Today I received a copy of my mental health notes, which I had requested from my former mental health team. (The ones who discharged me by text message). This stood out to me:
“Alison described feeling irritable and agitated. She presented as a bit scatty and kept apologising, explaining she felt distracted. However this behaviour appeared contrived and for my attention”.
This sort of comment in my opinion sums up what is wrong with this country’s mental health system:
– That I, as the professional, am somehow superior to you, the attention-seeking patient.
– That I, as the professional, despite not actually knowing you at all, have the power to make sweeping assumptions about your behaviour with no actual hard evidence.
– That I, as the professional, have the right to make a judgement on whether your symptoms actually exist or whether you are making them up.
I would like to say this in response, on behalf of mental health patients everywhere:
– if you have no compassion you should not be working in mental health
– if you believe patients “make up” symptoms for attention you should not be working in mental health
– if you believe you are superior and more intelligent than your patients you should not be working in mental health
– if you believe patients really have the energy & clarity of thought to plan their behaviour so much that it appears “contrived” you should not be working in mental health
– If you cannot cope with a patient presenting as “a bit scatty” without doubting they really are feeling “a bit scatty”, then god help you love, you REALLY should not be working in mental health.
We are real people, with pasts, problems, issues, difficulties. A lot of us have had to deal with things you will never understand. Rather than patronise or belittle us, how about you start to respect us & understand that your position of trust is a privilege not an automatic right. A lot of us are survivors and we are mentally stronger than you will ever know.
Alison
This was originally posted on my self-care matters Facebook page. You can read the comments underneath the post there.