Daily Archives: September 25, 2014

It’s Beginning to Feel a lot Like Stigma…..

So let’s just look past the fact that the fact that The Dungeon was housed in the hospital basement, and obviously hadn’t been the attention of any funding since circa 1976. One of the reasons I had *chosen* (I emphasise this, as I really didn’t have much of a choice), my local hospital instead of the state psychiatric facility was the hope that I could be treated for my medical problems as well as psychiatric issues. However, despite the fact that I was newly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, the medical care I received as a psychiatric patient was appallingly neglectful. So neglectful in fact, that formal complaints were lodged by two of my loved ones, and an investigation was launched.

For starters, we were informed that the Dietetics department would not treat anyone from the psychiatric department.

What the actual crap?

Anorexia anyone? Bulimia? What about people whose mental illness deters them from eating? What about people who just plain FORGET to eat? The ones who don’t have money to eat? What about the vast body of research that links nutrition and mental health? Having spent five months in various institutions I can confidently say that I saw very few people in the grasp of mental illness who had optimal nutritional health.

This is an excerpt of my husbands complaint letter to the hospital.

“Rachael’s condition is food allergy related, and she also has a history of gluten intolerance, as such she should see a dietician. When this was requested on multiple occasions, we were informed that Dietetics would not see anyone from the psychiatric ward. I contacted the Department of Nutrition myself as they confirmed they could not see Rachael while she was a psychiatric inpatient, but could if she was on the Gastroenterology ward. This sounds a lot like stigma and discrimination.”

And this is the response we got.

“The original referral forwarded by the psychiatric registrar to Dietetics was received by the Department on 28th April, 2014. A follow up call alerted the registrar that Dietetics is not funded for patients staying in the psychiatric ward. …I would like to reassure you there is no discrimination of patients staying in the psychiatric ward and should a psychiatric patient deteriorate medically then they are admitted to the main hospital and afforded the same level as care and treatment as any other acutely unwell patient.”

So patients are only afforded the same level of care and treatment IF they are admitted to the main hospital? Sounds pretty fishy to me.

But Dietetics weren’t the only department unwilling to get their hands dirty on the psychiatric ward. The Gastroenterology department were exceedingly reluctant to take the five mile walk down to the ward and actually come and see me. At worst they “forgot”, sometimes they would phone the department instead of actually examining me, and at best they arrived…days late… telling me that my condition didn’t exist because they had never heard of it.

The surgical and investigative procedures I desperately needed were cancelled multiple times at the very last moment, and despite being an inpatient for nine weeks they were never actually conducted (the psychiatric team gave up and actually referred me to another hospital for the procedures). One night I was in unbearable abdominal pain and the nurses were extremely concerned about my wellbeing. Despite numerous calls to the out of hours doctor between 8:30 pm and midnight, he didn’t come and see me until 5:30 the next morning, and then it was all “OH MY GOD THIS COULD BE SERIOUS!”

Oh, I could talk for days about the poor medical treatment I was offered at that hospital.

Except for the psychiatric team. They were amazing.

But if there is one thing I have learned from this experience (my “field” research…according to Steven ;)), it’s that stigma is still alive. We think things have gotten so much better since One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But discrimination is still occurring, all around us, and in the most unlikely of places.

Stigma still lives, people. Let’s share, care, and make things fair.


Negative Stereotypes About Bipolar Disorder

The unfair treatment of individuals with severe mental illness has been linked to poorer physical and mental health outcomes. Additionally, anticipation of discrimination may lead some individuals to avoid participation in particular life areas, leading to greater isolation and social marginalisation. (study)

As if there weren’t enough self stigma, negatives and limitations built into having Bipolar Disorder, 21st century society sprinkles more upon us. I copy/pasted these from various sites. Whether you agree or disagree with various of them, I think we have to remember that they all dissuade people from getting a diagnosis, accepting it and being open about it.

So there’s an incendiary situation right there. It already takes an average of a decade to diagnose Bipolar – that’s a decade of untreated hell. Then there’s the fact that resistance to treatment (including meds) is potentially fatal for the sufferer. And that it affects everything and everyone around the sufferer. And and and …

One spends the pre-diagnosis time fighting one’s own personality and/or hiding and running from it. It’d take me a million years to show you what that part is like. Unless you’ve lived it (or something lile it), you can never know. Imagine the deconstruction of everything you are. Imagine how lost and lonely that feels.

