How do you feel you have been treated by the medical system?
I feel I have been treated relatively well by the medical system because I am fortunate enough to have a medical aid and receive private healthcare. I’ve always had the option of seeing the Doctor I want and changing if I feel they didn’t help me. Also, the medical aid somewhat assists in covering about half the price of my chronic medication and pays about 21 Psychiatric appointments. The problem though is, when you go inpatient you are only covered for 21 days (which includes those 21 Psychiatrist appointments) and sometimes treatment and becoming more stable takes way more time and I feel perhaps 4 – 6 weeks may be more helpful. Paying privately for a longer period is so incredibly expensive for each day so it’s not possible at all to have that as an option for me and the majority of patients, unless you have a high class income. Public sector mental healthcare in our country is absolutely terrible and I think more traumatising to be there than home. Obviously you get to stay much longer as inpatient but you’re basically locked up in a ward behind metal gates with security and the entire facility is half broken down with paint peeling off the walls. You don’t have the freedom to even leave the ward and there are no group sessions. The people there are also incredibly sick with most having schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. There are of course your bipolar and depressive disorders. But that sector I feel is incredibly neglected by the government. I feel that countries like the UK who had the NHS system in place has much better care and facilities for inpatients. So, I would rather have outpatient care with my private Psychiatrist if my 21 days ran out than ever be admitted to a public hospital.
When it comes to my Psychiatrist, I have found her incredibly helpful to me and so amazing in my care. It took about 3 switches between Psychiatrists before I got to her and I am so thankful because she reviewed my condition and finally put me on the right meds. I think what’s also great is that she really listens to how I feel about medications and treatments and never forces things down my throat. I think it’s really important to find a Doctor you feel comfortable with because as much as we’d like to believe all Psychiatrists are capable of the same care, unfortunately many variables come into play. Some have a more stern and controlling personality and some are not as up to date with the newest meds.
What do you say to yourself when you need a pep talk?
I am not very good with giving myself a bunch of positivity mantras or pep talks. They usually feel fake to me and it just doesn’t lift my spirits. So generally, I try to just be graceful with myself. I only avoid cynicism and criticising myself but I don’t generally positive talk. I try to be very realistic and tell myself the facts; that I have had this pain, and probably even worse pain, before and I’ve survived. I’ve gotten to where I am today and I will get to where I need to be. So I try to just breathe and be gentle to myself and take one step at a time, not overthinking. I do what’s good for my soul. I also try mindfulness to teach myself to just focus on the now and the tasks I need to accomplish and so not to sit and ruminate.