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Rebecca’s Story - Part 1


TW: sexual abuse/self-harm.

 

My name is Rebecca and this is my story.

 

Part 1


I was 10 when I was sexually abused by someone known to me. At 15 I started to have mental health issues and I started self-harming. I couldn’t tell anyone close to me but I did have some counselling. At 18 I left home to train as a medical professional but during my 3 year training I had time off due to mental health. This was the days after the Beverley Allittand the subsequent Clothier Report which linked Beverley Allitt’s self-harm to her being dangerous. Therefore working in the NHS was a tough environment to gain support in. However, I did get some support and qualified and things were ‘ok’. At 25 I had my son as a single parent and it was full on so I didn’t really access any support though I needed it. Suddenly. when my son was 8 I developed a condition called Functional Neurological Disorder (FND). I was in hospital for 3 weeks having lost the ability to walk and then in rehab for 5 weeks to relearn how to walk again. I was lucky as my episode of FND was acute and (more or less) resolved. It was a poorly understood condition then (and still is) but it was felt that the trigger was severe anxiety. It was time to take my mental health seriously and I left the NHS.


 

I still had caring responsibilities for my son, who had additional needs and gradually I noticed that my mental health was declining. In 2016 I had my first referral to a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). It was thought that I had a personality disorder – there was no assessment process or even discussion about diagnosis. I think a support worker in the CMHT mentioned my notes said I had EUPD. I fell back on my go to – research but EUPD, as per the diagnostic criteria, wasn’t like me at all other than my struggles with self-harm. I started asking psychiatrists questions at appointments and challenging the diagnosis, but those challenges got me discharged from the CMHT when I was very mentally unwell. I was referred to the crisis team who could only support for short periods but did get me a second opinion which said I did not have a personality disorder and after nearly two years got a referral to a psychologist in the CMHT accepted.


By then I was diagnosed autistic - autism explains my wonderful brain which has helped me to be highly successful in academia but also explains my difficulties around social interaction, communication, processing andunderstanding my emotions. After some time on a waiting list I worked with a wonderful psychologist and after an initial 10 sessions I was accepted to work on the significant trauma, something I had been seeking since I was 19. However, that psychologist was leaving so I went on the waiting list whilst they recruited. When they did recruit that psychologist wanted to redo stabilisation work which we did and then he left the same month we were supposed to start the trauma work.


I am currently waiting for further recruitment of psychologists, and I have been waiting a year to date...


Part 2 of Rebecca's story coming next week.

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