Musings from down under down under

It is really interesting, I kind of thought with my budget being so tight and me being more content at home not finding it easy to be around people even to just pop in on people who tell me too.
I have not been anywhere out of my home area, well the dogs walks and I have chatted briefly with neighbours, for a week. I imagine to many this must be such a strange thing and way to live. I do not believe I am depressed, as I am achieving some small things inside my home. On top of having been getting my veggie garden up and functional again this summer. My dogs make me laugh and I laugh at things I watch appropriately

I have achieved finding a new psychiatrist, but I had to do all the work and that really annoyed me and exhausted me. We have a company/organisation called Phscy 2 U. Which is supposed to provide people who live in rural and isolated areas the access to psychologists and psychiatrists. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 7 months (need to have an assessment conducted to get a letter from he/she to apply for disability pension). I use the term 7months very loosely here. I saw this particular psychiatrist for five months and then I have been trying to find out why he told my GP I no longer wished to see him. (I never said that). So to catch to the chase. I had rung the organisation to find out what was going on and if he would see me but I needed a new referral from my GP which was sent on the 12 December 2019. They never got back to me. I rang again, to be told that they would look for another psychiatrist.
Never heard anything, and as it was Christmas time now there was no point trying again until the new year. So ring again I did. No he was not seeing me anymore, no reason. They would look for a new psychiatrist.

One week later I ring again having heard nothing, oh the Psychiatrist had been away on leave and they would imagine I would hear from him soon. Another week passes, I hear nothing.

I ring again to be told I have to wait for this person to contact me as I am on ADHD medication and he is the only psychiatrist who can prescribe in Tasmania. I say I am not on ADHD medication where did you get that information from it is incorrect. Oh. I say since I am not on that medication you could find me a psychiatrist who could see me. She says she will send some emails.

I ring back again 10 days later. No record of me not being on ADHD medication no record of the conversation I had 10 days ago and no emails sent to any other Psychiatrists. Me not so happy. Person I spoke to lovely and says she will send something of right now. Me great I have been waiting since the 12th December it is now 26 January, and I have rung several times to follow up and no one has ever contacted me. This is making me unwell having to chase all this up my anxiety CPTSD is not great.

I ask if I can speak to a supervisor, she says no one is available at the moment but someone will ring back. I ask today? Yes today. OK

I wait and wait, the office closes at 4pm I have heard nothing and it is 3.30pm so I ring. The woman I spoke with was no help I said I had been waiting for a call from the supervisor, she says did you want the office manager or the Head person, me I just want someone who can help resolve this. She then went on to tell me emails had been sent before, I said are you meaning the emails that were sent this morning? No before that. Really how come you are the first person to tell me this, as the woman I spoke to this morning said nothing had been sent and she would email them. So would you give me the dates these emails were sent please. She was reluctant to do this. I again asked for the dates, and said to her I felt that I was getting a bumsteer from this company.

I also found out that the actual second referral from my GP which was faxed on the 12.12.19 (I rang my GP to confirm) was not put into this companies system until the 06/01/2020. No explanation available as they did not close the office until 24/12/19

In the course of this conversation I discovered there was no record of one of my phone calls and the conversation from that date. I as an RN/RPN (no longer working) stated that legally that was a huge error. I had called and there was no record of it! I said in a legal situation the courts would say if its not documented it did not happen, and that is wrong in so many ways in a medical setting to not have a record of a clients call documented. I said I would be contacting the Ombudsman in regard to that. I also said I had a right to know when the emails were sent I did not want to know who too. Just the date they were sent. She then admitted they were sent that morning! UGGh! I was feeling so angry.

I was so fed up and I could feel I was being triggered and my anger was beginning. I hung up not expecting to hear from anyone today.

