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Hugging your GP. Wednesday November 11, 2015

Sometimes I think I must be the luckiest girl in the world.

Yes, in spite of the fairly tragic things that have happened to me during my 52 years on this planet, life is good.

I have the blessing of a wonderful GP.

Oh, don't get me wrong – my previous GP, who first diagnosed the bi-polar was wonderful too. And a former GP in quite another city was great – even though he thought my depression was a result of sin and not a faulty serotonin valve in my brain (I'm quite sure that sin was involved too – but I'm not going to get into a religious argument with any of you just now).

Today I discovered just why she's as wonderful as she is.

I needed an appointment with her simply to rubberstamp the emergency prescription of meds the doctor on call had given me when I first realised that this was a serious down.

I think she was supposed to give me twelve minutes and she insisted on giving me half an hour.

In that time I was invited to join the GP/Patient forum. My children were invited to join the "Young Carers" group and I was validated, supported and made to feel loved.

Okay – so part of that is on me. I showed her my Moodscope scores for 30 days, 90 days, a year and four years. More than anything else that demonstrates a willingness to be responsible, to measure, to be part of the solution. I had annotated my comments so that the odd "down" in the middle of an otherwise stable period could be put down to a cold or other physical cause. Apart from that there is a consistent pattern.

I'm not sure a GP is supposed to share themselves. But oh, I am so honoured that my lovely GP chose to share with me her history with a family who suffer from mental health issues themselves. She has experienced it at first hand. She would be the very last person to say, "Just snap out of it."

Your GP is a person, with health issues themselves. They suffer with the politics, which were never what they signed up for. They really want to help, and so often their hands are tied.

I said, "My daughter might want to study medicine," and she said, "Oh no! The politics are awful!"

She loves giving care in the community. She loves being the GP for four generations of the same family. She hates the politics.

At the end of the appointment I asked if I could hug her. She said yes, that quite a few of her patients hug her.

You know what? I'm not surprised.

She's a gift. And I'm very, very grateful for her.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Barbara Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 6:15am

Thank you, Mary, for giving us a glimpse of all this from a hopefully representative GP's point of view. Sounds like you got a good one there. Makes all the difference doesn't it? At what age were you diagnosed? Did it surprise you? Good luck coming out of this one as quickly and painlessly as poss. Although how you can talk to people, even a doctor, let alone write, I struggle to understand. Get well soon. x

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:20am

Thank you Barbara. It's a huge blessing that the words rarely fail. Especially for Moodscope where I can just pour put my heart honestly. Even when my professional blog has to be put on hold and I haven't written a word of my current novel for weeks, I can still write for Moodscope and feel useful. You people are such a blessing to me. In answer to your question, I wasn't diagnosed until I was 44, eight years ago, although I have been this way since age 7. The diagnosis was a huge relief and presented a way forward to managing my condition.

Adam Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 6:47am

Mary, I want to share a mental 'hug' with you! The reason is that, although you don't know me, your Moodscope blog posts have helped me enormously. They are always so beautifully written and give me a boost at the beginning of the day. I look forward to them and am grateful for your ability to give us these uplifting and thought-provoking gifts. Thank you!

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:21am

Adam - thank you so much. Your hug is very gratefully received and returned. It's a two way street, you know. You help me as much if not more than I help you.

Sally Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 6:49am

Yes, you are amazing, Mary, how you can function verbally when so much under par. I struggle to think and articulate when the freeze comes! Good period at the moment for me, with lots of creativity going on.
Very interested to hear your doctor experience. There are sone fantastic ones out there. I know mine is a rare pearl. Lovely tale.

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:22am

Thank you Sally. Glad to hear you have a good one too.

Sally Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 6:50am


LillyPet Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:09am

Oh Mary! What a beautiful blog! How lucky indeed to have a gp who understands!
Your experience has been two way, not just luck, being the lovely person that you are, receptive too, is why you've been doing so well. Yes you're having a set back, life is full of those, but, well I dont need to say any more than I'm sending you a lovely hug too!

I've been thinking about you. We're the same age. I sometimes feel perplexed when I've been feeling well, at other times I know Im over doing it and am wary. I used to ( ratg reframe!) rush around doing loads of things while I had the energy and motivation, preparing for when I don't. Sensible to a degree, but now I just dont push myself as hard. Do some, leave some, look after me!

I share your gps outlook on her profession too! I love being in education, the politics is draining.
I am so pleased to hear that she's there for you Mary, me too! Nother massive hug!
Love and light to all, have a gentle day :) LP xxx

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:47am

Impressed LP, you reframer you!

