Hospital Talk

    A few interesting observations and conversations from the hospital.  Some are quite serious others were not so much but helped pass the time.

    On my first visit to the ER, I couldn’t bring myself to say I was considering suicide, even to a nurse or doctor.  I talk freely about it now.  I have realised that is the only way to get help and it reflects poorly on no one to feel like this.  It is a symptom of the illness, not a character flaw in me.  Someone who had brought a friend in for an od asked me why I was there.  I said I want to kill myself.  She was a bit taken aback at the frankness to start, but we had a great conversation about it.

    On the bad side, another person who brought a friend in because of drugs was calling a relative for a ride home.  After the call she reassured her friend by saying, “I told them you bumped your head at work.  I don’t want anyone to think you are some psycho suicidal maniac.”  How hurtful and insensitive can you be while sitting among patients with mental illness?  

    I learned about knitting on a round loom from another patient.  He was using it to pass the time and as a distraction technique.  He actually sold a hat to an orderly while waiting.  It looks like something I would enjoy, it is on my list to try.

    An eighteen year old and I had a conversation.  After we had been talking for about a half hour she wanted to know if I would mind her asking me a personal question.  I said no problem, and she asked why my voice was deep.  I said because I am trans.  She was totally taken aback.  She said she wouldn’t have guessed.  An unintentional compliment that made my week!!! 

The System is Broken

I really appreciate scholarly posts that point out where the mental health system is letting down itas patients.  Those posts are so necessary and hopefully someone in government is paying attention.
This isn’t a scholarly post.  I am too frustrated right now to try to come up with statistics or quotes.  How about a non-scholarly article from a user of this system that has been let down.  Surely there is a place for those, too?
The system sucks!!!  It seems everyone in this broken system has their own agenda.  Oh wait, one thing I have learned is that they are not called agendas, they are mandates.  I have yet to find the department whose mandate is to treat patients as individuals and to listen to their needs.  I am a diagnosis.  After the diagnosis it is just a connect the dots game.  My diagnosis is this so the next action is this and then we move to this.  No flexibility at all and no where in this action plan is there actually room for the patient to be heard.  
I feel like I have broken my leg and they keep putting a cast on my arm.  They think they are fixing the leg but they won’t listen when I say the cast is on my arm.  Their mandate says a cast is in order and the cast peoples mandate says that in this particular year they can only put casts on arms. 
What kind of bullshit system is it?  I want help, I have begged for help, I have tried to do what I can for myself and still the system totally discounts anything I say.  
I had a doctor yesyerday that actually listened to me.  They are in short supply from what I have seen. I think that class has been dropped from psychiatry school.  Anyway, the doctor listened, the doctor understood, the doctor made the referrals based on a plan he and I came up with together.  The department he referred me to ignored the plan and came up with their own.  To be perfectly honest, they were not creative enough to come up with their own plan.  They just did the exact opposite of what the doctor asked for.  Maybe they knew he was the “one” who listens to patients and thought the best thing would be the opposite.  Maybe they just read it backwards and upside down.  Maybe their mandate says this is what they must do.  At least I have another cast on my arm.
The system is broken.  Speaking from personal experience, the system is worse than broken.  Taking someone who has a mental illness that makes suicide a viable option and showing that patient there is very little hope any other way is worse than simply broken.  Last year there was an incident where a young person was discharged and walked directly out of hospital and completed suicide.  There have been several incidents like that as a matter of fact.  I totally understand it now.  When you are in that much pain and seeking help only results in the frustration of not being heard, being totally misunderstood, being discounted as a person and having your well being not matter, it is really really hard to see any other choice.  
The system isn’t just broken, the system sucks and it is killing people.  What has to be done for this to change?

