"reduced to achoholism by neuropathic pain"

About: Cumbria Teaching PCT

(as the patient),

I gained a place at university in Lancaster at 50yrs of age, it was supposed to be the beginning of my 'life’, after years of abuse and over 20yrs as a mental health service user in Cumbria.

I moved, alone, to Carnforth. My dream began to turn into a nightmare when I developed a flu like illness followed by joint pain in my hands and feet (I had already been diagnosed as having Reynaud’s Syndrome).My studies suffered & despite the best efforts of my GP eventually I have withdraw from my course.

I was homeless, unable to return home as my ex husband was still in my home town, until a local Pub landlady gave me a room. Eventually I got a flat in morecambe, but my pain became so severe I had to seek help from my new GP practice. They did numerous blood tests all of which were 'normal'. I felt like a nuisance, constantly apologising for my repeated appointments.

Sleep became impossible, burning hands & feet, horrendous muscle spasms with what felt like stabbing electric shocks all over my body. I began to drink alcohol heavily & take my prescribed codeine in an effort to ease my pain & allow me to sleep. My GP eventually diagnosed Neuropathic Pain but by this time I was alcohol dependant. I started to take medication which had a marginal effect & went to my doctor to explain my situation. I was asked if I wanted help to stop drinking to which I answered "I can't cope with the pain without alcohol/help". My GP sent me away with an appointment to have tests to assess my liver's condition & return in 5 weeks time.

I am now in massive debt because I spend any money that comes my way on alcohol, my dreams are long forgotten & I spend my days getting drunk in the company of my only social support-the other drinkers

The point of my story is that, I am an articulate adult who has the academic ability to study at university. I tried to access services which are apparently provided by the NHS by referral from a GP without any success. I have been honest, trusting, patient, polite & even apologetic whilst begging for help which I feel still isn't forthcoming. I have reputation as the local drunk; my GP has repeatedly reassured me that they have referred me to a pain clinic & for counseling from the primary mental health team. 6months later I have discovered no such referrals have been made.

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