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Senior Contributor

Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Hello lovely people, @utopia @Faith-and-Hope @Hamsolo01 @Former-Member @Shaz51 @Zoe7 @outlander 

@BlueBay @greenpea @Snowie @Appleblossom @Mazarita @CheerBear @eudemonism @TAB @BabyDragon @Dec and anybody else who may pass this way.


I have returned after a long hiatus trying to sort out what the hell went wrong in my life. If you're unfamilar with my story, several months ago I was at my wits end living with my half-sister and her family. Well, I had a massive falling out with my half-sister when I finally had enough of her crap and stood up to her abuse and she threw me out as a result. Of course she said that "it was all me" and "I was the mean and nasty one". She refused to take responsibility for her own behaviour and actions. Her and her family are now no longer a part of my life, and they never will be again. They have demonstated that they are not worthy of my trust or respect. 


I've seen a new GP, but she wants me to go see a Psychologist/Psychiatrist to get further testing and asessments done, as I explained to her that I may have Complex-PTSD as well as anxiety/depression. Then I had to take myslef off of my antidepresant medication. I told the GP that it was making me so sick, but she didn't listen and wanted a second opinion from a Psychiatrist. I had constant brain-fog, I had muscle twitches and tics, my sleep patterns were all over the place, and when I did sleep, I was out for 14 hours at a time. I was loosing my ability to speak and form full sentences and I was on the verge of prediabetes because I couldn't loose any of the 30kg that the antidepressants had put on. 


On top of my antidepressant withdrawal, I've had to tolerate my job agency that I'm forced to see under the obligations of Newstart, who are on my case about all this medical stuff. But now I've run into a major barrier and I need some advice. I have tried looking for a Psychologist/Counsellor on my own who is trauma-informed and/or specialises in dealing with child abuse/domestic violence, but the ones I've found near me are way too expensive. Even though I am on a Mental Health Care Plan, I still have to pay the full cost of the sessions up-front - the Plan only allows me to get a Medicare rebate from selected medical professionals.


I'm looking at anywhere between $170 - $250 per a session in up-front costs, which on Centrelink Newstart is extremely hard to do. And many of them are not taking in new patients because it is coming closer to the end of the year. I can only think of going through one of the public hospitals or a community allied health services clinic, but I feel uncomfortable doing this, as they're ill-equiped and already clogged with so many patients as it is, so I may not even be able to get in this way either.


I am tired, angry, frustrated and drained. Why is it so hard to seek professional mental health support in this country? It can't wait until next year. I need to take care of this now, as my job agency is waiting on me for updated paperwork and assessments. Is there anyone who has been through something similar who can give me some advice and guide me in the right direction? I would really appreciate it, I'm lost in the medical labyrith and I can't find a way out. 



Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Was thinking the visits thru gp but think you mentioned that @EternalFlame perhaps something is accessible thru church/volunteer/charity groups ? You’ve been through a lot and it sounds like you’ve thought of a few things already. Hopefully someone can be more use than I was. Oh. One little thing. Sick certs can get you away from job network I did that last time wasn’t working, ended up with a pension card on newstart its still valid even tho working now I checked. Maybe that may help.

Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Hi @TAB, yes, I have tried a few things, I even tried going through an allied health training service through a University, but they weren't taking in any more new patients as their Psychology interns were all finishing up for the year, even though I wanted to see one of their registered Psychologists. I was given an updated medical cert, and I had to go through a job capacity assessment and I was put into Disability Support Management with the job agensy, but not sure how long that will last - that's why I want to get all this medical stuff sorted out ASAP. 


Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

I’m not sure what else to suggest sounds like youve been very thorough @EternalFlame

Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Hi @EternalFlame I don't have any further suggestions here either but wanted to welcome you back - hope you get it sorted soon Heart


Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Hey @EternalFlame

Thanks for taggin me in your update. I really appreciate that. Thank you also for sharing your journey and where you are up to now in life.

I'm sorry to hear that you are in strife with the mental health service. Navigating the bureaucracy is damn tough. It has lead me to believe that public service job requirements are "must act like they don't give a toss" lol.

Either way, I'm glad to hear you have ceased communications with that old side of your family. That sounds like a crucial step forward. That at least eliminates any present conflict associated with your family.

It sounds like there is a path ahead that is rough. Despite this, I think you've demonstrated your insights on what's going on for you. Rant away. Tag me. Tell me what is happening. I'm happy to listen.


Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

That's a tough situation @EternalFlame. When I needed a new psychologist I asked my gp.  She and the medical centre had been sent info on a new psychologist practice,  so they were able to send me there.  One of the psychologists bulk billed under the mental health care plan. 

Try asking your gp for a referral. Otherwise I'm afraid it's a case of calling every psychologist in your area.  Or maybe try looking for psychologists in a area not too far away. 


Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Hi @EternalFlame, welcome back. Smiley Happy

As @utopia said, it may be a matter of thoroughly researching on the net all or many of the psychologists in your local area, or within a range that is not too far for you to travel. That's what I've done to find both my current psychiatrist and psychologist, both of whom I find excellent, and who bulk bill me so I don't pay anything for ongoing treatment. I can't afford to pay large gap fees on my pension, and know full well how impossible that is likely to be when you are on Newstart. When they bulk bill me, there is no up front payment involved. They just sort it out what's necessary to receive payment themselves.

After doing the initial research and compiling a list of practitioners, I then rang around and tried to gather as much information as I could that way, either by speaking to them directly or, if that was not possible, finding out as much as I could from their admin staff. It might be possible to email instead, as I did with my current psychologist. That way I was able to be in direct communication with her from the start. I also find emailing less stressful than phone calls.

I would suggest firstly asking about bulk billing and availability for the near future, as you need, then narrowing down the list further from there. In my case, I then researched them more closely as much as I could on the net, and then selected one from all the information I gathered, coupled with my intuition about who might be a good fit for me.

Then I went to my GP and asked to be referred to the practitioner of my choice. I've never had a problem with GPs doing this.

I might suggest too that you not be too swayed too much by what their stated specialties might be. I went to a psychologist once who seemed perfect on paper, but who I found spectacularly unhelpful in the sessions themselves. With all practitioners, I think there is a fair bit of interpersonal chemistry involved in terms of how helpful they can be for us. Because of this, it can be a case of 'try them out and see how you feel'. I find my current psychologist awesome, though she stated no special skills for my particular condition, bipolar 1. I now see practitioners stated specialities as, at least to some extent, basically advertising for their practice, rather than necessarily indicating how helpful they will be to us in particular.

Wishing you the very best in finding someone quickly to help you with your Centrelink/job provider issues. Maz


Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

Hey @Hamsolo01 glad to hear from you. Smiley Happy

It was a tough decision to make, but after falling for the same mistakes for the last 6 years, I've finally given up on everyone on my mum's side of the family. They're just as toxic as the next person, and they expect me to be like them, but I refuse to walk down the same dark path as they have. 


I really don't understand the mental health system at all, and the deeper I dig, the more confused I get. Mind you, I should have started all this 6 years ago, so if I had started back then, I might have gotten somewhere by now, lol. 


I have definitely learnt a lot in the last year, and I now have a better idea as to why the whole side of my mum's side are they way they are, and that their presence in my life is not a good thing. 


Thanks again for your support. Smiley Happy


Re: Returning from Hiatus, Seeking Help and Guidance

@utopia I am seriously considering going back to the GP and explaining all of this to her. I did explain my willingness to do my research first, so she may not have laid out all the options Psychologist-wise on the table then, opting to let me do my own thing first. 


Good to hear from you too. Smiley Happy

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