Three months since I relocated to Florida and I still haven’t gotten my act together when it comes to finding therapy or support services.
I haven’t been looking that actively – one reason is that I am not quite sure how things work here! I have been given some advice by friends but I guess I’m lazy to get started too, it takes so much work!
In England it was much more straightforward – if you want to go down the public health care path, you go to your own GP, ask for a referral to mental health services or discuss what you think you’d need or what they suggest you get in terms of supporting your mental health, and depending on where you live and what problems you have, you are then offered different services.
When I lived in South London, my doctor referred me to a psychiatrist who then evaluated me and then referred to an outpatient clinic for therapy. Unfortunately, needs are more numerous than what they can offer, so I was on a waiting list for a long time until I moved to North London and was out of the catchment area for that service.
In North London, I talked to my new doctor who first sent to me 12 sessions of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which was a complete waste of time, and this young lady was absolutely not equipped to deal with me. She then sent me forward to be evaluated by a psychiatric nurse who saw me a few times and first diagnosed me with BPD or BPT (borderline personality disorder/trait) and sent me to a group.
I went to this group for another 12 sessions and again was not impressed. I then was evaluated by another psychiatrist who came to a conclusion that I was “functioning” i.e. had a job and housing of my own, and didn’t meet the strict criteria for their treatment of BPD.
I was really upset for being okay enough to not be treated by the public health system, but bad enough to not be completely okay and feeling like I did need support and treatment.
The psychiatrist called me back and said they had someone who was in training for psychoanalytic therapy and would I be interested in an 18-month programme.
I said yes, and that’s how I ended up in that therapy. I now know it was too short, and I would have definitely benefited from a longer program, but again, as it was free and public, that’s all they had to offer for someone like me in that specific borough of London.
If you want to use non-public services the option is to either find an organization that offers therapy, like a rape crisis center or something like that, or a private therapist. I never even tried to find someone private, it would have been too expensive!
I did however access services at a charity organization called Aurora Health Foundation, a dedicated specialist center for survivors or childhood abuse and trauma, and I am forever blessed to have gone there. I attended a support group for a few years, as well as did some private talking therapy with a therapist.
What made this different was that the people who work there often are survivors themselves so they really understand what you’re going through!
I really wish I could find something like that here- I’m not really mentally ill so I don’t need psychiatric services, but I do want to talk and continue my healing…I have come far but I have my moments of insanity and craziness and sadness and all these things that come with surviving abuse, and this is something I want to deal with with a professional and not alone.
Here’s hoping I find something!