Depressed NHS Psychologist Says “Seroxat Made Me Feel Much Worse”


“…I tried hot baths, warm milk and camomile tea, everything. But nothing worked. The lack of sleep started taking its toll so I went to my GP who prescribed sleeping tablets. I took Mogadon (or Temazapam) but they were hopeless.

Another GP suggested antidepressants but Prozac did nothing and Seroxat made me feel even worse, much worse”…


for full article see link-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/health-advice/i-was-an-nhs-psychologist—but-i-suffered-from-depression/

Confessions of a depressed psychologist: I’m in a darker place than my patients

46 per cent of NHS psychologists suffer from depression,  according to a survey by the British Psychological Society.
46 per cent of NHS psychologists suffer from depression,  according to a survey by the British Psychological Society. Credit: Getty Images

 

Last week it was reported that almost half of NHS psychologists should be on the couch themselves – an astonishing 46 per cent suffer from symptoms of depression, according to a survey by the British Psychological Society. Here, a psychologist with substantial experience offers a candid account of their own ordeal some years.

I am sitting opposite my sixth patient of the day. She is describing a terrible incident in her childhood when she was abused, sexually and physically, by both of her parents. I am nodding, listening and hoping I appear as if I appear normal. Inside, however, I feel anything but.

My head is thick – as if I’m thinking through porridge. I find myself tuning out and switching to autopilot. I put it down to tiredness – I haven’t slept well recently; last night I managed just two hours – but after the session I’m disappointed in myself. I’m worried that I might have let down my patient and I feel a bit of  a failure, but I tell no one.

One week later, I am in my car, driving across a bridge. Everything should be wonderful – my partner has a new job, my career as a psychologist in the NHS is going well, plus it’s almost Christmas, the second with our young child, and we’re readying ourselves for a move to London.

NHS psychologists can be vulnerable to depression themselves. 
NHS psychologists can be vulnerable to depression themselves. 

Yet, my mind is thick again. My only lucid thought is, “What if I turned the steering wheel and drove into the bridge support? What if I stuck my foot on the pedal and went straight off the edge? Wouldn’t that be so much easier?”

I grip the steering wheel and force myself to think, instead, of my partner and child. They are the two people who get me home safely.

It is the sort of anecdote I have heard from clients time and time again. I became a psychologist because I have a natural nurturing tendency – I never dreamt I would be the vulnerable one. But 10 years ago I found myself suffering from an extremely severe episode of depression that lasted three months, left me unable to work for six weeks and, at my very lowest, saw me contemplating suicide.

“Had I been going to weekly therapy at the time, my symptoms might have been spotted and nipped in the bud, before I suffered a full breakdown”

 

I’m certain part of the reason that I sank so low is that, even in the mental health profession, I felt that there was a stigma attached to depression – which meant, even though I had a supportive boss, that I was reticent to admit, or possibly even recognise, that I needed help.

At the time I saw up to six clients a day, five days a week, and my caseload was full of people with heavyweight problems: people who were sexually abused as children by their parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and grandparents; people with borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder; people who had lived through horrific accidents, and whose operations had gone horribly wrong; asylum seekers who had been tortured. All in a day’s work.

Psychologists can see several serious cases every week. 
Psychologists can see several serious cases every week. 

 

I had never suffered from a mental illnesses myself and, with the exception of compulsory group counselling during my psychology training, I had never had therapy. But this was part of the problem.

As frontline professionals who listen to some of the most horrific and distressing experiences imaginable, it is surprising that counselling is not yet compulsory for all NHS clinical psychologists, as a means of supporting them.

Particularly as it is obligatory for psychotherapists and counsellors. Had I been going to weekly therapy at the time, my symptoms might have been spotted and nipped in the bud, before I suffered a full breakdown.

“Generally psychologists are so keen to help other people, there’s a danger that they can forget to look after themselves properly.”