Legally, Bipolar patients are denied security clearances as a matter of course, due to a perception of personal instability and bad moral conduct.
They may not serve in the armed forces or in the police.
They are almost universally denied life insurance at any realistic cost due to a perception that they are invariably suicidal, even though life insurance policies do not pay at all in cases of suicide. Public knowledge that an individual has ever been treated for the condition is seen as a near total bar to holding public office.
Medical treatment is often affected by a diagnosis of Bipolar, in many negative ways.

There are also the limitations that any chronically ill person has. There’s stuff we can’t do and there are ways we manage our days and nights in the context of the disorder and its medication. And there are the variations in cognitive functioning (that one really, really hurts).

People make snap judgments about Bipolar (and everything else), not out of malice, but because we are now far enough along the info superhighway for it to be habit. We ‘know’ a lot, because we have lots of Information McNuggets bouncing round the porous cyberpunk borders between our brains and machines. So people think they understand Bipolar when they don’t.


The drugs they take are associated in pop culture with angst and inner turmoil (Nirvana’s album Lithium, being a prominent reference).
Bipolar people get addicted to their meds.
The condition’s name is often used to describe mercurial indivduals who clearly do not have the disorder.
Bipolar Disorder is a cop out.
People with Bipolar are dangerous.
Bipolar people shouldn’t have children.
People with Bipolar Disorder having either a manic or depressive episode can “think positive and snap out of it” if they really try.
Bipolar Disorder is characterized by frequent mood swings. That’s usually false.
People with bipolar disorder are incapable of committing romantically.
Negative behaviors people with bipolar disorder do are within their control.

Some of the loveliest people I know think ‘blaming’ anything on Bipolar is a cop out. And I’ve tugged my forelock and doffed my cap in time to their misconceptions, because I have felt, every time, that to do otherwise would sound wrong, that it’d be the sort of self defence that shouldn’t be necessary. Nod nod nod yes I’m an ass … got so much experience at that speech anyway, it costs little to deliver. After a childhood of abuse and catholicism, and an adulthood full of PTSD and untreated Bipolar, I’d cheerfully claim responsibility for anything and everything (tbh doing so is an effective cop out too).

I guess I’m also so used to homophobia that the oh em gee the weather is bipolar stuff is just a milder version of the same ole thang. I have zero faith in utopian versions of human nature.

Frankly I’m having too much trouble with this manyheaded monster myself to concern myself with educating anyone else. That’s another reason I store my stuff here – it’s my space and nobody shits on me. o/


UTI and More Hole Action

Today I started peeing blood and it felt like razor blades we being dragged through. Y urethra. I fricken hate these things, makes me want to give up sex altogether. I won’t but as I take these antibiotics,

So cold + uti… No fun.

My work day went well. I’d forgotten just how much I enjoy being bossy. Especially about mke release.

Now on to some good news. Our hole now has footings. I’ll take picture this weekend. I was thrilled was just going to look at the hole but there was stuff going on there, so woot.

The last and bee test news. I had a genetic test done for breast and colon cancer and it cme back negative. In fact there is only a 13% chance of me getting cancer. SO th ittl bad thing going on can suck it!!! ha!

Tomorro is the therapists, I’ll he good stuff to talk about that isn’t past crap.

Who Do You Manage Your Illness For?


“They classify people with depression as lazy, people with bipolar as crazy, and people with schizophrenia as dangers to society. If you can’t will yourself into being better, than you are an attention-seeker, a downer debbie that craves drama. Turn that frown upside down, and get over yourself. We’ve all heard it.”

Originally posted on thesagemum:

Mentally ill or not, we all have facades that we present to the world to help us cope with our surroundings. Some of us choose to have perfect makeup, beautiful hair, manicured nails, or maybe a nice car to meet clients in. How about that giant house you’re paying out the nose for? It’s all part of how we wish to present ourselves to the outsiders that we have to deal with. But what about people that are in our inner circles? It’s harder to maintain this facade with your family, your lover, your children, your best friends. When you live with mental illness these facades are infinitely more difficult to maintain. Sometimes you have several, but there are cracks in all of them, and over time the people whom you love the most will bear witness to the darkness that flows like nightmares through those cracks. 

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Still Feeling Maudlin

There is something that I want to write. I can feel it forming in my brain, I can sense it coming out the tips of my fingers, but I can’t seem to find the words. Anyone who knows me well knows that me being at a loss for words is a rare occurrence. It all […]