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what to do to help PTSD whilst on waiting list

(22 Posts)
GreenGoth89 Wed 24-Aug-16 23:37:15

Since April I've been waiting for EMDR, I was told it would be August, it will now not be August. It's more likely looking like December or next year. I am struggling from one day to the next, the smallest things are leaving me in tears, the GP says just wait, the specialist service says just wait, I need to stop this becoming a hospitalisation issue - I've gotten very close twice. What do I do? My DP is finding me hard to deal with (along with a lot of other shit in our lives and having to see most of our friends going through crap right now too) so what do I do? I can't just keep calling the Samaritains several times a week!

GreenGoth89 Thu 25-Aug-16 14:34:07


Struggling as I realised yesterday I don't live for myself I live for others.

dangermouseisace Thu 25-Aug-16 15:58:47

greengoth sorry to hear that you have been struggling.

It's good that you are waiting for EMDR…a friend has been waiting years with severe PTSD and has finally started, only had a few sessions but she says it is amazing.

Don't worry about calling the Samaritans when you need to. Do you find it helpful? This is a difficult point in your life and that is what they are there for.

Are you on medication at all? Do you have access to MH services at all- e.g. is there a mental health service crisis number you can ring?

Sometimes when things are bad living for others is what you have to do to get by. At this point, where things are awful you just have to hang on to whatever keeps you going, until you can get the therapy to work on your problems. Do you have things you do during the day- e.g. work, other forms of distraction etc?

Is your DP supportive?

GreenGoth89 Thu 25-Aug-16 19:12:16

I dont find the Samaritains at all helpful - in fact I've had some really unhelpful things be said even been blamed for what happened as a child. But when it's all I've got then I call them. I have no other contact with mental health services and DP feels that it's only going to get me sectioned if i call the crisis team. I need some time out from everything - DM is coming tomorrow so I can talk to her but I don't want her to feel even worse than she does about not being close by.

DP is helpful to a point, but doesn't get that it can make me angry and sad and scared in the space of a day or two. He doesn't see what it's done to my self worth.

I don't want to live for anyone else - me and DP have been close to splitting up over the past couple of months and if they would leave me with my DM who doesn't have great health. Then I would have no purpose and I don't want to live my life dependent on other people - physically or mentally. I'm not saying I want to die, I just want to write myself out of existence.

dangermouseisace Thu 25-Aug-16 21:52:41

I'm sorry to hear that your experience has not been helpful with the Samaritans. They're meant to be non judgemental! Have you been given details of the crisis team to call- I think you have to be on their 'books' at some places…I'm assuming that if your on the list of EMDR that you would have had some sort of contact?

Calling the crisis team would NOT get you sectioned. I've phoned them several times v suicidal and not been sectioned, but what they've said had been helpful.

GreenGoth89 Thu 25-Aug-16 22:06:15

I've been through the primary system but that's it. No I have a number that's available on their website.

Edie30 Sat 01-Oct-16 22:19:36

Nearly there Op, you are nearly there. Keep going.

Meanwhile for PTSD-
Try MIND, no Panic, anxiety UK, Mood Gym, diet, exercise, medication, meditation, art, nature, mindfulness, vitamin D, magnesium oil, chamomile tea, no caffeine (if possible), no drinking, or very little.

Be kind to yourself. Be around people who love you and support you. You can't heal from trauma in a vacuum - healing happens via safe human connection. Self soothing is vital with PTSD - a quick Google will bring up some techniques. Self care is vital as is self compassion and love.

Keep it simple. Never give in. You are not alone.

phoolani Sat 01-Oct-16 22:33:50

Is it at all possible you could go private while you wait? If is it, do it. I haven't found EMDR to be a quick fix, so start if you can. And by possible I mean, if you put your mental health at the top of your priorities list, could you find the money?

GreenGoth89 Sat 01-Oct-16 23:57:02

Had 2 sessions really not happy, been told the NHS will only provide me with 12 sessions, no chance of extension and re-referral could take 6 months. I'm scared that opening up this much and then having no where to go with it could be worse than not opening up at all.

GreenGoth89 Sat 01-Oct-16 23:59:14

And no chance of going private, we can't afford the bills let alone private therapy.

erinaceus Sun 02-Oct-16 17:46:05

Hi GreenGoth89, I recognise you from Feminism Chat.

It is not clear from your post, are you unhappy with the therapy itself, or with the fact that the NHS will only provide you with 12 sessions, no chance of extension?

