Sometimes the stigma of mental illness comes, not from an outright blast of words, but from silence…
Sometimes the stigma of mental illness comes, not from an outright blast of words, but from silence…
If you have ever been hospitalized for a psychiatric reason, you know that it is not like you are in the hospital for a medical reason. You don’t lay in a nice bed where you can adjust your legs and head, you don’t have your own television that you can control, you don’t have call button to call the nurse, you don’t have your own phone to call someone or receive calls from.
You have a bed with a cushion that if you are lucky has a cushion on it, a blanket and a pillow. You are given a dresser in your room and a shower that you have to share with someone else who most likely has a psychiatric problem worse than you.
You have to share the phone with everyone else on the unit, with no privacy at all, you don’t have a way to talk to the nurse unless you get up and talk to her. Even if you have documented health issues that are being treated for in the hospital, you are forced to get to the nurse’s station on your own. Even then, you are forced to share your problems with no privacy.
Often, no attention is given to you from any staff because they would rather play with their phones or are made to take notes about who eats what when and who does what when. However, these same people don’t even realize when a recently diagnosed manic female enters a male room’s room even after another patient has told them it had happened in the past.
Many things that are done to protect the patients because many of them are in there because they are a threat to themselves or others. Certain rules and restrictions have to be made. However, the mistreatment by many staff members is so not right.
If you were to look at the Patient’s Bill of Right’s, you would see that almost all of them are being broken simply because someone is in a psychiatric facility. We are also viewed as less than humans who won’t complain and should not be taken seriously.
I recently wrote a blog about there being a problem of placing people with mental health issues due to availability of beds. If this is all you have to do is for the staff to not do their jobs, give patients one uncomfortable bed, have one phone on the unit and one television, then what is the problem?
This just strengthens my point about something needs to be done and money is not being spent wisely. It also says that those with mental illnesses are treated as people who are not viewed as productive people of the society who were born with a chemical imbalance in their brain.
Recently in my community, a 17 year old foster child was jailed for 3 weeks for a minor offense because there was no one to place her. This is inexcusable. Article
The problem boils down to placement. It is not just for this child. It is also for children who live at home, adults and children who have medicaid or medicare, and those with no insurance.
If someone with a mental illness goes to the ER because they are in crisis due to a mental illness, they can have to wait days before a bed is found. By days, I mean sometimes it can be a week of the patient having to wait in a hallway with no privacy treated like lower class citizens.
As I learned about this current situation and the steps that it took for this girl to finally get placed in another state because a judge demanded something to be done, I started thinking about it.
Why is that if I were to go to the ER for a reason not associated with mental illness that I most likely be in a bed within a few hours most of the time?
There is a lack of psychiatric beds. There is a limited amount of money spent on educating the public about recognizing signs if someone is suffering from a mental illness, people oftentimes don’t know what the resources are mainly because this is all a topic people don’t want to talk about.
In addition, if people are waiting days to get a bed for a mental illness, not enough money is being spent on taking care of our mentally ill or the money is not being managed correctly.
This all needs to change. Not tomorrow, or two months ago. It needs to start now! It is our society’s problem. This is not just those with mental illnesses. If we don’t improve the mental health system, we are going to have more suicides, homicides and mass shootings.
Why not demand from our government that more time, effort, and money be spent on exploring the problem and coming up with solutions?
I was depressed even as a child. I may have been manicky too, but I don’t remember that. Unless you count the anxiety. (I had weird fears – for example, that someone might toss a lit cigarette out of a car window just as another car with a leaky gas tank went by and there would be a huge explosion and fire. Stuff like that.)
I won’t say that bullying caused my mental condition, because I now know that brain chemistry is the more likely culprit. But bullying certainly made it worse.
In addition to the usual taunts about “cooties,” my appearance, and my complete cluelessness about social skills, I was singled out because I was smart and liked school and didn’t hide it.
As I look back on it, some of the bullying now seems extreme.
There was the boy who chased me around the playground, threatening me with what he claimed was a hypodermic needle.
There were the kids at the bus stop who threw rocks at me while I tried to pretend it was a game of dodge-rock. Never being good at sports, I came out of that episode with three stitches in my forehead. I don’t know which upset me more, but by the end of it all, I was hysterical. And not the good, funny kind.
And there was my best friend and the birthday party. The party was for her younger sister and all the attendees were about that same age. My BFF and I were supposed to be supervising, I guess. But while I was blindfolded, demonstrating Pin the Tail on the Donkey, she kicked me in the ass. Literally. In front of all those younger kids.
This resulted in what I now realize was my first breakdown (meltdown, freak-out, whatever you call it). Naturally I ran home sobbing, and spent nearly a week curled in a fetal position, alternately crying my eyes out and going numb. I stayed like that until I saw my mother crying. Then I got up, went down the street and yelled at the (by now former) BFF for indirectly making my mother cry.
It’s a wonder I’m not a spree killer today. But we’ll go into that some other time.
Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I adore Carrie Fisher. She is my favorite bipolar diagnosed celebrity – and just a helluva lot of fun to
And to think I once believed it was found in pharmaceuticals.
I’ve always been a firm proponent of the restorative qualities of sleep; I’ve just never been particularly good at applying any self-discipline in this regard. I loved my late nights and would have been more than happy to continue in the same vein forever, had life (and my psychiatrist) not intervened to put an end to my erratic sleep patterns.
