LHB Blog

A girl, a blog and a cactus named Pudding

The GP Dilemma

Alternative title: Because sometimes I’d rather not have to explain the far end of a fart about my Mental Health issues to a complete stranger for the 3rd time in a matter of weeks … I may just leave a note with the receptionist next time with a “check my blog before consultation as will save 7 out of my allocated 10 minute appointment slot”. Grumble grumble grumble. 

Since my medication was changed to Mirtazapine just over a month ago I’ve been back and forth to my GP surgery to discuss the dosage, the side effects, etc etc etc. Which is great, I’m all for regular check ups … Especially when the medication is new and the side effects are rather, well, scary (very negative thoughts all up in ma noggin!). What I don’t like is the fact that my last appointment signified the 5th GP I’ve seen about this, with my next check up being with a 6th … It’s terrifying enough walking into the surgery somedays but other days, when the Anxiety is peaking, it’s absolute hell! So throw in a new GP and that’s it, I’m an absolute mess!

During my last appointment I was trying to convey my reasons for disliking the Mirtazapine … I haven’t felt as though it’s been a good fit for me. Yes it helps me sleep (oh man, does it help me sleep!), yes it’s given me an appetite (I want to eat. All. The. Time. I’m not kidding) … But, my mood has been constantly low, my outlook on life has been pretty shitty, the negative thoughts are downright scary, I’ve been irritable to the point that being unable to open a jar of coffee left me wanting to throw an epic arm-flailing-legs-kicking tantrum and I can’t even take a piss without wanting to cry my eyes out (honestly, I cried that someone put puppies on a roll … What the hell is that about?!).

So as well as explaining how I came to be on Mirtazapine in the first place, I also had to try and explain all of the above. To which the new GP tapped her keyboard, printed me a prescription for max dose Mirtzazapine and said “come see me in two weeks … Unless you’re worried you’ll act on your thoughts, in which case come in sooner”.

Erm … Huh.

A part of me is craving consistency with this as I’m sure each GP has a differing view and approach to Mental Health (and the treatments) … Just as each person has a different take on it. Plus having the same GP allows for one thing to remain unchanging in a situation that is constantly changing, being able to focus on the fact that I’m seeing a practitioner that I know eases the Anxiety a bit. It tips the tables slightly in my favour. But more than that, I’m craving a feeling of trust. You see, Depression tells me not to trust people … Family, friends, whoever – it doesn’t discriminate. So when faced with a name I don’t recognise on the board, with Anxiety already shrieking away, it’s alot easier for me to accept it when the Depression says “they won’t believe you”.

I know resources are stretched, I know it’s coming up to flu jab season (there’s a queue around the block at the surgery Monday-Friday throughout November I kid you not) and heck, part of me thinks I’m being completely irrational and selfish for wanting the same GP.

But I still do.

There are only two GP’s left at the surgery that I haven’t had an appointment with … I wonder if they give out medals for the first person to see the whole darned practice (both permanent and locum) staff? Shit, eventually I’ll end up explaining Anxiety squits to the cleaners as they empty the bins outside the cubicles at this rate.

 

light

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – Desmond Tutu (Pic is from my Insta)

 

How do you lovely lot feel about having to see different GP’s for the same issue? Should seeing the same GP be standard practice?

R x

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22 Comments

  1. I feel you sister. I now only see one P and refuse to see anyone else because it’s just too bloody stressful to keep ‘explaining’ myself. I have a box of mirtzazapine in the cupboard, which they gave me for sleep problems (caused by anxiety) but I haven’t taken them because of the possible side effects- especially the weight gain X

    • Ruebi

      Oh I hear you about the Mirtazapine sweetie … My appetite is through. The. Roof! I’m on the max dose still which is helping a little with the Depression and Anxiety but it’s making other issues (my body image) worsen. They want me to stay on this dose for a month, to see how it goes, as they don’t want me to shift meds without being certain it isn’t right. Meanwhile I’m undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the body image … And it’s pretty rough going.

      On the plus side I’ve FINALLY managed to get an appointment with the GP who diagnosed the Depression in the first place …

      I hope you’re doing ok(and that you’re managing to get some sleep) x

  2. I love the alternate title!
    I agree with you on this. I think each person should be assigned their own GP and stick with them. Of course, if it’s something like tonsillitis, you could have the option to mention that you are comfortable seeing any doctor and get in sooner.
    I think, especially with mental health issues, it is important to have a level of trust with your GP and it is extremely helpful if they know your history first hand rather than you having to explain it all each time.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    • Ruebi

      I think trust is so important when it comes to GP’s, you feel able to open up a little more (even if what is being said is a difficult subject) and you feel as though the treatment you’re getting is personal (rather than a one size fits all). Without that trust you’re less likely to open up, or you feel as though whatever you say isn’t being taken seriously … As though you are being fobbed off with another drug to take and a “there, there”. And that’s without having to do a recap of everything leading up to that point, which in itself may be triggering.

      Sigh – Navigating around your own mind can be difficult enough some days without having the “oh you’re new” issue when seeing the GP.

  3. Hi from #WeekendBlogHop! I like your alternate title much better! You are definitely NOT selfish for wanting the same GP. For something ongoing like mental health, you should be seeing one person — and that one person should be someone you like and trust. If there’s any way you could start insisting on seeing just one, do 🙂

    • Ruebi

      I once came out of an appointment with a GP I felt hadn’t taken a word I was saying seriously in a bit of a state (there was a lot of crying) and explained to the receptionist that I wanted to see a GP I’ve seen before and one I trusted. I was told that they didn’t know when said GP would next be free and to just accept whoever had a free space on any given day.

