I have read all my GP medical records and didn’t find much that was remarkable. Some interesting bits and pieces. There was nothing in them that made me feel legal action would be desirable or appropriate. I don’t really think there would be a case for “medical negligence”. I can be quite objective about what they contain now. At one time I would have taken their diagnostic labels as a personal insult.
To be fair, “chemical imbalance” was never mentioned. The focus was on the circumstances of my childhood and my resulting immaturity and inability to make the transition into adult life. Now I would not argue with any of that but I do think that the nitrazepam had a horrendous effect on me. But we can’t turn the clock back and who knows what would have happened if I had never developed epilepsy and never been prescribed the drug. Would I just have learned to cope with life as so many people do? I will never know that.
I am glad I have read them. However, they contain just one aspect of my story – dates, names of drugs long forgotten about, doctors consulted etc. Like a skeleton but only I can put the flesh on the bones. It was interesting that the psychiatrists I thought well of wrote well-considered letters while those whom I did not think much of either did not correspond with my GP or wrote lengthy, self-indulgent letters expressing their own convoluted theories about my state of health.
One or two doctors did wonder about the side effects of nitrazepam but that was all they did, probably because I was taking it for epilepsy. Most of the time, they did not want to rock the boat, particularly after I had rebuilt my life and seemed to be coping fairly well. Most of the time I would describe the terrible fatigue I felt on a daily basis as “feeling tired” which probably did not convey how awful it really was. Language can be so limiting at times and it is always difficult to truly know what another is feeling even when we use the same words.
I am still waiting for my psychiatric records. I don’t know if they still exist or not. I doubt there will be anything much in them either. Mainly copies of the same letters as were in my GP notes, I expect.
I guess we all like to be able to make sense of our own lives, especially as we get older. I am just glad I have been able to do that to a large extent.