There is a lot of negativity around this topic with regards to bad service delivery and long waiting times at government facilities.
Well my experience of Healthcare in SA is about as bipolar as I am. In the Private sector – should you have access to a medical aid and as long as you are suitably “stamped” with the correct chronic disorder they will cover most of the costs.
I found however a lot of practitioners (Psychiatrists) seem to overmedicate and don’t emphasize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle enough. You can’t get better walking around like a zombie – I have been there.
After 5 years ( I had met the right psychiatrist some 5 years ago but went wondering to others hoping for a “cure”) I returned to the office of a very changed psychiatrist. He had lost a lot of weight and seemed bright and in control of his own life. I could begin to trust someone who could turn around their own life. He said if I didn’t exercise everyday I wouldn’t get fully better.
Psychologists are another story. Some are brilliant and much needed but often patients refuse to “self sooth”” and to develop their own resilience. Yes, if there is a crisis or deep issues by all means use help but be careful to not become dependent on it.
On meds you really often live in a protected world where you can justify some bipolar (or other) behaviours. But when my meds got right and I saw reality I get really scared.
You have to stand and people will come at you, problems will come your way just like in anyone else life.
In fact leaving the safety of good treatment and flying on your own for thee first time takes incredible bravery.
Its nice to read other peoples experiences but what can YOU gain from this article?
1. Always be determined to get treatment especially in the government sector. Be bossy but not rude. Be armed with as much knowledge about your illness as you can. You make the ultimate decision.
2. Save for medical aid if you can and use your chronic benefits they are called “PMB’s” Prescribed Minimum Benefits and all medical aids have them – even the basic ones. They have to cover so many visits to the psychiatrist and also your meds if they fall under certain categories.
3. Be brave and also be forgiving. You will fall down, everyone does but if you really love life you will slowly get up again, sleep off a bad day and wake up to a new start – you get 365 new starts a year – not too bad hey?
4. Exercise. Walk 1km, walk 50km. Swim. Run. Take the stairs. Wherever you can get active. It makes your mind positive.
5. Be consistent with meds- it will and could save your life.
For now good friends thats all Alice in Wonderland has to say. Have a great month and chat soon!