23 Jul 2016 No respondents
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Jean Shapcott
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Student story 6.1: John, Patient story 6.1: The secret schizophrenic, and Student (and patient) story 6.3: ‘Life-changing care’

Student story 6.1: John, Patient story 6.1: The secret schizophrenic, and Student (and patient) story 6.3: ‘Life-changing care’

Student story 

I was shocked when on placement to meet a 25-year old man, John, with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder who said he would 'rather stay in hospital' indefinitely than return home and receive input from the community team. Due to the onset of his illness, John had failed to complete his third year at university. He blamed himself for this and regularly stated 'I've ruined my life'. Despite still showing a passionate interest in American history, he dismissed suggestions that he could ever resume his studies. The reason why he did not want to return home was a fear that friends and neighbours would become aware that he was being visited by mental health professionals and that 'they would know I'm ****** in the head'.

Patient story

Before I started to get ill, I most likely thought the same as the popular understanding of schizophrenia: that' it is a multiple personality disorder with violent tendencies, something that you see in the news about murderers. So, once you receive that diagnosis, you start to feel like the popular opinion is against you (The Secret SchizophrenicBlog at www.time-to-change.or.uk).

Student and patient story - Life changing care 

I have suffered from low mood and crippling (social) anxiety since I was a child. Aside from a brief period talking to a mental health nurse as a teenager, my problems were always dismissed by my GP at home, with years of visits only ever getting me the same printed pages of self-help and eventually the lowest dose of propranalol (beta-blocker) because I would be physically shaking with nerves every university seminar I attended. I would leave the surgery tearful, feeling like a stupid child; embarassed to have wasted their time with such an apparently trivial problem. When I moved to ****** to train as a nurse myself, I signed up with the ****** Student Medical Practice. I can honestly say that, for 3 years, I received the best quality treatment and care I could have wished for.

Despite [the fact that she was] still training as a GP, I will never forget the registrar I spoke to and her kindness and professionalism.; immediately assessing me for anxiety / depression (my anxiety score was in the 'severe' range), talking through all the medical and psychological options I had and then asking what I would like to do. Since being listened to, having my problem acknowledged and starting on an SSRI [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor] that day, my life has honestly changed (www.patientopinion.org.uk/2015).

It is proposed that John (in the first student story) should be discharged into the community against his wishes