This Disease Feeds Itself

I don’t think it is any secret that the last couple of weeks have been tough for me.  My depression has taken over again and I am struggling.  I just got off a long phone call that made it more clear how this disease feeds itself and I wanted to write about it while it is fresh on my mind.  Maybe rereading it will even help me in another hour when it has taken over again, because I am certain it will.
There is a post on Facebook called “I brushed my hair today.”  If you haven’t seen it and want to understand more about depression, I would recommend reading it.  
I have kept quite about my depression for way too long.  That has made it worse, but that is one of the ways it feeds itself.  Shame and isolation just serves to deepen it.  It is really insiduous that way.  If shame itself isn’t enough to isolate me, depression makes everyday tasks seem herculean at times.  Finding the energy and motivation to shower or brush my teeth can take hours and hours or even days sometimes.  How could I face anyone if basic hygiene seems so daunting?  That just makes me feel worse about myself which again just worsens the depression.
Today my depression has me questioning whether I deserve to ask for the help I need.  I am in dire need of help right now.  I know the professional I need to talk to tomorrow and I know she would not tell me to stop bugging her even if she thought I was.  I don’t think she has ever thought that, though.  What my mind is telling me tonight is that I am expecting too much.  I shouldn’t ask for the help I need at this time.  I have received help in the past and it is unreasonable to look for it again.  I need to do this on my own this time.  I have no right to ask for help.  I am not worthy of receiving help.
The truth is, what I need to ask for is not unreasonable.  The help I am seeking is impossible for me to do on my own at this moment.  I am fought out and need a little outside support to help me get back on my feet.  The truth is, I can ask for help.  I have always had trouble asking for help and I wouldn’t be asking unless it was absolutely necessary.  
Depression causes me to believe the lies that keeps me stuck in the depression.  Right now that seems so clear.  I am glad someone took the time and effort to point it out to me tonight.  I also know myself well enough to know that no matter how clear it is at this particular moment, by tomorrow it will mot be clear.  All that will ne clear tomorrow is that I am not worth the help and it would be selfish to ask for it.  Tomorrow all that will be clear are the lies depression fills my mind with.  
If you feel you should stay silent, don’t believe it.  If you feel you aren’t worthy of help, don’t believe it.  I know it isn’t always that easy.  I am there too.  When those lies are the only clear thing in my mind tomorrow, I will read this and try to take my own advice.  

You Look Fine

In the past week I have been told this by two different hospitals.  I hate hearing this and let my nurse know about it Sunday morning.  Ok, maybe losing my shit was not the most productive thing.  I was in a very emotional state and locked in a observation unit at the time though. Maybe yelling at her is understandable even if it was not the right thing to do.

   My MH team has told me the same thing, ” you look fine.”  What I now hear when someone tells me that is”we are not going to do anything to help you.”  That is what it has meant, really.  I have not figured out how mental illness can be diagnosed by looking at someone.  I wish I knew what BPD or depression looks like.  Maybe I could put on the right look to get help.  
   I wish they would at least talk to me before diagnosing me.  Or look at my track record, it has not been good the last couple of weeks.  If my MH team had listened to me 2 months ago I may not be in the crises I am in now.  I was doing better then but I knew I needed help before it went downhill again.  I told them that and they said “it looks like you are doing good.”  I wonder if all of these professionals would think I looked good when I was standing on the bridge for 2 hours contemplating ending my life?  
    I have said it before, I think looking good is the definition of highly functioning for someone with mental illness.  It in no way means they have their shit together or they do not need help and support.  At least it does not for me.
P.S.  One fun note from my last hospital stay:   Saturday at dinner I started feeling a little sick.  I had eaten half of the food on my tray and left it at the table for no more than 5 minutes to get up and walk a little.  When I came back, a young girl was eating my blueberry cake.  That was the only part of the meal that looked good.  I was pissed but polite.

Monday morning at breakfast, that same girl sat with me to eat.  No mention was made of my cake.  It turned out she was a super nice person and we chatted and even shared our food with each other.  We had a lovely morning together and a nice hug as I was leaving.  I was able to sincerely wish her the best.  She turned out to be the best part of my stay there.

