The severity of my disorder right now didn’t develop overnight. This has happened over years and been allowed to get this bad. There has not been a viable offer of treatment or help toward recovery from the NHS for years. There are hollow promises of places that will take me and help, then decline me in ways that knock me back further. There are referrals to services that I’m told I’m on waiting lists for repeatedly, over a period of years, only to find out years later the referral was never made in the first place.
In some ways I was lucky. I was offered DBT treatment years ago (which is more than many BPD patients get I know) years ago, and I completed it . However, I started it before I left the care of an eating disorders unit, so started focused on the type of help given by the EDU. Thanks to staff at the EDU, I was starting (but still don’t feel I have fully been able) to realise I’d been experiencing severe abuse and was traumatised by my ex Ryan, which still damages me each and every day and which I suffer flashbacks and nightmares of.
It’s worth mentioning, the only part of NHS mental health treatment that has been successful is the EDU I was referred to, which is outside of my mental health trust and was only reached after a series of fuck ups with a serious amount of luck on my part. Luck I will always be thankful for and never able to repay. Before I was referred there, I saw my GP, who weighed me in my padded parka, Doc Marten’s and bag (as well as jeans, jumper, loads of jewellery, heavy belt etc.. Real unprofessional shit, but without specialist training in mental health. Still, basic fucking errors fam), who thought I may have “disordered eating”, but not am eating disorder as I weighed too much (which was bullshit, but I went about losing more weight because I was obviously fine and it was chill to lose more, even though I was already in the criteria for anorexia, but didn’t really believe it. Losing weight was something I was good at and could achieve, so did. They referred to my local Access Team (which allow access to other therapies) and my local counselling service (before the dreaded IAPT, called Solutions). Solutions decided I was actually too complicated for their service, which was true, but then told me they’d referred me to the CMHT. That referral never happened. The Access Team didn’t weigh me, even with scales in the room, but did say they would refer me to the out of trust specialist eating disorders service. They fucked that up and the referral never happened. Luckily, after waiting far too long and losing more weight, my friend’s Mum who happened to be pretty high up in the local mental health trust pulled some strings on management due to all the fuck ups on my case and got my referral rushed through the waiting list so I wouldn’t die.
That only happened because I was lucky enough to know someone. She no longer works there so I do have that resource as help. Imagine all the people who aren’t as lucky as me. That is a woman I thank from the bottom of my heart because without her, the NHS would have let me die from a mental illness. Like the are willing to do now.
Like letting a referral for psychology get fucking lost for two and a half years fam. This is NHS mental health services without a lucky in to management based upon a childhood friendship. They just lost it or lied. Again.
It’s real important to recognise one thing though – the EDU saved my life. They were fantastic, helped me gain physical health through weekly and bi-weekly weigh-ins with a registered dietician who helped me work out weight gain meal plans, their psychiatrist (and dietician) actually made me take my shoes, coat, jewellery, belt and anything else excess off to weigh me and diagnosed my properly. She was also the first to realise I had borderline personality disorder as I got better and referred me to the supposed “appropriate” team (the local then CMHT, now CRT). I also received great therapy from one of their teams clinical psychologists. He worked with me and created an environment which responded to my needs, offering more appointments when needed, and giving me space and time to work out my own shit for myself, and providing a reassuring voice telling me my realisations weren’t always wrong about my relationship and weren’t always right about my body. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard, full-time work. I was there up to 4 times a week. However, it was worth it. Without that therapy, I may never have taken the first steps that led me out of an abusive relationship and include that to the rest of the treatment, I may never have started to gain weight. I have nothing but deep respect for the work of the EDU I attended at that time and think they really excelled at my care. I achieved full remission from anorexia nervosa and for that I’m mad proud. I don’t damn all NHS mental health services. These guys killed it as showed what can be achieved if services were provided properly, carefully, in response to patient needs and efficiently. Nuff luv.
As I started DBT, I also I started a new relationship and was not ready to fully realise the extend of what had happened in my previous relationship. I made my therapy about making the new relationship work, ignoring all the issues from my past. Thas on me, but I was traumatised and didn’t really know what I was trying to understand, let alone articulate. The new relationship wound up with me losing my home, damaging relationships with people I care about, living without gas or electricity, then moving to the other side of the city so therapy was really difficult, expensive and over an hour and a half to get to. After all that effort to maintain this relationship, I had all my money taken, was cheated on then publicly dumped, partly so he could flee the country and therefore his debt.