A few minutes later I got a call from the person in charge. I had managed to calm myself a bit in the interim time, but I just waited for her to begin the conversation as she had rung me. She begins with there is no issue about the phone call not being recorded. I disputed this. I also requested that I wished to make a formal complaint about the process and what had occurred with the documentation she refused saying that me speaking to her was dealing with it. I said NO I wanted it to be documented as a formal complaint so it would go to the governing body. or whomever. As medical notes had to be kept objectively and correctly again I stated that in a legal situation the fact my phone call and the information was not documented in my notes meant it did not happen. How many other clients were having this sort of treatment? She did not like my attitude. She then said my previous psychiatrist did not want to see me. I said sorry is that documented? Where did you get this information? She did not respond. I said he sent my GP a letter saying I no longer wanted to see him, and that was not correct, as could be seen as I had rung up (and fortunately that had been documented twice) to say I did want to see him.
If she had records saying he did not want to see me, than they should be sent to my GP, as the information she had was incorrect. As a mental health client that could go against me, if the Disability people thought I did not want to see the psychiatrist. I was so upset and my anger was rising. I just wanted to get an appointment with a psychiatrist, there are no psychiatrist available in the southern area of Tasmania that bulk bill. I can not afford to pay to see one at all. I was crying by this point and had to hang up.
She rang me back about 10mins later, saying she hoped I had calmed down…I really battled to not bite her head off.. I let her talk, she said she had tried to ring 2 psychiatrists but no one was answering. She had left messages. I said is that all? yes I hung up. I was drained exhausted frustrated and just shattered.

The next morning I rang and lodged a complaint about information not being documented in my records and asking for a copy of the information that says the psychiatrist I had been seeing no longer wanted to see me. Not that I did not want to see him. I wanted my GPs records to be amended. I had to do that on the computer which at least was not a huge form.

I just can not cope. I do but it takes so much out of me. I get fixated and then begin to think if I am struggling and I am sort of better than I was, in some ways, how would anyone who was more unwell deal with any of this, and like with my Centrelink ban, I think many people would just give up and try and struggle on.

The concept of these Skype meetings is full of good intentions. But having people who have no idea and seem to not want to know anything about you but just give you drugs, (and Yes the meds I’m on are helping my brain but other areas are blah..like constantly weary. I sleep 12+hours with some weird really weird dreams, for a week or more and then I have a few nights were I am up all night, It is part of the have a brain that is functioning, or not symptoms.

Yet when I create a post such as this I see my mind is a bit all over the place, and I really struggle with paperwork. I am so fed up with what seems to me having to resolve things that I as the person with a mental illness should not have too. I am exhausted by the dealings of it all and my reaction is to begin to close myself off again. Not look at the phone, not communicate with other bloggers, not go and get the food I need. It was really only because my dogs needed their food for the fortnight that I ended up going out today. Then I am out for so long as I usually run into people who want to chat. Even today, I had rung and ordered my dogs meat, on Monday, and the person who took my order did not get it right. I had a few kilos in the freezer at home which would have got me over the long weekend(which I was oblivious too). So I was able to manage the situation in a no major issue kind of way, which was positive.

I keep reminding myself to be aware and to breathe, to acknowledge the feeling but not let it rule me. I also am getting better at saying to my little me that I the adult person am in charge and will deal with it.
I am really happy to be finding so many amazing bloggers out there I especially love wordpress.com/read/feeds/36149739/posts/2580354980, Charlies writing and his artwork make me smile and light a spark inside me wanting to be creative again. Yet for the moment I have to put that on hold for a few days.

I am really thankful that as a hoarder, (I have not shared that here before) I actually am really conscientious about what I am bringing in to my home. For quite a while I was gathering boxes, so many boxes cardboard and today the dog meat came in two cardboard boxes, and I know that they will go out in my car port(now devoid of cardboard boxes) but I will use them and put them on the grass in my veggie area that I am trying to get rid of. I threw a fair few of the other ones away as it was very big problem into recycling. I was somewhere else today and I was offered a box to carry some things (breakables) but I said thank You but I won’t and explained that I hoarded them! Wow was I so happy that not only I said no, but I reiterated out loud the reason why I did not want a box. I knew I had two already. If I had a third that I could do without, and I said NO huge step forward.

