Mental Health Update (I Saw A Mental Health Nurse)

On Tuesday 27th August I had an appointment with the mental health nurse at my surgery. It had taken about 6 weeks for that appointment to come through. The appointment wasn’t until 2:30pm and so I had all morning to worry about it. I felt that there was a lot of pressure on this appointment as I knew that the mental health nurse had the authority to refer me for help. I’m at a point in my recovery where I really want some help from professionals and so I knew whatever happened I had to make it to this appointment.

 

Throughout the morning my anxiety kept building but I tried my best to ignore it. Eventually it was time to leave and I was eager to just get it over with. I get incredibly anxious about sitting in the waiting room as I know how long you can be left waiting in a doctor’s surgery. Thankfully the nurse that I saw was conscious of how I might be feeling and she called me in on my appointment time. As I followed her into the room I knew that half of the battle was over, I was there and once we had a chat I would have some help in place.

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What happened during the appointment?

I thought I would tell you how the appointment was structured in case anyone reading this has an appointment with a mental health nurse coming up. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in that room but the nurse was lovely and I quickly felt comfortable in her presence.

 

The nurse asked me to tell her my history of mental health problems. I started at the beginning and told her how I struggled as a young child but didn’t understand what I was feeling. As I went through my mental health time line I explained how my mental health began to deteriorate during my Masters. The nurse told me that she had just completed her masters and she could understand why I had struggled. It was really nice to hear that she understood what I had gone through and that she could somewhat relate to me. I explained to the nurse about how catching the norovirus had affected my phobia of vomiting. I felt that she was really listening to me and was sympathetic. Even for mental health professionals I think emetophobia can be a difficult phobia to get their head around but I really felt that she understood and there was no judgment.

 

Once I had told the nurse my story she explained to me that she would now go through my options as to what help she would recommend, and between us we would decide the best route. She explained that she thinks I should be referred to primary care therapy, however it’s possible that I might be deemed too complicated for them and be further referred to secondary care therapy. We went online and completed my referral form during the appointment – I have an assessment phone call at the beginning of September.  In addition to this the nurse has recommended that I see her for a few sessions every 6 weeks for psychotherapy. During these sessions we will consider mental health theories and she will implement different types of therapy. The nurse further explained that during her sessions we will take a holistic approach and also look at my lifestyle, diet, etc… This is something that I am very happy about as I am a strong believer that how you live your life and what you put into your body affects your mental health.

 

Finally, the nurse then broached the subject of medication. I believe that medication is right for some people and there is a time and a place for it. For me, I don’t believe medication is the best option for me. I can feel that I am slowly building my skills of coping with my anxiety and I want to continue with that. I’m scared that medication will give me a false sense of security and that when I come off of it I’ll take a few steps back again. Personally, I’d rather suffer a bit more at this stage of the recovery rather than take a step back when I think I’m ‘okay’.

If you’ve been medicated for anxiety then I would love to hear your experiences in the comments.

The nurse assured me that ultimately it is my decision and to take some time to think about it before discussing it with my doctor. If I’m honest I’m still thinking I’d rather stay away from medication.

 

The Next Stage

Once the nurse had given her advice and we had agreed that I would seek a referral for therapy, whilst also having some sessions with her, she began to talk through some theories with me. I’m going to do some research on these and I’ll share my findings with you.

 

Before the session ended we agreed that I would create a ‘kit’ to help me cope with my anxiety at the moment. She told me that right now my happiness and quality for life was paramount and that we had to find ways to cope with the physical aspect of my anxiety whilst we tackle the mental side.

 

My appointment lasted for an hour and it was so lovely to have someone listen to me who really understands what I’m going through. The nurse very much treated me as her equal and didn’t at all come across as condescending. She constantly reassured me that any decisions made inside that room would ultimately be mine to make. She gave me her professional opinion on a number of points and shared some of her experiences with me, which gave me comfort. It’s nice to hear someone else’s opinion sometimes when you’re so wrapped up in your own head.

 

Overall I was very impressed with my experience. I had an hour appointment and at no point did I feel rushed or like my problems didn’t matter. For anyone who is struggling I would suggest you talk to your doctor about seeing their mental health nurse.

 

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XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Mental Health Update (I Saw A Mental Health Nurse)

  1. I take a fistful of pills every morning, some of them just vitamins, but I am pretty medicated. 🙂 I don’t worry about it being a false sense of security because I don’t plan on ever NOT taking the medication. It’s a lifelong thing for me I’ve realized after being on and off different medications over the past 20 years.

