Update

Hi. I have been more consistent with my sleep and medication schedule. I bought a diary to make notes on things like the time I take my medication.

Still doing mindfulness yoga which is very helpful. My mental health nurse seems to have suddenly left the scene with no explanation. Overheard conversation of an nhs psychologist today about pressure to ditch clients after 7 sessions. Feel like the whole system is threadbare. Feel it is lip service. Could do better. I heard New Zealand pumps more money now into mental health but I’m not in favour if it goes to the pseudoscientists at the royal college of psychiatry. I happened to be in a hotel the other day where there was a psychiatry conference. I felt like rushing up to people and saying ‘of course you know psychiatry is all bollocks’. Did t

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My perfect mental health system (fragments/ notes)

Soteria houses; welcoming crisis houses where psychotic people are given 1-2-1 attention rather than psychiatric drugs. Or psychiatric drugs are used sparingly and not for long term use. 

(I read some psychiatric texts from before widespread use of pharmaceuticals in mental health. Some people didn’t respond to psychoanalysis. They were just like hopeless cases). 

Gardens can be healing. 

Good home cooked food linked to market gardens. 

A media that tells the truth.

I read a book that explained how the emergence of electric light coincided with a huge rise in psychiatric disorders. 

In my world a psychiatric hospital would contain a library with lots of art books and poetry books. An activity room with desks and writing/drawing materials. 

more to come…

Using NHS customer care

If you are receiving care from an NHS mental health trust in the U.K. there is usually another related organisation called PALS or sometimes customer care. It’s a channel to air complaints mostly. It’s quite useful if you want to get the NHS bureaucracy to move its gear wheels. 

PALS itself is quite slow and bureaucratic but they do know how to push certain buttons within the system. For example I recently requested to change my social worker and PALS was able to set that in motion. Although as I’ve mentioned they do work quite lethargically.

Previously I’ve even gotten a meeting with the head of the trust through PALS. 

What PALS is not good at is looking at anything outside the pre-existing NHS tickboxes. So they are not good for requesting alternative treatments that aren’t approved by NICE or doing anything much more radical than pulling the pre-existing levers of complaint. 

Never being listened to about alternatives to psychiatric drugs

Ever since I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2001 I thought there must be some other way of treating the symptoms other than drugs.

When I looked into it I found out that numerous people have advocated other methods for healing mental distress other than pharmaceuticals. However the National Health Service only invests in psychiatric drugs. Or I should say drugs are used to treat acute distress. Drugs and psychiatric hospitals.

The NHS is like a Stalinist edifice when it comes to mental health. They only supply ‘evidenced based’ treatments but as others have pointed out a lot of the studies ‘proving’ the efficacy of psychiatric drugs are bought studies paid for by the pharmaceutical companies. The evidence is little more than marketing really.

As a psychiatric patient or consumer you really have little input into your treatment. Discusssions with doctors about alternatives just meet a brick wall. Most psychiatrists are trained to dole out pills and can’t conceieve that other ways would work.

Contacting the health service administration yields nothing either they just defer to the evidence base (drugs company marketing).

So who do you take it to then? The politicians. “We are not medically trained” they say and defer to the doctors. It’s a self defeating loop of confirmation bias. Because the system of drugs and psychiatric hospitals and the current legal framework is all there is that is all these administrators can conceptualise of in their paucity of imagination.

The mental health system is very very dreary and doesn’t allow any participation by patients. You are ‘done unto’ you don’t have a say. Despite there being lots of shiny posters about patient voice and patient inclusion. Patient inclusion is channeled into pointless tick boxes and toothless committees and quangos.

The mental health system is inherently frustrating. Also most of the public is saturated with drug company marketing about chemical imbalances. Every time you mention mental health people just tell you how important it is to take the drugs until you just give up and stop complaining.

Also it’s fiendishly hard to actually get off psychiatric drugs. The withdrawal effects of drugs look much like the original illness.

Thee is no mention of this in the NHS but I’m sure that the science behind NHS psychiatry is far from scientific. The drugs largely tranquilise but the doctors hide behind this dogma that they are targetting certain areas of the brain and neuro transmitters. How this charade is allowed to go on in the post #MeToo era beggars belief. Presumably it’s more convenient to just keep mental health patients drugged. If that’s the case why not just admit it rather than hide behind the pretence you are doing medicine. It’s incredibly frustrating and I’m not sure what the answer is. Can I risk ruining my life by coming off psych drugs. Why is this system based on lies. As a mental health patient it makes you question how much else of society is just lies and marketing.

L