anyone had a mental health appointment? not sure ... - LUPUS UK


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anyone had a mental health appointment? not sure if mine is with psychiatrist or psychologist


was expecting to have a few months to prepare for this but got an appointment in 10 days [help] GP said psychiatrist but letter says psychologist, not sure of the difference. Do I have to prepare a list of ailments or questions? not sure what to expect.

20 Replies

Suzanna — you don’t have to do a thing. Whether it is a psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor, or a psychologist, it is their job and skill to help you feel comfortable. They may ask questions but also give you time to tell your story. It is natural to feel anxious about meeting a new professional. But, whoever is sitting on the other side will be trying to understand you, the impact of your illness on you and be open to all of your feelings. I hope it is helpful. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

eekt in reply to KayHimm

Psychiatrists usually deal with 'structural' mental illness like psychosis, schizophrenia etc and prescribe meds whereas psychologists usually provide talking therapy for things like medical PTSD 😛 and things that are done to us like stress, anxiety, depression (jury's out on depression: new research suggests depression=inflammation)*

I have my GP's letter referring me to a psychiatrist (for undiagnosed SLE 🙃) from some years ago and the stroppy response from said psychiatrist saying that I needed a psychologist. Even GPs don't know the difference 🤡

Cognitive behavioural therapy as provided by a psychologist or counsellor is a wonderful thing because it trains you to respond to situations like: GP 'you have health anxiety' 'I have SLE, based on three blood tests and a rash' 🤗

It is deeply rewarding, very empowering, long lasting and will help no end in dealing with hapless medics...thoroughly recommended, requiring no preparation and as KayHimm XOX intones, you can relax and let a skilled professional draw it all out of you.

mo xxx

*my experience, please correct me if wrong

Melbourne-Girl in reply to eekt

I agree with you eekt so it sounds similar to how they are in Australia Suzannah. Psychologists deal with normal people going through very difficult and/or stressful situations. In Australia they are not empowered to write prescriptions.

Psychiatrists do several more years training including the abnormal human behaviour which may need prescriptions as one of the choices of therapies.

Good luck with your Psychology appointment!

Did you find some of my suggestions would work for you & I think I agreed with eekts ideas to a list of things you want to ask that are specific to you and your problems. I am hoping that way you will have everything that is important & applicable to you. It is also useful to have the date & have in writing (your own) things that you want to refer to in the future as it is too hard to remember all of the important things that you talked about & this way you can review them as much as you like and in your own time and place,

All the Best Suzanna

Suzee xxxx



If it's your first referral to the service, this appointment will probably be a fairly standard assessment. They should tell you what they understand from the GP's referral letter, and then ask standard questions that they ask of most people at the first appointment. Typically, it might be things like whether you have any particular expectations or hopes for the appointment, and then questions about symptoms of anxiety, depression and so on.

It's really up to you how far you want to bring prepared questions or information - but don't be afraid to say what you do want and what you don't want from them. :) x

Hello suzannah16,

What was the reason for this referral if you don’t mind me asking?

I was referred to mental health because I broke down in front of a doctor who said he would help me and then said he couldn’t. I was so emotional as I thought I’d finally found someone to help me.

Anyhow I still went along to the assessment and was sat with 2 male doctors, where I off loaded my symptoms and my general life coping with an illness. I found most of the questions come directly from them, and at the end 1 of them said to me, you are not the first female in this situation and you need to go and fight your corner and get the diagnosis. Unfortunately the one negative impact is now I get really bad anxiety when attending any doctors or hospitals incase they too think I am mad


suzannah16 in reply to Lisalou19

I've been feeling either really down or just numb for a couple of years now and just not feeling any happy. I've been ill for nearly 30 years with no support offered by any of the doctors I've seen and just seem to have lost my mojo for want of a better description. and then losing my dog so suddenly back in march I just wonder what is the point of all the surgeries and tablets with nasty side effects, none of it seems to have improved my health, doctors just keep adding more health issues to my ever increasing list of ailments.

Lisalou19 in reply to suzannah16

Do you have any good days?

I notice as soon as I stop my steroids I feel like a completely different person, fed up, miserable, see no point in it all. It’s almost like these diseases really mess with our cognitive behaviour. Are you on medication?

If your not experiencing good days then maybe it’s time for your doctors to review your medication 😏. I know for some on here one disease has led to another which can make it even more difficult to medicate.

It’s certainly worth talking things through , you maybe able to see things more positively. It’s really difficult to get back up when you feel so down.

I know for me, if I am gifted with a good day I grab it with both hands and enjoy it. For me the ups and downs almost feels like bipolar at times.

Please know that you are not alone in what can feel very lonely at times . I have found this site amazingl and if you ask admin thaey can put you in touch with other sufferers who you can talk to over the phone.

If I can help in anyway please feel free to direct message me.


suzannah16 in reply to Lisalou19

only meds I have are apixaban for blood clots and hydroxy, which I've only been on since july. and paracetamol for pain. I can't tolerate anything else

Dear Susannah, I am with Lisalou19 in wanting to clarify why you have been referred. I am assuming that you already have a diagnosis for SLE. As I am a Counsellor and Psychotherapist with lupus I am hugely in favour of of you being offered mental health support for coping with lupus. However, if you are being referred to try and assess which of your symptoms are "real" and which are psychological or "all in your head" then that is another matter. As the work of Diane O'Leary PhD illustrates, there is a tendency for some doctors to want to identify unexplained or unfamiliar symptoms as being "psychogenic" rather than medical. She states that is incredibly common in the US and the UK so, according to her research you would not be in a minority to experience this. I think I would want to know at the start of the interview what they had been asked to assess. With my very best regards, Lily

Lisalou19 in reply to Lily77

Personally I think this route is a doctors way of saying “get rid, I can’t help this one, she must be mental”. I have the most empowering response to my gp from my assessment which of course I forwarded a copy to the specialist who sent me there 😉x

eekt in reply to Lisalou19

That's incredibly positive Lisalou, I'd be interested to know if the response put it in black and white that the 'specialist' had been wrong to write off symptoms as 'medically unexplained' or psychosomatic etc etc ?

