Lack of real support

One of the main problems I’m having right now is with the almost complete lack of any real help and support for my mental health issues. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve stopped having appointments with professionals from CMHT, mostly because I never found any of the psychiatrists/ psychologists particularly helpful. There was not a single one of them who seemed to understand social anxiety disorder and just how serious/ life-destroying it can be. Many of them did not even see it as a real disorder. Everything was minimised. Having an anxiety disorder was just “feeling a bit nervous”. Being suicidal was just “feeling a bit down”. Each appointment with my last psychiatrist was a complete waste of time; In fact, I actually felt considerably worse after our appointments. I was only ever offered CBT, and it was only for about 12 sessions. I’m not even sure if there are other forms of therapy available on the NHS. No one I’ve seen has ever made me aware of what help is and isn’t available.

In my opinion, mental health services on the NHS are not designed for people with long-term problems, and often fail us miserably. I think I’d personally need long-term therapy (probably of different varieties) and a psychiatrist or psychologist who has a good knowledge of social anxiety disorder to make progress and feel that I was actually getting something out of my appointments. I don’t know if I’ll ever try and get referred to someone else on the NHS in the future; I’m not keen on going back there any time soon. I feel the same way about talking to GPs about my anxiety and depression.

I also haven’t seen the counsellor at my university for 2 or 3 months now. Again, I’m not particularly keen to go back. Although he seemed to be more understanding, all we ever did was talk about my problems. Sometimes it does help a bit to “get things off your chest”, but I’d rather that the problems were actually addressed. Talking about things is – on its own – not going to help me make any progress. It is a waste of time and I probably won’t be going back there either.

I’d been thinking for a while about seeing a private psychiatrist or psychologist but I don’t know how to find someone good, and could potentially just end up wasting yet more time (and a ridiculous amount of money). There is no way I could afford it. And how do I know they won’t be as ignorant and clueless as anyone else I’ve seen? I have completely lost faith in the mental health services.

The social anxiety meet ups that I’ve been going along to since last March may also be coming to an end soon. The organiser has had to step down because trying to juggle the group and her studies was putting her under a lot of stress, which I can empathise with. She’s doing quite an intense course, which must be difficult enough when combined with SA. Doing of all that as well as having to meet new people all the time and do most of the talking at the meet ups must have been downright exhausting. I’m not sure if anyone else will take over as organiser. That group was the only social real social contact I was having with a group of other people my own age, and I will feel even lonelier and be even more isolated if it comes to an end. I want the group to continue but I’m not brave enough to offer to become the organiser myself. That would be terrifying. Speaking of terrifying, the organiser emailed me saying that she still wants to continue to meet up with me every now an then. We’ve arranged to meet up for coffee in a couple of weeks. I should be happy and excited at the prospect of making a friend but I feel awful about the whole thing. I’m sure that I will mess up – I always mess up when it comes to friendship. I don’t really even know how friendship works. I cannot let anyone in. I’m sure that she will reject me when she realises what a freak I am – that I have no friends, have never been in a relationship, have more issues than just SA, and so on. I’m convinced that no one would want to be friends with me if they knew the ‘real’ me – whoever that is. I expect rejection. I cannot open up to people. I do not envision this going well.

The disability support person at my university emailed me a while ago about a group that she may be starting soon, for people with Aspergers/HFA. While I still don’t agree with the diagnosis (and probably never will), it might be helpful to be around other people who probably feel as alienated and socially clueless as I do. It’s still hard for me to believe that I’d belong anywhere though. I’m also going to contact the other group for adults with Aspergers/HFA again to see about going along to a group there and find out if they know how to access social skills training (I already tried to find out about this but Google wasn’t particularly helpful). I think I really do need to learn a lot more about social skills, seeing as how I probably don’t even have the social skills of your average toddler. With any luck, it might also improve my confidence a little bit. I can never tell if my terrible social skills are solely due to not having much social practice throughout my life, or if it’s something more than that.