If you feel scared that opening up this much and then having no where to go with it could be worse than not opening up at all, you might be right. There are some alternatives, though. EMDR via the NHS is not the only route through trauma. I think that sometimes the NHS are so reluctant to suggest alternatives, that it leaves the patient feeling as if they have no option but to stick with what the NHS has to offer. I feel as if psychiatry does not always emphasis the extent to which the treatment process is optional, with the exception of the mental health act.

In my experience, there are a lot of different options, and what the NHS has to offer is not the right fit for everybody. Specifically

- In my area, there is a concept called Recovery College, which is led by a combination of peers and mental health professionals. The Recovery College in my area is relatively well established, but other areas offer similar. I came across one in one area which is called Hope College, which I thought was a better name. You may need to do a bit of Googling, to see if there is anything local to you that is offered.

- If you cannot afford private psychotherapy, many therapists offer a few lower cost places, and charities can also offer support, sometimes individually and sometimes via groups. I attend a group for women who have similar experiences to me and I find it invaluable.

- I have had similar experiences to you with the Samaritans. I find them to be variable. Sometimes all I need is to feel heard, and the volunteer might take a different stance like trying to reason with me which I find to be invalidating, or trying to "play therapist" which I find exceedingly irritating, or tell me that I need professional help which is probably true but such help typically is not available in the wee small hours of the morning for example.

- I do not think that telephoning the crisis team in your area necessitates you being on a section. I have had telephone support from the crisis team in my area before, even when I was not on their caseload, and this has helped me through the moments when my emotions threaten to overwhelm me.

- I find creative approaches helpful. Either colouring something in, which I find to be soothing, or drawing my emotions out, which I find helps me to express them without doing something that might cause a problem, like taking out my anger on somebody who is not really the source of my anger for example.

I am not sure if this is of any use. Sometimes I just feel as if I always need more strategies. I have never tried EMDR, so I cannot really comment on that, apart from that I know some people who have found it immensely helpful, and others who have not found it so helpful, and that it sounds as if it would bring things to the surface very quickly, which I am not sure that I would cope so well with to be honest.

GreenGoth89 Sun 02-Oct-16 19:29:56

Neither the psychologist I'm seeing nor the GP are willing to refer me for more in depth therapy - they told me categorically there is no other NHS service but there is - but you have to be referred by a psychiatrist or psychologist. I might call the trust and say this is my situation what can be done - I'm getting fed up of being given this fait acumply which isn't the case! I actually feel its negligent to even start me on this but I'm getting triggered left right and centre so can't just leave it. Got triggered over 3 hours ago and I still feel sick and am having flashbacks.

leopardchanges Sun 02-Oct-16 19:51:28

Hi OP. This is an awful situation to be in.

I've been doing EMDR for childhood trauma. I can't tell if you're wanting to get on with it, or wanting to do a different therapy but they're not giving the option.

Please PM me if you want.

GreenGoth89 Sun 02-Oct-16 20:17:22

I'm wanting to get on with it but I don't want to get to a stage where I'm still processing and raw without support. The therapist has said she won't do that but I don't see how she can if they won't extend the appointments.

erinaceus Mon 03-Oct-16 06:43:32

I have also been told that the NHS does not provide long-term therapy. That does not mean that the situation is hopeless. It might mean that you need to look outside the NHS, for an alternative solution. Some of the suggestions that I made above, might be useful to you.

You wrote that there are other services. There are services that take national referrals. Are you able to have a conversation with your psychologist and discuss the services that you know exist, and request that she give you a reason that he or she is not willing to you refer you?

Flashbacks are horrific. I was working with a therapist and the therapy was undoing me so much between sessions that I decided not to go anymore, and changed therapists. It is a difficult situation and I feel for you a great deal. I remember from your other thread that you are planning to get married. You might decide that it is worth investing in private psychotherapy or sessions with a clinical psychologist, even if you can only afford a few sessions, if your life is being affected by your trauma in the manner that you describe. Part of the reason I mention this is because of how badly the flashbacks and emotions that are evoked by what I went through have affected and indeed are affecting my marriage. I would hate for anyone else' relationship to suffer in the way that mine has.

Lastly, are you employed? Many emplyers have an Employee Assistance Scheme, through which it is possible to access short-term counselling. I know a number of people who have found this to be helpful, and a route towards a coping strategy, where other parts of the system have let them down. I know one person who started out this way, and went on to see her counsellor privately for a few more sessions, until she got to a place where she was coping better. There are a lot of options, and EMDR on the NHS is not the only option.

Comejointhemurder Tue 04-Oct-16 17:59:49

I work in NHS MH. In order to be referred on for longer term intervention (it is available in most areas) you need to engage with what is currently offered and that not be enough first.

