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Need a hand-hold / kick up the backside, please

(25 Posts)
PollyannaWhittier Mon 04-Aug-14 22:59:45

Not really expecting any replies, I know I'm being stupid, I just need to write this down. I probably shouldn't even be on this forum as I'm not a parent, but I've read some useful advice on these pages before so I hope it's ok for me to post.
About 2 months ago I went to see my GP who diagnosed me with depression, anxiety and social phobia. She suggested that she could prescribe sertraline, which I said no to (I don't really know why). I'm a student, and currently away from my uni town for the summer, so have to travel down to see GP. This last week I've finally plucked up the courage to make an appointment to ask if I could try the medication, as I can't do this on my own. I ended up making the appointment to see a different GP as the lady I saw before is away this week, but I know that if I left it I would be too scared again. I came down on the train today, managed not to cry and run away when the nice old lady sitting next to me tried to make conversation. I had 2 calls to my mobile from the GP surgery, which I didn't pick up as I am really scared of talking on the phone; then I got an email to say that my appointment has been cancelled and I need to ring up to reschedule. I can't phone them. every time I think about it I'm panicking. but if I don't I will just go home again and everything will be the same as before. I haven't told my parents anything because they will say I'm being pathetic (I am) and I need to pull myself together (I can't). I was planning to tell them when I get home, as the gp giving me medication might prove to them that I'm not making it up. I also need the doctor to write to the faculty exam appeal board to explain why I made such a complete mess of my assessed work and exams this year, but I'm worried they aren't going to believe me as the only times I have been to the doctors are just after exams (this was the first time I had told anyone what was going on, and the gp wrote a letter for me to attach to an extenuating circumstances form) and now when I'm going to be asking for another letter. I'm sure it just looks like I'm making excuses for my rubbish grades.
I guess the main issue right now is phoning up tomorrow. I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. It's pathetic but I tried to phone this afternoon but I was crying and shaking and I just can't do it. I turn 21 this week, I'm meant to be a grown up, but I'm not, I'm a failure.
I'm sorry for writing so much, thank you if anyone has managed to read this far.

SilverStars Tue 05-Aug-14 00:16:34

Hi sorry to hear that about the appointment. Can you hone the dr'sand tell them how inconvenient it was, time, travel, expense etc and make sure if you book an apt they keep it?

Have you spoken to your tutor about your struggles? Has someone at Uni explained the extra marks you can get for extenuating circumstances and what their rules are for applying for it? It may be you do not need to see the gp for this but to get a phonecall slot to get this letter if they have already done this.

Have you tried University counselling services as well as the offer of medication?

SilverStars Tue 05-Aug-14 00:17:53

Would it also help to get a medical diagnosis and ongoing support for next years studies to help? Such as counselling, student support worker, extensions needed for coursework and extra time/separate room for exams? That may help?

PollyannaWhittier Tue 05-Aug-14 02:50:59

Thank you for replying. I can't phone the doctors. I tried, but I'm too scared. I'm scared of talking to people anyway, but on the phone is so much worse.

I did speak to someone in my department, but not until after exams were over. Then when I submitted my extenuating circumstances form the exam board said they weren't going to make any adjustment to my results as I had chosen to sit the exams; and that I won't be allowed back next year. I'm appealing the decision because I didn't know I was ill until after exams, I've always just thought (and tbh still think) I'm useless and pathetic, and it was my fault for not understanding stuff because I should have been able to sort it out. the exam board are now asking for a 'proper letter' about my diagnosis from my GP, in addition to the one she wrote to accompany the ex. circs. form.

The person looking at my appeal has said that they might decide to let me repeat the year, but they would almost definitely make me take a year out first to get myself sorted out. I really don't want to have to take a year out, I don't know how to explain to everyone at home what's going on; and I think I would actually get more help staying at uni - from the experience one of my friends had during sixth form, mental health services have very long waiting lists round our way compared to being seen almost immediately at student counselling service.

I did go to the counselling services once, but it didn't seem like she was listening to what I was saying and the only suggestion she made was that I should join one of their group workshops on self esteem, but there's no way I can do that at the moment as one of the things that I need help with is that I'm terrified of talking to people and being in a room with lots of people. I haven't been back because it was right at the end of term when I went the first time, and they don't run drop in sessions during the holidays, and I'm too pathetic to ring up and make an appointment.

LastingLight Tue 05-Aug-14 12:02:38

You need help and you are admitting this to yourself, that is a great first step. You are not useless and pathetic, you are ill. Being scared to talk on the phone is one of my depression symptoms so I understand. What helps me is to write down what I need to say so that I feel prepared for the conversation and can refer to my paper if I get stuck or overwhelmed. The other thing is, can you maybe arrange an appointment via email? Or ask a friend to phone?

