Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Day 14 Crimes against clients

Share your experiences about a professional or professionals (doctor, therapist, nurse etc.) that had a negative impact on your recovery. How did they make you feel? Did you speak with them about this? How did they respond? How did they impact you? How did you recover from that experience? How did you learn to seek help and trust professionals again?


I have touched on this subject slightly on a previous challenge so bear with me if I repeat myself!! 
My first experience of a 'professional' was when I was in my late teens, he was and still is my GP (I am now 45!!)  To this day he still refers to my eating disorder as 'my little problem.'
I initially saw my GP as I was getting concerned about my eating behaviours as were my housemates. I had no real expectations about what was going to happen which is a good thing, at least I couldn't be disappointed. After listening to my ramblings he went off into another room to speak to someone else who may know something about this 'being sick,' thing.  He came back none the wiser and said I would be referred to the local mental health team but it could take a while.  One of many 'could be a while,' moments in my life!!
This was back in the days when community meant community and I eventually had a community psychiatric nurse visit me weekly at my home.  Well actually sometimes it was one, othertimes she had a student with her and if I was really lucky some random man would turn up as well. He only turned up once, I didn't like him so asked him to leave, politely of course.
It was on one of these visits that said, very nice nurse, suggested I see a colleague of hers that afternoon as she thought he could help me.  I did what she suggested and a few days later I was on my way to the local psychiatric hospital for a not very nice stay.  I will say no more about my time there as I have referred to it in a previous blog for eda week, but I still feel slightly cheated by the community Nurses way of getting me there, and for the unsympathetic Nurses at the hospital referring to me as 'A stupid little girl.'

Fast forward 24 years later and I was again in a similar situation.  After reaching rock bottom a different GP referred me as an emergency to the local Mental health Team where I was seen the next day.  I was sat in a room and bombarded with 101 questions then left on my own whilst they disappeared next door to 'discuss options.'  I was so scared and had almost convinced myself I would be sectioned and carted off somewhere. A friend will recall this day as one of the worst as I was texting her from that little room terrified about what was going to happen.  
Thankfully this was not the case, options were discussed and I was referred on to a specialised eating disorders team. Thank crap for that, things had moved on over the years.

Throughout my periods of disordered eating I have encountered many therapist and Doctors some I have liked others I wouldn't give the time of day to.  Often I didn't like them because they spoke the truth but the hardest one to work with was my most recent.
She was a lovely woman, very kind, compassionate, listened well and I could be honest with her...at first.
All was going well until she mentioned she had an eating disorder. This was something I had not encountered in a professional before and I'm sure that gave her a great insight and empathy into what i was going through and how I was feeling.  After that moment I could no longer be honest, maybe I was reading too much into it but I honestly could see pain and hurt on her face when i was talking.  I was beginning to be conscious that what I was saying may be having a negative impact on what she was feeling!!
I tried to continue with the sessions, stopped for a while and then went back.  I did eventually tell her how I was feeling and what I thought and she was honestly shocked. She assured me this was not the case but unfortunately I made the decision I could no longer work with her.  Shame really as she was a lovely person.
Throughout all my early experiences I didn't really question authority, it wasn't the done thing.  Not the case now though, I am a much stronger and assertive person and will fight for what is right and what I need.

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