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Reality Check(2 Posts)
I feel like I need a bit of a reality check - I don't know whether or not I'm depressed, and if I am then I am extremely reluctant to seek treatment.
About a year ago, I found out that a physical health problem was going to require surgery. By this point, I had already been ill for almost a year before that, and the NHS had dragged its feet enormously (6/7 months from realising there was a problem to even getting a diagnosis). I was given a surgery date for about three month down the line. Unfortunately, that surgery date coincided with
a) needing to hunt for another job, as I was coming to the end of a fixed term contract
b) my tenancy coming to an end (which effectively spelt homelessness)
c) planning to move in with my partner, on the other side of the country
None of those would have been a problem had the NHS stuck to waiting time limits.
The enormity of the decision I was facing - a choice between my physical health and my job, home and life plans, coupled with enormous pressure from my own parents and partner to have the surgery, took its toll on my mental health, and I crumpled. I was a crying wreck, unable to function, and was researching suicide methods on a near-daily basis, eventually settling on one, though I did not make an attempt. Even my own line manager, who was very supportive, could see that I was struggling and urged me to seek help.
I finally plucked up the courage to see two GPs and ask for help on two separate occasions, a fortnight apart. They refused to help me, for reasons that I don't really understand. One gave me an irrelevant leaflet, and the other one told me to choose which was more important to me - my career or my physical health. I tried to seek counselling via my employer (large, public sector organisation) but by the time it came through, I had already cracked (after about two months of being unable to cope) and had taken the decision to delay surgery as I was genuinely scared that I was unable to keep myself safe any more.
Since that point, I have managed to find another job and move in with my partner on the other side of the country. I also finally managed to get surgery about 3 months ago - and after everything that had happened, I found being in hospital incredibly traumatic (e.g. I would have nightmares about being in hospital, and then wake up in the exact same hospital bed that I had been having nightmares about, essentially being unable to escape the nightmare, even after I'd woken up).
On paper, I have everything sorted now. However, since the point when I mentally crumpled a year ago, I have not felt anywhere near as mentally resilient as I once did. Prior to that point, I had never had any MH problems, and had always viewed them as being the sort of thing that wouldn't happen to me. Nowadays, things that I would once easily have been able to cope with now seem far harder. I also now have a new line manager who is being exceedingly difficult (due, in part, to her own MH issues, I think), and she wants to get rid of me, which I find quite difficult - I feel like a failure. I'm looking for a new job.
My partner thinks I may be depressed. He says that I "haven't been the same for a year" [i.e. when I crumpled]. At the moment, I don't think I'm on top notch due to the issues I'm having at work. I had the day off work today, and was meant to be applying for jobs. Instead, I spent most of the day in a cycle of failing to do anything, so hating myself for not doing anything, so not doing anything. I occasionally think about killing myself, but not seriously, and with nowhere near the intensity that I had those thoughts a year ago. I lost interest in sex a year ago, and haven't regained it. I have no problems with sleeping or eating. I did the online NHS depression test and came out with a score of 9/27, which is one point below "it's very likely that you have depression". My partner is adamant that I should speak to my GP, but I'm exceedingly reluctant on the grounds that
a) they didn't help me when I went last time, even though I was much worse then, so I don't see why they would help me now - I have no confidence in them
b) if I do have depression, it was caused single-handedly by NHS fuck ups and waiting times, with their impact on my job and housing, and thus my mental health, meaning that I don't want to get myself involved with NHS services again any time soon if I can possibly avoid it.
c) I'm not convinced I have depression in the first place
Sorry for this post being as long as it is - it really is the shortest I could make it without leaving out major points. What I'm really looking for is some sort of outside perspective on what I should do, and whether or not it sounds like I'm actually depressed.
Are you still with the GP you saw before or are you living in a different place now? (Sorry, I haven't quite got the timeline straight in my head.) If it's the same, then move, or at least, see a different doctor. If it's a different one, then I don't think it's fair to assume that every GP will act in the same way.
You had a really difficult time, and it sounds like you were very unlucky too, and I'm sorry that things weren't straightforward. But it's not normal (sorry, wrong word to use but I can't think of the one I want, and I hope you'll understand what I mean) for these things still to be having an impact on you. What's more, they're having an impact on your partner too. Maybe you don't have depression, maybe you have post traumatic stress disorder, I don't know, but plainly, things are not right with you, and I think you owe it to yourself and to your partner to see what can be done to help you. I can completely understand your reluctance though. Would it be useful if your partner came to see the GP with you, for moral support? Or could you print out and take your post with you so that you can be sure you set out all the issues for the GP?
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