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:23am

Thank you my lovely Lilypet! Hugs back.My son and hubby are in teaching. Know exactly what you mean about the politics.

Hopeful One Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:11am

Hi Mary- a warm post to start the day. There is no doubt in my mind that unconditional compassion ,like your GP's, is what a depressed person really needs and will undoubtedly appreciate and respond. Its exactly the opposite of what the 'snap out of it' brigade have to offer.

Here is your laugh for today wrapped in cyber compassion for you as you keep your balance.

Little Tim was in the garden filling in a hole when his neighbour peers over the fence. Interested in what the youngster is up to, he p asks, "What are you doing, Tim?" "My goldfish died," says Tim tearfully, without looking up. "And I've just buried him." The neighbour is concerned. "That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it?" Tim pats down the last heap of earth and syys, "That's because he's inside your cat."

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:48am

Horrified and laughing in the same breath HO! :-D

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:24am

(Rushes to check that her own two cats are safe) - yes - my reaction exactly matches RATG's! You horror, you!

danielle Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 3:00pm

haha that did make me chuckle HO!

the room above the garage Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 9:10am

Oh Mary how wonderful. I can only dream of having this care. I stopped going to my GP when I realised the care was 'tick-box' and that I'd reached the end of the selection of 'medicines'. I do understand that GPs are limited and that mental health must dominate their waiting room and be frustrating when the patient is switched off to betterment, but I also feel they can stop being part of the tide and run like a river. You have a river! You may not have time or energy to reply at the moment would I know if I had a faulty serotonin valve? I have times when I feel well, really well, and yet can't raise myself. It makes no sense. I'm really pleased you have a great GP and I can now see a little, in your writing, your patterns. Your writing is strong throughout and how you write differs depending on where you are. To be clear, that is a compliment! :-) Xxx

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:30am

Thank you RATG. I am so sorry you don't have a good GP yourself. And yes, the writing is different depending upon where I am. It's actually easier when I'm down, oddly enough, as I don't have to second guess myself as to whether I have been hard and insensitive, only if it's too self-indulgent. (And - the other writers/artists will wryly recognise this morbid self-analytical questioning. We're such a self-absorbed paranoid crowd...)

readerwriter Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 12:38pm

Do you think about trying again with a different GP? Maybe start off afresh? As Mary says there's no one size and maybe that GP wasn't the "right fit"? Medication only works for some of the people some of the time, and it sounds as if you work hard with yourself. I think a doctor might appreciate that?

Alice Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 9:57am

A lovely warm blog, as all of yours are Mary. You are a lucky girl, but know what - you get the luck you deserve. I agree with Lilly Pet that your positive attitude (how do you do that when down?) creates positivity around you. Big hugs. Oh....and how appropriate that the news today is talking of hugging a banker....... I know I'd rather hug you Mary than a banker or a doctor.........!!! But I love that you wanted to hug your kind and caring doctor and weren't her first patient to do so. Love Alice with more hugs all round xx

Mary Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:39am

Ah Alice - hugs back. My hubby used to be a banker and is now re-training to be a teacher (he's so much happier working with little kids) so I will hug him today. As for the positive attitude when down... It's actually practice when up. I wrote a blog on it on April 22nd called Brain Muscle Memory (I've just read it - gosh, I was *really* down when I wrote that). I'm also a fan of self-improvement books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. None of them contain a magic bullet, but they all contain really good advice that I have found really works the majority of the time.Another thing I have found helpful is discovering my life purpose (to create beauty and generate joy while having fun - hey another blog there I feel) which definitely helps redefine a lot of things. So there's no one answer and no one size fits all. You just have to keep trying things out and seeing what works and then rinse and repeat.

Lexi Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 11:24am

I love your posts Mary. First, they make me laugh. Out loud. Second, they always help me see my situation in a slightly different, positive light. Today I thought after reading your post: I always hug my therapist after our sessions.This woman literally saved my life. She herself has been through a lot and it shows in her compassion and determination to help others. But tomorrow I will give her an extra squeeze.Because she literally saved my life.And she too makes me laugh out loud.

readerwriter Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 12:26pm

Remember when there was a thread about the collective noun for depressives? How about a judgement. We all know about the harsh self judgements that go on, and trying to move away from them. But I question the orthodoxy of non-judgmentalism. We have to judge. What we can cope with, what helps. Mary, thank you for your honesty, clarity and openess. No one answer indeed, but a blog scope of fellow travellers, has helped me so much this time around.

