In 1985 I suffered a personal trauma from which I would never fully recover. In those days one just gritted one’s teeth and tried to get on with it. I didn’t visit my GP, get counselling and there was no recognition then of post traumatic stress disorder.
Months went by and by the late eighties I broke down completely. The vogue of the day was to blame mental health and emotional problems on sex abuse in childhood.
I had no recollection of this happening to me but my psychiatrist insisted this was the source of my problems.
Weeks later I took an overdose and my life was saved by friends who took me to A+E. Where brilliant medics saved my life. The nurses and doctors that supported me were brilliant during my stay in hospital. But due to a shortage of beds I was put on a gynealogical ward and the staff were not mental health professionals.
On my return hoe I saw psychiatrist privately who prescribed me Mogadon (sleeping tablets) and charged me £60 for the pleasure.
My mind continued to melt down until I started to suffer from Bipolar disorder including hearing voices and experiencing paranoia. Other medical professionals gave described my conditions as schizo-affective disorder.
At this time I saw both my GP and NHS psychiatrist who treated me with group therapy and medication which I was feel was the turning point and the road to a more ‘normal’ life.
But in some respects it was too late for a full recovery. The damage was done and I haven’t been able to hold a job down for thirty years.
I now seen an NHS psychiatrist who is younger and appears to have a wider and deeper understanding of mental health and emotional distress.
I would like to see more women in this profession. It has, in my experience, been too male dominated.
I would have been happier speaking to a female because as women we share cultural communality and life experiences.
I now observe that the approach to mental health and emotional distress has improved amongst health care professionals but services such as CBT, counselling, group therapy, massage etc. are chronically underfunded.
In conclusion, when I started my journey of deteriorating mental health little help was available due to poor understanding of what I and others were going through. And even at this time psychiatric medicine was a cinderella project.
However, now the understanding is there but the support and treatment are only readily available to those who can afford to pay for it.