A few days ago a comment was left on my blog by twenty7zero3, asking me what happened during my diagnosis assessment – so I said that I’d write a post about it.
First of all, it’s worth mentioning a little bit of background. I’d really struggled to get the help that I required from the NHS and the doctors that I were seeing weren’t referring me to the correct people. I’m a university student who was also on my placement year which made life fifty times harder as well, and at the time it turned out that I lived in three different counties with three different doctor’s surgeries and three different sets of opinions on what was right for me.
Every time I moved from one place to another, I had to re-register and start the process all over again, and then a few months later I’d need help in another place and had to re-register again. It’s a massive problem that university students that live away from home have and a big flaw in the system only being able to be registered at one surgery at a time when students have multiple homes.
No one was listening. No one was helping, and I just got to a point where I’d had enough. There was one particular night which forced me in my own mind to get the help I needed, and that was after having stood in the middle of a dual carriageway near my house waiting for a car to wipe me out.
The NHS wasn’t working for me in this instance, and luckily I was fortunate enough at the time to be able to afford a private assessment (now I wouldn’t be so lucky!). At the time I wasn’t too far from London, so I did a bit of Googling and came across Clinical Partners which have an office near Oxford Circus, as well as offices in other major cities across the UK.
I don’t know if they were the best place to go or whether this is a good way of gaining a diagnosis; I’m not somebody that is able and trained to give such an opinion. But what I do know, is that they did for me what I need them to do. They gave me answers.
The actual assessment was about two hours long, I think. I’d previously filled out mountains of paperwork about how I was feeling, my experiences and what I wanted to achieve out of the session which they had read through before my arrival. But the assessment was just a general talk – about me and my life. It was very much just telling the psychiatrist my issues and them trying to understand in the best way that they could in the restricted time available.
I was incredibly nervous when I first got there but as the conversation started to flow I calmed right down and it wasn’t an unpleasant experience at all. When the session was almost over, emotional instability was mentioned and possible Bipolar tendencies – but nothing was set in stone.
Then came the wait. Around a week later I received a folder through the post with information on suggested treatments and the diagnosis’ I dreamt of getting. Some people hate the idea of being labelled with something, and I agree if it’s a negative stereotype, but for me at that time I was just relieved that I had some answers.
Answers = Solutions.
I’m sure you’re all aware, but that day I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Cyclothymia – and getting those diagnosis’ has been just as useful as I had anticipated.
I think it’s disgusting that it takes knowing what you have to get a doctor to listen to you, but that’s what’s happened. My referrals are quicker, they pay more attention, and everything runs more smoothly. No one wants to be liable for a tragedy and the fact of the matter is, a diagnosed Borderline-Cyclothymic could be on the edge of one.
I remember the first time I went to the doctor after my assessment so clearly. It made me laugh at their idiocy but the irony infuriated me. They won’t listen to us until we have a disorder. But most people can’t get the name of the disorder without them listening.
When I first began to explain what my problems were, the doctor sat facing the computer and barely looked at me. They typed away, but no eye contact was made and they barely said a word. As I carried on, I began to explain my disorders, and as soon as I name-dropped them, the doctor swiveled round on their chair and turned to face me.
I got everything I asked for in that appointment for the first time in ten years. For the first time since I have begun suffering, they were eager to help.
So that was my experience with my assessment and what the answers have meant for me. They’ve made life easier in terms of being heard, getting solutions and being at comfort in the knowing that I’m not the only one. I wouldn’t take back my assessment (and my £400!) for anything.