    Some people fear that it turns you into a zombie or something like that, that hasn’t been my experience. I’m the same person I always was, just calm. I can sit still and read a book now whereas before I was a ball of stress that had to be moving. My academic and professional life have both improved more than I could ever have imagined.

    It’s not 100% due to medication, I started doing a lot of better things for myself around the same time like eating better, exercising, and making a conscious effort to quell my bad habits. But the medication certainly enables me to do those things easier. For example there’s no way I would have been able to say good morning to everyone I see without the meds. I felt like crying every time someone I didn’t know asked me a question!

    Like you said, meds are good for some people and not good for others. It’s up to you and your mental health practitioner to work out what you want. If you’re able to control it on your own with discipline and good habits, then why bother with a pill? They do have bad side effects sometimes. I have no appetite at all and have to schedule my meals or I’ll forget to eat for example.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. It’s amazing to hear how far you’ve come! It sounds like medication was the best option for you 🙂
      I’ve still not 100% made a decision as to medication but I think I’d like to give therapy a go first and see if I can make any progress x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so happy for you that you had such a positive experience! It’s so nice to hear that the nurse was sympathetic and that she treated you well – and having an understanding of emetophobia is a bonus too! I personally found that medication was the turning point for my recovery, but I totally respect you for opting not to go for it. I think they offer it up a little too easily but of course if MH services are limited then it’s easy to see why but it’s not for everyone and there’s plenty of people that have been able to get better without it. I had exactly the same reservations as you before I started on the medication and my emetophobia was one of the main factors. While I had some minor side effects like teariness and an upset stomach in the beginning, it’s definitely helped me in the long run. Of course I also had a high intensity CBT alongside it which was also a factor. I don’t think it was the medication alone that helped but I think it definitely helped to enhance the effects of the CBT. But everyone’s different and I’m glad they haven’t tried to push medication on you. I really like how the nurse is also trying a holistic approach too, I’d be interested to read on your experience of it when you get started! It sounds like this is definitely a step in direction and I’m so happy for you 😊 xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! Thank you for sharing your experience of medication with me – it’s great to hear some positive experiences. I think I’m going to try some CBT and see how I go, if I feel like I’m not making any progress then I’ll revisit the idea of medication 🙂

      I’ll keep you updated on how my appointments with the nurse go. She’s given me such a great outlook on the situation that I’m excited to see what progress I can make in our next appointment xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done! Your appointment sounds like such a great step forward. I tried CBT and no medication. CBT was the best thing I have ever done and my counsellor was really nice. Towards the end of my sessions I was on a stronger medication for my IBS which in even stronger doses can be used for anxiety purposes, but I do not believe it affected my anxiety at my dosage. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing! I was to try CBT without medication and see how much progress I make. I’m intrigued by the IBS medication as that’s a huge factor in my anxiety too – can I ask what the medication is? I’d like to do a little bit of research on it. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 x

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      1. I tried so many but eventually settled on one Colpermin three times a day before meals and Amitriptyline before bed. I took Amitriptyline for a year and weaned myself off over three-four months for a job which I could not be on drowsy medication for. I had to take it in liquid form because of my lactose intolerance, so it was easy to manage taking smaller doses. I felt able to come off it sooner but waited for my doctor to come back from maternity leave. The other doctors I saw at the same surgery were ignorant towards anxiety and IBS. X

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for sharing this with me! ☺️ I’m going to do some research and talk to my doctor during my next appointment ☺️ They’re so closely linked and it can have such an affect 😫 xx

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      3. It takes so much time and upset but you will find something that works for you. I also have a very strict diet. Whilst working on my anxiety I found that my IBS was not completely caused by anxiety, I also have lactose and egg intolerance and found a number of other trigger foods. Anxiety does make my reactions worse though. I kept a food diary for just over a year to record any environmental factors, emotions and reactions to help work out what my triggers were. X

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so good to hear! I am so happy you had such a great appt now you can get some good guidance on your mental health.. I know how important good mental health is especially in my example have a chronic illness . It can really disrupt a body . And you are so young you should be enjoying your life. Hugs❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s really good to hear how medication has positively affected peoples lives ☺️ It’s made me less scared to try it in the future!

      Like

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