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mental health services don't like me, and it makes me feel worse - anyone else?

(27 Posts)
elementofsurprise Sun 10-Jan-16 19:10:33

Anyone else had this?
First sought help as obviously affected by volatile home life, aged 19. Got labelled an attention seeker/waste of time. I'm now 30 and have had various attempts at getting help, now I'm very traumatised... complex trauma, due to abusive relationships, trusting people who hurt me, homelessness and job lossess (due to breaking down). Currently on disability benefits yet still not entitled to NHS help, except some vague behavioural training type stuff that's not what I need.

They didn't even put me on a proper DBT course/do this therapy properly, just had someone vaguley saying we should look at DBT skills together. So I expressed some concern and asked what skills in particular, as it seems to be very focussed on reducing self injury etc, which I don't do. It also all seems to be about "learning to behave" in a certain way which isn't my problem - my problem is I feel so low and awful I can't cope, not I don't know how to behave. They just do not seem to get it at all, they assume I must go round sabotaging my life, rather than constantly trying to stick a smile on and cope when the pain inside and memories and weight of the world crushes me. No matter how I try to be patient with them and explain when they seem to miss the point, they just seem cross with me. There is no kindness or empathy from any of them. They don't even speak to me in a basic respectful manner, and act like me needing help is an irritant.

I have read up a lot over the years about stuff, and am pretty certain of my MH issues/where they stem from/what help I need, but they treat me like an attention seeking idiot. Of course they have said I have BPD from the start, but this seems to be based on the perception of me as "attention seeking" rather than any actual traits iyswim. This makes no sense either - it's a circular definition, really. Asking for help, struggling in any way = attention seeking. And attention seeking = BPD. And BPD = if someone's asking for help, it must be attention seeking. hmm

So I'm stuck whereby I can't fight for the help I need because the very act of doing so "proves" to them I'm attention seeking and don't need help, or need DBT behavioural type training (I know DBT has more to it that this, but the watered down NHS version doesn't). Occasionally, like this weekend, someone else finds out cos it gets so bad, and it ends up with police forcing into my flat, which is a huge trigger for me and sets off PTSD type response, and retraumatises all over again. They then get me assessed and dump me, often quite sneering and nasty about it too. (Although some of the police have been lovely and expressed frustration with the system, and more heartfelt concern than any psych nurse I've encountered). So my main thing is just to stay off the radar, I try to survive but them doing that (police, forced assessment etc) brings me so close to suicide, as well as causing almost constant traumatic nightmares and anxiety attacks for a while afterwards.

Oh, and it is virtually impossible to speak to anyone irl about this, as people just don't believe what the system has done to me (and others). They would refer to believe I was making it up, or tell me I obviously don't really want help etc. It cuts to the core, that last one. People seem to have an amazing capacity for turning away, pretending the world isn't really like that.

I'd give anything to be loved, to have someone just empathise when it hurt, let me have a hug when the memories get bad, treat me like I'm worth something. The NHS won't do that - yet so many people think it does, odd.

I know theres probably a lot of posters here who would be ever so kind and mean well, saying try someone else, or go to your GP or something - please take in what I have written above. I have tried again and again to get help. I have seen the system and spoken to others and know how dreadful it can be, I am hoping someone out there understands. That's why I'm writing this, for solidarity, to know Im not alone and the worthless waste of space they treat me as.

Pobspits Sun 10-Jan-16 19:20:11

Not sure about anything else and I'm sorry you feel like this but CBT really isn't imo as you describe. It's anout analysing why you feel how you do and working out how you can get out of that pattern. In my case for example I was unknowingly in a pattern of perfectionism and catastrophising. I now have a sort of flow chart in my head to work through as a result of CBT and it really does help.

Pobspits Sun 10-Jan-16 19:22:30

What happened this weekend? When I had antenatal anxiety I wasn't treated very nicely and was definitely treated as though it was a personal failing of mine rather than an illness iyswim? It's horrible.

mrssmith79 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:29:40

still not entitled to NHS help, except some vague behavioural training type stuff that's not what I need

With the greatest of respect, what exactly do you want from MH services? It never seems clear in your posts. I'm a CPN - if you can verbalize the treatment that you think will help you to recover I'll do my best to let you know if it's viable / realistic and how it can be accessed.