All of this was happening whilst while dealing with their never therapeutically touched upon, but clinically diagnosed PTSD from a violent, random attack which leaves me unable to travel in the dark and terrified of the sound of bicycles, in the background. This leaves me heavily reliant on others to travel and terrified to even get to social situations. This is always forgotten and leads to increased isolation.
I was also starting drug addiction treatment due to a physical dependency developed to diazepam whilst in an abusive relationship that was prescribed to my after a suicide attempt, wrongly, by the NHS Home Treatment Team (HTT – the crisis outpatient care team), who delivered it to my door twice daily and watched me take it. This developed a habit that got worse due to the abusive relationship I wished to numb my emotions from through not eating and taking diazepam, and now may kill me if I stop taking it as my body is physically dependant. Addictive drugs are documented as unsuitable for people with BPD. Well done NHS.
I think it’s fair to say, however lucky I was to even receive it, due to all that was happening at the time, DBT was fucking hard, especially the work outside of group and individual therapeutic sessions, but I didn’t quit. I thought quitting would suggest I didn’t want to recover and would work against me. No one told me otherwise. So I kept at it because I wanted it to work so badly. I desperately wanted to be able to turn my life around and recover.
Turns out, quitting would have been better seeing as your only able to do it once fully in your entire life. It didn’t work for me within the chaos of my life at the time. If you quit, you can try it again. I was only told I would never be able to try it again, not that quitting might be helpful to me later. Whether it was timing or just the wrong therapy, I can never know because I’m not allowed to try again now that I’m at least in a stable living environment close to treatment. Once is enough, even if it doesn’t work. There is no other personality disorder treatment in my postcode. Since then, I have not moved forward into any other treatment or recovery plans.
I’ve been labelled an “addict” with a “severe and enduring” mental illness that has left me “low functioning” and have been forgotten about seeing as I’m not psychotic so giving me tablets won’t help, and there is no solid plan to actually aid my recovery (even though I have a degree from one of the best universities in the country and am one module from finishing a post-graduate degree, though it is arguable I passed them with the help of that good old killer anorexia nervosa: restrictive subtype). I could have had a life if I had some help with my BPD (which resurfaced as I recovered from my eating disorder which hid borderline part pretty successfully, though nearly killed me). I’m left to work it out alone, and have proven to be unable to do so. For years.
And now I hate being alive so much I wish I’d never been born. I think my family were selfish and wrong to have me because it caused this much pain. I am the most void of hope I have ever been.
Yet still, the NHS can offer no support or help. Apparently it doesn’t matter enough. Now I just have to see them more so they can say “no change in anything that might help” and pat themselves on the back because I’m not dead yet. Then CRT is a lie because there is no recovery there. Care co-ordinator’s are lies because there is no care to co-ordinate. It’s just a facade that keeps you in one place: diagnosed as sick and with no prospect recovery. It’s all bullshit.
NHS mental health services would be a fucking joke if it didn’t lead to mental suffering, self-injury and “unexpected deaths” (the polite phrase for suicide used in some trusts official statistics). It’s the definition of a shit show. It’s a failure that costs lives.
(Yes I am aware of cuts made by localised authorities due to increased budgetary pressure on the NHS. However, I’m also aware of how convenient it is to place those cuts on vulnerable adults who are least likely to self-mobilise action groups against such cuts and least likely to have strong enough support networks to do so as advocates for them, like the so notoriously isolated addict and mentally ill groups. Saves public image if fewer people shout about it right? It’s not an A&E department which is a service for all, but rather lets cut a service for people who have the least resources to fight it because they are by nature already vulnerable and isolated right? Because that’s a fair way to impart budgetary stresses on patients isn’t it? Don’t think the disappearance of CDAT doesn’t show NHS priorities. Pick the ones with less obvious abilities to fight and damage their services to revert back to the Thatcher ideal that crazy people should be left to their own devices. Because that didn’t lead to rampant homelessness among drug addicts and the mentally ill, leading to more addiction in the mentally ill population or create a generation of forgotten about mental illness? Oh wait. It did though. And on top of that, statistics show that more young men and women die from mental illnesses than any other reason. Are young people worthless already because they are ill? The NHS answer is already showing that yes, they are worth less than 70 year olds with cancer. Stigma at its worst).
Swear down, I am writing about of Pokémon Sun, but this post is already late and I haven’t finished yet. I’ve also just finished Gravity Rush so that’ll come soon too. Promise.