I entered into the world of psychiatric services for the first time in 1999 and was supported by them on and off for a few years. It wasn’t until 2004 that I was allocated a Psychiatrist and CPN. That’s been pretty much constant since then although the people have changed. Between 2004 and 2006 I didn’t work. 2006-2008, I worked but part time and the jobs never lasted long. Come 2008, I took on a new job, full time and ended up staying there for 2 1/2 years. From there I moved into my current role where I have been ever since.
Being able to work has not meant I stopped needing support from CMHT but it has meant that getting support has had its problems. It has made attending appointments difficult as I, like many people, work in a different town. In recent years, most of my annual leave allowance has been used up attending monthly appointments with my Psychiatrist and ad-hoc visits to see my CPN when needed.
Many years ago, I was put on a waiting list for Psychotherapy on the NHS but nothing ever came of it. When I started working full time, I decided to find a private therapist so I would be able to make appointments after work but obviously, I had to fund this. I found someone I trust implicitly and still see him now. My NHS care team know about this, however last year, they decided to make a referral to a local Therapeutic Day Unit for DBT. I went to the assessment and was told I was likely to be accepted into the programme however it required a commitment of 2 days per week – 1 for group therapy and 1 for individual therapy. At the time, I decided not to enter the programme. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to organise it around work and that even if my employer did agree to me working part time, it wasn’t financially viable for me. I also explained to my care team that my therapist was doing a lot of the same work with me that the group offered.
That was that, until a few months ago. The current episode of depression has now lasted about 7 months and it has meant that I had 4 months off work and am now only working part time. Today I saw my social worker and once again, the topic of groups and TDU has resurfaced. In fairness, It came up a while ago but today was different.
She spent a lot of time on the phone while I was there, talking to a colleague about a local therapeutic community and what they offer as well as the TDU I was referred to last year. At one point, she sadi to someone “she’s been seeing her therapist for 5 years and wants to try something new”. Now, I never said that. I don’t trust people easily and do not want to start again.
I know that I probably need to invest in recovery but it feels as if I am being asked to put my life on hold for a significant period of time. I’m not 25 anymore. I’m nearing 33 and I don’t have a career, just a job. If I commit to this opportunity, I will lose any chance of development at work and will have to stay in this job as I doubt many other employers would be sympathetic to my situation. My current employers don’t have a choice; I disclosed my illness on starting with them and am covered by the Equality Act.
Where was this opportunity 10 or even 5 years ago? Maybe I’m being ungrateful; I don’t mean to be. It just feels as if it’s all come too late.