Blue2014 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:39:30

I believe you and your experiences, I'm so very sorry that the system makes it all harder. I don't have an easy solution for you, I wish I did but I know it's possible you won't get the help you want or need from the NHS.
I know this suggestion is useless but is there anything that's not part of the NHS? Online support or something in the voluntary section? Sometimes the BPD label is useful in directing you to somewhere that can help (because essentially that's what BPD is - just a bunch of symptoms that describe the after effects of growing up traumatised)
Much love to you OP thanks

elementofsurprise Mon 11-Jan-16 03:17:09

Pobs It's DBT, not CBT smile. I'm sorry you were also treated like it was a personal failing.

Basically I have been extremely low recently, and have no-one to turn to or talk to or have a hug from. I tried to open up to a "friend" who just turned on me (someone who has been abusive to me before and I shouldn't have stayed friends with, but I end up thinking it must be me and so lonely...) so it intensified the feeling I am worthless and alone, like a physical crushing in my chest.

Due to another thing I can't write about in case I out myself (basically something that meant I was forced to interact with others) someone realised what a state I was in and called the police to do a welfare check (they probably called medical pople first and were advised to do that, knowing local system). The police wouldnt leave me be, insisted on coming in and staying until their MH triage team assessed me. Just knowing I am powerless when police are involved, the memories of past experiences etc, is making my heart race typing this, it's horrible when then can force entry if u dont let them in, I try my best to cope and its a huge other thing to have to cope with.

Anyway a MH nurse showed up to assess me - a man, who brushed off everything I said and treated me like a silly nuisance. He said he'd write to my GP. Then there was a knock at my door and suddenly they were all leaving, I was trying to explain I'd already repeatedly seen my GP and he keeps referring me but can't make the CMHT help me, but the nurse just dod not give a shit, and the police went all weird on me and just walked out slamming the door behind them, all trace of their earlier kindliness has left. God I feel horrific just thinking of it. The look the cop gave me, pure hatred like I was such scum, it keeps flashing in my mind. I was terrified, shaking, panicked the whole time, feeling sick with how worthless and shit I am, trying to tell them I was in a worse state than when they'd arrived, but they just didnt care, I didnt know how to cope with the pain I was in. I called the animal charity who will be taking my pets if I need to "check out" at any point, but they couldnt take them until the morning. So I came on here, and a MNer who I chat with was on, luckily, and very kindly sent messages and chatted through the night until I was no longer an imminent suicide risk.

Sorry thats long, anyway this is why I try to avoid them, and why it was awful something happened that brought me in contact with people who decided I needed 'help'.

elementofsurprise Mon 11-Jan-16 03:33:37

mrssmith Isnt it obvious I need trauma focussed therapy? Although you're right, I don't usually say that on here, because I come here for support rather than tips/advice.

When I first went for help, aged 19, I was very clear about my family background and the situations and how they had affected me... I specifically asked to see a counsellor to deal with it, having worked out as much as possible myself (having struggled since age 11/12 and kept it hidden as possible, although it was bloody obvious I wasnt really coping). But my GP seemed a horrible man who said I was obviously "just one of those people" and I think his view of me influenced services doing nothing. Obvs back then I had no idea how services operated, and assumed there'd be a kindly, sympathetic counsellor on hand <bitter smile>. I also had an RP accet whilst by then living in the north, which I think made them view me as a rich (as if!) posh spoilt brat. Despite living in a bedsit hmm.

So I certainly haven't just sort of flung mself at services - I've tried to work it out myself and work out what I need. However, this seems to annoy them more - they seem to want me to accept their view of me as a shit, crazy person with behavioural issues, rather than trauma. Trauma, btw, is not a word I'd have used a decade ago aged 19, although in hindsight it sort of was. But since then, I have been through a hell of a lot, and developed a whole load of triggers and traumatic memories and symptoms.

