Our first experience of CAMHS

Let’s park Bipolar Hub and all his current woes to one side for now, and concentrate on Little F’s mental state of mind. (As if i don’t have enough to contend with).

To give you a quick recap (If you know all this, scroll down a bit) – F has had probs with her ears since birth – infections, grommets, hearing tests. That’s all clear now (ish) and the Ear Nose and Throat consultant  discharged her and said we should see a Pediatrician in relation to the symptoms we struggle with. These are:

  • Explosive outbursts of anger
  • Inability to do as instructed
  • Utter defiance
  • Fidgety and LOUD
  • Self disciplining
  • Sometimes destructive
  • Emotional remorse

Ooooo, what a little scamp! But these can be on epic proportions which affect the household. Fast track to the Pediatrician who says F has Autism with Demand Avoidance (PDA) and possible ADHD. The Phycologist disagrees and thinks it’s more like Emotional Regularity Disorder (Bipolar). We went privately and we had our very expensive bits of paper, it turns out they’re not very useful at all. We hit a brick wall.

School got involved even though they do not see any symptoms at school – F hides it all well and saves it for me. Lucky me. So a few months on and we see the NHS’s Children And Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I hadn’t heard very good things about the service and was not expecting much.


The venue

Typical NHS. Vinyl floors, magnolia and pastel hues on the walls, light blue tired leather seats and lots of lego and colouring.

The nurse

Super duper lovely. Looked and sounded like she knew what she was on about. Gave F respect and encouragement and made us all feel at ease.

The assessment

This was a like a triage appointment, where she could assess the issues we’ve been having and point us in the right direction. Separately we voiced our concerns and medical and family history (for the umpteemth time it feels). We were there for over 2 hours going through the birth, F’s lumbar puncture at 2 days old and scare of Meningitis, the milestones, the house moves, the family mood, the depressive states etc etc. The ear infections, the tempers, the bed wetting, the nightmares, the fun, the strengths and the weaknesses.

The outcome

Well she definitely believed us. She could see the struggles we have. She asked the right questions and could see that both me and hub were saying the same things. She doesn’t think it sounds like Autism, or ADHD, and explained that the loudness and fidgeting is F’s way of filling a void with her crippling anxiety. It’s a flipping sign we hadn’t spotted before – argh!!! F’s not quite got her emotional suit of armour schizzle together. The lady explained that we need to work on ways to help F vent her emotions better and help her understand herself. She mentioned Bipolar but F is too little to be diagnosed with that. It maybe that it’s not a neurological problem, it may be learned behaviours from watching her Daddy eratically come to terms with his condition. Nothing is off the table in terms of diagnosis and we are to continue with our PDA strategies and support groups if they are working (which they are). What a pickle!

What next

It’s suggested that F has a series of psychotherapy sessions where she can talk about emotions and what’s going on through play. Of course there’s a waiting list, and it will probably be the Autumn before we get an appointment. But i’m not too down heartened, we’re moving forward all the time.




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