Thursday, 25 September 2008

Part #12

Yesterday, I received this letter through the post:

Dear Dr R****


Thank you for the referral for the above lady. As you know, at the Eating Disorder Service, we aim to assess and treat people with the eating disorders of anorexia nervosa and bulima nervosa. I am afraid that with respect to this referral you would need to give more information as to the presence of an eating disorder that has recently worsened in view of the problems that you describe.

From reading this referral, it would appear to me that the principal problems currently are her history of self harming and a number of psychosocial difficulties. If this case were appropriate to our Service, I would expect to see a history of resurgence of eating disordered behaviours and a possible drop in weight. We will not triage or process the referral until we have received this.

I know my doctor well. We have an excellent relationship and he has told me, repeatedly, that he wants me well as he knows I soar when I am. Last time I went to see him, he agreed to state everything as plain as the nose on your face to this ED service. He also looked rather glum and confessed that he had never had a referral who had been accepted by them.

This letter is almost a carbon copy of the same one he got about me 18 months ago. He told them about my repeated 'episodes', but also advised of the self-harming history (which is now history) and concomitant depression.

Ironically, I rang the Chester ED Service and spoke to a wonderful counsellor there. I told her how bad things were and she said it ALL needed to come out in a referral letter which would make my 'case' for treatment stronger...but because I am two miles out of their boundary, she couldn't help me at all and I needed to be referred to Macclesfield. And their stance is somewhat different as you can read above.

I have no doubt that my doctor has told them this is the third time he has seen me with an ED over the last three years. He's not daft! If he is referring me for anorexia, he's going to bring the ED up, isn't he? So why have they chosen to concentrate on my cutting 'history' - literally something which happened in the past. As I have admitted, I haven't cut for two years. My 'psychosocial difficulties' are easily the cause of the ED and so how do we get out of this goal-post moving exercise? 

A lovely lady left a comment yesterday explaining her story with her daughter who has suffered for three years. Her daughter sees a therapist twice a week. I wish I could see a therapist just once a month! It feels like pulling teeth. Ian is pushing me hard to go for private therapy, but I am refusing point blank at the moment due to financial constraints. God willing, this will all change in about four weeks when his house sale goes through, finally. Then I will go all out to get private treatment.

And do you know, I approached the two private ED therapists who advertised themselves on the B-eat website for this area some weeks ago. One dismissed me, despite my lengthy email explaining my ED, how it was affecting me, how much weight I was losing, how I felt and that I could pay (we initially believed that I was covered under Ian's private medical policy through work) and the other didn't even bother to respond.

Lexy advised me not to 'wallow'. I reckon sometimes that's a frame of mind one can fall into. And I have to admit, today, I am wallowing as I am fed up, disillusioned and wondering where to go next. I am honest enough to admit that reading self-help books have rarely done it for me. The only one I have ever read which gave me some relief was Cosmic Ordering by Jonathan Cainer...and he's an astrologist, so am I as potty as the women who buy Heat, Sugar and Shout!? 

I need strategies and guidance because I simply don't have the tools to do it completely alone. I need someone to show me how to do it. That's the simple truth - I am always better following instructions: always have been. A good friend of mine reads self-help books like they are glossy magazines. They do it for her. She is calm, peaceful and light itself - it glows from within her. And she puts it down to her meditation, Reiki healing, reading, and relaxation. She lent me the books. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it on my own. The minute I tried to meditate, I'd start to worry that I hadn't made the dinner, hadn't finished off an article, how would the atmosphere be when the ex came home? Rubbish.

I'm going to return to my doctor tomorrow - he wants to discuss this letter with me. I'm going to make notes for him and suggestions as to how we can impress upon Macclesfield that I could really do with their help. You can't give up without some form of a fight, I know that.

But today, the fight has temporarily drained from me. 


Mars said...

its sad that mental disorders get into the middle ground of 'is it a disease or not' scenario. its not obvious like a missing limb. and oh-so-easy to fake. but for those who really do have problems - they suffer the brunt of it.

until very recently, mental disorders of any kind were dumped into a bucket of cold water, electrocuted or subjected to rather medieval witch-hunt torture-like cures that most likely turned them into a veggie or killed them. problem solved.

are you left-handed by any chance? i read on wikipedia that left-handed people tend to be rather brilliant, more likely to suffer from mental illnesses.

yes, these thoughts are quite random, but interesting.

but sometimes taking a break from all the struggles is needed.

in islam, do you know that they day-to-day struggle with living, between right and wrong, between personal demons, is considered the greater jihad (struggle/war)? the lesser one is the self-defense against persecutors of the faith. the ones that so-called 'muslim' terrorists kill themselves over.

