Psychiatric Wards

The mental health care system is broken, or at least I believe this is the case in my local area. The way we treat those who are severely and suicidally ill is insanity itself. What happened to me when I felt like hurting myself? I was locked up in a crappy, sterile psych ward as if I were some kind of criminal. This led me to lie about feeling better before I actually was in order to get out of there and get some real relief. This was usually how it went when I was in the hospital. People would be so stressed by being locked up inside a cold and unwelcoming hospital ward that they would fake being better just to get out. Then they would go home feeling worse than when they went into the hospital in the first place. Or at least many of us did.  Some of my fellow patients got better only because the hospital scared them, so they decided they would get better just to avoid being locked up again.

I don’t think this was any real type of healing though. And it usually took being locked up a couple of times to accomplish. Maybe we should save people some of their heartache and time and actually help them the first time around. Don’t drug and electro-shock people into submission as if they have done something wrong. Life is tough and the world is cruel; don’t punish those who recognize this fact by making things even tougher for them. Instead of putting people into one size fits all group therapy, give psychiatric patients some one on one therapy with a counselor for at least half an hour a day. Give them classes on how to build a resume and job search. Help them figure out how to get back to work and keep them from having to go on disability, if it is at all possible. This will help people’s self esteem and give them a purpose in life. Help those who need it find housing.

All I know is that being in a psych ward should not be so darn terrifying.  People shouldn’t be discouraged from seeking help if they need it.  Keep in mind that the experiences I have described are my own; hopefully not all psych wards/hospitals are this bad.  I am sure there are some great ones out there.  I just think that the good help shouldn’t be limited to how much money a person has.

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Angry!!!

I almost typed that in all caps, as well as using three exclamation marks. That’s how upset I am right now. I want to swear. I want to curse. I want to throw things. I also want my security deposit back if I should ever choose to move out of my apartment. I received an email today from NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. The subject was the American Healthcare Act, the “revision” to Obamacare. This was the first sentence of the email: “Congress just unveiled the American Health Care Act, which ends the requirement that Medicaid cover mental health care.” Medicaid is the only reason I am able to get mental health care in the first place. I am on disability for my mental health, which is what makes me able to receive Medicaid. If my mental health needs are no longer covered by Medicaid, then I have to find a way to pay for bills, food, therapy, psychiatrist visits, and around $1,000 worth of medication on $735 a month. WTF?!?!

Busy…having a breakdown?

I feel kinda weird.  It’s hard to describe.  I’ve been doing pretty good lately; feeling pretty good.  Yet I feel keyed up and on edge. Maybe it’s the extra cup of coffee I’ve been having with lunch, or maybe it’s the type of over-stimulation that happens to anybody with Asperger’s when their routine changes.

I’ve been volunteering at the food pantry once a month for the past three months now.  Also, I’ve been helping out at the Salvation Army on Mondays and Tuesdays, helping to pack sack lunches for the school kids that normally get free or reduced lunches in school during the school year. I’ve been spending more time with friends, both old and new.  It’s  a lot for me.

So while nothing bad has been happening, STUFF has.  I’m used to a whole lot of nothing going on in my life.  It is going to take some getting used to, but it will be worth it to have a purpose and a reason for getting out of bed in the morning.  It feels good to be useful and needed by society again.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections

Oh…I’m ready to go

Away from this place

This mad human race

I’m ready…

 

Life…it’s not what it seems

No use having dreams

Of a time or a place

Where I can escape

It’s too late

 

I am living dead

Dizzy thoughts in my head

Of what could have been

 

If I…if I had been happy

Just a little bit happy

Now and then

Here and there

Amongst the despair

I sit here writing

These words full of angst

Like some love sick

Teenage emo

Even though I’m full grown

Dreaming of a world never known

Called Life

 

 

 

Work

Society seems to have made it clear that it has no place for me, at least in the work world.  This is the important part, the part that seems to determine a person’s value and worth.  I’m on disability, Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security program, since I’m unwell enough to work outside the home full time.  I would love to be able to work part time.  To do so, to transition from disability to employment, I have to go through an agency called the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.  I’ve tried to get help from them before.  They don’t consider me to be the worst of the disabled, since I’m of above average intelligence.  This actually works against me, since it’s assumed that if my intelligence is not the problem, and my body functions normally (walking, talking, seeing, hearing etc,) that I should not be having the trouble that I’m having.  As if I’m somehow lazy.  At least this is the impression that I get from them, and my own family at times.

