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To be fed up of medical professionals ignorance re mental health.

19 replies

HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 22:14

I had an appointment with an obstetrician today, after being referred because of my mental health issues. Not really sure what help they thought an obstetrician would be, but thats another story.

My notes state that I have a history of depression among other diagnosis's and the doctor commented that I 'did not look like someone who had a history of depression'. What exactly does that look like then? Do I have the wrong haircut or clothing? Confused I wish I had the guts at the time to ask, but I was feeling pretty crappy to be honest.

I was asked at least four times if I had given up smoking and was made to feel as if I was lying. Despite my insistence that I have given up (which I have, I showed him my e-cig), I was still booked in to have growth scans at 28/32/36 weeks because 'smoking can make the baby very underweight'. I do also have PCOS so am at risk of gestational diabetes which can effect baby's size but he didn't know that at the time, and wasn't discussed until later on in the appointment so the growth scans are definitely not to do with that.

He tried to tell me that I was wrong when I explained that my 20 week scan had not been completed and I was returning next week for another one. Apparently I had got it wrong and it was all fine (it clearly says in my notes that it was incomplete and needed to be repeated). He then went on to discuss me with the HCA (who incidentally kept looking at me very appologeticay throughout) as though I was not even in the room.

I left the appointment feeling as though I had been treated as though I was completely stupid and was quite confused and upset by the doctors ignorant attitude.

He clearly had a fixed view of people with mental health problems as incapable, dishonest and looking a certain way, perhaps I was supposed to look unkempt? I'm not sure Confused.

AIBU to expect better than this from the NHS? I really feel that this shouldn't be acceptable in this day and age and am quite angry and upset at how I have been treated in this situation.

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RainbowsFriend · 30/05/2013 22:18

YANBU - and the way they treat self-harmers is also shocking.

Incidently, I'm still waiting for my pregnancy consultant appointment at 20 weeks despite having pushed for it at my last midwife appt as my anxiety disorder and "contamination" issues are back big time.

They suck. :(


LEMisdisappointed · 30/05/2013 22:18

Oh, i am so sorry that you had to go through that, its totally unacceptable, if you can steal yourself to do so, i would complain!


StealthPolarBear · 30/05/2013 22:18

YANBU, and if you can talk to PALS about that I think it would be really valuable for them to hear your feedback.


HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 22:24

I'm also under the perinatal emotional wellbeing service (who are fantastic by the way) and so I spoke to them about it this afternoon. They really aren't happy and are going to help me make a complaint and try and stop it happening again. I just feel it shouldn't have happened in the first place. Rainbows sorry to hear you are struggling :( hope things get easier for you, mental health crap sucks big time and it really makes pregnancy so much harder.

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Namechanger012345 · 30/05/2013 22:31

Yanbu. Sounds like you have been treated really badly which you do not deserve! Very frustrating.

All the best with your pregnancy and I hope the other healthcare professionals you deal with are not as ignorant!


HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 22:38

Thank you name changer. Flowers

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Sparklypinknails · 30/05/2013 22:49

YANBU. Took me four appointments over four months to have my heart palpitations taken seriously. Because I have anxiety it MUST be me overreacting and/or thinking it over too much, right?! The cardiologist took me seriously thankfully!

It seems to be really common that with MH issues you aren't taken seriously by some HCPs. There needs to be better awareness or training in regards to mental health I think!


manicinsomniac · 30/05/2013 22:51

I'd try to see it as a positive.

I'm always incredibly grateful that I 'don't look as if I could have mental health problems'. I've never been physically ill enough to see a doctor in my life yet my records are crammed with notes on anorexia, bulimia, self harming, bi polar type symptoms, suicidal episodes etc. Apart from being underweight you would never know. Doctors always look astounded and often make some ignorant comment about 'looking normal.' I love it Grin


EggsMichelle · 30/05/2013 23:01

Unfortunately mental health is never black and white and can't be diagnosed with blood tests and brain scans, and professionals in the physical field either don't have the time or inclination so develop psychiatric skills. On top of that the nhs don't have the finances to place mental health nurses in physical health areas to provide the extra support. I'm sorry you are all missing out on the vital support that even a small amount of would make your lives easier.


Sparklypinknails · 30/05/2013 23:14

I don't think its extra support with mental health we would like but just normal regular treatment like any other patient without our mental health coming into it. Its very difficult visiting the doctor knowing that as soon as they see "anxiety" on your notes, its highly likely that their eyes will glaze over and your concerns about whatever you have come about will not be taken seriously. I don't expect doctors to all develop psychiatric skills but it would be nice if they (some of them) would stop writing me off as "anxious" and take my health concerns seriously.

My heart problem was only found because after being fobbed off by four doctors (who all suggested that it was my anxiety and wouldn't give me an ECG), I demanded a referral after googling my symptoms. The consultant there found the problem on the first ECG they gave me and I had to have several tests to check my heart over for other issues. My GP could have had an ECG done the first time I went to see him and saved me four months of palpitations and pain. I don't doubt had I not got a MH issue on my notes, he would have taken my worries seriously at that first appointment.


HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 23:16

Disapointing to see I'm definitely not alone on this one, I kinda hoped it was quite rare to meet a medical professional as ignorant as this.

I don't have a bad word to say about the mental health professionals I have come into contact with, I can honestly say they have all treated me with nothing but respect. It's funny how they will happily take into account and be knowledgable of medical issues but the medical side of things can be so ignorant about mental health. So much for hollistic care.

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HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 23:19

I really agree there sparkly, I highly doubt someone without mental health issues would have been doubted in the way I was today about smoking or about the scan. It would definitely be nice to be just treated the same as everyone else!!

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SirBoobAlot · 30/05/2013 23:21

No, you're not being unreasonable. It's shit, isn't it? And having a personality disorder as your diagnosis just makes it even more fun Hmm.

Complain, request to see someone else, and give him hell if you ever encounter him again.


HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 23:23

Sir boobalot... Borderline over here :) I feel your pain.

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SirBoobAlot · 30/05/2013 23:27

Borderline here too Grin It's crap, like you're being punished for being ill. As if being ill isn't punishment enough!

I must confess I've lost my patience with any doctor that mentions my mental health where not relevant in recent years.


HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 23:28

Sorry for anyone else that was borderline personality disorder.

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HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 23:31

I know. And it's such a shitty thing to have anyway.. For so long I really struggled with the whole idea that my there is something very wrong with my personality :( that really hurts. But iv been in psychotherapy for a couple of years now and I'm a different person to be honest.

What makes me really angry is that because of that diagnosis social services will be getting involved automatically before my baby is even born. It feels like I have been written off already. Luckily I have the mental health lot on my side :)

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SirBoobAlot · 30/05/2013 23:37

Heffalump have PMed you :)

Seriously though, do complain about this. It was not okay for him to treat you in this way, and he needs to be educated in a personal relations if nothing else!


HeffalumpTheFlump · 30/05/2013 23:41

Thanks :)

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