Diagnosis Murder

I received a wad of stuff from Dr T (psych… no not “Psych!”, I mean, Dr T is my psych, oh for gods sake…) in the mail today. A bill, firstly, which was preposterously large, and no doubt worth every penny. At some point that will be paid I’m sure, hopefully before the next bill arrives in a months time.

The rest of the bundle was the array of psych tests and ‘Am I Mad or Not’ paraphernalia. I think I did one of these things before, but I was erm, mental at the time, so can’t remember what it was for, or which test it was. I also can’t remember if anyone ever read it. Wait! No, I do remember. It was when I was referred to the local mental team, the CPN squad. I had one appointment with a CPN, about a year after I first was referred. For some reason it was the only appointment I ever had. I think they decided I wasn’t about to top myself and fuck up their stats for the year, and let me loose to fend for myself. No great loss I think, they didn’t seem too bright to be honest.

Anyway…

What the hell was I talking about?

Tests! Yes. I am a little hazy this evening. Rough day. Mood low. Fight the good fight and all that.

I have before me an SCL-90-R (Pearson Symptom Checklist, measure of psychological distress), what appears to be a BAI (Beck Anxiety Inventory), a BDI-II, which is The Beck Depression Inventory, an Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (could take a while…), a Social Activities and Distress Scale, and a Body Sensations Questionnaire.

This seems fairly comprehensive to me. I have thus far filled in the BAI and appear to have made a pretty zig zag pattern on the multiple choice boxes. I hope this doesn’t mean anything. It reminds me of the General Studies A Level I took, which I had failed to turn up to , erm, any of the seminars for, because it was a ludicrous and pointless A-Level that nobody cared about. It was multiple choice, A to D, and I did indeed make a zig zag patter, ticking box A, then box B, etc so on. I was done in 10 minutes and day-dreamed the rest of the seven gazillion hours that we were forced to sit in the room. I do believe I had taken some quantity of LSD the night before and hadn’t actually slept at all, and wait – it’s coming back, I think I was still tripping a little because it was a morning exam. So anyway,  I got a C, a free A level. Woot.

Why must cats always trample all over any paper that is put down anywhere? Why I ask you? Get the frick off my psych evaluations you crazy cat!

Ok. So I got bored after that. Or worried. Or nervous. I don’t know. I’m supposed to answer the questions according to how I’ve felt in the last week. How strict is that? I can’t remember exactly when I felt certain things. Am I supposed to be strict about that 7 days? Does it mess it up if I felt something 8 days ago that totally throws the curve out? Is it important? Is the fact that I’m worrying too much about the answers being accurate worth more than the test reults themselves? Arghhhhh. Why must they torture us crazy people so?

Really though. I sometimes go a couple of weeks without any severe anxiety issues, and then go all out and have a couple of freak outs in a week. It depends on whats happening in my life. How am I supposed to give an accurate measure of my levels of anxiety if they restrict me to this week? Should I just answer honestly, and hope therapy will gradually unravel my slow madness, or try to give an average level of craziness in my answers and hope it saves time, and gives Dr T a better handle on what goes on in my mind.

There needs to be a box at the bottom for a personal statement or something. Like you get on benefits forms…


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Fighting off the diseased programming of centuries

I had my first session with a psychologist today. I’ve been meaning to get around to therapy for two years now, but somehow it never happened. Getting a psych on the NHS requires the kind of committment, concentration, patience and endurance that I certainly don’t have, and doubt many crazies have. Pretty much the only way anyone gets a proper psych in the UK seems to be by trying to off themselves so much that you’re forced to see one as a condition of being allowed to live outside the hospital.

So, after much avoidance, worrying, stress and some more avoidance (read: laziness) with some encouragement from C, (who is slowly persuading me that spending money is not necessarily a Bad Thing, especially if one pays ones bills on time.) I made an appointment. Actually the psych failed to respond to my email requesting an appointment, C kept forgetting to make one for me by phone, and I tend to avoid phones, so we got our minions to make the appointment for me. (asksunday.com – awesome)

I’m rambling anyway, so at this point I’ll digress a little more and recommend one of these remote personal assistant companies to any crazies who have problems organising their lives. It’s pretty cheap, and you can get them to do all kinds of stuff that you just can’t face doing, forget to do, or avoid doing. You can email or text them, set up all your contacts, important dates, etc. give them regular tasks to do. This stuff is vital if you’re like me and regularly fail to do important life stuff for no good reason. I was resistant to the expense at first, but to be honest with myself, my inability to do anything in a timely fashion, results regularly in a collection of fines, failure to get anything done, make appointments I really need to make (i.e see a psych).

Anyway. Back to the post. If I had one.

Went to see the psych, a clinical psychologist. With many letters after the name.

I like him. I was worried I would not. He seems intelligent, knows his stuff, but has empathy as well as intellectual knowledge. I ran through a quick history with him, overview of my issues, triggers, what I want from therapy. Made an appointment for two weeks time. He talked a little about what he likes to do, and seems interested in doing some short term CBT work, moving into schema therapy as a longer term method.

I’m fairly easy at this point. I’ll trust him until I have a reason not to. I need to do some reading about Schema. The psych, (lets call him Dr T.) was interested in having a look at my blog when I mentioned it in possibly being of use. My memory is not great, so it might save a lot of time and effort if he just reads this, not to mention the way I write being very different to the way I talk, and appear in person. Mostly. Sometimes.

I was appalled at my memory of things as I tried to lay down a brief history of my life that led to seeking therapy. I have appalling recollection of dates. I basically have to locate a date in my life that I definitely know is right, and then count forwards, by the house i was living in, or the job I was doing. Otherwise I have no f’ing clue. I blame all that acid in my youth.

So anyway. One small step for me. Maybe people out there can share their thoughts as to how useful therapy is/has been to them. If they think it has helped their coping strategies. Any advice at all really. I’m a newbie. Everyone else seems to have been in therapy since birth…Now I get to waffle on about my therapist this, and my therapist that… Now I just need a nutritionist, a gastro specialist, a careers advisor and I will be as mentally healthy as PA! Oh dear.