Choice of words in mental health treatment have the power to make or break
These are just the tip of my mental health journey iceberg – specifically within my treatment for anorexia.
So I am currently in the process of having my book edited that I am hoping to have published – That’s the dream. Even if I don’t get it traditionally published I will be self publishing as my aim is to put my full mental health story out there to raise awareness in a number of areas, to give a frank account with no heirs and graces on living with mental illness but also to highlight and expose some of the treatment that I have received over the years as I believe that I am not the only one to ever have had things said to them by professionals that quite frankly should never have been been said.
I believe it’s important to highlight this area for things to change and for better treatment to be given and for professionals to think about the words that leave their mouths. They are in a position of power where their words can make or break someone and too often it was the latter that happened to me. Maybe this is why It took me 15 years to access the right treatment and this is also the reason I dropped out of NHS services completely for four years as shockingly I found being under my local mental health team more difficult that dealing with it alone. A psychiatrist telling me after me giving him a private assessment report with a diagnosis of bipolar that my problem was that my life was “boring, empty and pointless” was the straw that broke the camels back for me and I then went on as diagnosed bipolar for four years with no help and no treatment,
The best treatment I ever received within the NHS was within the eating disorders unit but this was namely due to one psychiatrist who was what every psychiatrist should aim to be. However even within this service there comments that just shouldn’t have been made both by a psychiatrist ( One I saw before the amazing one mentioned above) and also a dietician within the inpatient unit itself.
I had more of these sorts of comments to come over the years which are all in my book that I am hoping to publish, this was just the start – but I wanted to put this out there, that these are comments that sometimes go on within treatment.
Anorexia is an illness filled with guilt……Unbearable guilt and so much confusion. At the time these comments I just believed, they fed in to what I was already feeling but looking back now I almost want to jump through my manuscript and grab hold of the person speaking these words to my former self.
These are the actual excerpts from my diaries at the time of treatment for anorexia.
This was while I was in day care for anorexia – ie 8am-4pm treatment which generally happens before inpatient treatment, at this point I was very poorly, very low in weight and surviving on next to nothing (very shortly after this and more drastic weight loss I was admitted as an inpatient at 6 stone)
This was a conversation with the dietician within the day care programme. I was already wracked with guilt about “Rob” and generally felt guilty for even being alive at this point:
Excerpt from my manuscript – Anorexia needs to be dealt with with so much sensitivity – words can literally make or break.
Anorexia is far too much based on weight and numbers in regards to treatment which actually does nothing more that feed an already anorexic mind focussed on those same numbers.
A professional telling someone with anorexia that they do not currently meet “anorexic requirements” is a red flag to a bull.
I know from experience that it’s entirely possible for someone to experience the same distress, the same anorexic thoughts at a ” healthy” weight as at an “anorexic” weight and this needs to change.
The distress is still the same, except at a healthy weight it’s actually harder as you don’t feel validated and most of the time within treatment AREN’T validated unless the numbers are there.
Professionals need to be so aware of what they are saying. As I say, this was the very tip of my iceberg…Similar comments and worse continued throughout my fifteen year quest for the right treatment and it’s only now that I look back I realise how wrong it was of them. How the issue wasn’t me, I was ill.
It’s now I feel able to come out with my story, with all the things that were said that never should have been.
I hope to publish a story that people can relate to, one that is honest.
Always fight for the right treatment, don’t let professionals speak to you in a certain manner because they have “authority” always fight for yourself, stick up for yourself. It’s hard and it can be scary but always fight for what you believe to be right.