14:28 – Psychiatric conditions and driving – advice needed!

18 Feb

I saw the psychiatrist on Wednesday and left feeling really angry at him. He asked if I had been in contact with the DVLA yet about driving. I’ve had my license for 13 years and never had one accident nor made one insurance claim. I know I am a good driver and I also know that when I’m not well I don’t leave the house to go far enough to get my car. I was completely honest on my insurance policy and declared I had a medical condition so it would never be void. I have never driven when I’ve been under the influence of drink or drugs, I’ve never driven myself to hospital after making any kind of suicide attempt, I’ve always been as sensible as possible with driving.

The psychiatrist has been asking me for ages to phone the DVLA and inform them I have a mental health condition. He says he will then receive paperwork and he will definitely write down the two weeks I used heroin for, as well as my psychotic episodes, as well as my occasional cannabis use – basically everything he can to ensure I lose my license – all because HE doesn’t think I’m fit to drive. I know plenty of people with psychiatric conditions (bipolar, schizophrenia, bpd, phobias, severe depressions) who all continue to drive despite their condition. I told him I feel like he is trying to take every last bit of freedom away from me because he knows I will lose my license for 3, 6 or 12 months. With him saying he absolutely would mention the drug use that will probably mean losing it for either 6 or 12 months. And that would leave me extremely depressed and make me feel very housebound. My friends don’t live particularly close by and public transport makes me so fucking anxious.

So now I’m in a bit of a predicament of whether to phone and declare my psychiatric condition or not. I know he is going to go on and on at me until he gets the fucking form through. Ugh I don’t know what to do, I wish so much I hadn’t told them about the drug use now. Have you been in this situation? If so what did you do? And what happened when you reported your mental health condition? I guess this only really applies to fellow UK folk as I don’t have a clue what the laws are in other parts of the world!

I feel like he is trying to take everything away from me. I really fucking hate him at times. I was also going to mention my appointment with the CPN yesterday but we didn’t really do much, sat and wrote out a sheet of who I contact in whatever situation I may find myself in. Writing out what each persons role was. That was how we passed the hour.

I need advice on this whole driving situation as I feel totally clueless about what to do for the best.

I’m also really stressed right now as I have to be out of here for 8am on Monday morning and going to stay with my parents all next week whilst I get gas central heating, rewiring and a new kitchen fitted. They are making such a mess of everyone’s flats and the whole place is going to need redecorated and new flooring put down once they have finished. I don’t particularly want to leave my flat for a whole week, that’s making me really anxious. I have so many bits of furniture and stuff to move, everything has to be put in the centre of each room. I only have a small flat but there is still so much work that needs done. I have to move the entire contents of my ‘junk cupboard’ into another cupboard, I have things that need thrown out permanently, I have so many clothes needing washed and dried before I have to move out, just as well I have my Mum coming down tomorrow to help me.

Argh, too much stress.

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9 Responses to “14:28 – Psychiatric conditions and driving – advice needed!”

  1. Celinda February 18, 2012 at 14:41 #

    I suggest you look for a new doctor.

  2. NullFuture February 18, 2012 at 14:51 #

    Legally you should tell DVLA. In theory your insurance will be invalid because whilst you’ve told them about the medical condition, they usually phrase it as “Do you have a condition of which the DVLA are aware”. If you said yes then you lied as the DVLA were not aware. If you said no you lied as it’s a condition that the DVLA should be aware of. Insurance companies will use that as a way to get out of paying out.

    However, my curiosity is mostly about your Psychiatrist. Seems to be very biased so I would recommend seeing a different doctor before committing either way. Ok, may not work out but it’s the only real choice

  3. www.justdifficult.com February 18, 2012 at 15:35 #

    Gosh. this is a difficult one.

    Legally speaking, you are obliged to tell the DVLA about any condition that could compromise your driving. But, I also think it is up to YOU to decide to tell them. I understand why the psychiatrist is playing by the book – but I also think he’s not seeing the bigger picture in terms of your independence.

    The problem with this is that you have given him and others treating you very good cause to believe that you might be unsafe behind the wheel. You’ve tried several times over the last year to kill yourself, and you’ve been in hospital a lot. And, you take some fairly hefty meds. As you can imagine, this will make people twitchy!

