Please note that this is my own personal CPN experience and I do not recommend you do NOT attend your appointments or give it your best shot. They are there to help you and they can help, I talk openly about my experiences with a CPN in this blog post, but they have helped me, despite being somewhat “strange” people.
When I was assigned a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) I thought it sounded like some posh name for a doctor who dealt with mental health and in general I suppose this is what one is. A CPN is a trained health professional who helps people like me who need extra support and who live in the community.
My CPN is female; in fact I have had 2 ladies in the past 2 and half years who have been my assigned as my CPN. After being discharged from the mental health team, the first time in 2011 and assigned back into it only 3 months later, I did request a different community psychiatric nurse. I believe it is vital for your recovery and to be able to make progress if you feel you are able to talk to your CPN.
My first CPN was overworked and appointments were difficult and rushed, she had to cancel many appointments with me and as I was not able to attend other appointments alone, many others had to be cancelled too, as she was never available when needed.
I never felt I ever just “hit it off with her”. Like many people who have a mental health illness, I struggle to trust others, how can one be expected to talk openly and honestly about such things with a complete stranger? Trust is something that is earned over time and it’s something all mental health professionals need to learn.
“I want to throw myself in front of a car today because I am untouchable” does not make a great open liner to a complete stranger. Yet you are expected to reveal your inner and darkest thoughts and feelings to this appointed CPN.
Like many I hid an awful lot of what was really going on inside my head, thoughts of being carted away in a white jacket and ending up in a padded cell floated around in my head, if I dare to be honest, they may just section me. I was careful of how much I revealed.
She only ever visited my home once, after that I requested all appointments to make at the local hospital, I did not want this shrink women in my house, near my children. It became almost like an obsession to keep her away. Social Services would surely be called if she saw me anywhere near my children, after revealing I was afraid to be left alone with them; of course paranoia is a huge thing in my life.
My second CPN experience is somewhat amusing, she’s lovely bless her, quiet and petite and does not look like “one of those”. By “one of those” I mean they all have a certain aura about them, all therapists and counsellors I have come across have worn floating skirts or shirts with ties that do not match, oh and they carry writing pads everywhere they go, I think that must make them feel important.
Do you really need to bring your note book into the waiting room with you just for you to call my name? Is the way I walk with you jotted down, as we go off to find the room?
From personal experience my current CPN seems to be more interested in getting me to take and try medication, I think I am her guinea pig. While I would much rather have talking therapy she avoids all requests of more in depth therapy and advises I swallow these new pills the shrink has told her will be good for me. She is keen to get me onto this medication; ones she say may make me twitch.
“Twitch” I ask
“As if you had just received an electric shock” she tells me
I smile politely and nod, who is the nutter here?
Yea as if I am going to take them!
The little bolts of electric shocks are common side effects she assures me
Like I want to be rocking and rolling and shaking all over the place, I decide never to take these pills.
I have not seen her in twelve weeks now; I am supposed to see her every 2 weeks
I expect her appointment book is full and she will be in touch soon enough and when she does and sees I am yet in a high (manic) mood and she will discharge me from the mental health services, again.