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Frustrated after a GP appointment

Where do I even start... this is going to be a long rant but hopefully it ends up making a bit of sense

 

Because ATAPS doesn't exist anymore, and I've refused multiple times to switch into the public mental health system (I've been seeing a fantastic psych who works in private practice for a few years now), I've been stuck on a Mental Health Care Plan since February. Of course, this only gives you 10 sessions a year, whereas I was getting ~18 sessions a year under ATAPS.

 

Which leads us to... what do I do when that funding runs out? My psych suggested going back to my GP and seeing if I can get an EPC (Enhanced Primary Care plan) done, so I could get a small Medicare rebate for another 5 sessions.

 

I run 10 minutes late to my appointment, and so that makes me even more anxious than I already was. I'd forgotten my phone, which makes me even MORE anxious (if anyone remembers the time a few months back when my car crapped out on me and I had no phone to call for help...)

 

I finally get in and stutter out "[psych] said something about an EPC but I don't know what that is (I do know what it is - I'm pretty savvy when it comes to accessing mental health services, I'm just really timid and don't like admitting things because I'm afraid I'll come across as being a know-it-all).

 

"Oh, you can't have an EPC unless you're seeing at least two allied health professionals. If you were seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist, you'd be eligible, but you haven't seen [psychiatrist name who's since retired] in quite a few years now"

 

It should be noted that I've been wanting to ask for a referral to a psychiatrist for a little while now, but my anxiety keeps getting the better of me. I see the opportunity here and hint "would it be worth seeing a psychiatrist again, then?"

 

"Not really."

 

FUCK OFF. To be fair, the context of this conversation was around me trying to make myself eligible for more funding (and I understand not wanting to refer me to another clinician just so I can get funding for my current clinician) but what he didn't realise is that this was my way of trying to open up a dialogue about referring me onto one, EPC or no EPC.

 

So then he calls the psych triage intake line and asks if there's any other avenues I can pursue. "Yes", they tell him, "but not while she's seeing [psych]. It'd need to be under [public mental health service]"

 

FUCKING HELL I JUST WANT SOME GODDAMN HELP BECAUSE I'M SEVERELY, CHRONICALLY MENTALLY ILL. WHY CAN I NOT MAKE MYSELF BE ASSERTIVE?! AND WHY MUST I MAKE MYSELF BE ASSERTIVE IN THE FIRST PLACE?! IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY

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No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Frustrated after a GP appointment

Hey @lokifish, thanks for sharing something that sounds so incredibly frustrating for you. I couldn't imagine having to switch into a different system and have to potentially see a different psychologist. These changes seemed to have made things very complicated and stressful considering lack of alternatives and associated costs. You have seemed so proactive in all of this.. you mentioned you are quite savvy which is great although you have found it difficult to assert yourself and this knowledge. That is totally understandable and it is okay! It is okay to be annoyed and frustrated. Being assertive can also be seriously uncomfortable and it can be easier said than done to directly ask for help. Sometimes it takes more than one shot. I know you know all these things, I just thought it could be good to be reminded Heart

 

How have you been managing for the rest of the day and looking after yourself? Have you been in a space to consider what you can do next? 

Re: Frustrated after a GP appointment

@Taylor-RO thank you for the reminder Heart my brain forgets these things when it's overwhelmed and frustrated.

I have an appointment with my psych in 10 days or so, so for that one I'll just go private and pay the full amount... then I'll chat to him about what to do next. Worst case scenario I keep paying the full fee for the rest of the year until I can get another MHCP in January. It really would be good to figure out another funding source though - 10 sessions a year isn't going to meet my needs. I'd probably qualify for the NDIS but that's an absolute pain to deal with. Everything is so fucking hard

I also don't know what to do about the whole psychiatry referral thing. Maybe I'll ask my psych to suggest it to my GP so I don't have to do it myself Smiley Tongue
______________________________________________________
No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Frustrated after a GP appointment

This is incredibly frustrating @lokifish - I'm at a similar dilemma at the moment with my sessions coming to an end for medicare (my psych isn't exactly sure how many I have left)
So annoying about ATAPS stopping! Smiley Sad

I imagine that drs appointment was quite frustrating Smiley Sad And I totally get wanting to stay with the private psych who you have long relationship with - I wouldn't give up my current psychologist for anything! She knows me so well!

 


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Re: Frustrated after a GP appointment

hey @lokifish, really sorry that you've been dealing with all of this and it's super frustrating when you are taking all the right steps to get help but there are structures in placing preventing that! It's so counter-intuitive and can be really unhelpful.

 

It seems like your psych is really helping you develop a plan to handle everything but your GP sounds less than supportive in connecting you to other care pathways. Would it be possible to switch to another one?