Will you have ongoing care to deal with the medical PTSD?

Thanks for sharing, so many of us go through the same thing XOX

Lisalou19 in reply to eekt

I am trying to deal with my anxiety myself, I am quite strong minded so I try to turn negatives into a positive. I always have to take someone with me to an appointment to help cope with the anxiety . I think it is getting better but I do hold anger to the idiot who sent me 😡

The mental health doctor explained a story to me about how women with MS were treated before MS was formally recognised as an illness. He said all the women who complained of symptoms ended up getting sent to mental hospitals, it wasn’t until the women started dying that a doctor intervened and formally founded MS.

I found this story sad but also related to how many of our symptoms are invisible to others and of course the label “mental” is easier to apply then look into what causes our symptoms x

suzannah16 in reply to Lily77

I think it's for help in dealing with long term illness.

Hi Lily I thought that the sort of Dr who may not know what a particular problem that you have would write something along the lines of “I have not experienced this particular symptom or problem before so it would be wrong of me to comment on something I have little or no knowledge or understanding of. The really switched on ones would take the time & the effort to then find you a Specialist who deals or has dealt with such things.

It is sad that there are still many who are uninformed and may say it’s psychosomatic.

When we all have the types of chronic illnesses we have to deal with it’s normal to experience some times that are more stressful than others, I consider this a normal response to what we all have to put up with on a day to day basis whilst still trying to be as positive as we can. I also consider it normal when faced with all of this to have days when you spend a lot of time in bed because you are having a very bad day.

My understanding of someone who has psychosomatic problems are those who totally makes up all of their signs & symptoms like a patient with Mauchousen Syndrome .

Every doctor who draws breath knows that there is so much unknown symptomology & so many diseases that are yet to be named. They also know that certain pharmaceuticals may work with some people & not with others as well as the fact that there are many prescription drugs they know work very well generally but still may not know the exact reason why the drug works as it does yet.

Here’s to times of less stressful visits and understanding Drs who may not understand what is wrong with us and will actually admit it. This is the type of Dr that earns my trust.

It is wonderful that some of our people on this forum are trying to get government bodies to understand how bad our conditions can be so that improvements are made to the type of care patients receive & the difference it will make keeping everyone happy.

Suzee xxxx


Thanks v much for this discussion suzannah & everyone.

Means a lot to me, and am sure others here too, whether they reply or not. With this referral, you’re beginning a new ‘journey’, and i hope you find the going as gentle & constructive as poss. Meanwhile, we’re here for you.

My comorbidities were very early onset and made life tough childhood onwards. My psychiatric assessment was @ 13 years old..,the headmistress of the boarding school my mother wanted me at insisted on this. Who knows why...maybe cause she knew my mother’s family has bipolar in it.

Anyway, I spent the whole day at a univ hosp psychiatry was no fun. I was terrified. But the clinicians were kind. The report was 3 pages long and recommended i needed professional help immediately & ongoing. But no one let me know this. And no one gave me any care of any sort. I only found the report when i was in my parents were moving house and sent it buried in a pile of paperwork relating to my growing up

Instead of getting that revommended psychiatric help, i blundered through life, voluntarily getting help as & when i could from psychologists with charitable programmes mostly...and studying everything i could, from Jung to CBT in my spare time. My home study definitely helped me lots cause that’s how i tick, but the 3 things that have & still do help most are the psychotherapy called: psychosynthesis, + CBT + Alexander Technique (yes, it really can & does help emotionally & psychologically) + the solidarity here on this wonderful forum

Take care & good luck...if you feel like letting us know how things go, i’ll be v grateful XOXO

suzannah16 in reply to Barnclown

I will post after provided they let me home and don't lock me up ;) as a crazy woman

Barnclown in reply to suzannah16

😆😉....seriously though: that’s EXACTLY what i was scared of at my first appt....pretty much PARALYSED with fear of...have a feeling this is a fairly “normal” reaction...remember on the day: we’re right by your side

Mine was with a psychologist.

And it was.. Not kidding, 5hours! Yes.

But it was really good thing. So just be yourself and very honest. And it will flow. I did some test too on paper.

I was so nervous but I promise you don't be.

My outcome was good.

Best wishes. 💓

suzannah16 in reply to lonelyone

5 hours! oh help I hope not. appointment is 1.30 and it starts to get dark here about 3pm and it's an hours drive home. I will have to take my watch I don't like driving in the dark so they can make it 2 shorter appointments if they like. the test might be why it says take glasses if you need them for reading. maybe I need sandwiches and drinks too :)

hello! I've been seeing a health psychologist for about six years now. I've found it to be amazingly helpful in a variety of ways. bring yourself as you are, without any special prep needed. they'll have your medical records. they'll want to hear about you from you, which I always find hard to do for myself, so that's what prep I did, but even if I hadn't i think I could have just said, it's really hard for me to talk about that stuff. so, my only suggestion is, go to the appointment and see what happens. and keep in touch here.

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