The other thing I'd like from service is just to be treated kindly. Not like a waste of space. I appreciate they're very busy, but it doesn't cost anything or take any time to just use a pleasant tone of voice and not roll their eyes etc

dangermouseisace Mon 11-Jan-16 20:41:52

elementofsurprise I don't think you are alone in your feelings with regards services. You've had a hard time of it in the past, you are having a hard time now. MH services are woefully underfunded and I think most users of services would find that they are pretty harsh and that you actually need to be very resilient to deal with how you are treated, no matter what your diagnosis. Of course, most people who have contact with MH services are already at a low point in their lives, and resilience is in short supply. MH services are woefully underfunded so CMHT tend to be have to focus on those that are seen as having the most severe mental illnesses- e.g. those going through psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar etc- people who really do lose contact with reality and are often extremely vulnerable in that they may be unaware that anything is wrong. Don't take this as a suggestion that your symptoms are not severe- it just means that you are aware that there is a problem and could vocalise what is going on if necessary.

Have you taken up the offer of therapy from the NHS? It is worthwhile taking anything that is offered and then if it is useful, all well and good, and if not, at least you have been seen my MH services to have 'complied' so are more likely to be offered additional help. If it exists. You mention that you are on disability benefits- would you be able to use some of those benefits to pay for counselling- e.g. if you are on DLA or something? Many organisations offer reduced cost counselling for those on low incomes.

I suggest paying/seeking help outside the NHS as I've had on/off experience with MH services since I was a teenager, and I always feel that whilst the NHS has been useful in keeping me alive at certain points in my life, any work to get 'better' happened outside the NHS. Self help groups, seeking counselling from other organisations etc, reading, online help groups might be a kinder environment that the NHS? As it is often harsh. Apologies if you have already done all that I have suggested…

elementofsurprise Wed 13-Jan-16 16:40:03

I haven't really been offered therapy dangermouse. Just had a social worker allocted to me who asked how I was every couple of weeks and vaguley talked about how sh'ed been allocated to me to look at some DBT skills. They never actually said "right, we've signe you up for DBT starting on Monday" or whatever. And AFAIK (ie. all the info. out there, I've read up on this!) DBT is suppsoed to be done largely in group settings, very structured, not someone wafting on about "skills" one-to-one.

Before that I had an "extended assessment" with a CAT therapist, who got me to recall the most painful things in my life, but showed no compassion and wouldn't let me talk about them, just decided I wasn't suitable for "any therapeutic approach". She actually wrote that I seemed to space out a bit when talking about these things, and STILL didnt mention trauma. In fact she kept saying to me "But what are you doing that makes you feel so bad?" She couldn't seem to grasp I wake up feeling bad, have intrusive memories etc; she was utterly fixated on the idea that I must be doing something crazy, which causes problems, which make me feel bad. I kept trying to explain but she just didn't get it. (Which makes no sense; most psych diagnoses are viewed as someone being ILL, eg. depression etc so why she couldn't grasp the concept, I don't know.)

See what I mean about them being convinced it's behavioural?

Also, I saw a private therapist for 18 months who went weird at the end, and then suddenly stopped seeing me. She wrote to my GP saying I needed more help thatn she could give. It was horrible and freakd me out the way it ended so quickly - I didn't know they were allowed to do that, and I'm terrified to trust anyone again.

I wish there was someone in my life who thought I was worth something. I trid to reach out for help and got treated like a waste of space.

PeaceLoveAndMincePies Wed 13-Jan-16 17:05:26

Is there a personality disorders clinic under your local trust? Have you done a Millon report? BPD is often the first sort of "umbrella" diagnosis given to people with PDs, but there are lots of them. It's only with in-depth assessment that you can be properly diagnosed and sign-posted to the right therapy.
I'm speaking as someone who has been in the system most of my life, from 13-30, and who suffered childhood traumas like you. I threw myself into every therapy and medication etc that they offered me but it wasn't until I was referred to the personality disorders service that I received the care I needed to live life without all the drama and hysteria that I'm sure you're familiar with.
Talk to your social worker or psychiatrist about a Millon test and the possibility of STEPPS or ACT therapy.

