Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lesson Learned

Here is another blog entry I wrote awhile ago and wanted to edit, possibly re-write, but I have determined that I am not that great a writer and I'd rather get this one out then make more (then about two...maybe three) pathetic attempts at "perfection." (or is it four?)
So though it is not yet what I want it to be I will share my lesson learned with flaws and all.

I'd like to share one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from an individual. It is as lesson I learned the night I got to spend in the waiting room of a Mental Health Facility in Florida. I mentioned this stay in my blog entry "the story of my crazy little life."
Remember I was an eighteen year old Utah raised girl in a Mental Health Facility in Riviera Beach Florida being held against my will, but not entirely unjustly.
Everyone who was brought there had to wait in the waiting room until they could be evaluated by the psychiatrist and determined if they were "safe" to leave. I was brought in in the very early evening, shortly after the psychiatrist had left and she would not be returning until the next morning, if they needed her, and since the next morning was Easter Sunday she insisted upon attending her Easter Services ( though a bit annoying to me at the moment, I admired and appreciated the priority she put on that. Really of all people, she should be there celebrating and honoring a second chance at life. I was glad she went).
But for those who had to wait the accommodations were; one enclosed room with two hospital like cots and the waiting room. As best I could tell the "bedroom" had been claimed by a frighteningly large and very strange woman and a very reclusive male that I remember very little about (so little that I have wondered if he was a figment of my imagination). Though they confiscated all weapons, belts, shoelaces and shoes I had no desire to sleep in an enclosed room under these circumstances even if the door didn't lock. The rest of us got to find a place among the benches and floors. I was fortunate enough to get a bench. Of course there was the security of one night "receptionist" watching over us from behind the counter. We were limited to the waiting room and a short hall that led to a padded room and a bathroom. I wondered if I might ever find myself in a padded room. It didn't look that bad, sterile but strangely comforting.
That night I made friends with a man (we'll call him Derek) whose mother had him "baker acted." The Baker Act was the statute that allowed a person to be held against there will until they were evaluated by psychiatrist if someone in authority or a close family member felt that they may be a threat to themselves or others. Another man (we'll call him Todd) who had been brought from the county jail for threatening suicide if they insisted on putting him into a cell with a man that he knew would kill him anyway (only in a much more brutal way). I actually felt very safe with these two interesting men.
Around 2:30 in the morning a police officer brought another man in that was talking from the get go and I was never entirely sure whom to. I wasn't as comfortable with this man and I felt very small and naive. He was not a large man himself and rather looked undernourished. I was struck with the idea that he might be homeless.
From the moment he got there this man seemed to be talking about the "voices that were telling me to do bad things." As I lay there on the bench, pretending to still be asleep, I remember thinking "this man is genuinely crazy, I wonder what they will do with him?" Just like the rest of us he got a blanket and a pillow and was to find a place to sleep in the waiting room with the rest of us.
"Huh, this could be interesting."
I have to admit I was a bit nervous. He took a bench/ or the floor in close proximity and proceeded to tell his story. I am not sure if he was telling me, Derek, or just whoever was listening or nobody at all, but his story was definitely the most exciting there that night.
He began talking about when the voices started to come back. He said at first they were easy to ignore and he'd acknowledge them and would then tell them to go away. He was hanging out with his friends (which was entertaining in and of itself trying to imagine what his friends might be like) when the voices started getting harder to ignore. They started to tell him to do bad things. He told them that he didn't want to and that they should go away. At first the they'd go away for a time, but then they wouldn't go away. They started asking him to hurt people. He said he didn't want to. They started getting louder. He started telling his friends that they needed to take him to the hospital because he didn't want to hurt anyone. The voices morphed into Jesus, but this man knew that Jesus wouldn't want him to hurt people so he told "the voice" that, and that he didn't want to hurt anyone. He raised his voice and got stern with his friends "YOU take me to the Hospital right now, before I hurt you."

I am not sure how many times he had to ask his friends to take him (he repeated himself a lot) or how long the whole thing took to transpire, but the police officer had brought him to "our" facility from the hospital. I listened intently and though I was not sure if or what they did at the hospital, I hoped they would have done or given him something.

He was the first one to see the psychiatrist the next morning.

