Medication and the NHS

When things went fairly seriously wrong i decided to go the the doctors. I say decided I more felt I had to as I was getting pressure from some around me. I didn’t really want to. I had no intention of talking and I just felt like it was a waste of everyone’s time. Especially the docs.

Although it was what everyone wanted, when I decided to go I went alone… i was very nervous and wasn’t sure even walking through the door. But I got there, I sat down and waited for my name to come up on the large t.v. screen.

The wait was a while. Frustratingly longer than expected, but I had an appointment in the afternoon and that is I suppose par for the course. During this time I was making excuses with myself as to why I should just leave. How it would be easier and I’m sure they wouldn’t do anything for me. But something in me knew it really was necessary as I stayed there.

When my name did eventually come up I jumped up and shot into the corridor like I’d won the lottery… no idea why, but must have looked weird. I then slowed and slowed as I looked at the room numbers. Number 5 was mine. I opened the door and looked inside.

A female doctor looked back at me. It was at this point I realised I hadn’t thought about the fact I would be talking to a person and I didn’t know if I preferred any particular type to disclose my innermost ‘failings’. Would I prefer a man? Would i want to avoid a man at all costs? I hadn’t thought about it until that moment and when it did hit me I started to panic. I don’t know if this came across but she was immediately comforting in only her first few words. As it turned out knowing what I know now I just needed a doctor, male or female, and whilst I’m sure there are huge variances in how good or nice doctors are my experience to date has been they are all amazing. And care more than I’d expect.

I sat down and I was asked what was wrong. I started talking about how there isn’t really much bothering with me, injuries all over the shop and generally falling apart. She then asked ‘well what shall we talk about today’.

I said about how I’d come along as I had changed over the last 12 months and it was worrying me and my family. She then got me to run through everything.

I wasn’t expecting much. I thought she must have so many people actually ill that i would be in and out and she could get on with proper patients. So I went through the list and even I started to realise there was a lot more I was worried about than I had thought of before.

In the main she listened and asked the occasional relevant question. But all in all she just kept looking like she was actually interested and cared. She then asked how bad it had got. I talked about my motorway bridge moment and emphasised that I wouldn’t do it, but had thought a lot about the practicalities of ending your own life.

She was amazing throughout… 45 minutes passed, way over what I should have been allocated and no doubt annoying even further those following me.

She then did a few things for me. She told me how natural this was and the biological explanations for some of the way I was feeling. She then went through options. There’s a lot you can do and some I enjoyed and was doing before. Gym, walks general active things i enjoy. A couple I hadn’t done before and was sceptical of. Headspace and yoga being the two that transformed my thoughts on ‘beanbag’ stuff. And one I positively thought i wouldn’t. Medication.

She went through why it was happening in my brain and said I could be rebalanced with an anti depressant. I had agreed before going to agree go whatever the doc thought was needed. So I said this and she decided i should be on Sertraline. 50mg, a small dose, but a big thing for me.

So I left with a list of things to do and a prescription. One of those things was counselling. I’ll no doubt talk.jn more detailabout that soon. I went to the pharmacist and can honestly say have never felt more worried about life. As soon as I took this I was officially on meds for going wibble.

I took the prescription and started that day. It made me feel awful to begin with. Not because of the meds but because of what they meant. They certainly aren’t and immediate fix… but I kept at them and slowly they seemed to stabilise me. I also made a decision to be open about taking them. Now that was the best thing I could have done. Because it opened the door to conversations with so many people around me who were either on them or had taken them recently. Including a lot of people I worked with.

Being open about my meds did two things; it opened the conversation about my issues without having to talk about my issues. It helped me to be honest without dragging myself through the mill. It also opened up new conversations and closer relationships with people I had previously had little to relate to. It’s like a club… and I had just joined.

I stayed on them for about 9 months, before I thought were doing more harm than good. I started to feel a but numb and so put it down to the pills. I stopped taking them. Not the way to do it… but I got through it and felt better being off them. Note to self for next time… just stopping can have serious side effects. Take advice on the coming off just as you do for the going on.

So, all in all I’ve learned quite a bit from this sequence of events…

1. The NHS generally is amazing. I met a good few during this journey and they have been faultlessly caring, understanding and knowledgeable. Without them and in particular that 1st doctor I may be dead. There’s nothing weak about it and if you’re thinking about it at worst you waste an hour of your life, which you probably feel isnt worth much anyway, so you have nothing to lose.

2. Understand your options. Headspace has helped me more than anything. Some others don’t like it. I love the gym. Some don’t. Meds helped me short term but ended up not being for me. For others it helps loads.

3. Be open about it. I need to take my own advice here at times. But the more I talked the more people I connected with and the more I realised people were either talking themselves or dying to talk and I opened the conversation about their own issues. It has made me feel normal.

Nothing works for everyone, everything can help someone. But seeking help was the best thing I ever did. Chin up people… the world’s an amazing place.

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