 

It began very suddenly and, despite my training, I had no idea it was depression at all, at first – just that I was finding it difficult to sleep. I’d go to bed feeling tired after a long day in work but wake  at 1.30am , then lie there for the rest of the night, worrying.

I tried hot baths, warm milk and camomile tea, everything. But nothing worked. The lack of sleep started taking its toll so I went to my GP who prescribed sleeping tablets. I took Mogadon (or Temazapam) but they were hopeless. Another GP suggested antidepressants but Prozac did nothing and Seroxat made me feel even worse, much worse. 

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2 comments

  1. solo49

    Great work Truthman. This is a well focused and duly sensitive article and I can
    relate at first hand and in other ways to some of the stuff that this courageous
    and insightful Psychologist has suffered.

    For sure, in the NHS set-up that currently prevails, Psychologists are indeed the
    most down to earth and humane front line asset in what altogether amounts to a gross
    political and economically driven display of full spectrum dominance over the mind.

    In the red corner there is the fifth column of Psychiatry that too often appears to
    work against patient recovery in the oft presumed one sided drive for financial gain
    and against whom Psychologists in the blue corner may feel next to powerless to achieve
    more positive results for their unfortunate and too often drug addled charges. Then
    again, these brave Psychologists can be like front line soldiers whom in the thick of
    a fire fight might twig that the rubber bullets they’ve been handed have been crafted
    to rebound upon themselves.

    ‘Mogadon’ as well as being ‘hopeless’ may for some be a gateway drug to the likes of
    Prozac, Seroxat, Benzodiazepines, Antipsychotics and so forth. and I too have experienced
    the oppressive feeling and have heard many times from others the shuddering thought that
    ‘These drugs made me want to run the car of the road’. But such rationalisation may in part
    but NOT entirely be the combined manifestation of mental fatigue and a regressive trait
    that a psych drug may have imposed and which together in the mix of life can pave the way
    towards further abject reasoning and what may turn out to be self defeating intuitiveness
    against the chemical flow and perverse irrationality of what psych drugs may be doing to
    supplant and shrivel the natural functions of the mind and CNS.

    Without perhaps fully realising what these drugs can do, the drug recipient will of course
    tend to look to him/herself and his/her own antecedents for the causes of such hideous mental
    aberrations’ and given the caring and soul searching nature of Psychologists, they will
    have a more acute tendency to search themselves for answers that too often will be aided
    by the negative focus that intake of psych drugs may be apt to sustain.

    When a Psychologist turns to psych drugs, he/she might tend to feel they have betrayed
    their own caring vocation but they should quickly forgive themselves of that self misleading
    charge lest they fall for the tendency to scour their souls way beyond the call of duty and
    self probity and then blame themselves and further diagnose themselves for falling again
    under the sway of all that they may previously have risen above.

    Surely it is deranged politicians whom along with Psychiatry should be on the couch if not
    on the rack somewhere behind bars for the unnecessary harm they are causing. When people
    seek help for stress or emotional disturbances, they should not unduly be labelled and then
    by and large palmed off with various equivalents of Round up weed killer as presumed beneficial
    treatments for the mind.

    What should happen according to Jung and other leading lights is that Psychologists ought
    themselves to be analysed by other Psychologists but that can lead to squirrel caging on a
    grand scale whilst the real culprits continue to dream up more diagnostic labels behind the
    scenes as ‘evidence based’ grounds for pushing more drugs.

    When all is said and done, perhaps more Psychiatrists and Psychologists should dare to strut
    their stuff in the market place without being chained together under the NHS. In the case of
    Biological Psychiatrists I recommend their premises should be designated somewhere close to
    public toilets or similar so that people can be provided with a clue as to what they might be
    letting themselves in for.

    Furthermore, does it not seem that the British Psychological Society are being a tad
    disingenuous in playing diagnostic and statistical charades with their own hard pressed
    membership when they must know full well where the real problems lie?

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