      It’s a shame really as I feel health (mental, physical or emotional) needs a consistent approach. Which obviously you don’t get if you’re constantly seeing different practitioners.

  4. I was put on Mertazipine and within 3 days I started to crave chocolate, I put on stones of weight in months and that in itself wasn’t exactly the most helpful thing of all, in the end I was put on Reboxetine which I’ve taken for over 12 years and it’s been amazing by comparison!! #weekendblogshare

    • Ruebi

      Ooooo the chocolate cravings … I have those! I have those bad! I also don’t seem to feel full regardless of the meal portion sizes I’m consuming! Those around me see this as a good thing as I lost weight with Citalopram but I’ll be honest, it’s not. It’s playing havoc with my body image!

      I’m glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you though! 🙂

  5. Couldn’t agree more, having to see someone different each appointment is not at all helpful to someone suffering from any mental illness. You need to have consistency to make progress. My surgery is fantastic, they don’t like to book you in with anyone, but your own GP unless they really have to. Stand your ground and insist on only seeing one GP for all of your appointments. I wish you all the best and send you lots of hugs #weekendblogshare x

    • Ruebi

      Always happy to accept ((hugs))! Thank you. And your GP’s surgery sounds awesome.

      I’ve used the online booking system to get my next appointment (far easier than talking to reception I must admit!) and it’s actually with my “assigned” GP and the one I trust. I think I’m going to voice my concerns about seeing different practitioners when I talk to her. In order to make progress I need to have faith in the care plan … And at the moment I don’t x

  6. Oh gosh, I feel for you so much! Having suffered with very severe depression in the past, my heart breaks hearing that you’re having to see so many different people. People with mental health problems are very sensitive about things like this (and rightly so) and the GPs should be aware of it. It’s frustrating that they aren’t baring this in mind when making your appointments. And, as you say, there are so many different approaches to mental health that you NEED the consistency of 1 GP. Then, if you’re not happy with them, you can try someone else. But constantly being passed from one person to another is not helpful at all. I really hope that you can get your dosage worked out soon. #PoCoLo

    • Ruebi

      Exactly! I saw 2 GP’s in a short space of time and they were like polar opposites with treatment, one was very medication focused and the other was all about talking therapies. It didn’t seem to matter what I said to either of them (as I believed having both medication and therapy would work best for me) they were very stringent and it caused disruption to my treatment. It doesn’t feel like a continuation of therapy as it’s being changed depending on the views of the GP. It can be very disheartening, particularly when the Anxiety/Depression are at their worst!

  7. I think it should be standard practice to see the same GP for the same issue – especially if the appointments are so close together!

    http://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Ruebi

      I know right? How can you develop a treatment plan that works for you if it’s constantly being changed due to different doctors?

  8. Oh honey, seeing someone different every time can’t be helping anyone. And it’s certainly not the best way to deliver customer service is it, let alone because of the anxiety it brings with it. How v daft, everyone gets they’re busy, but you’re still a person and should be treated with respect. So sorry that this isn’t happening. Take care of yourself and know that by dealing with this you are getting stronger, little by little, even if it may not always feel like it. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

    • Ruebi

      It’s almost like a revolving door – get patients in and out as quickly as possible. I understand that they are restricted with appointment times and they, like everyone else, have only 24 hours in a day (obviously not all spent in the surgery nor would I expect them to be). But sometimes you do wonder if going to see them makes any difference other than to make you feel like a burden on an NHS service that is already struggling. It can take so much energy to work yourself up to go and speak to a GP in the first place but to then have to repeat that every time you need a medication review or you feel you’re not doing too well is just exhausting … x

  9. I request the GP by name when I make my appointment and if I can’t see him within a reasonable time I request a telephone consultation. Even still doesn’t always work and I saw different GP last time but luckily she was ace.

    • Ruebi

      Awww I’m glad the one you saw was a good one!

      I’ve taken to trying out the online booking system as I can’t face telling the receptionists that I want to see one specific doctor anymore, I feel like a broken record!

  10. Em, is it not standard practise in the UK to only see the same GP when you need to go to the doctors? (bar seeing a locum Dr. when they go away for example). I’m in Dublin & I’ve been with the same GP for years. It builds up relationships, which builds trust. She know’s my history, knows what medications I’m on/have been on etc etc. It make me feel settled as I know she is a great Dr and I trust her knowledge. I’ve have heart disease & needed 4 stents in January this year and I tell you, if I had to go to a different GP each time and had to explain my whole history over & over again, my bloody head would fall off. Seems bizarre to see a different GP each visit so I feel for you and can understand why it would frustrate you. Well done on being so honest about your mental health, very refreshing so GO YOU!

    • Ruebi

      It is bizarre (I love that word btw!). Especially as the surgery allocate you a GP and repeatedly say “this is your GP” when letters are sent out, yet when you request to see said GP they suddenly can’t find an appointment for love nor money! The only advice reception give is “oooo well you could try calling on the day to see if they’re available” which is rubbish really as I may have run out of my anti-depressants at that point (or my Anxiety might have gotten the better of me and I’ll be avoiding having to make phone calls) and there may not be appointments available with ANY of the GP’s.

      So frustrating! And it does sometimes feel as though my bloody head is going to fall off 🙂

  11. Oh Hun, I feel for you. I agree that seeing the same GP ought to be standard practice. It seems to be that your GP would know you and your family, so would know your history, these days you’re lucky if they know your name!
    Hope things improve for you soon Hun. Xxx
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo

    • Ruebi

      The GP I want to see is one that has known me since I was a teenager (she’s also my ‘assigned GP’), I trust her and believe that the treatment she recommends is with my history in mind. It’s disorientating and frustrating to have to see multiple practitioners in a short space of time and have to explain things over and over again … I believe it should be standard practice too x

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