Six months on
I first went back to my Doctors to ask about returning to medication for Depression as I had spotted the early signs of its return about 6 months ago. I didn’t go straight to the doctor on day one of spotting the signs. I first followed my normal thing of stepping up my own methods of identifying the cause for the feelings and solving whatever the problem is myself.
At this first stage I normally give myself a month to try to identify any Trigger Point that may have sparked the feelings. Normally (9/10 times) during that first month I am able to identify the Trigger and work on solving it and all is well in my world again. The times that I cannot identify any particular Trigger within a month and I’m still having those same thoughts and feelings I move to stage two of my personal process which means an appointment with the Doc to go back on the meds.
The medication takes roughly 4 to 6 weeks to start to take effect and during that time I continue to work on identifying the cause of the problem if possible. In gerneral I can normally use this time wisely and as the medication starts to take effect the cause of the particular slump becomes clearer and I can get down to working on the root of this problem.
So at this point we are now already around two months into the process. If at this point I’m still feeling no better (and in this particular case I was actually a lot worse even with the meds). So its back to the doctor I go to look at the next stage. The next stage usually involves raising the level of the meds doing this for another month normally gives my mind enough clarity to have found the root of the problem and start to solve it.
It’s at this stage I again talk to the Doctor to discuss pulling back on the meds slowly whilst I resolve the problem. A month later and I’m normally fully back on track.
To the outside world nothing has really changed and I’m still exactly the same as I don’t allow the outwood signs of the depression to show. Again this time around I didn’t have the problem solved so it’s means another chat with the doc. This time instead of the normal pattern of the doc upping the meds again she suggests I contact the NHS Wellbeing Service, as I’d never tried this service before I was more than happy to try. When you can’t cope and resolve a problem for yourself then you’re sensible course of action is to take advantage of anything that may help.
The Wellbeing Service
Part of the process of connecting with the Wellbeing Service involves taking an Online Quiz. As soon as I received the email that explained this was the process I became very skeptical of the whole thing. An online test from an NHS Service, right sounds more like some tacky Facebook thing people fall for and end up giving away more than they planned by the con artists that post those tests.
The test comes with a Disclaimer: This PHq-9 questionaire is a self-administered instrument used in primary care settings. This test is NOT a diagnostice test. Please consult your physician if you are concerned about you mood.
Being a natural skeptic I did some research into the PH1-9 questionaire. It seems like something that is widely used not just by the NHS but in other countries as well. So I thought what the hell lets do it anyway. So I clicked the link in the email read the standard blurb and off I went. I wasn’t filled with confidence in the test at all after I read the opening line on which you base how you answer each question (its the same criteria for all the questions):
Over the last 2 weeks, how often been bothered by…
At this point the skeptic in me was on fulll alert. How can you possibly make any kind of real assessment with such a basic premis for answers. But I persisted and moved on anyway. The test gives you the following basic options for answers:
Not at all
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Again I’m not filled with confidence in the test at all, but I persisted. Example of the kinds of questions the test asks:
Little interest or pleasure in doing things
Feeling down depressed, or hopeless
Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
Again they seem ver simplistic and my impression is that this can’t possibly offer any insight into how I’m feeling its pretty much an established fact that I am depressed at this stage as I have already gone through my own process and was unable to resolve the problem. But on I go, I went in with the view of if I’m not totally honest in my answers its pointless doing the thing in the first place.
The resulting score was 24 with the result being identified as Severe Depression the NHS website doesn’t seem to carry Sever Depression as an option when you try to do further research after taking the test. The cloesest diagnosis on the NHS Website would be Clinical Depression, the definition of Clinical Depressionaccording to Doctors (apparently) is:
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up, it is a serious mood disorder. It can be life threatening. With the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery. See your GP if you think you may be depressed.
Doctors describe depression by how serious it is:
Mild Depression: has some impact on your daily life
Moderate Depression: has a significant impact on your daily life
Severe Depression: makes it almost impossible to get through daily life; a few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms
How I scored in the PHq-9 test
The results of the PHq-9 test identified Severe Depression, that sadly meant that I didn’t qualify for help from the Wellbeing Service as my condition is outside of their remit and I need to be reffered to another service that best suits my needs. Great, that’s at least something positive and in an odd way a step forward although I’m still not getting any real world help and all this has happened in one phone call and one online test.
However I was already on top of this as I know that nothing is improving for me and I’ve already made arrangements with my doc for that refferal, for once I’m ahead of the game. By this stage we’re three months down the road and I’m waiting for another appointment. Thankfully I have a great relationships with the docs at my Surgery so the second referral is marked as an emergency case which means I get a faster appointment. That appointment did indeed come through fairly rapidly and off we go to the Hospital to see the Mental Health Team.
The first appointment is another assessment, so no progress there. I knew that this would be the case so not overly concerned. We couldn’t get through the whole assessment in the alloted hour so another appointment is booked to complete the assessment in a months time.
#Shaun who him? – I’ve worked in the Employability & Skills, Recruitment, Training, Careers Advice & CV Writting/Consultancy sectors for over 20 years. Currently developing my life long passion of Photography with the eventual aim of building a new business venture. McLaren F1 and Ayrton Senna fan who also enjoys cooking who more recently using my enjoyment of writing to talk about my own Mental Health struggles.