I remember being completely intrigued by the whole thing. It made me think, in fact it has ever sense. I have often thought "if this man, as crazy as he was, could learn to recognize this and maintain some values and self control then I could learn to deal with my issues, maintain some sense of self and be responsible for my actions." I could learn to recognize if I was creeping close to the edge. I think this experience has also contributed significantly to my realizing the importance of maintaining and teaching values on and in all levels of society. As our minds approach deviance from some very important core values I think it is import to keep them in check and get help before the "voices or feelings" get too loud.
This was and is a valuable lesson learned. I have sense been fortunate enough to have "coincidental" interactions and situations that have helped keep me ahead of the game (well at least ahead of some of the severity's). The old adage suggests that "an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and I strongly believe this is applicable to Mental illness and Mental Health as well.
I, personally, have been profoundly grateful for people who have been willing to talk about, write and/or share their stories and experience. It has helped me profoundly and personally and it helps to educate people in one of the final frontier's of medicine and health. I believe that through others stories, knowledge and help that we can better learn to treat and understand some very real physiological problems that as of yet cannot be tested by conventional means without greater risk to health and safety. The brain is a very powerful but also very delicate organ and it is not immune to malfunctions. That does NOT make a person less of a person.
These are some of my beliefs which, I suppose, is why I so strongly feel the desire to share my own experiences in both treating present symptoms and problems and preventing rapid progression of my own likely degenerate medical condition.

devine intervention in it's simplest form

I have felt a bit down the last few days. I am discouraged by my brain and the uncertainty of modern medicine in this arena. I went online to blog out some of my discouragement but the AOL home page news links had an article about a lady whose limbs were at least three times that of a normal persons.
I have to admit, though I went to the article just out of mere curiosity, it did make me feel better. At least my ailments are not out there in everybody's face physically all of the time. So I suppose the Cosmo's still have a plan for me despite my recent feelings of discouragement, and once again I can say the world is a beautiful place, even with all it's imperfections.
May I send a sincere Thank you to Mandy Sellars, you have a beautiful smile and you are a beautiful person, Thanks.

Monday, May 25, 2009

ramblings of "Truth"

Oh the beautiful mind that is mine... I am so very happy and pleased with my current state and stability, however I was once again reminded of how temporary it could potentially be. I am OK with that because why be anything else, it will only rush a POTENTIAL downfall (and may I remind you and myself that it is only that, a potential).
I am grateful to know the people that I know and everyday I learn something knew. I think that is cool and yet hard at times.
... I am writing to write today because I am perplexed over my cousin. I am pained by the confusion I believe I sense from him. I am pained by the devastation's he has and is recently facing that I myself will likely, and fortunately, never face. I can really appreciate his "beautiful mind" and how he has amazingly been able to utilize it to his advantage, which makes it no surprise that he, at times, might believe he has to figure it all out himself. (Thing is, he eventually will figure it out, likely not all on his own though.) But, oh the pain of the chemistry.
I do know that when we go through hard time we are often amazed at some of the feelings and emotions we face that we never could have ever anticipated or understand had we not gone through it ourselves... and then to top it all off, we are all individuals and even going through exact same thing can effect people very differently.
I have another cousin who is also intelligent and talented in his own right but likely (and thankfully) laking in the screwed up brain chemistry arena. Currently he is trying to make a career change and is dealing with a bit of internal conflict in that area. As he put it "sometimes I just wish someone would tell me what to do." I feel his pain but I also appreciate his optimism through it all.
...And i find myself thinking about how it is somewhere in between being told exactly what to do and trying to figure it all out for oneself that the answer and the truth lie. I am at least pretty certain of that AND I'll throw it out there because I am, in fact, willing to be wrong.
Maybe I have touched on this before, today I don't care to go back through my blog to see if I have, but I believe that is one of the Great Ironies of life; that being that the only way one can truly have the truth and have peace with truth is if one is willing to be wrong. It seems to me that it is most likely when a person is adamantly fighting a point and are unwilling to bend on their perspective, position or understanding that they are often wrong or at least some part of their belief is wrong. It would also seem that once we accept that "this is what I believe but I could be wrong" that is when we are really accepting and ready for truth. Often we were right all a long and sometimes we are not but the beauty of it is in that state of mind we are open to a higher truth. That is my opinion of course...but I could be wrong. (sorry, I couldn't resist, I just had to throw that in there)
So that is my write-to-write-and-ease-my-head-a-bit rambling for the day. May you laugh with me when I laugh at myself and may you have a lovely day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a rant on depression literature

(I wrote this a while ago and when I posted it today it posted on the date I started writing it but I want things to be in a certain order so I am re-posting it for a today post.)