I Went to the Bridge Today

This is the place I have been afraid of.  It reminds of a dark dark time.  I have nightmares about this spot. The only time I can stand thinking about this spot is when the darkness closes in again.  The fears are gone then.  My mind is already in the place I fear.  The bridge can not drag my mind any place it has not ventured to on its own.  Now the bridge is not so dark.  From this spot I can see the white capped mountains.  I can see the ships that meant freedom and adventure in my youth.  I can look straight down at the water and watch the hypnotic shapes.  Shapes that look like a pattern floating by.  Shapes that are just a random pattern of the light in the ripples.  They do not look so random though.  They look like they were put there, some part of a child’s kaleidscope flowing under me to calm me.  The whole scene is peaceful.  Ocean smells, a nice breeze and the sun on my skin, hypnotising sights, the sound of waves lapping and just the hint of the taste of salt.  It is mesmerizing for all of my senses.  My mind has not found this relief in weeks.  The storm that has been raging has calmed to match the ripples on the water below.  That is why I came here today.  The calm I have so desperately cried for has been here all along.  In the one place that scares me more than any other, there is peace.  I want this peace forever.  If I walk away from this spot, the storm will return.  It is waiting at either end of the bridge for me.  My only comfort is here.  Walking away from here scares me.  If I leave here I will be going back into the darkness.  By the time I set foot on solid ground the storm will be in full force again.  Those beautiful shapes will have disappeared.  Maybe if I fly down to the water like a gull I can be at peace forever.  One with the shapes and the beauty.  Is it that easy to outrun the storm?  It isn’t today.  I still have some fight left in me.  Not much, but enough to try again.  Enough to walk back into the storm.  Enough to resist the calling of the lights and ripples one more time.  I have to try again to find that peace in this world.  It is not easy to walk away from here but I will.  Once again this will turn into the spot I fear.  The few minutes of peace it gave me let me see I do still have the strength to fight, even if a hard wind might knock me down forever.  It is a fight I must face once again.  The bruises and scars are still fresh.  I know what I am in for but I have to try one more time as I leave the spot that will still be with me in my nightmares.

Opinions Please

I would really like opinions of anyone reading this.  I will try to be as general as possible so my bias does not color it too much.  I am just feeling like I am asking too much from care providers and I just need to deal with everything myself.
I spent 6 weeks in the hospital and came out feeling a bit more hopeful.  I met with my team the week I got out.  It was just a get to know you meeting.  The Dr had a dental problem and had to leave early so we met again the next week.  Pretty much the same as the week before.  The OT in the hospital had made a refferal for a peer support worker and my case manager seemed to think it wouldn’t take long to get one.  I have met with my team 3 more times since then.  It has been over 2 months since I came out of the hospital.  Still no peer support worker.  I have not worked on any coping skills or much else besides checking in when I see my team.  I don’t qualify for a suicide prevention program because I have the team, even though they won’t talk with me about suicide prevention.  I can’t afford a counsellor.  A week before I got out of the hospital I was diagnosed with BPD.  My new dictor just accepted that diagnosis last week even though I told him I thought it was right.  I have asked for treatment and only been offered social groups.  Social groups scare me because of the unhealthy socialization skills associated with my BPD.  I was feeling really bad last Friday and called my mental health team.  I talked to someone I have never met.  When I told him my life sucks, he laughed at me.  My doctor didn’t believe me when I told him.  
Every time I look for serious help, I feel there is none out there.  Am I being unreasonable?   Is feeling like weekly counselling would help not realistic?  I am feeling so lost and hopeless.

Good Help is Hard to Find

I am not really in the mood to write this evening, but I thought it might help.  For the last couple of weeks my mood has been dropping.  I was so optimistic when I left the hospital.  I thought ( and I honestly think my doctor really believed) that I would have great support in the community.  I have not felt like that support has been there.  Maybe I am expecting too much?  

    So here is my weekend so far.   I was feeling really low yesterday so I called my case manager for support.  She wss away but they put me through to someone covering for her.  I told him I was really low and needed support.  I told him my suicidal thoughts were strong.  He said “life is sweet.”  I said “my life sucks.”  He laughed at me!  I got off the phone quickly and cried for an hour.  I cried because of him but mostly I cried because I am asking for help and not finding it.
    Yesterday afternoon I went to the ER.  I did not feel safe at home alone so this seemed like a good option.  The ER was very busy but at least I was in a safe place.  After waiting 4 hours, I talked to the medical doctor.  I realized it would be another long wait to talk to psych so I asked him if I could just go to AAC.  That is part of the hospital and they are the main contact point for accessing mental health outpatient services.  They are open 24/7 to help people as well.  
    A half hour later I was at AAC.  It did not take long to talk to someone either.  We had a great talk and I asked for them to call me each day this weekend just to check in.  That is a service they offer and she said they would be happy to.  
    It is now Saturday at 7:30 and I have not heard from them at all.  
    The thoughts that no one cares and I will never get better are quite common for me.  My experiences with the mental health system here since the hospital at least serve to provide reinforcement to those thoughts.