"Why are CMHT so difficult to get to listen to you?"

About: Cardiff & Vale University Health Board Mental Health At Llandough Hospital Whitchurch Hospital (Cardiff)

(as the patient),

Years ago when my eldest was small I remember getting afraid of supernatural experiences. The first was when I was 19. I swear I saw my grandfather standing in the doorway of my mothers home. He had died 5 years earlier. A short while later I remember experiencing a presence around me. It was more of a feeling than hearing something but they were bad people who were there to let me know that someone I was close to was going to die. I had to try and work out who it was and prevent it. This happened on and off since then.

24 years later and I realised this probably didn't happen. I always had pretty funny moods, would get quite down, be impulsive, never finish anything, have difficulty concentrating, enjoy random spur of the moment trips, activites etc and have always been known as a bit of a practical joker. Life went on.

I attended the gp as I was having trouble controlling my moods, from anger and irritation, to tearfulness and a tendency to withdraw from friends and family. I would move overnight, be unpredictable, erratic, distracted and chaotic. I would talk too much and too fast often confusing the person I was speaking too. Still life went on with ups and downs I put down to my menstrual cycle.

After having my son at 25 these feelings intensified. 2 years later I became very depressed and was prescribed anti depressants. Things got out of control. I have no recollection of this time except that I smashed up the house, pulled half my hair out, somehow bruised most of my body quite badly and after someone telling me to (no-one real), I took an overdose of 80/90 paracetamol.

Luckily for me my gp had already realised there was an issue and sent an ambulance to my home. I spent time in the poisons unit at Llandough then was at Whitchurch hospital. I do not know how long for. While I was there I was a pain in the butt. But they were nice to me all the same. Wouldnt take the medication, sat on my bed and smoked cannabis, was rude and arrogant to staff and thought I was funny, didnt think I had to do anything I didn't want to do. This whole period fluctuated with quite high bits and very low bits. Came home still on anti depressants and something to calm me. Life went on again with its ups and downs.

After my daughter at 31 I again had a period of time on anti depressants. I got into trouble with the police, fell out with friends and family withdrew from college, had trouble sleeping and would shift from happy to sad on a regular but not intense basis. This seemed to even out after I stopped the anti depressants 4 years later. Then I noticed about 4 yrs ago I was becoming quite obsessed by things/people, I would get carried away with ideas / projects that weren't real and get angry and upset when things didn't pan out. Then during November 2012 I got very down. I would cry all the time. This went on until the beginning of fFeb when I started to feel as if I was on some sort of amphetamine, got over excited, boundless energy and ideas, went off on impulsive trips, went out a lot, did things I wouldnt usually do. I spoke to a friend who suggested I see my GP. I did. My GP wanted to refer me to local CMHT. I didnt want to go so following a telephone call mirtazipine was prescribed. That was when all hell broke loose. I didn't sleep, eat, stand still, had awful panic attacks, saw things that weren't there, imagined people in my house that weren't there, thought there was someone behind me constantly, thought that my friend's boyfriend knew what I was planning to do (run off to the hills in mid winter in my tent while leaving my youngest at my friends).

Anyways my friend persuaded me to go back to GP. Urgent referral to CMHT made and venlafaxine prescribed, same effect but not so intense. Sertraline prescribed better but still feel speedy, mood swings more intense, irritable, cant focus, distracted can't concentrate, affecting home, job and children.

Still CMHT say this is fine, its normal and not to worry. I have seen CPN twice, Dr once who sent me home with a CBT online course leaflet despite knowing I didn't have the internet. I am due to see psych in 2 weeks but only because my GP keeps insisting I get seen. I have telephoned the local CMHT several times in recent weeks feeling unable to cope. Nothing has happened. It is difficult for me to go there. It scares me before and after as after I think someone is going to turn up at my house and lock me up in Whitchurch. I have thoughts and feelings I am not sure are mine about harming myself which makes me panic as I have behaved impulsively in the past.

Why are CMHT so difficult to get to listen to you? I wouldn't be going if I didn't need to. My closest and dearest friend came with me to appts but her version of events (which is different in some situations to mine) was never taken into account, never asked for. When I am in a good mood I don't see my behaviour as that bad, she on the other hand does. Why or should I say how can a piece of paper help? ? ? This has been going on for 14 months. As far as I can see the CMHTare no use whatsoever but I can't be referred anywhere else due to area.

So frustrating, just want my life back where although it was off balance it was mostly manageable!. Oh and was referred to primary mental health team who spoke to me on the phone and, guess what they said, seeing things along with everything else is fine too.

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Response from Sheila Harrison, Assistant Director Patient Experience, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

I am so sorry to read your frustrations and difficulties with our services. I have spoken to our Clinical Board Nurse who is responsible for the CMHT. She has asked that you contact her directly on the address below, so she can help resolve your issues.

I hope this improves the situation for you.



Jayne Tottle

Clinical Board Nurse for Mental Health

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Whitchurch Hospital

Park Road


CF14 7XB

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