Physical Health Flyer

I am an activist for Rethink and have been closely involved with their recent campaign about people with menal health problems and their physical health.

I have first hand experince of this.

Thirteen years ago I went to see a rheumatologist because I was having terrible pains in my hips, and could hardly walk.

The doctor took one look at my medical records, saw I had a mental illness, and without examining me or taking any blood tests, he diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.

I went home in tears, and have suffered many physical health problems since, which were not taken seriously.

When I went to ITS in2006 hat is when my life changed.

I was correctly diagnosed and treated for Bipolar.

Since I have sued the health authority for misdiagnosis, they have taken all my physical ailments very seriously.

Three years ago I had cancerous cells removed from my cervix, I was investigatd for a tumour on my petuitary gland, which thankfully was all clear, and a few days ago I went back to my doctors because my joints all thoughout my body are geting more painful, leading to serious discomfort.

In conjunction with Rethink , I have had input in a Physical Heallth Flyer that we a promoting for anyone who has got mental health problems to see their GP for an annual physical check up.

The flyer is very comprehenive and useful. If anyone at APP would like a copy, then pleae let me know.

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  • Hey Poulson

    It is so fantastic the way you are using your difficult experiences to influence change. I also do some work (training) for Rethink so I know they are a fabulous organisation.

    Is the physical health flyer available electronically as we could post a link here if you like?

    I agree with you, so often mental health can 'cloud the picture' for GP's so they forget to look at the whole person. I will send you a DM with a link to an online GP training package which you could also send to your practice manager (produced by Rethink and Time to Change). It has a whole module on physical & mental health.

    Good luck with your continuing activism!

    N

  • That's really interesting. I often wonder how my mental health is used as a reason for ignoring my physical health concerns. I now avoid talking to my GP about other problems because I think the GP will just assume it's 'all in my mind'. Even after several public blackouts and ambulance rides to A&E I was just sent home each time. We went private in the end for tests, to be told I have something called vasovagal syncope and advanced heart disease. Turns out the blackouts were due to my heart not fully functioning, so blood pressure drops instantly. Anyways............ still believe if I wasn't on their 'mentally ill patient list' the blackouts would have been investigated earlier. Will take a look at Rethink. Thanks for the signpost x

  • Hi bpdmum

    I am so sorry to hear about this happening to you. Sadly it's a story we hear at Rethink all too often. It's called 'diagnostic overshadowing' - where the fact we have a mental health diagnosis on our notes can cause GP's to forget to think more deeply about physical health.

    Here's the page on Rethink's website for you - the statistics are quite hard-hitting but show that it's important we remind our GP's to think of us as the whole person and especially look at the physical health impact of medications etc.

    rethink.org/living_with_men...

    Hope you get better treatment now for your vasovagal syncope.

    x N

  • Hi Poulson

    The work you are doing sounds fantastic.

    I know when I was diagnosed with PP I had many physical health problems and was not treated for them because everyone just assumed I was mentally ill.

    I had to really push to be taken seriously about my physical symptoms which I found very stressful.

    A week after I returned home with my baby I went to the GP surgery as I felt very dizzy and unwell. Whilst at the surgery I collapsed and was taken to hospital. They found I had an infection and was treated with IV anti-biotics for two days. I reacted badly to the anti-biotics, and it caused thrush, fungal infections and a severe rash. No-one would treat me for these side effects even though simple treatment was needed. It took about 2 weeks for me to be treated for my physical symptoms, it was a terrible experience.

    I would love to see a copy of the Physical Health Flyer too. I'm so glad that this topic is being addressed not to ignore mentally ill people who have any physical symptoms.

    Maybe this is a topic we can discuss on the Twitter Chat on Wednesday - Did anyone experience any physical health problems during their episode of PP? And how were they treated?

    It was would be interesting to hear if other people suffered physically, how they were helped and supported.

    E. x

  • Hi EmmiLou

    Shocking isn't it? I am so sorry to hear of your experience of simple physical symptoms not being taken seriously or treated effectively.

    Here's a link about the annual physical health checks which should be offered to anyone on longer term medication (don't know if this applies to you personally now)

    rethink.org/living_with_men...

    I think it would be a GREAT idea to work this theme into a Twitter chat on #PPTalk. I will chat to Andrea about dates & we'll set it up. I think it will be of great interest to mental health nurses, psychiatrists and GP's also so we should get the message out so that people in the field can hear from our experiences.

    N

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences. Could I possibly have a flyer? Many thanks Katy

  • Hi there

    If you give me your details I will forward one on to you straight away.

    If you know of anyone else who wants one, please let me know.

    If you prefer I can send one to Martina in the app office in Cardiff and see if she will distribute a copy to all the ladies on the website.

    Thankyou for your interest.

    Best Wishes Maxine

  • Very interesting. When I was in the MBU here in Sydney I had one night of vomiting which the staff said was due to my psychosis. Then a few staff got sick and they worked out it was food poisoning but no one said anything to me about it or apologised for the misdiagnosis. While I was there (only for seven days) it seemed like they attributed anything out of the ordinary to the psychosis. It was very frustrating. Also my sister has schizophrenia and she used to have to fight to get any physical problems taken seriously. She has a really good support team now who are much better though. Interesting that it has a name though - diagnostic overshadowing.

  • Having the physical link as a Twitter chat would be a great idea I think too. Luckily I haven't experienced this, but I can see how others feel, gp's aren't always great are they. Again I feel lucky that mine has always been very good. A really good area to raise awareness of health and wellbeing generally I think.

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