I just have to say that sometimes I tend to avoid reading stuff about Mental illness's or Mood Disorders or what ever it may be called because I think it is so damn depressing. And I think "damn" is the right word there because there is often that undertone as well. Sometimes I think I need to read more, but when I try to I feel completely discouraged or devoid of hope. Personally I think that is so totally lame. I read crap about depression an it is exactly that. I read crap about mental health issues and it is either all in your attitude or you are a completely helpless and mindless victim who I've seen put in the same categories of animals. I have read research that I know is easily ignorantly translated as "avoid anyone who is trying to live responsible with there mental disorder" but rather go for the person who has yet to face these issues but in reality are possibly more likely to be problematic because they might have the same problems or worse but have not been allowed to face them, or is unwilling to face them, in a healthy and supportive way. I get a bit fired up at the extreme views and the lack of a moderate middle ground. Yes, there are many that are "worse" then I but under the circumstances is it any wonder that people like my brother die by a fate of their own making, it's so freaking hopeless and taboo. Of all the gross and disgusting topics I hear discussed (even viewed) and offensive terms just casually tossed about that really probably should be taboo, why are mental illness's and disorders so taboo? I mean really people. My brother-in-law, not the one who wrote the books but a different one, is a lost little soul in many peoples eyes but I don't think he is so much as people don't want to accept that he is fine living a life that they themselves are not fine with. I hate that so much is an all or nothing approach, medicate or don't. Therapy or none. Mental or not. It's not that cut and dry and just because I occasionally benefit from an antidepressant does not make me less of a person. It also does not mean that I am helpless and even in the misery of it all I am not a depressed person (OK yes I am but that is not who I am). I have anxiety issue's, I struggle with depression, I have problems with obsessive thinking. I have low energy at times, I have trouble sleeping at times, I have panic attacks at time, I have racing thoughts MOST of the time. I have trouble focusing. Sometimes I eat too much and sometimes I don't eat enough. I am waaay too effected by waaay too many things. I have highs and ups that , though can be fun, are idiotic even troublesome at times. Sometimes I wish to just be done with life and sometimes I think of ways to bring that about. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes I know that I have super powers, and even when I am "normal" I sometimes secretly know that it's not really crazy but rather just impossible to maintain (super powers that is). I have multiple personalities that sometimes don't get along very well. I have excessive guilt. I have social anxiety. Sometimes I even think I need medication because I really can't "just deal with it" or "get over it." I have issues. Yes, but so what. Fortunately for me sometimes they can be fun. I think that is who I am, mostly because that is who I want it to be more then that is the way that I tend to be most of the time. No, I don't understand people who are always depressed and down, but does all the literature on depression have to be so dang hopeless? Maybe I'm just a fighter or maybe I am different or maybe I just don't want to give up hope and I don't think I ever will. I am sorry if that bothers people but I'd like to see a paradigm shift here. This may sound silly but depression doesn't need to be so depressing just like a fashionable and sensitive man doesn't need to be gay and just like a person with a bipolar or schizophrenic disorder/ illness doesn't have to take orders from their alter-egos and/or moods. That is my statement for the day and I hope that you will have a good one to.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seven pounds

This is a movie review.
Last night I watched "Seven Pounds" with my husband and I can summarize my feelings on the movie easily in two statements; First, I am glad I am "properly medicated" because this one would have been a bugger and second, one word, STUPID.
(*If you'd like to read the plot here is a link but it will entirely ruin the movie if you intend to watch it [and it's not very well writen] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0814314/synopsis )
Interesting concept but totally flawed and the "message" was all screwed up with pretty damn screwed up intentions.
My husband rented this movie because he had heard it was good but neither of us really knew anything about it other then some guy doing seven "good deeds." So it is funny and a bit ironic that as I took my "chill pill" prior to settling in for the show I thought to myself "it is so lame that I have to take a pill to keep me from wanting to kill myself." In fact I mockingly told my husband that as he was putting the movie in.
So then the opening dialogue starts with Will Smith calling in his own suicide to 911.
If you recall I recently lost a brother to this very fate so I guess I can't claim an unbiased opinion in the matter. But where does my bias lie exactly, in a sense my brothers fate gave me a gift of acceptance and life in my own "mental health" struggle. I have struggled my self with a suicidal tendency and the idea that I could be doing the world a favor through my own death. I have often thought and still agree that suicide is most certainly not the worst thing that a person could do. I'd even go as far as saying that truly some people ought to consider it. But I will also say that I think it is very wrong and I am heart broken and at times a bit angry at losing my brother in this fashion. Given a second chance you better believe I'd have done everything in my power to try to prevent this. But that was not to be my place and that is that.
But I will say a movie that makes so many individual judgments and puts some self redeeming and savior like quality on an act of suicide is stupid. Yes, that is a judgemental statement in and of itself but I am judging a movie and a message and I believe there is a difference. [While it is totally unreasonable to think that we can live being truly non-judgemental I do think we can do better by avoiding judgements on people or individuals (including ourselves) and rather judge the action or the product and only for our own benefit. Like "I really think this movie is bad" versus "the director and people involved are bad for making this movie" do you see the difference I am trying to point out?]
So getting back to the movie "Seven Pounds" I will say it is totally ridiculous. The last thing I want to say is that a person who is actually in a mental state capable of pulling off the feats that the Ben Thomas' character pulled off is likely not in a suicidal state and if they really are that determined to "kill" them self in the end after all of that then WOW that's pretty freaking amazing, unfair and DAMN STUBBORN. I would say to "Tim Thomas" get over yourself, it's not always about you!

I realize that many people won't get my last statement, but some will. Feel free to ask me to clarify.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My bro-in-law saw a T-shirt that said "I'm Bipolar. Are you? I'm Not."
I think that is funny.