Why I love the NHS

Ok, there has been a lt of NHS moaning recently… and to be hnest it’s upset me, I know it’s tupid but earlier I was literally crying…

The NHS has saved my life on more occations than I can count. They have even sent a taxi for me and paid for it when I couldn’t get to hospital. They have given me a safe place to stay when I’m unsafe. They have given me treatment that would have cost several thousend pounds if I had to pay myself. They have kept me alive, they have saved my life, etc.

When I was 18 I even had a non-essential opperation to remove some keloids the size f golf ball. Before the opperation they tried steroids (which will have cost a bit) and then some pressure pads which were worth over £500 each!!! In the end it took 4 opperations and 2 doses of radiotherapy to get  rid of them, none of which I had to pay for. Can you imagine if I did have to???

3 times I have considered going private, each time I’ve changed my mind after meeting the staff… I even had one doctor call me “poor scum”, why  would I want a doctor invlved in my treatment who thought I was scum???

Therapy wise I will admit the NHS waiting list is long. But when I tried to ind a private therapist they were all unsuitable, one was even one of those “false memory syndrome” people, which isn’t a good mix wwith someone who has DID. Another told me that the abuse was my own fault!!! I honestly do not see why I should pay to be insulted, not that I can afford it anyway as I cannot work currently and so my partner and I have £360 a mnth to live on which doesn’t even cover our rent. So without the NHS what would I do?

Forms of dissociative disorder

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Dissociation is a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. During the period of time when a person is dissociating, certain information is not associated with other information as it normally would be. For example, during a traumatic experience, a person may dissociate the memory of the place and circumstances of the trauma from his/her ongoing memory, resulting in a temporary mental escape from the fear and pain of the trauma and, in some cases, a memory gap surrounding the experience. Because this process can produce changes in memory, people who frequently dissociate often find their senses of personal history and identity are affected.

Most clinicians believe that dissociation exists on a continuum of severity. This continuum reflects a wide range of experiences and/or symptoms. At one end are mild dissociative experiences common to most people, such as daydreaming, highway hypnosis, or “getting lost” in a book or movie, all of which involve “losing touch” with conscious awareness of one’s immediate surroundings. At the other extreme is complex, chronic dissociation, such as in cases of Dissociative Disorders, which may result in serious impairment or inability to function. Some people with Dissociative Disorders can hold highly responsible jobs, contributing to society in a variety of professions, the arts, and public service — appearing to function normally to coworkers, neighbors, and others with whom they interact daily.

Depersonalization

Persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one’s mental processes or body (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream).

During the depersonalization experience, reality testing remains intact.

The depersonalization causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The depersonalization experience does not occur exclusively during the course of another mental disorder, such as Schizophrenia, Panic Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or another Dissociative Disorder, and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., temporal lobe epilepsy).

Dissociative Fugue

Dissociative Fugue is one or more episodes of amnesia in which the inability to recall some or all of one’s past and either the loss of one’s identity or the formation of a new identity occur with sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home.

Specific symptoms include:

  • The predominant disturbance is sudden, unexpected travel away from home or one’s customary place of work, with inability to recall one’s past.
  • Confusion about personal identity or assumption of a new identity (partial or complete).
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., temporal lobe epilepsy).
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The length of a fugue may range from hours to weeks or months, occasionally longer. During the fugue, the person may appear normal and attract no attention. The person may assume a new name, identity, and domicile and may engage in complex social interactions. However, at some point, confusion about his identity or the return of the original identity may make the person aware of amnesia or cause distress.

The prevalence of dissociative fugue has been estimated at 0.2%, but it is much more common in connection with wars, accidents, and natural disasters. Persons with dissociative identity disorder frequently exhibit fugue behaviors.

The person often has no symptoms or is only mildly confused during the fugue. However, when the fugue ends, depression, discomfort, grief, shame, intense conflict, and suicidal or aggressive impulses may appear–ie, the person must deal with what he fled from. Failure to remember events of the fugue may cause confusion, distress, or even terror.

A fugue in progress is rarely recognized. It is suspected when a person seems confused over his identity, puzzled about his past, or confrontational when his new identity or the absence of an identity is challenged. Sometimes the fugue cannot be diagnosed until the person abruptly returns to his prefugue identity and is distressed to find himself in unfamiliar circumstances. The diagnosis is usually made retroactively based on the history with documentation of the circumstances before travel, the travel itself, and the establishment of an alternate life. Although dissociative fugue can recur, patients with frequent apparent fugues usually have dissociative identity disorder

Most fugues are brief and self-limited. Unless behavior has occurred before or during the fugue that has its own complications, impairment is usually mild and short-lived. If the fugue was prolonged and complications due to behavior before or during the fugue are significant, the person may have considerable difficulties–eg, a soldier may be charged as a deserter, and a person who marries may have inadvertently become a bigamist.

In the rare case in which the person is still in the fugue, recovering information (possibly with help from law enforcement and social services personnel) about his true identity, figuring out why it was abandoned, and facilitating its restoration are important.

