I have an appointment with a psychiatrist this week. I received my appointment letter along with multiple pages of questionnaire on my general state of mental health. Normally, I love filling out forms, but this is just another broken record document where I repeat the same answers for yet another crazy brain assessment. I have been doing these sorts of forms for over ten years.
Here are the questions I have to answer:
1. How did this all begin: how did I first become aware of the problems that have brought me to this point? What did I notice in myself? In other ways?
2. How has it affected me: how, at first, affected me and my life.
3. How I felt in the beginning: how did I feel about all of this at the time?
4. How do I feel now?
5. What do I think this means? What does it mean to me?
6. What does all of this say to me? About me as a person?
7. Do I feel safe?
8. What needs to happen now? What do I want or wish would happen now? What would I hope would be done about the issues?
9. What do I expect or hope the CMHT to do to support me with my recovery?
10. Those who are important in my life and why they mean as much as they do.
11. Ideas or beliefs about life that are important for me: my faith; personal philosophy; values; etc…and other people’s.
12. The other things that matter in my life and why these are important for me.
1. How will I know the problem has been solved, or the need has been met? What would it be like to be without the problem or have the need met? How will things be different?
2. What needs to change to allow this to happen? How will this change show itself in me, other people, or any other aspect of my life?
OK. The thing that bothers me most about this form is the assumption that there was a start and there will be an end to my “problem.” Newsflash: I was born with this brain and I will die with this brain. No one can snap fingers or wish hard enough on a lucky troll doll to fix ADHD or bipolar depression. IT IS MY FUCKING WIRING. You don’t tell a schizophrenic to “Get over it,” and this questionnaire feels insulting and patronising. They always do. If I thought I could slash my hand open to plant a bloody handprint on each page to show my seriousness, I would.
Dear Community Mental Health Service: You cannot fix me. You can help me cope, but there is no fixing me.
I know this form is a One Size Fits All in an envelope, but it would be nice if they would see in my records that we’ve done this dance (and identical forms) before and that perhaps I’ve levelled up to a different treatment approach. In the meantime, I’ll do the broken record routine and fill this out as best as I can without writing, “shove it up your ass and fucking listen to me” anywhere on it.
I’m gonna need more coffee for this…