    I think you need to balance out whether you honestly feel you are safe to drive, or whether there has been any time that you’ve considered crashing your car to off yourself. If you are certain that you are fit to drive and that you can be self-regulating (not driving when you are psychotic or suicidal etc), then you need to take your psychiatrist in hand and tell him to back off – explain about your need for independence. If it is the latter, and you know that there are times that you intend to drive in order to do yourself harm, then you simply have to deal with the DVLA and the consequences. Without wanting to sound totally teacherly: you know that driving in such a state could hurt others as well as yourself.

    At as I said before: it is up to you. I don’t know what the situation could be if the quack decided to report you to the police or the DVLA himself; I don’t even know if he can do that. If anyone knows the answer to this, I think we’d all be really grateful to know the facts – with links if possible!

    Don’t sit on your laurels on this issue; it is understandably very important to you and needs to be nipped in the bud, whatever action you decide to take.

    Best of luck and hugs as usual,

    Clarissa X
    http://www.justidifficult.com

  4. sanityisknocking February 18, 2012 at 16:45 #

    I have NEVER heard of having to notify anyone about having a mental health condition. My sister had seizures and lost her license because of that (but she got it back) but I’ve never heard that just because you have a MH condition you aren’t allowed to drive. Do they take your license away if you’re a drug addict? I seriously have never heard of this bullshit!

    Hi, I have problems so take away my license. Welcome to the world! Everyone has problems.

    So pissed about this for you.

  5. Differently February 18, 2012 at 18:32 #

    It depends on the condition, (and to some extent the consequences of said condition) as to whether you legally have to declare, or might have to. For example bipolar, schizophrenia, schizo-affective always means the need to declare, depression only if you have suicidal thoughts (or “if it affects your driving” – whatever that means) because of it – which personally I think is a ridiculous distinction. Interestingly enough PDs are treated in the same way as depression.

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/MedicalRulesForDrivers/MedicalA-Z/index.htm

    And if answer to comments above, if a medical professional believes that you are at risk if you drive, then yes they can report you, and indeed I believe may be duty-bound to do so (it comes under “danger to self/others” disclosure – although my main experience has been with people with dementia who continue driving.

    Don’t really have any advice. It’s possible that it might look better for you to disclose, rather than letting the doctor do it (if he is indeed threatening to). Unfortunately I don’t think the DVLA really care about individual circumstances, and no-one can predict the outcome. It sucks no end and can understand how scary/horrible it is to risk losing your independence like that.

    Take care

  6. Ethereal Highway February 19, 2012 at 06:21 #

    Wow. I had the opposite problem many years ago before I was diagnosed with a dissociative disorder. I was pressured to get a driving license and not shy away from driving because that would be ‘giving in to the panic and fear’. My advisors (including therapists) had NO EFFING CLUE. Several accidents later, I decided when I could drive and when I could not based soley on how I felt and had been feeling in the very recent past. I did not let the opinions of others sway me and did not let them pressure me to drive when I felt that it was not a safe thing to do. I’ve not had an accident since – not for more than twenty years. You can TIME your driving according to how you are doing, where you need to go and the driving conditions to get there, etc. If you feel that you cannot drive during a certain period, then use public transport until you are okay again. That’s what I did. To this day, I will wait until I am sure I am ‘normal again’ before I will drive after a recent dissociation. Safety comes first, last and ALWAYS. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. This part of my comment may be projection (probably is – so take with a grain of salt), but it seems as if your doctor is trying to punish you for having used illegal drugs.

  7. sanityisknocking February 19, 2012 at 18:34 #

    This has been playing on my mind. What about changing docs and telling this one you’ve decided to move out of country. Maybe then he’ll leave you alone. Bugger, this is total shite.

  8. MsLeftie February 21, 2012 at 10:38 #

    I contacted the DVLA back in December to declare my illness; four forms later, I am still waiting for an answer as to whether they are suspending my licence… Psychiatrist has now written to them. The more forms I completed the more they sent out to me, it has been one form after another!

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