Treatment involves methods such as hypnosis or drug-facilitated interviews. However, efforts to restore memory of the fugue period are often unsuccessful. A psychiatrist may help the person explore inner and interpersonal patterns of handling the types of situations, conflicts, and moods that precipitated the fugue to prevent subsequent fugue behavior.

Dissociative Amnesia

The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or Somatization Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a neurological or other general medical condition (e.g., Amnestic Disorder Due to Head Trauma).

The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self).

At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person’s behavior.

Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (e.g., complex partial seizures). Note: In children, the symptoms are not attributable to imaginary playmates or other fantasy play.

DDNOS
Dissociaitive disorder nos otherwise specified is when a person has some of the symptoms of a dissociaitve disoreder but do not fulfill any of the specific diagnosic criteria.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health.

Basically, EMDR is a therapeutic technique in which the patient moves his or her eyes back and forth while concentrating on a problem or a traumatic memory. The therapist waves a stick or light in front of the patient and the patient is supposed to follow the moving stick or light with his or her eyes. The therapy was discovered by therapist Dr. Francine Shapiro while on a walk in the park.

Noone is really 100% sure of how EMDR actually works. A commonly proposed hypothesis is that dual attention stimulation elicits an orienting response. The orienting response is a natural response of interest and attention that is elicited when attention is drawn to a new stimulus.
Another theory is that humans naturally process memories and new informaion during REM sleep, but with traumatic memories this processing does not fully occur, leaving the memories unstored and still strongly connected to emotions and physical sensations. The idea here is that the eye movment in EMDR simulate REM sleep allowing the memory which is beng focused on to process.

However, there is a lot of empirical evidence for the effectiveness of EMDR, esspecially in the treatment of PTSD.

our time in the mental health system

I don’t remember much before the age of 16… I know that my eating habbits were bad and my mum had kept forcing me to doctors saying I had an ED, though she thought I was eating “too much” despite being very underweight . and I know that I haad been to see the school counsellor a few times, but can’t remember what came of that

When I was 16 I got put in hospital for about 2 weeks, I can’t remember how long exactly… I had attempted suicide while pregnant and lost the child. While I was there I got told a load of rubbish about how at 16 I could not possibly have any real reason to try to kill myself.

About 4 months later I was hospitalised again, and diagnosed with anorexia. They kept me there until I was an “acceptable” weight then released me and I never heard from them again

When I was 17, I went to a doctor and told them I was loosing time and hearing whispering, that there were “children” in my head and that I would find writting and art around my home that was not by me. They told me to stop drinking :/ despite the fact that at this point in life I had never drunk alcohol

When I was 18 I ended up in hospital after a stupid act of trying to make myself “clean”… basically I dunk some cleaning products and burnt my esothagus… I had to see an on call psych again, this time she came to the conclusion that “voices told me to do it”, which they didn’t! I just wanted to be clean…

When I was 19 I went to see a councillor who told me I was beyond her skill and to go to a doctor. So I went to a doctor saying that i thought I had an anxiety disorder only to be told it was “stress” and “homesickness”, even though I had moved away from “home” 3 years before

So I went back to the counsellor. I told her a lot, about nightmares, flashbacks, “loosing” full days, etc. But she was always more interested in my financial situation than my actually problems

I went to another doctor, this one told me that I was just stressed and prescribed me sme sleeping tablets which I then ODed on… The on call psych in the hospital basically called me a melodramatic attention seaker…

I went to another doctor, this one told me to “stop living in the past” and that what I went though was “not that bad, at least no one died”

10 months ago I went to another doctor who referred me to a psychologist. I saw her for 4 weeks before she referred me to psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy said that I was “not bad enough” and so I was removed from the waiting list…

My GP sent me to the urgent referral team at the psych hospital, who screaned me for psychosis and she promised me a CPN

2 weeks later I was told that I was not “bad enough” for a CPN

I went back to my GP and told her a load of stuff I had not soken to her about before (i.e. the “people in my head”) and she phoned the psych hospital to ty to get me seen again

Not long after this I “lost” a few hours and ended up ODing during this time. I went to hospital and the on call psych came to see me… she told me that the abuse was all my fault, that I was never raped, that I was making a big deal out of nothing and that DID was not real so I should stop being stupid and just admit that I tried to kill myself… she said that the abuse from my ex wasn’t abuse and that my parents were at worst “slightly emotionally abusive” but not enough to have “messed me up” so I should just stop making a big deal out of nothing

This resulted in several weeks of not leaving bed, crying all the time, and loosing a lot of time where I would “come back” to massive cuts and quite disturbing writing…

5 months ago I got another psychologist, after only 2 sessions with her though she took me off her service. She didn’t believe that DID exists

3 months ago I got a new psychologist. She has diagnosed me with PTSD, DID and EDnos, and suspects mild agrophobia… she took me to see a dissocosiation specialist who “brought out” the alters and stuff…

So… taken 6 years, but I finally have a diagnosis lol. But… I am being referred again after Christmas…

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