Psychiatric diagnoses have far-reaching consequences for every area of your life: welfare, employment, health and travel insurance, physical and mental health assessment/treatment, adoption rights, and social stigma, to name but a few. Yet they are just subjective opinions with no scientific basis and can change over time.
We need a new narrative of shared distress to replace the failed one of individual disorders. We need human connection and mutual support. We can learn to manage our feelings in a way that helps us through the crisis and gives us the energy to make much-needed social and environmental changes afterwards. The usual dividing lines melt away in the face of global emergency. We really are all in this together.
I felt compelled to write this account of my experiences as a mental health nurse. All identifying details have been changed. However, this is a true account of the conversations I had and the people I met. I believe it needs to be heard. It’s been three years since I completed my training to be a mental health nurse. During the course, my time working on hospital wards and within community teams shocked and disturbed me profoundly.
Every year thousands of medical students go through and we explain to them the risks associated with certain drugs. Why is it now when I am saying that maybe my colleagues are underestimating those risks, I’ve been pulled up with complaints?
It took me a long time to realise that I was being gaslighted. In fact, I had no word to describe the experience until years after I had finally escaped, when I came across the term by chance. What is worse, whenever I talk about my past relationship now with friends in my new life, I am horrified to discover how common manipulative relationships are.