Close to Death – ‘My NHS Experience’

So many people suffer from mental illness, so many people suffer silently in fact. So much so that I find the oft quoted ‘1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues in their life‘ statistic way off. It must be. However debating statistics aside, one thing which must be talked about is that there is a great number of, often, young people who are so close to death. Their lungs are fine, their heart is fine, their blood is fine, there is no cancer, no bruises, no aches and no signs. But their mind is broken. My mind is broken.

This error in the human mind is bringing millions of people close to death. That is not to say they will experience  death right now, but it brings them very close to it. That is a travesty. There is no rhyme or reason to let so many feel so close to death. Especially at such a young age. Death should be reserved for the old who have lived a life of experiences. But there is a huge lack of investment in mental health services, which is compounding the issue.

There are typically two sides to mental health investment, one for and one against. One is a huge group of people and advocates who realise the potential that is locked away behind mental issues, not to mention the unnecessary suffering. The second seem to believe we are just a bunch of whiney millennials.

The second argument is essentially based on the idea that mental health is a ‘new’ problem. We should all stop whining and get on with it like they did in the old days. The old days. Oh the good old days.

Mental health did not exist in the old days because it was never talked about, not because it didn’t happen. Just one example of this is to know that 49% of all US troops in World War 1 and 2 who returned home for medical reasons did so for mental issues, not from bombs or bullets. Then there are the people who were not at war. Women were second class citizens in the ‘old days’, and were always the ones left behind in war. There were no mental health provisions. So where would they go to speak about any issues?

I also absolutely believe mental health issues are exacerbated by modern life. Technology and societal shifts are progressing at such an intense rate that the human mind cannot evolve quickly enough. There needs to be a service that can sufficiently ease that transition. At the moment or in my experience the NHS (or any other health service in the 7 countries I have lived) do not quite do that job, yet. They are either too insufficient or too expensive.

The NHS was for me the most disappointing. It is free, which is its major benefit. However it is only a benefit if it is of some use. When you have anxiety troubles, depression and other illnesses, they severely affect your motivation. It can take all of your energy to get up in the morning and to be seen in public. Thats why it was so difficult to do these things; travel to the nearest mental health services, 1.5 hours away. Then be told ‘thank you for registering with us, we understand your going through a difficult time, as soon as we have someone available they will do an assessment – in the next 3 to 6 months.‘ Someone who feels close to death doesn’t like the idea of tomorrow. Let alone another 90 days or 180 days.

I was devastated. It really hit me hard. It was the lack of urgency, which struck me. If I had broken my leg, I would of been seen instantly. A cast, a team of doctors, an x ray and anything else I required. I go their with a broken brain and the response is come back in 6 months. I didn’t feel I had 6 months in me at the time.

Maybe they were right, I am still here after all. In fact I am feeling close to the best I have felt in a long time. So were they right? I feel like the answer is no. That was 6 years ago. And baring a 7 month period and now, I have been dealing with terrible illnesses. I needed help and still do.

I heard back from the NHS 3 weeks later, with a letter describing how they understand my issues and want to help. That as soon as a therapist is available I will be assigned one. They spelled my second name wrong and got my date of birth wrong. A very valued patient indeed.

At that time I had a society which did not want to know, and a health service which was in no rush to treat a man they didnt know the name of. The NHS isn’t my worst mental health services experience, and I am sure I will write about the services in other countries. But the NHS is the national health services of my home country. I truly hoped their would look after their citizens better.

Maybe it has changed? If you have any experiences I would love to hear them. I haven’t used their services for 6 years so I hope it is now much more accessible, caring and above all else useful.

Mindfump.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Niki

    First of all, I’m glad you’re here to tell this story. I’m sorry the very system put in place to help is not capable of keeping up the way it should. I’m glad that you’ve found a place to speak your voice and share your story. It’s very brave of you to open up. I hope you’ve since found the support you were in need of. Sometimes the little things like spelling your name right or knowing someone really cares are what make the biggest difference. In a world of accessibility, knowledge, and technology, we are seriously lacking connection, compassion, and empathy. Sending lots of love your way! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mindfump

      What a wonderful comment Niki, thank you so much. And yes for me the little things matter a lot, I think it’s true for others as well. I warmly receive your love and return the sentiment. I do believe the more we open up and share, the better the situation will become.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Niki

        Oh it’s my pleasure ❤ I think we all just want to connect, feel loved, heard, and seen. Thank you for returning it ❤ I agree, I don't think we're in a time that tiptoeing around the issue benefits anyone (not that there was ever a time that was the best). The more we speak up, the more comfortable people will feel opening up, accepting themselves, and sharing. The less isolated they'll feel. Thank you for sharing your experience, may others find comfort and strength in it ❤

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Niki

            Right?! There’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact all the tiptoeing is creating this unrealistic dance people are doing. It’s by sharing our experiences that we realize we’re more alike than not and others are struggling or have struggled with mental illness as well. To taking off the ballet slippers! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  2. mrsandmrsalden

    I’m glad you’re still with us number one! Number two yes it feels like help isn’t easy to get. We suffer so much daily. I feel this is a good way to build a community for supper and help. Keep it up!

    Like

    1. Mindfump

      Yes the community really needs to come together and support each other. I think there is no reason for us as a society to keep making the same mistakes. Help must come more easily. Thank you for the comment!

      Like

  3. Behind the Mask

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with the NHS, things have changed somewhat with the IAPT I think, but there is still a postcode lottery with how good mental health services are. When I was first referred to the NHS mental health services I was invited to a ‘Wellbeing Meeting’. It took all of my courage and anxiety coping mechanism to manage to attend, and, like you, I was then told 3-6 months waiting period for therapy, 2-3 months waiting list for ‘Group Workshops’. It’s incredibly demoralising to hear that you will have to wait so long for help when you can barely imagine still coping until next week. I’m glad you’re still here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mindfump

      I’m glad too! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It does seem to be a lottery I think anyone waiting 3-6 months for such serious care is really unfair. You are so brave to share and also to get to the meetings you should be congratulated. I hope you write about your experiences more I’d love to hear them. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Chicken Risotto

    My experience of the NHS mental health service has always been very positive, over several different trusts. My latest referral was sent as urgent on Friday, I was assessed the following Wednesday, reviewed the next week and began therapy the week after. It is always upsetting to hear of people waiting months for the care they desperately need, but I share my story to show that that is not the case for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

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