The Gardener Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 1:16pm

Our French GP shakes hands when we go in (automatic) and hugs me when we leave. He says don't worry how many times I call him, even if some of them are 'cry wolf'. I had first GP from 3 years old till after birth of 3rd son. Bon viveur and member of the Alpine Club. He did not get universal approval as he made many calls after dinner. But if you have a sick child with a rocketing fever reassurance at 10 p.m. is comforting. Our kids were of the breed 'look out world, we're on our way' without waiting for Mum to be ready. Result, stitches - worst part of it. The Doc took the midwives cap and put it on, flung a toilet roll footballer fashion and got to work. At that era, talking well over 50 years ago the custom was to lie in bed for ten days, if you got up your 'bits' fell out. When 2nd son was 2/3 days old a spider was discovered in the room. Daily help, husband, and GP were crushed in the door trying to get out. I had to get up from my bed of pain, pick up spider and eject it. What about my bits? I was only diagnosed manic-depressive after he retired - I believe he might have been one of those who would have said 'pull yourself together'. However, after birth of 3rd son I'd put on a lot of weight. He glared at me 'You don't want to get like your mother, do you, get it off'. Psychological success - he might have been very good on depression, I don't know.

Dave Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 3:03pm

So grateful for all those helping each of us...including all of you here on often we forget that mental illness is so very difficult to diagnose and treat properly and we get frustrated but I sincerely that most are doing their bet and we must keep that in mind. Hugs to all

danielle Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 3:04pm

Lovely blog Mary. How brilliant that you have such a wonderful GP - I am sure she is grateful that you showed your appreciation with a hug :) Mine is very clinical and cold - I wish I were as lucky as you but he has in the past referred me to the mental health team for treatment (twice) and said not to worry (ironic statement to someone with an anxiety disorder!) as there are plenty of avenues to try, so I have had better support than some. I hope you feel better soon and in the mean time we are all hear and have your back xxx

Rachel Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 7:23pm

Hi mary so glad you have such a good gp:-D I usually have to wait 2 to 3 weeks to see any gp at my surgery so dont see the same person. Its very difficult having to explain things every time and I get varying responses. Makes things harder

The Gardener Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 8:40pm

Been mulling things over - Mary is obviously lucky in her GP's. I think we often don't look at our GP's as human beings. The days of a GP knowing generations of one family are virtually over. In group practices (our last in UK) you could ask for your own but might have to wait days for an appointment (and I'm talking years ago) so you had to wait or see whoever was available - if it's very intimate, and in particular with depression, you are daunted by getting used to a stranger - they may have your notes in front of them, but what do they tell them? Talk of doctors takes me straight back to my Samaritan days. Many had been depressed for years - they were often inadequate and inarticulate - they desperately need a 'listener' but what GP can wait for half an hour to even start on the problem. Many had exhausted their families, even separated and were living alone - they were virtually 'black-listed' by their GP's, and they could not afford psychiatrists - if they actually went out of control then the state took over - but there, time to 'listen' to somebody was severely rationed. I have to return to my current situation as it is a good example - my husband is, in theory, 'convalescent'. The nurses, although it's their job, are admitting he's giving them hell. He's very depressed, and wants constant attention, day and night. Who can afford the time and money? The answer seems to be 'group' therapy, where a professional 'leader' cajoles people into helping each other. Utopia? I had a lovely example this morning. I can't climb ladders, walk, or do stairs much. I convened 'the girls'. They sorted my linen, found wool on the top shelf, made my bed then we settled to two hours of coffee, choccy biscuits (I'd hidden them from me and forgotten them) and two hours chat. I've got my well-aired problems, another 55 year old is being pulled to bits by her father demanding she return to the UK to look after her Alzheimer mother - another one same age, widowed two months ago, just beginning to suffer the loneliness of horrendous death of her husband two months ago from cancer. For a month everybody rushed round with sympathy, job done, loneliness is hitting her. I have loads of impractical schemes - will involve us all - but already there is a designated 'coffee lady' someone has a vast Christmas tree - husbands will move plants and piano, group therapy indeed. Different tack - thought HO's joke super, but my humour turns to the black side.

LillyPet Thu, Nov 12th 2015 @ 1:08am

I forgot to mention that it was thanks to my gp's daughter (also a gp!)that I have Moodscope in my life! My GP seemed frustrated by me still trying to seek long term therapy after so many years. Its cbt or nothing for me. I've all but given up hope that I'd get anywhere with it. Anyway I stopped seeing her and saw her daughter, who was alot more understanding and willing to help do what she could. Thanks again Mary, night all x

Liz Sat, Nov 14th 2015 @ 6:25pm

A gorgeous story, recounted beautifully - a hug to both of you! Liz

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