RE:Living with depression/ptsd as a single mum
(Date Posted:17/07/2011 7:25 AM)
I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a tough time. I'm a single mum too, though my son is all grown up now and has "left home". I work for a University as a Diversity Advisor (Equal Opportunities) and I have a degree in psychology, but I'm not a qualified therapist!
Reading your post it seems to me that there are several issues, these are not in any particular order:
you are feeling lonely and in need of some additional social contact. Is there a single mums group in your area? Or maybe a branch of "Gingerbread"? They have a website http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/ which has some useful information. Your health visitor may be able to put you in touch with some other single mums too. There are often posters for such groups at local GP surgeries and libraries - and if there isn't a group, why not start one?
And when you get there for the meeting or whatever, rather than worrying about your own differences, try to concentrate on the other people - take a real interest in them, ask them about themselves.
Another possibility is to look into voluntary activities - even if it is just providing a bit of companionship for a lonely older person in your area, that's still a help. I used to fetch library books and stuff for a delightful older lady.
I think you should press your doctor to know what your diagnoses are, after all, it's YOUR health, you are entitled to know. If necessary, invest the £10 needed (that's the max they can charge under the Data Protection Act) to make a request for a copy of your records. Once you know your diagnoses you can press your doctor for some active treatment - e.g. if you do have PTSD as well as depression, you might benefit from some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy if it is available from the NHS in your area. Even if it's not, available on the NHS as it is a short course of treatment, not long term therapy, you could consider saving up to get private treatment - the cost would be likely to be around £750-£1000 for a course of treatment. It does not promise a complete cure, the idea is to help you to develop better ways to cope. You can find a private therapist through the British Psychological Society website at www.bps.org.uk
If you are finding that the MH services are not supporting you, then you might want to consider getting an Advocate to help you - for example http://www.matrixsdt.com/ is based in the Surrey area, but there are others in other parts of the country, see if your local Mental Health organisations or Library have any information about advocacy services. Basically their job is to agree with you what you want to achieve (e.g. what help you want from local services) and then to help you to achieve it.
The short term memory problem is something that perhaps your doctor should help you to look into: this can have various causes and it can sometimes be a feature of depression or a side effect of the medications, but there are other causes too, such as previous head injury and various other things. But also, sometimes a neuropsychologist can suggest ways to help improve use of the memory you do have.
I hope all that's helpful. regards, Deb
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