Last week my cc (care coordinator) was off sick for the first couple of days and I was supposed to have an appointment with her Monday, so obviously it was cancelled (someone called and left a voicemail saying my cc would contact me to reschedule.)
Obviously people are going to be off sick. We are all human and this is in no way about that. It’s about the procedures in place when someone is.
It was actually Friday before I got a call from my cc and this was after a friend (who happens to be a community psychiatric nurse) had called to tell her that I was really struggling. She has known me for about 10 years and knows my character traits before all this happened. For example she knows I struggle to ask for help. As an example, when I was starting my business, I used to drive a mini-van delivering ironing for some extra cash. One day I was reversing it down a farm driveway in the snow and it was a tight turn that I made too early and I ended up with back wheels over the edge of a well that belonged to the farm. Instead of asking for help from the farmer (who was really nice), I got out and managed to push it out myself.
So when I say I don’t ask for help, it’s not being stubborn, it’s how I am. On the flip side, in the above example, if I couldn’t do it myself I would have had no qualms about seeking help. And that is exactly the same for where I’m at now. I’ll try to do it alone but if things get too bad I will try and ask for help!
During the call with my cc, I told her I had felt very isolated from the service. She had been on holiday the previous week, and my therapist is away for 2 weeks as well so I’d had no contact from anyone for 2 weeks (bear in mind it’d only been 4 weeks since my discharge from hospital when I last saw someone). She replied saying that they can’t be mind readers and if I’m having a tough time I need to call and speak to a duty worker or her if she is in. And this is where my issue begins.
There is one underlying point in all this… When I am in a low place and needing help, the thing I’m incapable of doing is picking up a phone and making a call to ask for help. I just can’t do it – it’s as simple as that. Unfortunately that’s all the system is set up for. If you can’t manage to phone then you don’t get the help. So whilst I was struggling away for two weeks, they thought I was ticking along without any major problems. I can see their point that if they don’t know anything is wrong then what can they do? But is it right that a whole support network revolves around a service user calling in? That there is such inflexibility in reaching the support?
To me there seems to be a huge void here. I’m not sure if it is just me, but I can only assume I’m not the only person who feels they can’t call the service when in a bad place? So what’s the answer? I don’t think there is one. Unfortunately I think if you don’t call, you don’t get support – simple as that!!