SilverStars Tue 05-Aug-14 18:32:54

Hi do you know if you have failed this year at Uni?

I would imagine Uni's cannot increase marks significantly if evidence is submitted only after deadlines and exams.

However repeating a year sounds a possibility if you not gained enough marks to progress. Taking a year out sounds a sensible option, as Uni's have a responsibility to its students and if your letter for extenuating circumstances say things that concern the then unless Occupational Health clear you I guess it makes sense to take time out. If you currently have no medication and treatment then University may not see what difference there will be in Sept for you.

A proper diagnosis would be needed. That can take time as referral to consultants can take up to 18 weeks once a gp has requested that. And NHS waiting lists for treatment can be weeks/months. University services are much quicker but I guess the Uni have no evidence of you starting using them. Do they work over the holidays?

How many years have you done? How many passed ok? Is it every part of the last year below a pass mark? Or just a few? As some Universities do RE-sits if it is not all. How many years do you have left? I imagine it is expensive to re-sit so Uni will want to make sure you are well enough and not wasting money.

Hope gp and Uni give you answers.

PollyannaWhittier Thu 07-Aug-14 14:21:47

Thank you both for reading. Sorry for not replying sooner, had a bit of a wobble and spent yesterday in bed hiding from everything blush

silverstars yes, I have failed the year. Technically I passed 3 units and failed 2, but only 1 of the passes was above the threshold for progression. I've done 3 years passed 1st and 2nd year fine, majorly messed up this year. My degree is an integrated masters with 4th year being 60% research project. With the marks I've got I could graduate now with a 2.2 on the batchelors degree. I know there are people worse off than me, it just doesn't seem fair as I know I could have done better if I hadn't been so pathetic. When I submitted my appeal I felt able to argue my case, but now I'm wondering if it would be better to just give and leave and run away.

I'm going home this afternoon, I have to catch 2 trains and 3 tubes, I'm scared I'm going to miss the train, and the route I would normally go is closed so I have to take a different tube line I've never been on before. I'm panicking, again. I wish I could just disappear, then I wouldn't be causing trouble and upset to people.

Sorry for rambling, I don't blame you if you've given up reading.

LastingLight Thu 07-Aug-14 15:01:30

((HUGS)) PollyannaWhittier. I hope your journey goes well. If it makes you feel any better, on Saturday I was driving home from somewhere I have been before and managed to get on the highway going in the wrong direction, twice. I called myself a doofus and my 12 year old told me not to be so hard on myself. Out of the mouths of babes...

temporaryusername Thu 07-Aug-14 21:28:52

Pollyanna, hope you journey has gone ok and sorry to hear you are going through a difficult time. You are not pathetic, you are unwell. Think of how scared you are and how much courage it takes to do even what you are managing to do - that is not pathetic.

Don't despair, it sounds like you've had no medication or advice yet and you may improve a lot quite quickly. I don't think the doctor will think it is just about exams, they know that exam stress can reveal pre existing problems.

I am just wondering why you have to travel to the GP in your Uni town. During the holidays you should be able to see the GP local to where you are, just ask to register as a temporary resident - you can do this from a period of days to 3 months I think. They should be able to manage the case and give you a prescription. They may even be able to contact your other GP and ask for referrals to be put in place. You don't need the stress of travelling to see the doctor right now.

PollyannaWhittier Sun 17-Aug-14 22:13:03

Sorry for disappearing, I keep trying to write a reply then deleting it because it sounds stupid.

Thank you for hugs LastingLight, it's nice to know someone's listening to me. Going the wrong way twice must have been annoying for you. That sort of thing is one of the reasons I haven't learnt to drive; I just know I'd panic and go to pieces if I made a mistake.

temporaryusername thankyou for reading. I wanted to go to the uni GP because I've been there before so I would know what to do, and because I thought it would be easier for them to liaise with my department.

I got a letter on Thursday saying my appeal has been reviewed and they aren't going to let me repeat the year; I have to leave. I haven't told my parents yet, I'm going to have to soon because I need their help to sort out things like getting out of the contract on my flat; but I don't know how to tell them, they're going to be angry and so disappointed with me. I haven't told them anything about why I messed up my exams, they've just decided I'm lazy and didn't do any studying. But I don't think they will listen or believe me when I tell them, we were talking the other day about a friend of mine from school who has depression and anxiety, and my Mum insists that they are made up conditions invented by people to make excuses for not doing things.