I’ve been through the Bureau’s program twice, the first time resulting in a job that I did well at, but quit after five months, after being unable to work through a dispute with my boss.  The second time, I only got so far as a supervised position with a job counselor on site, where they were able to conclude that I should not try to do any further work, since I was “unable to handle stress very well” (their words.)  Well I know I can’t handle stress very well, that’s the point!  That’s why I came to them in the first place.

I was good at school, and yet it took me 10 years to get a 4 year college degree.  I had trouble navigating the social aspect of things- attending class, living in the dorms, working with my professors.  That’s the sort of thing that continues to elude me today.  I think that I could perform the basic work requirements of many different jobs, but I don’t get along very well socially, most of the time.  Some of the time I do well enough that those working to help me are unable to see where my social deficits are.  I think that one of my problems is in dealing with conflict-if I’m having trouble with my work duties, I seem to be unable to sort it out with supervisors.  If I encounter a difficult co-worker, it sends me into a panic.  These sorts of things start my heart beating wildly, turn my adrenaline switch on, and open the floodgates of my cortisol levels.

And that’s why I’m sitting here writing, since I don’t seem to be able to do anything else for the moment.  I have been seeing my case manager, a psychiatric social worker, for the past two years, with the goal being that she would help me look for a job.  Either that, or connect me with services designed to help the disabled get back to work.  However, our communication has broken down to the point where even my therapist thinks that I should ask for a new caseworker.  I am in the position now of having to start fresh, navigating employment services on my own.  I’m completely terrified.

Social rules

Apparently, it’s o.k. for someone to show up at the front door of a stranger and tell them how depressed and lonely they are.  That’s what one of my neighbors did to me last week.  I’m depressed and lonely myself, but I’m not about to lead with that statement when trying to make a new friend. I guess that tactic worked for my neighbor though, because I’ve seen him leaving the apartments of several other neighbors, having apparently been invited in to visit.  So I guess he’s not lonely anymore.

I’m left feeling both relieved and confused.  Relieved, because I don’t have to take on the problems of someone I barely know, when I’m still trying to cope with my own.  I’m confused, however, as to why my neighbor’s approaching others in such a needy manner worked for him.  Why does he now appear to have a more active social life than myself?  Do other people enjoy listening to someone they barely known moan about how much their life sucks, when that person should be telling a professional?

And yes, I realize how ironic that sounds, since that is exactly what I’m doing with this blog.  I see a therapist weekly though, and she actually recommended that I start blogging, agreeing with me that it was fine to do so anonymously, so that possible future employers don’t find out how screwed up I am from searching my name online.

Broken

18 years worth of damage.  That’s how long I’ve been in therapy and/or on psychiatric medication.  I’ve only just, as of September this past year, found a therapist that I can begin to work with.  One who seems not only competent, but somewhat helpful.  So how long will it take her to undo the damage that past mental health care workers have inflicted?  One year?  Five?  How long do I have to wait for recovery?  With recovery meaning that I am able work part time or in a fulfilling volunteer position, with a satisfying social life.  Is it worth hanging on for that possibility, knowing that it might never happen at all?

I am told that saying things like “I’ll never get better,” or “I’ll never feel content with my life” are self-defeating, that they are something my therapist calls “future-telling.”  I cannot see into the future, so I cannot say with a certainty that I will always feel this gloomy, or so she says.  What if, however, I can infer a pattern for my life based upon past evidence of its trajectory?  According to this evidence, I might as well walk outside right now and into oncoming traffic.