I’m thankfully able to have open conversations with my mum about my social anxiety now but I never know how to talk about feeling suicidal with her, and I don’t want to worry or upset her. There are lot of things I don’t say to/ around my family members for fear of upsetting or annoying them. This leads to me keeping everything inside and feeling even worse.

I am trying to put as many options as I can between myself and suicide but as far as I can see, these are (in order) the only options I have left:

1. Work through self-help books on my own and hope that they work;

If that doesn’t work…

2. Develop a decent knowledge of the pharmacology of mental illness and which medications have been shown to be most effective in treating social anxiety and depression; Try to somehow convince a GP to prescribe me these various medications (one at a time) and probably face the same ignorance and lack of understanding that I did the last time;

If that doesn’t work…

3. Try the CMHT one last time.

If that doesn’t work…

4. Somehow find a (decent) private psychiatrist or psychologist who is knowledgeable about social anxiety. Probably piss my money down the drain in doing so.

If that doesn’t work…

5. Try every last possible alternative treatment, even the ones that seem completely ridiculous.

If that doesn’t work…

6. Turn to alcohol/ drugs

If that doesn’t work (and it wouldn’t)…

7. Kill myself. I’d have to somehow make my entire family hate me with the same intensity as if I were Hitler in order to make my death easier on them. And I would of course: (a)Not want to do this, (b) Not be capable of doing this. I love my family and would not ever want to hurt them or anyone else. But death can be so tempting at times. I’m not even feeling that bad at the moment, but I still see suicide as an inevitability.

I will, of course, continue to fight my social anxiety for the time being. But I cannot bear to think about the future. I apologise for another really negative post.

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4 Responses to Lack of real support

  1. I know how hard it is to get help. I’m struggling with it too. It’s expensive, it’s ridiculous at times and I often wonder if it is worth it. Sometimes I want to go away to a hippie retreat and dance under the moonlight or something because psychology and psychiatry aren’t doing much help.
    I like your ideas except six and seven. I have the same problem with my family. I love them and they love me too much. I’ve also lost a friend to suicide and seen how it effects family and friends. I’ve had times where my family haven’t really supported or particularly liked me and sometimes I wish I could go back to that, just to make it easier. I guess that’s similar to your Hitler idea.
    I like how you ended this post though. Keep fighting. There are others out here who are fighting and hate to think of the future too. It’s best to live moment to moment anyway.

    • Gemma says:

      The hippie retreat sounds like a good idea at the moment…or a meditation retreat or something. Sometimes I wonder if psychology and psychiatry are even capable of helping me.
      I’m really sorry to hear about your friend. 😦 I would never want to put my family through that amount of pain but, as you know, sometimes it’s so difficult to keep on struggling with mental illness.
      I agree that living in the moment is best. I wish I could master mindfulness.

  2. solcolasoda says:

    I’ve had 2 therapy sessions with a private psychologist so far. The time in between each session spanned across 6 months. That’s because I have trouble with the payment as well. In my case, I paid 150+ for an hour’s session. My initial plan was to seriously invest in therapy, but I’m now considering backing out on that decision because paying that much every month is putting a strain on my savings account. I’m thinking of seeing my therapist less regularly(Even though monthly sessions are limited enough already). Maybe I’ll only make appointments with her in times of crisis, heh. In my case, therapy gives me a false sense of security that I’m doing something about my disorders, and that i have someone to fall back on if something goes out of hand. It also gives me a motivational push when I’m in a rut. I get some useful insights from time to time. Still, internet resources and self-help books are my main coping tools. I can relate to how crippling SA makes you feel. Even though I’ve left a toxic environment and moved on to a healthier place now, I still remember how horrible the dread and fear was back then. I hope you will be able to convince yourself that things can get better through the years. When I was in a dark place, I never believed that I can find acceptance somewhere..Until it miraculously happened. Maybe you don’t even need someone to train you in CBT, since you already know which areas to work on..? Start from small things again? Wish you all the best.

    • Gemma says:

      Thank you. It’s extremely difficult for me to imagine things ever getting better but I just try my best not to think about the future and take it a week or a day at a time. I hope that the therapy is helping you.

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