Not quite an accident or an emergency

December 14, 2006 at 5:43 pm Leave a comment

The day of my appointment arrived. It was a Tuesday. I’d already missed work on the Monday as I’d had no sleep and was feeling wretched and emotionally jangled by constantly over-thinking my sleep problems. Somehow, despite the appointment being at five in the evening I managed to sleep through it.

I was not happy. Especially since I’d told my manager I was going to see my GP that day and would have more information for them then. I might even go so far as to say that I was a little distressed by this turn of events.

I spent five hours cleaning up my flat. Some more extreme form of action was required and I figured I might end up with people entering my home. I hate the idea of people pawing through my things as much as I hate the idea of making work for other people through my problems. So I cleared up, put all the rubbish in black sacks and packed away my possessions for easy transportation.

Then, at half one in the morning, I took a razor-blade and cut my right forearm seven times. I did this a little deeper than I would normally. I wanted to make an impression. I throw my coat on and went out.

Outside, near the council flats down the road a bald man was shouting “What’s your problem?” at nothing. He approached me. I shook my head as blood dripped from my fingers and told him I had no problem. He left me alone. I hid my hand in my sleeve and tried to buy cigarettes from the local petrol station, but they told me they were closed. I made it to the local hospital and wandered around, trying to find its a+e department, only to find that it did not, in fact have one. So I walked onwards, following the road signs until I made it to another hospital an hour and a half later.

The receptionists there were hidden behind glass and it was difficult to hear her as she tried to take my details. I was seen by the triage nurse, a slim, attractive blonde with glasses almost immediately. She asked me if I had cut my arm myself. I confirmed her suspicions. After washing my arm, she applied butterfly stitches and a bandage and asked if I’d like to talk to somebody about things. While she called the Emergency Medical Health Team, she asked me to sit down in the waiting room.

After ten minutes she called me back in and told me that the EMHT did not want to see me as my symptoms were chronic and I should see my GP. I told her I’d like to see somebody that night. She paused. “OK,” she said, “You’ll have to see the doctor and they’ll have to refer you.”

I went back to the waiting room to wait. Some student girls were waiting with their friend who had cut her hand on a night out. I passed the time listening to their conversation. They’d been waiting since midnight. After around three hours of waiting, I was finally seen by a doctor, who asked me a few questions and then… told me to see my GP.

I should really have told these medical practitioners that I was feeling desperately suicidal. Maybe then they’d have let me see someone who had any relevant qualifications. I walked part of the way back, got on a bus, then walked the rest of the way home. It was half seven on Wednesday by the time I got in.

At nine, I walked to my local GP surgery and asked to see a GP urgently. The receptionist told me that they didn’t do emergency appointments and that I’d need to call in and have my needs assessed by a GP. So I walked home, called the surgery and was put through to a GP by the same receptionist who had told me to call in. Fortunately, the GP agreed to see me that afternoon.

I stayed up until my appointment. The GP asked me a number of questions, then referred me to see a counsellor at the surgery, despite the fact that I’d said that counselling hadn’t really helped before. “They’ll decide if you can be helped with counselling or if you need to be referred on,” she said. At my request she signed me off work for the rest of the week. She even backdated it for the days I’d already missed.

My manager at work was understanding and sympathetic, though I didn’t go through any of the details about my cuts or visit to the emergency room.

Twenty four hours after my mental health journey began, I have seen three people with no mental health qualifications and have been referred to a fourth who may or may not be professionally qualified (I’m waiting for the appointment to come through at the moment). I haven’t been prescribed any medications and have been offered no support of any kind. I can’t say I’m very impressed.

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Entry filed under: Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, Docs and Shrinks, Self-harm. Tags: , , , .

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?

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As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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