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Hi everyone!

Cactuscope Community member Posts: 1 Listener

Hi, my name is Lynne but I've chosen the name "Cactuscope" on here because there's already someone here who has my proper full name!

I'm in my late 50's and have a couple of physical health conditions (although they don't affect my day-to-day life much, so I wouldn't consider them a 'disability')   - but I have had mental-health issues since my teens and finding help is SO difficult.

I'm extremely fortunate in having a fabulous GP who goes above & beyond to help me, but whenever he needs to refer me to 'secondary care' it all falls apart. Like everybody else all over the country (I imagine), I need to wait ages for an appointment and when I eventually have one, they are no help whatsoever and I’m simply discharged back to primary care (my GP). His hands are tied, basically … he does his absolute best but certain psychiatric help MUST go through secondary care.

I'm looking forward to reading about others’ experiences when referred to secondary care for mental health issues (in particular severe depression which appears to be medication-resistant) and the process of applying for PIP, which I found soul-destroying.  I won in the end through taking my case to Tribunal, but it took 28 months of uncertainty & worry which was easily avoidable, had they made the correct decision in the first place.

I’m also more than happy to share my own experiences in the hope it might help somebody   - I know I’m far from alone with the mental-health issues I live with and the difficulties in accessing appropriate help.


  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,521 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 17
    I can empathise from experience right down to having a FANTASTIC GP who has been our family doctor since before I was born right up until 2018 when he retired. Since the NHS went down the toilet during COVID I even lost that though :( 

    People often state that GP letters are not useful in applying for PIP but in my experience they have made a difference. My GP was helpful in applying for PIP. I got knocked back once and he wrote to them basically saying he personally (& professionally) guaranteed that I was not making anything up and to contact him if any further discussion was required - I got my PIP reinstated to the maximum grade quickly after that. This might be something you could attempt

    Sadly the wait for secondary services is real though and there’s nothing anyone can do about that, unless they are perceived as threatening danger to themselves or others, or of course pay (again) for their care

    Without wanting to impersonate a doctor … I’m interested in your depression and am wondering if you can at all relate to mine. My depression was medication-resistant as well, however I came to realise that I had depression for very explicit reasons, it wasn’t just a general depression with no obvious cause. Instead of look for medication to artificially feel better I decided that the depression was a healthy sign, telling me to fix the things that were wrong in my life, which I am now working towards. If anything it would have actually been more severe if I had these severe deficiencies in my life and DIDN’T feel depressed, as not caring about the lack of such significant and fundamental human rights and needs would be quite worrying

    For clarity I am not trying to persuade you to stop any medications you are taking or anything but just something to think about

    I hope this helps a little and I’m happy to chat about anything else if you get back to me :blush:
  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 5,149 Scope online community team

    Hey there @Cactuscope and welcome from me too. :)

    I'm glad you have such a good GP, they really are worth their weight in gold, but it's a pain you have to join the appointment lottery to see them. I think we're all suffering there!

    I understand the problems with med resistant depression, that's something I also struggle with, but I found talking therapy helped a fair bit. It was all self referral too, so that could be something to look into perhaps?

    Albus (he/him)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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