moopymoodle Wed 13-Jan-16 21:58:18

OP. Can you not pay for private DBT or do some from self help materials?

elementofsurprise Wed 13-Jan-16 23:16:11

Most of the traum I've been through has happened in adulthood - and largely as a result of the BPD diagnosis so eg. I went thrugh abusive realtionship and homelessness without support. I dont think BPD is a suitable diagnosis - I don't meet the criteria. I dont need help to stop self injuring or anything, because I dont. I am continously depressed, feeling worthless, trying to put a face on it. I dont think DBT will help me, I think I need some kind of trauma informed interpersonal therapy. I dont need to be told how to act, I ned help dealing with the past.
Isnt that clear from my posts? I dont get it. confused

As for "all the drama and hysteria" - what? No drama and hysteria here, just somene in immense pain who tries my best to press on and cover it up. Why is everyone so obsessed with the BPD label rather than actually reading my posts or, in person, listening to me?

elementofsurprise Wed 13-Jan-16 23:23:34

moopy I have a DBT book, it seems utterly irrelevant.

What I dont have is anyone who actually gives a shit.
I don't seem to fit in anywhere, so find it hard to make friends (have a zillion aquaintances though). And when I do, they move away or something.

Other than that, peope I thought were my friends have been male, and have turned on me. The last two people I used to spend time with and usually laugh with were also abusive to me. I'm trying not to go back to them.

I wish I could meet and make friends with some nice, consistent people who make sense.

elementofsurprise Wed 13-Jan-16 23:26:05

peace I dont have a social worker or psychiatrist. I only have my GP. Thats the point - services wont take me on. This area has had such extreme cuts.
In the nicest way possible, did you actually read my OP?

elementofsurprise Wed 13-Jan-16 23:38:29

I feel like a target for abuse. People treat me in a way they never would do to others, or turn on me weirdly an suddenly cut me out. I've had people who seem lovely just be utterly horrible to me when no-one else is around to witness (although to be fair the main one like this did have other people saying yes, he can be like that). Its freaking me out. Why am I such a target? Am I unloveable? Am I not human?

Pobspits Wed 13-Jan-16 23:41:40

I'm really NOT having a go ok but do you think maybe you're a bit paranoid?

PeaceLoveAndMincePies Wed 13-Jan-16 23:57:55

Just had a social worker allocted to me

From one of your updates. You should engage with services when they offer you help.

elementofsurprise Thu 14-Jan-16 03:16:21

PeaceLove They haven't offered me help. In the past I have engaged with them - although they don't seem to engage with me (ie. like in my post on Wed@16.40, about being assessed by the therapist.)

There seems to have been a misunderstanding about what I wrote there - "I haven't really been offered therapy dangermouse. Just had a social worker allocted to me who asked..."

Ie. I merely had a social worker who asked how I was and vaguely mentioned DBT. Not that I was allocated a social worker recently.

As for "DBT skills" - its crazy - it feels like going to A&E with a broken leg and they're going on about painkillers and different types of crutches, but completely ignoring that the leg needs to be set and put in a cast in order to heal! Feels like banging my head against a brick wall trying to engage with them.

Anyway, the social worker discharged me a year ago ish. The other thing that was weird was they kept going on that it was good I was getting private therapy and could work on the deep issues - and even used it as an excuse at one point as to why they couldn't offer me in-depth therapy. And yet, they simultaneously denied I needed in-depth therapy, and the reason I'd gone private was because they had at that point blank refused me therapy at all (for three years)! There seems to be so much smoke and mirrors, u-turns etc - and if you ask questions to try to get to the bottom of it they just act like you're being awkward by asking.