As a hoarder I also have to look at anything I am bringing home in any multiples. For example I got several large bowls at the tip shop(which is where I was offered the box) and a few pie dishes all glass or pottery. Plus I needed to replace my microwave glass plate that spins having broken my 18 months ago. I was tempted by so much stuff, and the constant thing in my head was you do not need that you are trying to de clutter, and not hoard, you are hear for large bowels for bird baths and drinking bowls for wild life. (some of my old plastic ones are deteriorating and need to be replaced). So I came home with four bowels, on microwave plate and this was a near miss in the hoarder scenario, as I there were five different sizes and not being sure of the size I almost bought the five. Self talk and I looked at them all and from somewhere inside my brain, take this one and if it is not right I am sure they would let you do a simple swap next timer! YES wonderful. I got the one I chose home and it fitted. Yippee.

So along with the part of my brain that is not functioning well and the constant tiredness, some aspects are going well.

The other thing is I am doing OK. I do think some of my reactions in dealing with the psych 2 U people were anxiety driven, I am no closer to having my assessment for DSP than I was nearly 8 months ago which is frustrating. I was about to write that I was also worrying about the new person changing medications, and I could feel myself reacting, and my auto anxiety responses physical sensations begin, and into my head came…not much point worrying about that now, you have five weeks before your appointment.

I am thankful I have an appointment, I am thankful that I am on meds that have some positives that out weigh the negatives, I am thankful for the wonderful bloggers who I enjoy reading, seeing their creativity and learning and sharing experiences with each other.

blessings Tazzie

Reality of living with CPTSD for me may be triggering for others.

When you have C-PSTD and you are really working hard to utilise strategies to minimise reactions to triggers especially those that are overwhelming angry. It is so so frustrating when you just can not seem to make headway.

I am on a Government Benefit here in Australia, called Newstart. It is for those of us who are unemployed. I am very appreciative that we have benefits available to us. Even though this one has not kept in line with the real costs of living. There was a increase in September 2019 which gave the average recipent a $3.50 a fortnight increase. Not even enough to buy a loaf of bread and a litre of milk!

That is an aside, as I have shared here I manage on this low income $578 AUD $397.30 USD /305.25GBP/358.22euro. per fortnight/two weekly. I manage because I own my home out right and have no debts. I do without things at times, and will live on simple cheap nutritious meals when I have to for unexpected costs.

I have been banned from going into any office of Centrelink (the government organisation that manages Newstart and other benefits, payments, and pensions. I said F..k as a descriptive word not directed at anyone and I was upset, loud, frustrated and bewildered by the system. I never threatened anyone or abused anyone. I remained seated and was loud. It was all over the wording my GP had put on my medical certificate that means due to my mental health illness I am not well enough to work or look for work. I have tried volunteer work and a free unit at uni both of which I did not manage.
My Gp had written that I was permanently unable to work. Centrelink does not like this as if I am permanently unable to work, than I should not be receiving Newstart but a disability pension. There lies the problem. My GP will not write anything other than permanent and Centrelink will not accept my certificates. (They want it to say temporary or exacerbation). I the unwell person am caught in the middle. The result of this kerfuffle is that I am banned from entering or speaking on the phone to anyone at Centrelink.

The original ban was for three months which I felt was unjustified. I asked for a review and now I am on a 12 month ban, which is actually 13 1/2 months sigh.

I have been assigned a personal case worker. Which as everyone else says is brilliant, and it is in a way as you only deal with one person, they have to respond to you in a certain time frame. It would seem ideal. I can only phone her, and she has to contact me back if she is not available.

Now the reason I became angry frustrated is part of my CPTSD is that I find ridiculous bureaucracy, and security questions, such as this triggering.

When I ring this person I have to speak to someone else first I guess reception, never mentioned in the letter explaining what I have to do, so that triggered me as I follow the letter to the nth degree so as not to have issues down the track. I firstly before speaking to a human have to enter my Centrelink number and use my access code. So it frustrates me that I then have to give them my full name address and date of birth. I asked why to be told it is for security. I commented that any of my friends, family or someone who might have stolen my wallet would have all that information, so not very secure! You get a picture of how I am. I am triggered by this seemingly pathetic security check. Even if the person rings me she wants to know this information too. Sigh

It starts the whole process of badly. I have been in touch with my local member of federal parliament whose office is brilliant. I vote for her because of how much she really tries to help the community she represents, even though I may or may not vote for the party she is with. One of her office people has been helping and they have a number they can ring for this sort of thing. I was advised by this person that in future If it was required that I contact them or they me a letter or a message would be sent to me advising of a phone call coming. The number is always unlisted and I do not answer unlisted calls. Unless I am aware of someone contacting me as in this situation.

