I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder when I was just 16 years old. During the years that followed I had some brilliant psychiatrists and some dull ones that I didn’t click well with, met several good psychologists and had some excellent therapists for talking therapy or CBT. However, this post is dedicated to my old Care Coordinator who finished working with me a month or so ago and I just want to talk a bit about the role, what it entails and how much she aided my recovery.
When you have had an acute episode of mental illness (which may have included a hospital stay or day unit) , you may be assigned what is known as a Care Coordinator. Care Coordinators are usually mental health nurses trained to coordinate care between you, the client and the whole mental health team- whether thats a support worker, psychiatrist, psychologist. They talk to you about how you are feeling, give you advice and speak to other professionals on your behalf.
After my hospitalisation in 2014, I was assigned a truly lovely, wonderful woman to help aid me in my recovery at home. I am writing about her because sometimes its very rare to click so well with someone, for someone to be so positive and upbeat and kind.
When I met my Care Coordinator, I was still very depressed and anxious, in my adjustment from coming out of hospital on a psychiatric ward. She used to come and sometimes I wouldn’t want to see her because I was feeling low or anxious and didn’t want to talk. We worked together for a year and she listened to all my fears about being maid of honour for my sisters wedding, getting back into work, dating, keeping up friendships with anxiety and how I was going to rebuild my life and cope again.
She provided a listening ear and helping hand in a time of immense darkness.
She watched me as I struggled to hold down work, recommending a support worker for me, and sessions with a psychologist, I had a course of 10 sessions. She asked if she needed to help me with housing or benefits (here in the UK this is money from the government if you are sick). Luckily I have a good family support network but my Care Coord became like a good friend to all of us and I grew to love our sessions and enjoy talking to her about my life, her life and its similarities :).
After 6 months to a year of being back to health and not acutely unwell any more, my Care Coord had to move on to help other people who were more ill than me. However, she will always have a special place in my heart for the joy and positivity she helped me find and I don’t think I will ever forget her.