Mental Days Recap

5 04 2011

Good day to you all, and how are we feeling today? Up? Down? Mixed? Middle of the road? Leaning to one side? Whatever it is I hope it’s better than you were… if that makes sense.

So what’s in line for todays blog time? I thought I’d go though some of the thought provoking stuff that I see through various sources, analyse and disect them, and add in a few things myself.

Ok, I’ll admit to being a fan of Pandora and her rantings/ramblings/concise and compelling accounts (delete as you see fit, I go for the third option but it’s personal preference). In the latest one here she discusses, briefly, the issues of anonymity when blogging about mental health.

It’s true that many use a pseudonym when blogging as it’s a matter of personal preference, be it to protect themselves, or, as in Pans case, to protect others. This may be seen as falling into the realm of stigmatizing oneself for one reason or another, which is true… to a degree. However, people forget about the internet and it’s raison d’etre, which is enabling people to communicate behind a nom de guerre. How many people openly say who they are online? Not many. So whilst yes a bit of it is about stigma, it’s primarily how the internet has worked for many years and reading further into it is a bit of a non-starter.

My next bit to talk about is this blog which, I have to admit, doesn’t make a huge amount of sense unless you sit there and break it down. Why is it worthy of mention? Perhaps because it makes me think that the person who wrote it has a limited grasp on reality per se. Harsh I know, but the point I want to make is that there needs to be a distinction made which many avoid, or are unaware of. Many people have a mental health diagnosis. Many of these same people DO NOT have a mental health problem. A diagnosis is a medical way of saying ‘This could explain a lot of things you’ve been going through’ but unless it’s a problem for you in some way… what’s the problem?

Here’s something to think about; does having a diagnosis actually matter any more? There’s great fuss being made coming up to the release of the new DSM book with the previous writers coming to the conclusion that whilst DSM has saved psychiatry and psychology, it has actually caused more issues than previously thought. If you’ve spent time with a good number of doctors, you’ll realise that each one has their own way of looking at things and, to be fair, many are in a far worse position than their patients to make sort of guess at a diagnosis and subsequently the meds prescribed. There are plenty of tales of diagnosis changes happening to people, a friend of mine has just had a different diagnosis and I know I’m on my seventh diagnosis.

The much laboured point here is that a diagnosis only helps when it affects treatment. By this I mean keeping bipolar people off anti depressant monotherapy (something I learned the fun of first hand) and the like. Beyond that, most people have issues that they want to work through, few of which are ultimately helped by meds (I’m not anti-meds, I just believe they have a much more limited use than presently thought). We need therapy. We need coping strategies. We need to be able to express ourselves in a way which makes things even a little bit better.

That’s just my thoughts on the matter.

Final bit for today, as I have rambled on a touch, is a bit of thought about Minds campaign to have long term condition meds charges abolished in England as they are in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Now, initially I’m all for this as £7.40 per med per time can mount up to quite a large bill depending on the meds and the doctor writing the prescription. This is a bill that is hard for people to comply with and so you tend to get people putting their health at risk because they can’t afford to do anything else.

But (yes, there’s the but you were waiting for) I have a few concerns about this proposal. My main one is something I experienced when I was on meds (seven months at least off them now), which is that doctors will refuse to put you on the meds which work the best in favour of the ones which work more or less. For me this was the arguement I had with a doctor about his desire to put me on Seroquel rather than the Seroquel XR I had been on. Regardless of other peoples reactions to this med, I wanted the more expensive XR version because if I went on the normal version, I would not have been able to work as it would have compromised my safety and the safety of those around me. If, in the economic climate where CMHTs etc are under pressure to reduce costs more and more, this rather good plan were introduced, would doctors be under even more pressure to prescribe what was cheaper rather than what was better? Scary thought as it certainly wouldn’t be better for the patient.

Ok, I’ll leave it there, much covered and a big post (in the region of 900 words) and leave you to ponder the points… if I have any.




2 responses

7 04 2011
Rachael Black

Damn. you’ve had some shitty doctors! I had one who let me make my own choices; based on how the level or anorexia was listed since I’m overweight lol.
Told other docs which worked best, and which didn’t seem to do a damned thing.
The impotant thing is this has always been the first question an a seeions with ALL of my shrinks: ‘How are your meds?”

WTF is going on over there in the UK??? Can you choose another shrink? Know they turned you down for a therapist becasue you didn’t want to take meds (fucking retarded. My dad spent a lot of his time getting patients OFF meds and into just therapy).

We have one thing here in common (well several but this one on this post): my cost for the meds is thousands of dollars each year. and I get my medication at a huge discount because I am on Gov’t Disability for my bi-polar)
How does the gov’t expect us to pay for this when we don’t even have a job and the income for disability isn’t even enough to buy a can of dogfood a day with? Never mind fresh fruit or veggies.

Virtually all of my meds are ‘generic’ and not brand names. the cost is the difference between $50.00 a bottle and $7.50 a bottle. Docs normally prescribe the generic.

As for the diagnosis thing I believe it helps. one thing though… I never tell people. When asked what I do for a living I tell them what I used to do, and what I still do occasionally -i.e. when I can focus

9 04 2011

Hi Rachael, how’s things?

It’s funny you should say about the first thing being ‘How are your meds?’ because there are several people I’ve spoken to who get this said to them and their reaction is along the lines of ‘Hang on, you’re the doctor, you tell me’. Don’t worry, I do take a deep breath so I don’t swear in response, but I do tell them that this is how it’s meant to be. Doctors aren’t psychic so the only way to know if the meds are working for someone is to ask them. Think I’ll save the rest for a blog post otherwise this reply will get loooong.

To be fair to my docs, they couldn’t offer me the right kind of therapy, and because I refused to take meds we agreed that there was nothing they could do for me. Problem at the moment is cost, austerity measures mean that doctors are very limited in what they can afford, and this can depend very much on where you live and the priorities of the team covering that area. In my area, my preferred form of treatment is not a priority so therefore I cannot receive it because they can’t afford it.

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