The story this morning ‘NHS 111 put suicide callers on hold until they hung up’ – sadly didn’t shock me. I’m almost immune to bad press by now.
January 2nd 2013 – the date of my nervous breakdown. Crying hysterically & running back & forth through the flat, I thought I was going crazy. Dan was terrified, he kept trying to calm me but nothing worked. After 20 minutes it became apparent that we didn’t know what to do. I needed some help, I was desperate.
Even though I had a strong urge to chuck myself out of a window, in typical ‘me’ fashion, I still decided that I didn’t want to bother the hospital. They were dealing with seriously ill people right? Instead Dan suggested that we ring NHS Direct and see what they advise. I still remember the call handler who answered. Ryan. Oh Ryan, I wonder what you’re doing now…? After asking basic data questions that seemed to take forever (Dob, address, job etc), he gave me the opportunity to talk.
Me: I think I’m losing my mind, or having a heart attack. Something is wrong. Please, I can’t breathe, I need help.
Ryan: And what do you normally do when you feel this way?
Me: What? I’ve never felt like this before. Oh God seriously I can’t breathe. I think I need to go to hospital.
Ryan: This doesn’t sound like something they’d be able to help you with.
Claire: But I think I’m going to die. Isn’t there anything a doctor could do? I want to jump out of the window. I need it to stop.
Ryan: I think your best option is to try and calm down.
After another 15 minutes on the phone, sobbing and begging for help, I realised that Ryan wasn’t going to send anyone. So I hung up and drank myself into sedation, (super healthy right)? I just needed ‘it’ to stop, & alcohol was the only thing I could think of.
I don’t blame Ryan, he was responding to the call based on the training that he’d been given. What does trouble me, looking back, was the lack of concern for my state of mind.
Lack of resources, lack of education and a lack of understanding. When will mental health be taken more seriously? Will pigs already be flying? Thank God for The Samaritans.
The new website is under construction and will be launching on 8th May. Thank you all for your support, I’m very excited to have a platform will hopefully help a lot of people.