I have had disastrous contacts with this person, as she just really does not understand that my reactions, are not something I can control once they have reached this point. I have hung up in the past so I do not get to the angry frustrated me, but the flee me instead. She was annoyed by that, too. I have been told by her to calm down, and that always works! Of course not. I have been sobbing just trying to get through what ever I have to to meet the demands of the Centrelink bureaucracy. ( which can change at any time) with this person, and I can honestly say I don not believe we have had one successful phone conversation. She is supposed to be in a specialised area working with people who have been banned for what ever reasons. many I imagine with mental health illnesses chronic pain, I am sure there are some really bad people too.

This most recent episode I responded to the letter, I rang first thing in the morning as soon as the office hours opened. I spoke to a lovely woman who told me my case worker was not in as yet. I was ringing as the case worker had rung me the night before at 5;17pm I assume she left it until last thing. Because I had no notice of her ringing, and I had been waiting for a social worker to call me(who also has caller id withheld number) I answered. I was upset as she said who she was and then asked me for my name address and date of birth? SHE RANG ME! (I live alone they know that) She has also spoken to me before. So I was triggered by the unexpected call plus the checking details, I had no ability to do my preparation to attempt to minimise the triggers. I was also upset that she had rung at this time. (phone offices close at 5pm) but she can call me after this? I still had one day to attend to what I needed to and was trying to get a social worker to ring on my behalf with me. To avoid the very situation I was now in.
She got so fed up with me, and I am sobbing saying the MPs office told me I would be messaged, before you would ring me. She said she did not have to! Seems no one talks to each other in Centrelink. I said she did. She just told me to let her talk and I was falling apart. I did not want to dissociate on the phone which I could feel myself doing, so I hung up
I was still crying and my little dog, climbed on my lap and licked my tears, she is like my support dog, she picks up on all my emotions and really will try to bring me back when I am triggered.

Back to the lovely woman at reception who talked to me as my case worker was not in. I explained my mental illness and that I am meant to be messaged if a phone call is going to be made to me. She assured me this would be done.

Imagine then two hours later, I am sitting out side having a coffee. The phone rings, again I think it may be the social worker, but no. It is the case worker. No message!
I begin with I am supposed to get a message before you ring.
She it says on my computer you were sent one
me well I have not received one
she well Im on the phone now,
me I am not up to talking with you, I am waiting for my social worker to phone me so she can talk to you.
she it will only take a few minutes.
Me I am waiting for my social worker to ring you so she can talk to YOU on my behalf!
Me What part of I am not up to talking to you now do you not understand?
she don’t speak to me like that,
Me I keep telling you I have a mental health illness, I can not deal with you today, I have been advised by the ministers office I will be notified by Centrelink of any phone calls via messenger or a letter. I am waiting for my social worker to contact me so she can talk to YOU!
My computer says one was sent, it was sent.
implying what says I ?
I hang up.

I ring to find out what is happening with my social worker, to find out she has been off sick all week? Oh I meant to ring you says the woman on the other end of the line. I cry and she says she will see how she can help when I tell her the situation. If I dont talk to this case manager by close of business today I may not get my benefit next week.

Another social worker from a town 40km away contacts me and is wonderful she gets onto my case worker, explains she has my permission to talk. The social worker phones me back in the afternoon and apologised but she can not get the information on my behalf as I need to have a letter of authority by my social worker before my case manager will talk to anyone. FFS!