My parents have said that if I'm not going back to uni I have to get a job as soon as possible, but I don't know how I can do that - I'm too scared to go the the GP or talk to the checkout assistant in a shop, I'm never going to be able to go to a job interview. I'm just useless, everything I ever try to do I ruin, I just make trouble and upset for everyone around me. I wish I could just go to sleep and not wake up, then my family could carry on without me bothering them.

temporaryusername Sun 17-Aug-14 22:47:35

Pollyanna thanks

I'm sorry, it sounds like you are under a lot of pressure. How do you feel about the Uni's decision? Did you manage to get a proper medical letter sent in, or discuss the year out option? It seems very harsh of them to be honest. I don't know whether you can take it further...I suppose it depends what you want partly.

It sounds very stressful to have been dealing with all this whilst no-one really knows, so people are not making any allowances for you right now.

I'm afraid your mum is going to have to accept that it is not a made up condition. Maybe though, you'll find that if you really tell them how things are they will be more understanding. To be fair it sounds like they don't know what you've been dealing with. It would be very unreasonable of them to be angry and disappointed, and I hope you'll find they aren't once you've explained things. It might take them a bit of time, but please remember this isn't your fault. You can always come and talk to us here.

You're not well at the moment, though I hope you will be better soon, and I agree that it would be really tough to look for a job right now. I think you need to talk to a doctor locally and also to your parents, and explain how you really are. Did you end up starting on the Sertraline?

By the way, if you need a phone call making pm me if I can help by making it for you. I don't have a smart phone or anything so I only get messages when I'm on the computer but I check quite often. I don't mind making appointments etc for you at all.

I really hope you find some support from your family. Please don't be hard on yourself, and please believe you can get better.

temporaryusername Sun 17-Aug-14 22:51:24

Ps. you are not causing trouble or upset, illness is causing them and mainly for you rather than others. You haven't chosen to feel this way.

Please tell your local GP about the impact all this has had, on your degree and on your wellbeing. They should be able to refer you for counselling or to the local mental health team, alongside any medication.

idlevice Sun 17-Aug-14 23:11:38

Is there any way you could email a copy of your posts on this thread to the GP surgery with an explaining message asking them to forward it to the doctor & ask for future communications to be made by email? Most surgeries these days have at least a generic email address.

PollyannaWhittier Mon 18-Aug-14 22:16:20

temporaryusername I'm not happy with their decision, it doesn't really seem like they took into account what I told them, but there's not much I can do about it now. I didn't manage to get a letter or discuss anything, I told them I was trying to get in touch with my GP and with student counselling, and the next I heard was when I got the letter on Thursday. They've suggested that I apply for a 1 year masters course when I'm feeling better, but I don't know anywhere that doesn't require a 2:1 for masters study.

I haven't started any medication, I still haven't been to the doctors blush I know I need to go, everything seems to be getting worse, the last few days I keep getting the panicky anxiety feelings when I'm not doing anything, previously it's only been when I'm doing or thinking about something I'm scared of. I don't know if that makes sense. Thank you for the offer of making phone calls, that's very kind of you thanks

I know you all keep telling me it's not my fault, and I'm trying to believe you, but I just think all this mess is of my making. I shouldn't have been so pathetic in the first place, I should have gone to the doctors sooner, I should have told someone at uni instead of being too scared to, I should have written my appeal differently so they listened to me, I should have told my parents sooner, they're going to be even more angry with me for not telling them. its all things I've done that have made everything worse.

idlevice I don't know about emailing the GP surgery, I will have to see if I can find an address. thank you for the suggestion

temporaryusername Tue 19-Aug-14 01:07:13

Anxiety and depression make it very difficult to do things we 'should' sometimes, and they also make it very easy to obsessively regret not doing them later. Imagining yourself in a mental state where you had done all those things is probably conjuring up a state very different from the one you've actually been in. It is understandable you've not felt able to do all those things. Unfortunately when we're depressed and anxious we often do behave in a way that makes things worse, it is part of the problem of the condition. So it is not your 'fault' in the way you would understand that about a person without those mental health issues.

I'm not saying that you can't help yourself though, you have to keep trying to take responsibility for doing things that will help. Just without any self-blame. You're trying to do things (go to doctors, confide in family) because they'll help you, but you know that your condition means that is harder for you right now. Keep trying, you'll get there. I think you'll feel such a relief when you finally tell the GP. Don't downplay the problem when you talk to the doctor.

It seems like now things have reached a point where you recognise the need to take some action. I really would go to the doctors. Seriously if you want me to ring and make an appointment just pm, then you'll feel you've got to go smile. I don't have problems using the phone, but last time I had to go and tell the doctor things had got really bad it took someone just making the appointment and telling me it was booked to make me go. I wanted to go, but I wasn't functioning well enough to ever feel up to getting out to the appointment.

