify the situation I started to explain my experience over the last year and how I was managing to cope on my own but wanted some advice. Whilst I was having this discussion with the GP, she was intently reading my notes. Whilst this was happening I saw the same look come over her face as I have seen with a handful of other people within the care community. This look starts with a smug smile and then once that reveals itself, everything I then say becomes pointless, like I'm lying to get something out of the situation.

I was trying to explain that I hadn't had any support so I was working on my own with support from the GP; but before I even had a chance to say this, the GP cut in and started cross examining what I was saying and accusing me of elaborating. I defended myself as best I could and I think she started realising she had jumped the gun, but by this time all I saw was just another person who'd rather consider me a liar than understand I'm being extremely honest so as to ascertain a combined understanding of the gravity of the situation I'm in.

So, instead of getting any advice as to how I should manage this spike in my anxiety, I walked out saying that this was a mistake I just came to ask for help and I have been accused of all sorts.

I thought about complaining but I've complained before and nothing happens. It seems as if I got diagnosed with a personality disorder and from that point nothing I say will be taken seriously.

I'm trying to keep calm, but when I think of how I get treated and how its just assumed that I'm lying, even when all of the evidence suggests otherwise, I realise that the stigma is real deep and I will never get fair treatment through the NHS.

So I left the GP's offended and scared. I feel stronger today but now I realise that I can't just be myself, I can't be honest (or at least there seems no point) because medical professionals, dwp, and a majority of other people you speak to say you are struggling, simply call you a liar and tell you to fuck off.

So there you go, just more pain for me to experience, more abuse from the NHS and nothing I can do about it.
I've decided the best option for me is to keep my illness secret; never ask for help, and never let anyone know how vulnerable I am, particularly the DWP and NHS.

I have an appointment with my regular GP next week, I'll go to see him, he'll probably want to punish me too for what he'll assume is me being wrong again, regardless of the facts or even my side of the story. My country disgusts me.

Comments

  1. I am enraged that this is the unfortunately not the exception, but the norm for patients who suffer with mental health issues. To me, as a nurse, you should be treated with the same dignity and respect as if you'd gone in with a physical problem. I'm angry and upset you were treated so disrespectfully.

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