Author: Deborah, NSUN member

Against the backdrop of `mental health awareness week’ I am feeling suicidal. My life has no purpose or meaning, and I can no longer run the gauntlet of discrimation and abuse I face on a daily basis.

I have been through some traumatic experiences in life. Racism. A brutalising and abusive local authority care system and institutions. Homelessness and a lifetime of trauma but what I am experiencing from mental health services I have tried to access over the past 14 years has left me utterly broken; devoid of any hope.
It’s like being on a roundabout of signposting, buck-passing wilful misinterpretation and gaslighting. I can’t take any more. I let out a scream and the roundabout gets faster…

For years I was refused access to mental health services after making complaint. Records were passed to third parties; records were mixed up with the wrong people. I complained. This led to false allegations, abuse by members of staff and being denied access to mental health services. A toxic label was placed on me by stealth. Nobody bothered to meet with me before labelling me `personality disordered.’ This came from a psychotherapist who had been chosen to respond to a complaint I had made about my lack of services and ill treatment. Services I had been assessed as needing.

Like a large snowball gathering momentum as it hurtled towards me my complaint turned in a several complaints all about the same thing. Any letters I wrote were wilfully misinterpreted with sentences picked out and dissected with precision to portray something else entirely. When I tried to correct these or make any sort of comment, I was told `make a complaint.’ Any dialogue prevented to fit in the narrative of `vexatious complaint.’

First, the Mental Health Trust that is a crooked as a dog’s hind leg told me they wouldn’t treat me as they don’t treat people like me i.e. people, they have deemed to be `personality disordered.’ I tried to defend myself. I got lost in the complaints cycle. Not being listened to, Being gaslighted. Keep telling my story over and over and over. Carrier bags full of paperwork I couldn’t keep up with. The toll on my health was evident. I started binge eating and self-harming, having night terrors, hair falling out in clumps. Physical health taking a nosedive.

I realised I need help but was turned down for an advocate and got dizzy on the signposting roundabout of mental health charities, law centres, advice centres none of which offered any help to do anything other than signposting me to someone else who would signpost me back again.

What I needed was some practical help; someone who would speak to the mental health trust which is as crooked as a dogs hindleg to take out some of the hurt, distress and gaslighting of when I had to deal with them myself. But all any of these agencies could do was say is. “Have you tried the Citizens’ Advice?” When I told them all what I had tried they would become defensive and say, “Oh well we are going around in circles here”. No one would actually provide any help other than another useless website link which led me back to start.

Eventually I found a solicitor who made an application for a judicial review of their decision to cut me off from ANY access to NHS mental health care. The mental health trust that is a crooked as a dogs hind leg pled `no contest.’ They said they would commission an independent mental health assessment. They did and this and the report recommended they provide treatment. The report also said they should be `understanding’ of autism. The mental health trust refused. Its not question of funding. They have been prepared to spend any amount of money required over the last 14 years to prevent me accessing a service.

Now the mental health trust that is s crooked as a dogs hind leg said they `don’t treat people like me.’ Who are `these people’? People with autism they say. Why should people with autism be refused access to mental health care? I spoke to the Clinical Commission Group for the area who refuse to intervene. I ask them “You commission services for this area, why am I being refused”? They um and ah & say “there is a low demand for services for people like you, so we don’t commission them” “what people like me people with autism”? “People without learning disabilities”. Sorry, it must be frustrating”. Frustrating. Like I have dropped my toast on the floor buttered side up or forgotten to buy milk. No. it is not frustrating. It is killing me.

What I would like for mental health awareness week is for people who signpost to be aware that you are making it worse for people like me where there is no one to talk to and no help available. What I need is advocacy and access to legal help to challenge discriminatory decisions that leave me being denied access to mental health or social care services. Excluded from all services and thrown in the dustbin. Someone help me get off this roundabout…
@Nuclearporridge