"The entire experience has actually really upset me"
About: Ealing / Assessment Team Ealing Assessment Team UB1 3EU
Posted by Upset and unimpressed (as ),
When I arrived the people didn't seem to be aware that I had an appointment, although they had confirmed it a few days prior, and were unable to locate the correct information and I had to call the Referral Team myself in order to confirm it.
When I finally got to my appointment (45 mins after it was due to start) I was sat in someone's office with 3 people who stared at me like a zoo animal. 2 were psychiatrists (I was told that one was observing the other but they ended up taking over most of the appointment) and someone whose job title was a 3 letter acronym, which was never explained to me (who did not speak a single word during the hour I was there).
The first psychiatrist asked me lots of very broad questions and I had to ask to clarify a lot. There was no easing in to the conversation and one of the first things I was asked, was 'why are you here? ' My mental health is something I have discussed with about 4 people ever so perhaps asking me really bluntly in a roomful of strangers was not the best way of getting me to open up. My answers to a lot of the banal, but probably mandatory questions, were probably a bit snappy because I wasn't particularly impressed with the entire process. If any of the people in the room had read any of the referral notes from either my GP or the initial assessment team I would be very surprised as they gave no indication of it at any point.
After the first psychiatrist has finished asking me about what my parents do for a living the second psychiatrist indicated they wanted to take over and actually ask some questions about my mental health problems, however during the appointment I was asked several times about the voices I was hearing or if I heard voices or saw visions. I made it pretty clear that I had never heard any voices or seen any visions, but they seemed determined to trick me into admitting it or getting me to say I had. I was genuinely concerned that they had decided on a diagnosis and was just trying to shoe-horn me into fitting into it. Part of my mental health problems included going into disassociative states where I can't recall what has happened during them, I was told that my descriptions of these were vague and pressed me to answer questions about them. I found it rather distressing as the reason I was there was due to the fact that I am experiencing these 'blank-outs' and to be told that I am vague while describing them was not exactly helpful for my state of mind.
I had no problems with anxiety before I went to this appointment but the entire experience has actually really upset me. I am concerned about my mental health, but I think I will have to be asked to be referred to another team as I found the entire experience to be distressing and I don't think I could work with this team.
Whilst discussing if I could return to work, I stated that I wanted to do so soon. They questioned whether I was up to it, but gave no suggestions or recommendations and were fairly unhelpful on the subject. It has lead to me questioning whether I am ready to go back, with no doctor's opinion and just my own self doubt (which I did not go into the meeting with).