I know that seems shit but you need to attend sessions and express your fears about being left with nothing if this doesn't 'work'. You can't make a judgement on whether you think it is helpful or not after 2/12 sessions. You can fear it won't be but you wouldn't be referred on until much later in the course of therapy when you and the therapist agree it isn't enough and you haven't made sufficient progress.

The therapy you're having might 'click in' later on or it might not. But they won't consider onward referral when you've just started. And it's really common for people to anticipate it won't be enough and panic about it and in some ways block themselves from fully engaging. Go with it, be honest about your fears but engage to the best of your ability.

Speaking as someone who works within the system and has had to use it too!flowers

erinaceus Tue 04-Oct-16 22:45:44

You can't make a judgement on whether you think it is helpful or not after 2/12 sessions.

This is not the case. The patient can make such a judgement. It is important that they do, in some cases.

The hoop jumping that accessing longer-term psychotherapy on the NHS involves is of itself somewhat traumatic, in part due to the power imbalance, notions of deserving and not deserving, and decision making behind the closed doors of the treatment providers that are built into stepped models of care. That the patient fails to engage in treatment can be because the treatment is not right for them. It is possible for the patient to know that what is offered is not right for them after as little as an assessment, and it is possible for the patient to turn down what the NHS offers. It is damaging when this is then described using the language of failure, as in, failure to engage in treatment. The failure to engage could equally be the patient making a positive decision about a process that they do not wish to go through.

I do not see a solution, but I do offer my perspective.

GreenGoth89 Tue 04-Oct-16 23:08:41

I spoke to PALS today and they suggested that considering I have had 10 + years of mental health issues which are documented and I told them how complex it is I should have been referred to the specialist therapies team straight off. I'll go to the sessions but it feels like I am setting myself up for crisis if I engage as I would have done with EMDR therapy if there wasn't a time limit. I've emailed in a written complaint and I'll see what happens next

erinaceus Wed 05-Oct-16 06:37:02

GreenGoth99 I am in a similar situation, although my route through is different. Once I was out of crisis I was able to articulate the extent of my history to my GP and the crisis team quite quickly and they are in the process of getting me referred to the specialist team who treat complex trauma in my area. It took my not being in crisis to be able to work with the GP and the crisis team and so on. This is why I refer to the crisis team as the not-in-a-crisis team. I did not find them as helpful when I was in a crisis, as I did when I was "only" aware that I was headed for another one, and got in touch with them sooner. At one stage I was referred to primary care MH services (IAPT) I was offered CBT and I turned the offer of CBT down after the assessment. Whilst some people find CBT helpful, I have had it in the past and I did not find it helpful then. I have never had DBT formally but I do find some of the techniques helpful, again, now that I am not in crisis. I have heard from someone else who was in the process of having more "proper" DBT, that they needed to not be in crisis, in order to be able to make use of it. Once I was out of crisis, I started to find it somewhat useful too. Whatever works, I guess.

I hope that PALS can help you. In terms of support in the mean time, are you able to keep posting here? I found that to be helpful. Depending where you are in the country, there are other options as well, to sort-of-tide-you-over in the mean time. I find the Samaritans helpful if I am direct with them, and am able to say: I am in recovery from complex trauma, and I am having a flashback at the moment. In my case, the trauma is complicated, involving multiple family members, so I feel able to call it complex trauma, even though this is not yet a diagnosis according to psychiatry. I do not have a diagnosis, at the moment, I have had them in the past though. I think I am "just" traumatised, at the moment.

If your username represents your age, then we are in the same ballpark.

Sending flowers

NHS resources are limited, so there could be a bottleneck and a waiting list for specialist psychotherapy. That is why I get creative, and find other routes through. I am somewhat glad I made it through the crisis, but sometimes I do wonder.

I do not mean to derail your thread, so, my apologies for the long reply. I am having a difficult time at the moment.

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Wed 05-Oct-16 22:17:40

Op has anyone prescribed you duoloxetine? Its good for ptsd ive been on it for months whilst also undergoing emdr (which is amazing but extremley emotionally and physically hard going) .i really do feel for you.

GreenGoth89 Thu 13-Oct-16 16:03:08

So spoke to PALS and the service I'm with can't do a referral so I have to go back to the GP and ask for a referral to CMHT - which they were unwilling to do 2 weeks ago. FFS!!!

GreenGoth89 Sat 15-Oct-16 14:32:23

Called Samaritans last night. DP feels every time I have any therapy it makes me worse. I'm not so sure but I need something. Normal things feel so very difficult.

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