Annie T - ex Agnes Mildew said...

Mars: A great observation. Mental Health problems (and I really hate that terminology) are still treated with a great amount of stigma in the UK today.

No, I am not left-handed. The ex is. I am right-handed, but I tend to my left side for many things for some odd reason!

I didn't actually know Jihad was primarily the day-to-day struggle between right and wrong. I learned a fair bit about the Islamic religion while I was there and one of my best friends is Muslim (she is now back in the UK). We talked a lot about religions and faith and had some bloody good discussions! She's a good, faithful girl - the type of person you wish you could be.

Going back to your initial paragraph, it is sad that mental health disorders cannot be 'seen'. I guess my weight loss can be seen. But that is easily misconstrued as either a naturally slim person or someone on a diet. What's the problem there?

Karen ^..^ said...

this is especially frustrating for me, because although I know loads of avenues you can try here in the states, I have no clue as to how things work in your country. It is very sad that you do not have the help you need. Is there some way you can physically GO there and have them actually look at you? To me it is a disgrace that they won't take you on your doctor's recommendation, that is all it would take, here. If he thinks there is cause for extreme concern, then why don't these pencil pushing idiots just stop this runaround and HELP you??? I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for you, and if help is that difficult to obtain, how good is the help? That worries me too.

I hope you find your peace soon, Annie.

Annie T - ex Agnes Mildew said...

Karen: It's a simple fact of life that in the UK, the NHS lets down 10s of 1000s of people every day. Certain drugs for breast cancer can be prescribed in certain counties by certain NHS trusts and if you are 100 yards outside of that Trust, F*ck You. That's it. You get nowhere.

In Cheshire, we are divided into three districts (which we were told by our councillors would be an excellent move!) and I miss out on the Chester district by two miles. They are far superior to what we have here in Mid-Cheshire.

I could stand in front of a doctor, stark naked and do whatever but if it doesn't follow their guidelines, I have had it...

Karen ^..^ said...

Also, I need help with meditation too. I go to a wonderful yoga class every so often when my schedule allows, Hatha Yoga, and there is a meditation exercise at the end that is amazing. I feel so wonderful at the end of the class, it is as if I took valium without the foggy side effects. I love it. But if I try to meditate on my own, I can't concentrate. funny how that works. But then I know other people who can meditate quite successfully with a bit of incense, quiet hindu music, and thier own focus. I've just never been successful at it on my own. But then after a class, the effects stay with me for days, sometimes. If I could figure out how to meditate every day, I'll bet all my hangups and high strung behaviors would disappear. Because, for me? It is amazingly beneficial.

Karen ^..^ said...

Well. that's it, then. Get a green card and stay with me for a while. You can get all the health care you need as a visitor/permanent resident alien, trust me on that. The USA is great about helping people from other places, but insists on neglecting it's own, unless you are fortunate enough to have a good job that offers health insurance.

Not me, though. My friend Ruth who I am still so heartbroken over? She died of a heart attack which was completely preventable, but she never could afford to go to the doctor, due to no insurance. I have not been to the doctor in 7 years, and have no idea whether or not I am ill in some lurking, hidden way. I quit smoking a year ago to increase my odds of better health. (I miss it desperately)

I guess the health care crisis is a global problem, isn't it?

So sad. People struggle with so much in life, getting help should not be one of those struggles. It should just be there. Sad.

Well, in any case, in your prior comments you said you were weaning yourself down from the senekots, and I think that is both incredibly admirable and courageous of you. To take charge of this, when no help is available, and make a genuine effort to change things for yourself positively, is wonderful. You should be commended. Not everyone would have the wherewithal to do that. This shows that you are deeply committed to your recovery. HUGE hugs to you!

Bob J said...

This is the sort of stuff that happens when there are simply not enough services to go around. Helpers find themselves shifting from a stance where they hope to be able to help those who they have training to help, to a position where they are forced to look for reasons to reject as many needy people as they possibly can.

Reconciling this position with their own personal ethics has got to be pretty corrosive for them I would think.

Bean counters are behind it all. They currently rule the world it seems.