This week Britain has been celebrating 70 years of the National Health Service (NHS). For my international readers who may not be aware of what this is – the NHS is a public service that provides UK residents with free healthcare and is funded by the tax payer.
Being disabled, healthcare is a vital part of my life. I’ve been treated in doctor’s surgeries and hospitals for multiple reasons; seizures, hip surgeries, eye surgeries, Botox injections, blood tests, scans, x-rays, orthotics (splints) and most recently having a suprapubic catheter fitted. But as well as my physical health, the past 18 months I’ve been conquering my mental health.
It is said that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health issues at some point in our lives. As a result, mental health resources in the NHS are struggling to meet demand and have led to many patients waiting months or years for treatment.
However, my journey to treatment was rather good in comparision to other people. In my case, I wasn’t so bad that I needed to be hospitalised but knew I needed professional support from a mental health specialist.
It all began in November 2016 when I had a fall out with a carer who quit the next day. I felt all carers were against me and everybody thought I was aggressive and rude and nobody would want to work with me. I knew I had to change my behaviour in order to improve relationships with carers.
I went to my GP and expressed my concerns and worries (plus had a good cry). She prescribed me with Citalopram antidepressants and referred me to iTalk, an NHS run therapy service.
The kind of treatment my GP suggested was Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is a talking therapy that looks at current problems and how you can behave more positively towards them.
I was on the waiting list initially 90 days. They then phoned me offering online therapy as there is still a bit of a wait for face to face therapy. I took the offer but after 3-4 months, felt it wasn’t suitable for me. They gave me some basic tips to cope but it was hard to type out all my feelings on a computer.
In October 2017, I began face to face therapy and completed my final session this week. I felt the sessions were extremely helpful, was good to speak to someone who doesn’t know me and I have learnt skills and strategies to deal with my stress and anxiety.
Although my therapy is over, this is still a growing progress and I still need to put my skills into practice.
I am grateful for the NHS providing this service to me and referring me so swiftly. I would like to say if you feel your mood is low, you feel more irritable or feel stressed, anxious or depressed, visit your GP and they will refer you to the appropriate specialists. The NHS is here to help all physical and mental needs.
Happy 70th Anniversary to the NHS! Thank you for all you do for us and for the care and support you give. This blog post is dedicated to every doctor, nurse, receptionist, therapist, healthcare assistant, porter and. Every single other person working at the NHS!
Next week I will share some of the skills I learnt throughout my CBT experience…
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