"An end to my mental health diagnosis"

About: NHS Lothian

(as the patient),

I attended a mental health review at my GP surgery. It was the first appointment I'd had at the surgery in nearly 18 months of being registered, so I was asked to come in for a health check as a person with a mental health problem. It was an added bonus that there was an appointment available at 0830.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1997, and after a decade on Lithium with few symptoms for several years I withdrew from medication over a two year period and was dicharged from secondary care in 2008. At that time I was advised that bipolar usually returned, and that it would be better if the diagnosis stayed on my record, just in case.

Well, today, a few years on, my GP asked me if I felt that my bipolar was resolved. I have felt this way for a while, and when I said yes, she marked my case as resolved, meaning that my notes now reflect reality.

I am now a person who had mental health problems, not a person who 'has' a mental health problem.

My doctor was open, friendly, and thoughtful today. She gave me some good advice, met my needs, and assured me that if I ever needed anything, to contact her. The appointment was about my mental health, but the discusion and interaction were much more holistic. I have always felt this in my many dealings with doctors over my mental health.

But today was a graduation I wasn't expecting. From now on perhaps my appointments, whatever the reason, won't always start with 'so, you have bipolar. . . '

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