Truth is, resetting my body clock by going to bed and getting up at the same times each day has done wonders for my mental health. Sleep was the missing ingredient in my treatment, and all the drugs and therapy in the world wouldn’t have gotten me to this level of wellness. It’s just too bad I was so resistant to establishing a routine; who knows, I could’ve been healthier a lot sooner. But sometimes I have to be beaten pretty much within an inch of my life to make me do what’s in my best interests, and by the time Dr. Awesomesauce imposed my “curfew” I was utterly exhausted from battling my illness.
Now I’m a firm adherent to my schedule, and being in bed by 10:30 PM on a weeknight doesn’t piss me off anymore……in fact, that was the time I decided on when I had to start getting up early during the week. I do stay up till 11:30 on the weekends—gotta have SOMETHING to look forward to on Friday nights, you know?—but “sleeping in” now means 7:30 AM instead of whenever the hell I feel like hauling my sorry carcass out of bed.
I know sleep won’t cure me, or relieve me of the need to take my meds (as much as I wish it could). But sleep is stability. Sleep is wellness. Sleep is the Holy Grail of bipolar. Seven hours of quality shut-eye enables me to play well with others and stay calm and focused all day long…..who knew I could do THAT? Even my memory has improved—I still can’t recall what I had for breakfast two hours ago, but I usually can remember to pick up Will’s prescription from the pharmacy, and I haven’t lost my car in the parking lot for quite some time.
I just hope I can keep all of this in mind come summer, when the days are long and warm and I want to play on the computer and listen to hard-driving music well into the wee hours. It’s not so hard when the weather is dreary and my brain is fried from being in intensive training all day; but hopefully I’ll be so much in the habit—and have months of wellness under my belt to prove to myself that it’s worth it—that I’ll stick with the routine, even when my natural instinct is to par-TAY!! all night long.
Which reminds me: my birthday is this Sunday. Another trip around the sun completed, another year older……and hopefully, another year better.
Started the day out with a panic attack. In my infinite depressive wisdom I hit the wrong button and shut the alarm off instead of pressing snooze. Woke up at 7:20 with only 18 mins to get my kid up, dressed, groomed, fed, bundled, and to the bus stop. I was freaking out and kicking myself. Getting up should not be that hard. But lately it has been and I don’t even take a sleeping pill at night. Anyway…I got her on the bus.
Then the anxiety continued to simmer and brew, as it always does prior to an appointment. I never know why. It’s always been like that for me. As the time neared, my hands got to shaking so bad I couldn’t type properly.
The appt went okay. The new doctor is simplistic but she’s very willing to keep trying until we find what will work for me. I like that. Though when she started rattling off anti depressants asking if they had worked…I felt like a moron because sooooo many have not worked. It’s easier to just ask what did cos it’s such a short list. So now..we’re gonna try this Viibryd. I don’t know much about it and I don’t care if it’s made out of pureed oompa loompas,I just don’t want this ickiness in my mind anymore. She asked what in my life has me so depressed. HELLO? It’s a disorder for a reason. Because nothing has to happen, there is no cause, it just is. My life is pretty much the same as always except for my depressive coma. Depression is a disorder with no real cause, but still, the professionals demand a reason. Idiocy be thy name.
In the half hour my mom babysat my kid so I could go…I went to pick her up and let’s see…Spook told her I did not feed her lunch. LIE. Mom said, :I brushed her hair out for you.” Yeah, cos i didnt’ think to do that today. Then “You really need to get cable so this child has something to watch.” The parting wisdom, “She acts up for you because you keep her locked in the house.”
By the time we got home, I was ready to hang myself since my own mother has such glowing things to say about my parenting ability. It can never be, oh, look, the kid is healthy and happy. Noooo, let’s nit pick every tiny fucking thing. And she wonders why I don’t visit.
Tonight is bleak. I am cold and that throws everything off. It’s like it’s in my bones and in my brain. I can’t think when I am cold. And between the shrink visit and my moms comments…I just feel like I am fighting a losinbg battle here. Why bother? Plus my mind has been very busy digging up the relationship graveyard, reminding me how all have failed and I am the common denominator so apparently I am too much of a mess to ever have any relationship. My brain sees I am down, so it starts kicking me with this shit.
I’d like one day to feel good. I told Becca earlier that I have felt so low for so long now I’d love to try ecstasy. Just to feel good for an hour. Drugs aren’t my thing, never were, so this has to indicate how desperate I am feeling. I just don’t want to feel sad and hopeless. The new med may help but they sure as hell dont kick in within a day or a week. I need to get out of this mental space NOW.
I turn 41 next Wednesday. Never in a million years would I have thought this is where I’d be. It;s depressing. Ha ha ha ha. I’m funny. Ish.
What do you expect, I’m taking pills made of pureed oompa loopmas.
I’m currently watching a documentary on Netflix called “Of Two Minds” and I have to say it’s wonderful. Talking to people living with bipolar disorder, it gives an amazing, accurate representation of what it is like to live with this mental illness. The honesty and bravery of the people who agreed to talk about their lives is stirring and inspiring. I plan to write a bit more about it after a few more viewings but I will say it’s a must-see if you want to understand what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder.
A damn good song…..Filed under: Bipolar Disorder