Pobs I thought I was, and for that reason have put up with so much crap over the years. You know when women stick with an abusive partner and make excuses for him, and tell themselves they're just being oversensitive? I did that. And I did it with "friends" too. Although I'm normally on the fringes of groups, so get left out and left behind easily. I thought I had male friends over the years but they have suddenly turned on me, or stopped being friends when they get a partner. I was probably naive to think things were purely platonic with most of them. Sigh. I just wish I could meet women like me... I never seem to irl.

elementofsurprise Thu 14-Jan-16 03:21:23

peace I've just realised, in the same post where you though I'd got a social worker, I wrote:

Before that I had an "extended assessment" with a CAT therapist, who got me to recall the most painful things in my life, but showed no compassion and wouldn't let me talk about them, just decided I wasn't suitable for "any therapeutic approach". She actually wrote that I seemed to space out a bit when talking about these things, and STILL didnt mention trauma. In fact she kept saying to me "But what are you doing that makes you feel so bad?" She couldn't seem to grasp I wake up feeling bad, have intrusive memories etc; she was utterly fixated on the idea that I must be doing something crazy, which causes problems, which make me feel bad. I kept trying to explain but she just didn't get it.

Does that sound like me not engaging, really? confused I feel like I try to engage with them but they wont engage with me...

elementofsurprise Thu 14-Jan-16 03:24:12

I'm confused, am I not explaining things clearly? I find having to go over and over the same stuff really soul destroying. Same IRL, like people dont believe me or take it on when I explain stuff the first time, so I end up using all my energy keeping going over it and not getting anywhere!

elementofsurprise Thu 14-Jan-16 03:25:17

Sorry, not tyring to be rude, just worn out, baffled, and hurting so much

Marchate Thu 14-Jan-16 11:09:58

Here's what I'm getting from your thread -

You desperately need help with past trauma but feel you are being given only sticking plasters. The more you comply with the 'first aid', the less real help you seem to get. Is that a fair summing up?

From experience with a young family member who has MH problems, I think if you don't fit a certain 'type' it can be really difficult to get appropriate help and care

moopymoodle Thu 14-Jan-16 13:36:59

OP if you don't agree with the MH services you could try other avenues. I didn't agree with them either so I used self help, diet and mindfulness and it was really good for me. During my first panic attack I had a doctor make out I was am attention seeker and said I had a chest infection. Funny that chest infection went on to last 10 years. My Dad bloody put him straight lol.

I've also had a few nice doctors who didn't try to label me, they listened and helped me understand I wasn't crazy I was having anxiety attacks. If you think you need therapy for trauma then go privately, use self help or stand upto the professionals in charge of you and tell them so.

IMO and I mean this the nicest possible way. We all have friends and family who aren't perfect. I have friends who let me down at times, family who has done awful things etc. Yet these same people have also at times been lifesavers. I think they may have mentioned DBT to you as a way of dealing with how you feel about people treating you. BPD is just a label, it's one i don't agree on as it's basically a collection of traits often formed from negative life experiences (not some MH disorder as we are often told). But DBT may benefit you I'n relationships OP. I never had full therapy I read self help (diagnosed anxiety) and I learnt not to view people as all good or all bad. I basically learnt they everyone in life will disapoint us, we can set boundaries and accept situations and move forward from them. If you go through life obsessing as you are that people are always letting you down you are making yourself anxious and only noticing just that. ThAt type of negative thinking leads to a downward spiral of believing either yourself is unlovable or that those around you aren't worthy and pushing them away usually follows. This is something most people do on some level op, it's not something that makes anybody weird for doing it. But if it's done to such an extreme it has a big impact on your life then changes must be made.

You could also get the therapy you need for the trauma you have experienced too. You can take control OP.

moopymoodle Thu 14-Jan-16 16:07:33

Op I was just thinking about mu Dad and how the NHS treat him and it reminded me of your experience a bit.

My Dad had a stroke and was completely locked in, the nurses used to put food infront of many men lime my dad and expect them to somehow ear whwn they couldnt move. They told them to poo themselves rather then take them to the toilet with dignity. They turned off buzzers and even accused patients of attention seeking. My Dad ended up passing blood in his urine a lot (sorry for tmi). We begged fir tests for cancer as he was in agony only to be dismissed. In the end we got an appointment with the matron of the hospital and explained that if they didn't test my Dad we would goto the media with video evidence of the neglect. Within 2 days it came bk he had cancer and he indeed died of it a week later. A few days before he died I visited and they where giving him calpol, yes calpol (he couldn't swallow tablets due to stroke) for the pain of cancer when they knew he had days to live and the pain was excruciating. After more pressing from us they eventually gave him a morphine patch. They they decided to withdraw all food and water so he would die faster as apparently it's cruel to prolong the death. I fought for him and told them it's barbaric to starve a patient etc but nope. Good old NHS eh.

