"Should we even use diagnostic terms?"

About: South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as a service user),

If you're reading this then congratulations for making it so far, especially if you've been through the mental health systems... I'm sharing a bit of my story in hope it will help others, service users/carers/staff/managers/consultants/drug companies.

I've never agreed with medication as I was growing up influenced by reading The Guardian in the 70' & 80's. Then one day in my 30's after a serious of misfortunes and backlog of hurts piling up, I was diagnosed and then medicated... all against my wishes!

A gut feeling told me that there was deep down nothing really wrong with me at all. Why? Because the symptoms that I presented with at the A&E were signs of loneliness and anger - i was aware of this even in that state, I cried and yet suppressed my anger that manifested in my mind as being very very confused. What I needed to do is cry even more, hand to be held and be listened to and believed. It may have not taken long before I would be able to release some of this hurt and move on with my life. But that was over 18 years ago, 8years ago I came off medication and regained my life, understanding that life is full of hurts and learning ways to cope with them.

Was it a blessing in disguise? Maybe but it would have saved a lot of NHS spending and years of my precious life. The alternatives of medication just isn't out there for people to access, it needs to be there at the GP surgeries, counselling, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, more counselling...

Consultants, think about being psychotherapists or any other natural/healing alternative work

Psychotherapists, think about better ways to look after yourselves and be more accessible for people who are in the mh systems

Service providers, think about finding out - really finding out - what service users really want - join a user-run group/orgs to see how it operates

Service users, think about using your intelligence, take your control back from this oppressive system and find your path to what life really is - suffering and joy.

Now think about all this again for people from a Black and minority ethnic, gypsy/travellers background and asylum seekers/refugee status... we have more barriers to overcome than your average... racism, language, culture, religious beliefs, fled from war torn countries, etc

I was also treated for having clinical depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, hyper- blah blah... What I have and never got detected by a simple blood test was under active thyroid (hypothyroid) which is controlled by a natural source of medicine. Years of side-effects and drugs not working I was also given too much medication on the ward that knocked me out for six . These I believe were all accidents - no blame, but they could have been prevented if I wasn't in the system in the first place...

From my experience I suggest we knock down the mental health system and lets build something more caring and less damaging... this includes the working staff as well as the service users/patients.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Su Glazier, Head of Improvement, Innovations and Involvement, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Cov,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us as service providers, with other service users and with clinicians. As service providers and clinicians we value your feedback and will ask an appropriate person to make a fuller response to your very detailed posting. This may take a little time. Once we have done this, we will post a more comprehensive response.

Best wishes,

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