After being informed that it was impossible for me to have a GP appointment at a time convenient for me, last week I wrote a letter to the practice manager, explaining the situation and asking if something could be arranged. She called me hours after receiving my letter and said that there were actually doctors available on week day afternoons, although only on a Friday would there be a female doctor available, which would be preferable for me. I made an appointment for yesterday afternoon.
On arriving at the surgery, I was informed that a medical student wished to sit in on my appointment. As difficult as I knew it might be to have another person making notes while I speak about childhood abuse and PTSD symptoms, I accepted. Students need to learn how to handle these situations. The last GP I tried speaking to handed me a leaflet and a prescription for ‘mood stabilising’ medication that I didn’t really need or want and got me out of her office as soon as she could.
I sat nervously in the waiting room, wondering how to begin telling the doctor why I need help. I’ve had to tell many people now. It’s always difficult to know where to start. There are words I have trouble saying. With the GP, I decided to simply describe my symptoms and how I went to a doctor before and was on a waiting list for therapy but we left the area before I was given an appointment. She asked what the cause of my PTSD was. I practically whispered the words ‘I was abused in childhood’. It’s so easy to type it out but actually saying the words out loud is so hard sometimes. She asked what kind of abuse. Again, I very quietly said the word ‘sexual’.
She was really helpful. She asked a lot of questions but kindly explained that the more detail she can put in the referral letter, the more likely I am to be higher up on the waiting list. She also asked if this was the first time I had told someone and if I had spoken to the police. I told her the whole story of how I told the police but the case didn’t go to court due to insufficient evidence and how we’d had to move to Cardiff after receiving threats from my family. The medical student sat near the back of the office, scribbling notes occasionally. I found that it didn’t make me as uncomfortable as I thought it might.
I’m now on a waiting list to have a consultation to see a psychiatrist. The GP did mention that the practice has a councilor but the waiting lists would be just as long and she thinks I’m going to need more in depth treatment.
I know I’m still a very long waiting list away from actually receiving therapy or anymore professional help with PTSD but I’m another step towards it and I know that help is, in a sense, on the way.
Thanks for reading.