Now I know my Dad's experience isn't related to MH, but just wanted to share with you as I believe the NHS can be completely shit at times. It's not a reflection of the patient, more a reflection of under funding and narrow minded professionals in positions of care when they lack empathy. So try not to feel like it's personal against you, it's really a postcode lottery to what treatment you receive. Shocking really!

elementofsurprise Thu 14-Jan-16 17:15:23

Bloody hell moopy that's horrific.
I am scared of going on, getting older, so alone, knowing I'll likely be one who really suffers and is treated like shit.

Re. friends and family who aren't perfect - have you seen the stately homes thread? Families destroying their children by scapegoating them? It's worse to try to make it all ok, to blame yourself for it. Better to keep some emotional distance, because they will just hurt you again and again.

And I'm not talking about friends not being "perfect". I wrote "You know when women stick with an abusive partner and make excuses for him, and tell themselves they're just being oversensitive? I did that. And I did it with "friends" too." Quite serious stuff. One was a male friend who was physically violent to me, and belittled me for being depressed, whilst getting drunk a lot and expecting me to listen and sympathise to his monologues. Not great. Another I seemed to be great friends with, turned on me. He suddenly stopped spending any time with me, answering calls etc and when I knocked (there was a whole group of us used to knock on each other all the time, was in mid 20's) a few of them were having dinner together, ususally I'd have been incuded but I wasn't, and I wasn't allowed in and I was begging them to explain why and someone called the police on me (at the time the protocol in our group if someone knocked unepectedly would be to pull up a chair and grb a plate). It was horrific, I was dragged off for a psych assessment, when I just needed a nice evening with friends. After that I was always trying to please them so they'd be nice again, it took a couple of years to realise theyd never properly accept me and to not bother. Another one (who was there that night) will get you on your own and then in a really frightening spiteful way hiss accusations and insult at you - totally Jekyl and Hyde because he seems the sweetest person ever normally. I was shaking and sick and terrified the first time he did it, fortunately I did tell someone and they confirmed he can do this, no-one really understand why/what sets him off. It was so frightening the first time though because I just couldn;t uderstand what was happening, and why this apparently loely person had had a personality change. Another friend who I'd really thought wasn't like this, had been friends a few yrs, got a girlfriend and basically dumped most of his friends, starting with the women. To be fair to him, he is in an abusive realtionship with a violent controlling woman - some people who weren't hut out as quikly as me actually sat him down and tried to intervene, but no luck.

See why I really want to meet women? See why it's a bit more than "not being perfect"? For most of my life I have kept trying to please people who hurt me, have put up with them hurting me nd just wanted to get on and be friends. That's not very good or healthy, is it? Obviosuly due to actual friends leaving/moving away/abroad and MH issues I have been more alone and thus put up with worse treatment, as well as not being accepted (i'm astounded at the stigma of MH issues tbh, and it comes up cos i'm not working so people know) except by people who are 'odd' themselves (i'm fine with odd but dysfuctional that leads to weird relationships isnt good).

I dont seem to fit in anywhere - until I was about 28 I felt older than my peers, for a start. I've had friends where we have very similar political views/philosophical chats/laugh together but who have some huge dysfunction or several like living in filth and lacking any apparent ambition/plans or smoking copious amouts of cannabis. Which I'm not judging, but makes me feel 'different'... and then when they get on with things and clean up their act I'm someone left behind as if they see me as a bad influence/part of their old life or something, even though I've been the one encourging them all along!

Sorry for writing so much, feels good to get that out though. I feel like I've 'met' people I get on with/'fit in' on MN and yet I dont have children so I guess I won't meet them IRL! Also when I do met people I feel I fit in with - the being unemployed, and the stuff I've experienced regarding MH sets me apart.

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