Do you feel able to tell your parents, or have any other relative or friend you can tell. I sincerely hope your parents will understand why it wasn't easy to tell them before now. Perhaps you can explain that you need some support contacting the uni - you may be able to appeal further on the grounds that they haven't had all the information they needed. They haven't had it because down to the fact that you are unwell you've not been able to get it to them, you need someone to help you with that. The GP may be able to advise, or perhaps the uni has a pastoral care dept/person who could help.

PollyannaWhittier Tue 19-Aug-14 22:00:15

I want to tell my parents, I was ready to tell my Mum today, but I don't know how, I don't know what to say. I'm rubbish at talking, I know I'll get all confused and won't make any sense. It also doesn't help that my sister is always around, I'd rather not have her listening when I'm talking to Mum about this.

It's the same with going to the doctors, when I went in June I was trying to tell her what had been going on, but I started in the middle and got muddled trying to explain, then I just sat and cried blush I was so anxious about it that I didn't explain or answer questions properly, and some of the answers I gave were completely wrong, and I have no idea if what she understood was what I was trying to tell her.

Iwasinamandbunit Tue 19-Aug-14 22:10:46

It sounds like you actually need someone to go along with you for support to the Doctors. Do you have any other relative or friend who would go with you at all?

idlevice Tue 19-Aug-14 23:53:58

Ask your Mum to read this. She is your Mum - whatever else day to day stuff goes on, she would absolutely hate to know you are feeling as bad as this & would do anything to try to help you & support you. The relief you will feel just having an advocate on your side will be immense & after that it will seem that things will more or less happen as if by themselves to get you feeling better & sorting things out. Your Mum will not be worried about your course or the details in the first instance, she will comfort you and look after you, just like she did when you scraped your knee years ago. Go to her.

temporaryusername Wed 20-Aug-14 15:19:16

Keep trying to tell your mum, you will manage to get it out. Maybe you could start by saying that as she knows you've had problems with your course and actually there's been a bit more to it than you've said so far...

But really any way you manage to say it will be fine. It is fine to tell her and the doctor than it is hard to explain, and you feel like you're not getting everything across like you want to. They can bear with you, I think we've probably all found that it can take time for people to start catching up with where you are mentally. Remember you do deserve support. Let us know how it goes. Thinking of you thanks

PollyannaWhittier Thu 21-Aug-14 09:13:53

I told her. She cried because I hadn't told her before, she said she was hurt that I hadn't trusted her. sad I'm so sad that I've upset her, it's yet another thing that I've done wrong because I'm too much of a coward to behave like a normal person. She's gone round to tell my Nanna now, I guess I'd better prepare for more tears later when I go round there.

temporaryusername Thu 21-Aug-14 11:52:09

Pollyanna, well done thanks I know it is horrible to see people upset, but this isn't your fault - your family will be sad that you're unwell, as you are, but they'll want to help you. You haven't upset her, the illness has upset both of you. It really isn't do with being a coward or doing things wrong - you've done the best you can given what you're dealing with and if everything had come easy you wouldn't be unwell, would you? Your family will have to be accepting, your mum should soon move on from talking about her reactions as she needs to focus on you. Try to distance yourself from any immediate distressing reactions from relatives - tell them that you're sorry they are upset but you are unwell and seeing them respond like that only makes you feel worse. You're blaming yourself for things that aren't your fault - it is part of the condition to do that sometimes - but you need your family to see that and not make it worse.

I really hope it is a step forward, you're not having to hide this anymore.

How are feeling now?

idlevice Thu 21-Aug-14 15:10:25

Well done indeed! That was the right thing to do, although classically your condition is giving you a negative impression of it.

I think your Mum will be feeling very sad & distressed for you to know you have been feeling like you have (not just her own feelings of being upset about it IYKWIM) & it has been a shock to her. Once she has digested it I hope she'll support you & help you get to the doctor. If she is a bit flustered to start with try to ask that she specifically helps you with that step, as you and all the other posters on this thread agree this needs to happen asap.

temporaryusername Mon 25-Aug-14 20:37:31

Hope you're ok, Pollyanna. smile

PollyannaWhittier Fri 05-Sep-14 18:39:00

Thank you for thinking of me temporary, I am ok.

I'm sorry for not posting for so long, I feel bad not replying when everyone is being so helpful, it's just so hard trying to write down what I'm thinking.

I went to the doctor yesterday. She gave me a prescription for sertraline and told me to self-refer for counselling. I have to go back and see her in 3 weeks.

temporaryusername Tue 09-Sep-14 02:19:57

I'm really pleased you got to the GP. I don't know much about self referring but hopefully you can get that going, if you think it will be hard to make the call perhaps your mum could contact them? I hope that your family are being supportive.

Keep focusing on the fact that you will feel better and the future can be much happier. Sometimes the drugs take a while or you need to try a different one, keep in touch with the GP and go back sooner if you need advice. There is a big thread on here about Sertraline too.

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