I’m exhausted, I ring the government ombudsman office to be told there is nothing they can help me with. they advise me to ring a NGO Advocacy service I ring them they suggest the OBUDSMAN’S office. I ring that office back informing them that it is not in their scope of practice to deal with Centrelink complaints, I am them advised to ring another community group in Tasmania, who inform me it is not in their scope of practice either I ask what that means. Basically there is no funding provided by the federal government for these organisations to help with Centrelink problems. Again I am told to ring the OBUDSMAN’S office. I inform them of this with this organisation too. I ask is there anyone in Tasmania that can help with some one with a mental illness and serious issues with Centrelink? No!

I ring my MPs office, let them no that I have no avenues of support available, and they are very apologetic, they have done all they can as they are not a support service. I understand that and say I am very very appreciative for all the help they have given me. I just want to inform you of two things, that there is no support service in Tasmania that gets any funding from the government to assist people with mental health illnesses and issues with Centrelink. Oh I thought so and so did, I say no not in theirs or this groups scope of practice, legal aide send you to the first group and the government obudsmans office sends you to the two groups that can not help you as they get no funding and it is not in their scope of practice. A form of discrimination for people with a mental health illness I believe.

So here I am being a advocate, for my own situation and imagining how many other people with mental illness are out there battling Centrelink, with no support and who just give up. The Government wonders why incidents of verbal assault anger, abuse, physical abuse, assault and aggression face to face and over the phone with staff at Centrelink offices is increasing.

I do feel for the staff, and at my little office there are some brilliant staff. It seems they are not able to help it is someone who travels from Hobart to manage the office(she was my first contact).
From a mental health nursing perspective, I see how hard it is on the staff. They should be trained, and supported, but they are paid, they get sick leave they get free counseling, they can take paid stress leave The client on the other side, gets no support no pay if they can not deal with the minutiae of the bureaucracy. I am trying to get the disability support pension. 61 pages as an initial form, I gave up filling it in, I had to see a social worker to help me. (I have two degrees! my mental illness impacts me like this).

I have to find a new psychiatrist from Psych 2 U a internet service where you are allocated a psychiatrist generally from Sydney or Melbourne, my first one told my GP I had decided I did not want to see him anymore, which was not true. I questioned him about his methods, (he asked me if I had thought about moving into a over 55s supported village?) I live independently, I hoard but am working on that, I dont shower regularly or wash my clothes because I have mental illness. I find being around people difficult, and I told him only the week before I would like to move as it getting to busy about me up a mountain at the end of the road. He also asked me every month how work was? He knew I was unemployed and having issues with Centrelink. He apologised for that , and as part of my illness when I feel overwhelmed I will flee which I did on this day. I never mentioned not seeing him again.
I have phoned the organisation twice to find out why but he just does not respond.
So now I have to begin the process again , after five months. So I can not be on anything else except Newstart.

I look at the supposed professional who I have to have write a letter in regard to my mental health for Disability Support Pension and who has made no effort to get to know anything about me. I know that psychiatrist often are more about medication, and I am better on the medication he commenced me on. Worth it to me to stay on it even though some side effects are not great. I feel because I have been a mental health nurse I am not so in awe of the profession. I have a brilliant psychologist and gp, both I have been seeing for some time, but my psychologist is not a clinical one and so disability support want me to see a psychiatrist ..I have to stay on Newstart. I continue to practice the things that help me with triggers, and hope that something will work with my case worker. Oh I have still not received a message that someone was going to call me and that was three days ago now.

I am OK I wanted to share this as it is the reality of my life and my CPTSD. It is why I am unable to work, and something I struggle with. I prefer to be on my own and talk and meet people when I am able and in control so I can leave when I wish or need too.
I find that so many people do not understand that after these episodes I am exhausted physically and emotionally, my mental health deteriorates and If I am able to do the treatments I know and use that will help me move through the issue it will take me some times a couple of days before I can deal with anything anyone involved in the issue. I feel ashamed and embarrassed . If I could stop the behaviours the responses I would; but fighting(anger), fleeing (escaping), or freezing (dissociation) are my inbuilt safety survival methods. It is how I have managed my illness. It is what has kept me working living and being a part life. The relearning and implementation of new methods is a long road, and may not be always successful.

Tazzie blessings

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: