It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

Archive for the ‘SUICIDE’ Category

How many MORE people are going to have to DIE , before we can talk about Opioid addiction and other addictions without STIGMA???

(Extremely important disclaimer: I’m NOT  a clinically trained professional. If you or someone you know is in acute medical or mental health crisis, PLEASE seek immediate/acute professional help, in an acute care facility.

Because this blog is about the fact that clinicians are only human and can be in crisis, too, this is WHY I’m pressing for honest dialogue in our society about the Opiate Epidemic and removing the stigma that exists that presents a barrier for so many people being able to get the help they need that hopefully, save their lives)

http://www.cnn.com/2017/5/24/us/drug-counselors-overdose/index.html

Most of my blogs, as of late, have had to do with the opioid epidemic. Some of the blogs, have been out of concern of the war on drugs, having a potential to harm those who use prescription opiates, responsibly, but as a last resort to treating severe chronic pain.

Some of them have included though, the very real crisis that we are in because of opioids both prescription and illegal opiates.

My very last blog (which was extremely wordy, even for me) , had to do with my getting labeled at a an appointment with a pain management specialist, who had labeled me, due to my mental health issues and that I had very temporarily abused opiates, both almost 9 years ago (for 5 days leading up to an intentional overdose with pain meds that had been prescribed for me) and almost 7 years ago for 2 days both situations involved both being in medical AND mental health crisis.

And I’ve discussed those issues ad nauseum, in previous blogs, quite a bit, since I’ve launched this blog, almost 4 years ago.

I also had mentioned in my last blog, that I had done an internet search on that physician, prior to that appointment almost 2 weeks ago and had found that pain management specialist I had seen, in addition to being “pro Butrans”, which I didn’t think was appropriate for me, neither did she, also had nearly had her own medical license suspended due to opioid addiction, less than 2 years ago. And had multiple conditions to be able to continue having her suspsension stayed, by not being able to prescribe controlled substances, let alone be in possession of them.

It was never my intent in my last blog to shame that provider. What I did find offensive, is my history being a barrier in my getting medical care, with bias, because I had been labeled PRIOR to ever being on opiates and as someone who has a very short history that I’m not usually believed by most providers, with temporary drug abuse, just because I have mental health issues and even BEFORE my mental health issues were diagnosed in my late 30’s, just because I was a bariatric surgical patient.

The above link on my blog, that I just came across tonight, was about 2 drug counselors in a addiction facility who overdosed on heroin/fentanyl combination in Pennsylvania on Monday.

I have never not known or acknowledged that the Opioid Epidemic, not only is a VERY real crisis, not just nationally but globally, but that clinically trained medical and mental health professionals, whether they are physicians, drug counselors or any kind of practicing clinician, also can be patients with the propensity to have serious addiction problems that can be fatal, just like to any other human being.

Also, I’ve said as a mental health activist who’s also written multiple blogs about murder/suicide, what I talk about is, NOT the means of how people choose to kill themselves and MURDER others , but the desire to kill to begin with.

It’s not to minimize when I bring up gun control initiatives when talking about that. I say, with being crystal clear, that I’m not a medically or mental health clinically trained professional and/or in public safety or law enforcement professional, that taking away the weapon of choice, isn’t getting to the heart of the matter, when it comes to these tragic deaths.

That if people want to kill, if they can’t get a gun, there are many other ways that they can and WILL find to kill people.

The same applies to drugs, when it comes to addiction. If people even start out honestly because of severe chronic pain or any kind of severe pain, such as surgical or due to an accident  and whether or not,  it becomes their gateway to drug addiction and/or they just go straight to illegal drugs for emotional and or mental health health pain and find a dealer, unfortunately, it’s not always predictable who will find themselves in crisis of life ruining, if not life ending consequences due to that addiction.

Or ANY type of addiction and that’s one of the  the points of this blog. If we can’t talk about the multiple ways and multi-faceted reasons that play into addiction, honestly without stigma, whether it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, social media/internet/phone that present potential for abuse, addiction, the risk to public safety/personal health threats on humans and the fatalities that are occuring , we don’t have a prayer of reducing them.

It’s becoming obvious and it doesn’t take a clinically trained professional to state, that you can’t legistlate away addiction, it can make it only slightly harder to get drug of choice, it doesn’t take away the propensity for addiction, away.

Unfortunately, while it’s a lot easier to identify what barriers we are experiencing as a society when it comes to these threats, it’s a lot harder to find out what it’s going to take to make inroads in reducing addiction and both accidental and intentional overdoses.

But we  can’t just continue to believe it’s the epidemic itself, that’s killing so many people and/or ruining their lives.

Because the truth is, the STIGMA  and reluctance to have an open and honest dialogue is equally to blame.

This can’t continue to be a “don’t do drugs” or “ban all drugs” conversation, as prevention initiatives just aren’t working for so many. I’m in no way discounting them. They have value, it’s just not enough.

It has to become, why we are a globally, humans who can be prone to addictions of different natures that can be life ruining and life ending for almost anyone and everyone, which almost all of us, know someone who’s life has been ended too soon or ruined due to addiction, as well as loved ones who are effected by these crisies.

How many people are going to have to die, until the dialogues start and more initiatives are in place for study of, evaluation and better treatment options of disease of addiction themselves that don’t have the potential to lead to other addictions or other potential serious medical/mental health issues????

Note: I’m hoping this starts an honest dialogue to help. I always appreciate differing opinions if shared respectfully and responsibly.

Any comments that could be potentially triggering or are not constructive, will NOT published.

(Edit Note: Unfortunately, slight edits that were made before publishing didn’t take when blog was posted. It didn’t effect greatly my intention with this blog, just clarifying that I apologize that, it wasn’t as clear as intended it to be, from the start but also with the fact for new readers, I am a disabled blogger who writes about disabilities, in addition to topics like this one, that I feel passionately about)

When Love isn’t Enough….

    The one thing I haven’t talked about or just said verbatim, when it comes to mental health issues, is the topic of love and that it’s sadly not enough. I’m saying it now though, because it needs to be said. I’m only discussing this from a mental health activist point of view, I’m not discussing it from a platonic,familial or romantic relationship point of view,unless mental illness is a factor in major dysfunction of a relationships . Or if any kind of relationship while in it or out of it causes serious emotional distress, abuse or loss of life/lives. I’ll both explain and differentiate where love is necessary but it can’t be used as a measurement. Especially when it comes to mental health and mental illness. Even in cases of physical health issues and illnesses, as I go along. 

    The topic of love and what it means and what it doesn’t mean, is rarely discussed other than the love, absence of love and/ or self loathing that a patient who is suffering from mental health issues might feel at times. But people who lose their lives due to mental health issues ARE capable of loving others, even if they aren’t capable of loving themselves. The reason why this needs to be said is with all the talk regarding severe depression and suicidality, in the last week and half since Robin Williams died, not only is there stigma and shame that people who are now trying better to understand it, but there still is a ton of people who think it’s a selfish act to commit  (or try to commit) suicide (or whatever politically correct term people are using now a days)and/or they  have addiction issues whether they live or die from that.

  Carrying the opinion that it’s selfish, doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help those who battle severe chronic depression or battle some form of severe mental health issue/s  and it doesn’t help those who’ve had to survive the loss of a loved one, if they lost their battle and their lives to that. Or if they love and have to live with someone who’s suffering from mental health issues. 

    The problem is a lot of people  believe that, ” true love can conquer all things” because we are conditioned to believe in society, that true love is a cure all. I don’t want to burst anyone bubble, but it’s NOT. This is how we keep stigmatizing and shaming mental health issues by believing or thinking that the right kind of love will fix all things. It doesn’t help ANYBODY for this is a myth, that we need to stop perpetuating. Even though I understand why it’s perpetuated in the first place. But that fantasy has to go, if we are going to have any prayer in making inroads with those who suffer from mental illness and their loved ones for healing. 

    I’m choosing my words obviously very carefully because while I can say in any venue that I do my activism from, making  a blanket statement like love not being enough, also comes with the potential of people construing that if that’s the case, then having faith and hope will NOT make a difference, either. And that’s not true nor is it something I want people to think. We ABSOLUTELY need hope, faith and love to have the best chance to be in our best physical and mental health. We just can’t use that as a prescription or a means of a cure or a fix to people who have mental illnesses.Just like love can’t be a cure or means treatment or prevention for physical illnesses.   

   Understanding all of  this will help a lot of  people heal. Because mental health issues not only effect patients, it effects the people they love and who love them. Who feel rejection and shame when they lose people that they love due to mental health issues. And it can help loved ones cope when they are not able to understand when someone they love with mental health issues can’t get better  because they are incapable of getting better. But there still is that human personal perspective that people will  think if they were loved enough or if their love was good enough, people would be magically cured of of their illnesses. Or people wouldn’t experience the heartache of dealing with someone who is constantly fighting severe chronic depression, addiction, intentional or unintentional abuse  and other mental health issues if THEY were lovable enough. Let alone those who are survivors of loved ones who die because of mental health issues. 

  That’s a lot of heartache all of us are carrying around because we want to believe that in love lies a cure. Sadly it doesn’t. I’m most definitely NOT saying “don’t love”. Or that love, like faith and hope doesn’t help in time of physical or mental crisis. I’m just saying it’s not a failure of love in any way because it can’t fix people with physical and/or mental health issues. It makes the journey in illnesses and in life, easier if you have faith,hope and love. 

  How do we help anyone who’s suffering, then, if love isn’t a cure all? Compassionately understanding that different people have different means of treatment needs for the same diseases. Treating all human conditions whether they be medical or psychological, with the same respect, concern and kindness, and not associating choice when it comes to psychological issues. That just like there is no guarantee of a cure for a lot of  medical illnesses or diseases, there isn’t sometimes a cure or an effective treatment  for some  mental health illnesses.  I don’t choose to have Bipolar 2 disorder, anymore than I choose to have Migraines. But it’s the latter that’s going to get me the most empathy and just like everyone who’s struggling with something, whether it’s emotional or physical and/or combination of, and  it shouldn’t be that way.

   I didn’t hoard to punish my children, nor did I try to commit suicide 6 years ago because I didn’t love my children or family,enough. As I love them dearly.I always have and I always will.  I’ve explained though in other blogs in more detail, of what happened to us, in my circumstances.This particular blog isn’t for me, about me or my kids. It’s for a better understanding from an activist point of view of what needs to change, to help those who are hurting. But in my case, while I know I’m capable of love and kindness to others, that I’m not necessarily capable of showing to myself, because of my mental health issues. And I’m not unique in the fact that I can love others without loving myself, if at times when I’ve been  filled with self loathing and sadly being self destructive, did have consequences on those who I love the most. And it’s aspect about me and/or my illnesses that I’ve had from the time I was really young from physiological makeup, environment and circumstances. And I’m far from the only one who’s had/have traits like this.   

   This is where now though, where lack of  self-love and self loathing needs more de-stigmatization. In matters of those who are abused in some way or are abusers and have capacity to do violent  and/or intentional harm. I don’t have the credentialing nor do I have at this point, because of my cognitive damage to do anything, but best hypothesize, that we have problems in our society and it can play into  some patients’s mental health issues, when there is an absence of self love, and/or  love for others, self loathing but now add in HATE and/or RAGE. The difference between a suicide and a murder/suicide, is that some people have  hate and/or RAGE if not necessarily about themselves but for others. Sometimes, it’s due to a chemical makeup or predisposition. Sometimes, it’s environmental. Or circumstantial.  Or combination there of. 

  I,truthfully, struggle with the thought of having compassion for people who are capable of violent harm against another. I also don’t have the means to understand it or explain it, best, like a professional Mental Health expert, would of why it actually exists (which I’m sure there is many reasons) and what is needed for effective treatment and/or rehabilitation .

 . But this  matters in where and what  I say a lot in the activism that I do. Whether it’s saying that NOT all people with severe and persistent mental health issues are capable of any, let alone, great harm. It also plays a factor in people becoming abusers themselves, when abused. There’s also a physiological component to some people’s mental health issues, that they are not intentionally trying to be harmful but they still are, anyways, and we need to find more options for treating those who suffer from this and being more compassionate in our support for their loved ones. And we can’t compassionately support if we don’t dispel stigma. And start encouraging dialogue and discussion for those who have loved ones who are abusive and/or erratic, and/or  violent so that they can be supported. Even with domestic abuse initiatives, domestic abuse whether romantic or familial is still sadly, greatly under reported. Whether it’s fear or due to stigma.   

   Again, there are no easy answers. Human beings don’t each come with their own instructional manual. We all are unique and complex. But it’s easier to try to come up with solutions to help others in their suffering, when we understand and can identify what barriers that exist to help de-stigmatize and remove shame from those who suffer greatly from mental health issues and for those who love them, who can’t understand that  when mental health issues that result in tragedy in loss of life or a results in such a poor quality of life, has NOTHING to do about LOVE as we currently define it. If it did, there would be millions and millions of people still alive both from a medical and mental health stance. 

   In NO way shape or form am I discounting FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE. We are humans and our souls and psyches need that, as well as our bodies do. Like we need oxygen,water and food.Not only to survive but to have the best chance to thrive.  It just needs to be put in a proper perspective, for people to have a better chance of healing from circumstances that they have no control over the outcome. Both with themselves and with those who they love and who love them. And sadly, mental health issues effect each and everyone of us to some extent. 

    I guess the best way I can say this is “use” love in an authentic way to help fortify your strength and your life, in your relationships with yourself and others. Do not use though love as an effective means of evaluating and/or as a measure of  your value as a person, when it comes to medical or mental health issues in yourself or those you love………… 

        

 

   

   

     

The Mental Health World According to um, EVERYBODY……

Sigh….

I wrote my last blog in tribute to Robin Williams and published it, within an hour or so of learning about his death, when it started to trend on Facebook.

6 days 1/2 later and everybody now wants to talk about his Medical and Mental Health issues. And yours. And mine. The media shitstorm that this has created, lasted about 4 days longer then I gave all that is and makes up media and social media credit for. And everyone in the whole entire world’s need to express something. And I can’t honestly tell you that it’s all good. Even if it’s well intentioned. And I’ll explain why.

I don’t like being an “angry” activist. And normally, when I’m upset and angry it’s not a good idea for me to tackle subjects that need the sensitivity that mental health, severe depression, severe chronic medical illness and suicidality requires.

I know that, because Mental Health and Medical activism, is something I do everyday. Not just because it’s the cool thing to do, now. Just like living with mental, medical and cognitive disabilities is something I do everyday. And sometimes it’s a major battle. While I can have a sense of humor on occasion about my own disabilities including mental health, severe chronic depression is one of the things that is most unfunniest matters that exist. Sometimes my medical, mental health and cognitive disabilities feel like a sentence, even though I realize in a lot of ways that it’s nothing short of a miracle I’m still alive and that’s more because of medical and bizarre circumstances. Not because of my mental illness issues. But bear with me for a second, because I’m about to make a point.

This is also not the blog for me to go into what I do when I experience severe depression. This is the blog to explain why mental health issues needed and should’ve garnered attention before Robin Williams’s death. And in my opinion why it probably still wouldn’t have saved his life. Keep in mind, again, I’m not a professional mental health clinician.

We live in a society that is supposed (for good reason) to value human life over everything else. When people die, if it’s people we love, it’s a tragedy. Regardless of how they die. We live in a society that couldn’t be anymore health conscious as it applies to physiological health. We realize now, we have a ways to go when it comes psychological health. And suddenly the whole entire fucking world is now realizing the compassion we’ve been lacking as a society in regards to that due to Robin Williams’s death. That should be a good thing. Here’s a few reasons why it’s NOT.

It’s not fair to put on Robin’s memory or his surviving family and friends, or anyone for the matter that he becomes the poster child for why mental health issues need more attention and we need more resources. Even though his family has said they appreciate the support. But they’ve also asked for privacy, too. What we don’t need is everyone picking and choosing when to talk about this because his life meant more then compared to another. Or to prioritize because Robin Williams was a celebrity that a lot of people could relate to and because he brought us a lot of pleasure. The problem is that when we prioritize value of human life, because he was a celebrity that was globally adored, it will have negative effect on people who are fighting severe depression because it shouldn’t have taken his death, to help eradicate stigma. Or for people fighting for their lives because of mental illness issues right now, will give up thinking that if he couldn’t survive his mental health issues, how the HELL is someone who lacks resources and has no support supposed to??? I’m not saying if there are suicides as a result of this, that it’s his or societies fault. I am saying that it’s justifiably a concern of mine and other MH activists as well as mental health professionals for the reasons I’m saying that his death getting so much media attention is starting to be counterproductive although there are some activists and mental health clinicians who I’m sure will disagree with me.

And in people trying to honor Robin, for those who are in crisis they may not be able to differentiate the attempt to remove stigmatization is starting to resemble glorifying sucidality for those who are vulnerable. Because people are still confused on whether or not this is actually a choice. And in his case though, it’s being considered compassionate to accept that he died this way, but not the same compassion is shown for everyone who battles severe and persistent chronic depression. For those of us who are working on suicide prevention awareness, it’s getting scary just how much attention this is getting and this is a MAJOR reason why it’s not all good.

I am a mental health activist and advocate for a lot of reasons. Which I’ve gone into more detail on other blogs. I, again, definitely advocate for suicide prevention awareness. I also am an activist because to help dispel if not eradicate stigma that comes with all mental health issues. I’m an activist and try to give a voice to those who’ve died due to mental health issues, for those who tried to die because of mental health issues but still are with us but don’t have voice and to be supportive for those who’ve devastatingly lost loved ones in death or who’ve tried dying due to mental illness. Or their quality of lives for those who suffer and their loved ones, is poor to non-existant but people can’t talk about it due to being scared of being stigmatized.

If I actually thought I’d be getting the last word in, I’d call myself out on my being a hypocrite. I don’t think I will be getting the last word in, though. I think out of respect for Robin Williams’s family that the media and social media doesn’t make another 9 trillion comments, stories and memes. That’s the reason why I’m chiming in.

Think about it this way. What if this was your family mourning a loss of a loved one and had to spend the initial days after a tragic death of a loved one, hearing about it EVERYWHERE??? And in this case, sadly his death will be considered newsworthy for the wrong reasons for a longer period of time compared to other celebrity deaths. Again, realize I was a big fan of his, too. I get the sadness, that we are feeling, but it needs to be said how it’s potentially going to fail people. Think about all the people who’ve kept silent for so long because they’ve lost loved ones to severe depression and/or other mental illness issues because it’s been stigmatized for so long.

If you want to honor Robin, the best way you could do that, is by honoring by his survivors wishes, at this point. And to honor people in your life, asking of those who suffer from mental health issues or have lost loved ones due to mental illness issues of what they need in support.

Note: Respectful disagreements of my writings are welcomed in comments. Any comment that can potentially be triggering to another or is disrespectful to another person will not be approved.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

I was on Facebook for about an hour, when it started to “trend” that sadly the brilliant actor and comedian, Robin Williams has died due to suicide.

I haven’t blogged for awhile. I’ve had things to say but I didn’t have a way or the right words to say it. My own suicide attempt which tonight is the eve of the 6th anniversary of my suicide attempt (I tried to commit suicide early morning of 8-12-2008, and actually my 1st blog was on my 5th anniversary, a year ago, here on WordPress), went into great detail about it. On my first blog.

While Robin had been forthcoming about his personal demons and battles with depression, alcohol and drugs, news of late, seemed like he was on top of things.

I can’t speak for him. I can only hypothesize, and again, I’m not a clinical trained and/or credentialed Mental Health expert. But I do understand why people lose their battle with depression, and with that comes losing their will to live. And sadly some people will lose their life to suicide, no matter how much resources they have for help, they can’t see that. It’s the nature of the disease and I know that better than anyone.

I’m not being pro-suicide when I make comments like that. It is just debatable on whether or not “suicide” can completely be prevented. My answer is absolutely NOT.

Whether or not, Robin’s family will divulge any details, obviously remains to be seen. I do hope that the media (highly unlikely, tho) will respect his family’s right to privacy in such a tragic time.

In my past blogs, I’ve discussed mental health and chemical dependency issues as it applies to the end result in people dying of suicide or accidental overdoses as it applies to famous people as well just people who are not in the public eye. I’ve likened severe depression as an “emotional cancer”, and for some people it’s helped them make a little bit of sense of things that are not rational, but I know no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to be able to make people understand if they haven’t experienced severe and persistent Mental Illness and a severe chronic depression of what an uphill battle it is. Most of us who are fighting it, usually at best will always take a few steps forward, and a couple back. For the rest of our lives. Then there is one end of the spectrum of people who find methods and treatment that do work for them, wonderfully and are in remission. The other side of the spectrum is the people who end up dying due to suicidality. For some, sadly it IS incurable.

In NO way am I saying that people should give up. I am saying though I understand why they do.

If I have to repeat this a million times, I will. We need to remove the stigma from Mental Health issues. We need not to shame those who’ve tried to commit suicide and those who’ve unfortunately lost their lives to it. I’m not saying that it should be glamorized but it doesn’t help anyone to demonize those who commit suicide, especially in this day and age where there are so many homicide/suicides. And the loved ones they leave behind.

I’ve wanted to write for awhile what it’s truly like, even 6 years later, to live with severe and chronic depression. Because sometimes for some of us, while there are many things that I’m grateful that I survived to see, even I can’t say with absolute certainty that I will not die from this. I’m not remotely suicidal, but I know how brutal this disease can be.

We need more treatment options for Mental Health issues. We need to be able to speak about what’s hurting us without judgment and stigmatization. And we need to understand that we can NEVER walk in another’s shoes. Don’t judge what you don’t know. If you can’t be a part of the pro-active solution, don’t be a judgmental stigmatizing shamer.

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams. Thank you for wonderful work you did that made people laugh so hard and your amazing acting ability for drama, that made us cry. The world was a better place because you were in it. And luckily we have so much of your work, that is immortalized you, that’s in film for many generations to enjoy and laugh from. Thank you for your honesty about your trials and tribulations. You were much more forthcoming then you had to be.

Robin, you will be dearly missed…………

*Resources for those who are suffering from mh issues and their loved ones*

*Crisis Resources*
http://www.nami.org
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/
http://www.211.org
http://www.211us.org
http://www.samhsa.gov/
http://www.save.org
http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/help http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres
http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

What CRAZY looks like/My very 1st blog….

August 12th, 2008…. It’s around 3pm…

I awake, finding myself with one wrist restrained to a hospital gurney. On the other side of me is an aide reading a book. I’m still wearing the top I had on the night before, however it’s all cut up and there is vomit and what must be charcoal as I’ve never attempted to overdose, all over it.

The aide tells me I’m in E.R. of North Memorial Medical Center and that I survived what must have been a “possible suicide attempt”. I respond back telling her it was “a very intentional suicide attempt where I tried to ingest about a months supply each of Vicodin, Miltown and Xanax and while I wanted to die then, I learned my lesson, wanna live now and can I please go home?” She tells me that now that I’m up, a doctor will be in shortly.

I get moved to a medical ward on the hospital, later that evening. I’ve only been in this hospital 4 times as a patient. 2 of them were to deliver my children and once prior due to pregnancy complications with my son. The 4th medical admission, was an inpatient admission  almost exactly a year after my daughter’s birth, due to gastric bypass complications, and North Memorial didn’t have a bariatric surgeon associated with it. I had multiple hospital hospitalizations, medically from 2004 to 2008 due to gastric bypass complications. I had only one psychiatric hospitalization prior to my “only” suicide attempt which was 2 weeks before, when I went willingly but begrudgingly after giving up custody of my kids because I realize that I couldn’t take care of myself. Let alone them. That’s the short version. The long version will be unfolded in this blog.

The next evening I’m transferred to the psychiatric unit. I thought I was already in HELL and that’s why I wanted to kill myself. But apparently HELL  is the psych unit at NMMC. There’s a bunch of people screaming for no reason, a guy talking about wanting to kill everyone and a very kind nurse asking me what I want for dinner. “I want to PLEASE get the FUCK out of here. I’m NOT crazy like these people!!!” is my response. She kindly smiles and hands me a hospital menu and tells me I have about 5 minutes before it’s too late to order dinner.

(note: this paragraph I majorily digress) My last (and ONLY) hospitalization 2 weeks before was at Fairview University- Riverside, the sister hospital to where I had my gastric bypass which was at Fairview University Medical Center (more about gastric bypass, complications and the “fun” of those hospitals and E.R visits post suicide attempt, once labled, to be in future blogs) However, with my last admission through the psych E.R. at Fairiview, I had no prior psych history, no legal history and no history of being violent (which I’m not). Fairview has  multiple units designed to cater to different mental health issues. While I didn’t love the “5150”, put on me my 3rd day inpatient, there (it was on a Thursday, FUCK) so I ended up in that hospital for six days, my first time. My Russian psychiatrist with very poor english told me at the age of 38 1/2, that I was a Bipolar 2 (he was SO right about that but I didn’t realize that at first) prescription drug addict (that I still don’t believe, and neither did the chemical dependency psychologist,who assessed me) within the first 5 minutes of talking to me. ( I did abuse controlled substances  from the time I gave up my kids the 2nd time in 2 weeks)  til my suicide attempt but I was ACTUTELY suicidal, which I played down because I wanted to get out of the hospital and that didn’t occur until after this hospitalization.I didn’t really give up my kids until after my 1st psychiatric hospitalization.

Prior to that I didn’t abuse drugs. Even if I wanted to, I had my children. My kids lived in a “garbage can” basically because the last 2 years I had them, I was a very bad hoarder (more about that later)  I was also on a cocktail of psychotropics that made me out of it, as well as gastric bypass complications such as reactive hypoglycemia,pulmonary hypotension and severe anemia as well as the duodenal ulcers. I couldn’t afford anymore cognitive impairment with a young child in the house that would come from anesthesizing my pain with drugs. So even though I wanted to self medicate, I couldn’t let myself, I was already at a major handicap as it was and so were my children by my being physically sick and mentally detoriating. I started detoriating where others could see it in 2007 (more about that later) but I realize in hindsight I was a lot sicker then I was willing to admit, especially mentally, way before then. My biggest problems probably started after my 1st medical hosptialization due to gastric bypasscomplications in 2004 as I referred to before…

Back to 8-13-2008…….
However the psych unit at NMMC ONLY has 2 units. An intermediate unit where everyone is initally watched and assessed  and then a step down unit for those who are deemed not violent or a threat to anyone.

Later that night, I’m in my room and my roommate who while I didn’t know her well, I recognized her going to the same high school I did, she was a year behind me and we were both teased unmercifully. I also saw her throwing fits in the common area because she wouldn’t be given a new pencil to draw or that she couldn’t leave the intermediate unit. I had the bad luck of her being mad about something else. She isolated both of us in the room, started screaming and throwing herself in the room saying she was going to kill the both of us. Whether she was able to somehow lock us in the room, all I know is that she had been warned before she was going to go into the quiet room, of her tantrums, this time they warned her she’d be going to Anoka (the closest long term mental instituition).. By the time they were able to get 6 guards and get me out of there as there is no where anyone can hide in a psychiatric room in a hospital, I could barely breathe. They gave me what would be the last of any narcotics, which was 1 Ativan ( I got a whopping 1 Ativan and one Codeine while I was still in the medical ward) for the rest of the duration of my stay.

I wake up to find she’s been returned to our room and sleeping. I guess that’s what you get for being violent and death threats in a psych ward. That would shape how I end up behaving erratically in future medical admissions that were yet to come (Summer of 2010/Gastric Bypass Reversal blog will eventually be a-coming)….

Luckily, I say somewhat facetiously, I’m considered not a threat to a bunch of people and after lunch, I’m moved down to the step-down unit. I meet my new psychiatrist, Dr. P. who will continue to be short with me as well as play games with me the duration of my stay.

8-22-2008
It’s been a week since my suicide attempt. I find myself in a routine at the hospital. Morning meeting with psychiatrist begging him to let me know when I can get out and when I can go outside to have a cigarette. He says the same answer “we’ll talk about this soon, Lisa and no, you can’t go outside to have smoke”. Mornings start with breakfast, a group meeting about feelings, following an art class, lunch, free time, quiet time from 3-4 and then at 4 another group.

Most of my morning group meetings my first week talk about being in shock that my life spiraled out of control and how horrifying it was to know I couldn’t be the best person to care for my kids. Because I had exhausted every resource to get help. Part of the problem is, I’m so medicated on new  added psychtropics, I’m kind of numb. At least during that morning meeting. Before lunch I’m told I have visitor.

It’s a law enforcement officer from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. I’m being served with papers saying that the State of Minnesota is looking to have me committed to Anoka State hospital which is our state’s insane asylum. Seriously? WHAT THE FUCK!!!!  No wonder why Dr. P. has been kinda mum on when I’m getting out.

About a day later, one of my social workers comes to see me. I was assigned a social worker, as in 2007 as I referring to is when I started showing signs I had a nervous breakdown, realizing that my goal of being a Bariatric specializing Certified Personal Trainer was never going to happen and that I was never going to be able to launch that business I had gone to school for in 2004 and got my certification in 2005. However by 2005, it was obvious, that physically I was too sick to work. A year later in December 2006 is when I applied for SSDI. It’s in 2007 though that it’s obvious something is really wrong with me. I give up on everything except my daily care of my kids and even that is at a bare minimum. I start failing Section 8 inspections due to having a filthy house in 2/2007, and it becomes problematic enough that while I am trying to keep what little is left together I’m failing miserably. My city’s housing authority’s inspector knew me well. I’d been on Section 8 for over 10 years.

Whatever it is, about 5 months later, in 2007, I find myself with  Child Protection Case AND an Adult Protection Case and a worker from each department. They schedule what they call a “manditory clean up” which meant 2 guys and dumpster which is put in the parking lot of where I live and almost everything is thrown out. This is though where I talk about hoarding on social media, such as shows like “Hoarders”. People who are hoarders do NOT have the mental capacity to give informed consent to have something like that filmed. I understand now better why I hoarded and I did hoard on and off most of my adult life, but nothing like 2007 and until I gave up my kids.”

My house had become a manifestation of my head. So much thought clutter and dysfunctional thinking. I know this now. I did not know this then. I did try everything to get help though to protect my kids as I saw myself sliding down into an abyss. The problem with hoarding is that it’s a dirty secret, like literally. Kids don’t tell. Adults don’t want to talk about it because of the shame. I figure if I talk about it now, and more in future blogs, children of hoarders will understand it’s mental illness that’s driving the hoarding, not a lack of love for their loved ones, especially their children. It was obvious to both my workers, that there was an attempt on my part for my children to have a home, Not just a place to live. That we were extremely bonded, all 3 of us. Part of my mental illness, prior to having suicidal ideation is that I made my kids my world and vice versa because I didn’t want such a cruel world to hurt them.

When I became suicidal and my son who was old enough to see me disengrate, couldn’t understand how I could abandon that way but I’m digressing, big time. But this needed to be said before I go any further. I have a lot friends on social media who’ve lost loved ones due to suicide but only a few are willing to talk about it. The stigma needs to be removed. I’m obviously not capable of realizing this at this point in my life. I loved my kids more then anything. I of course, still do. While I still remember things is when I need to say them and my hopes for those who lose loved ones to suicide, realize that it’s irrational. It’s NEVER going to make sense. But it’s almost NEVER about NOT loving the ones you leave behind. We are too sick in our illnesses and our minds play tricks that we tell ourselves those we love are better off without us. I was not and am still not a violent person. I just didn’t want to be in pain anymore, and I knew I wasn’t the right person for my kids to be with and I couldn’t handle the pain I was causing very unintentionally. It was NEVER about me not loving them enough.   Back to August of 2008…

So I meet with my social worker 2 days before my 1st commitment  hearing which would end up being 4 days after I’m served with those papers. She can’t tell me much other then I’ll be appointed an attorney to represent me. (My family is too busy picking up the pieces and getting my kids ready for a new life with them, new schools. So I’m on my own). I was on my own though, during my medical hospitalizations. You’ll see a recurrent themes in my future blogs, that is, that I’m definitely not concise, I digress A LOT, and I still haven’t made my peace that this is my life and my old life is gone forever as well as the ability to raise my kids in the best environment…..

8-26-2008     So I have my 1st commitment hearing. I get picked up by someone from Hennepin County’s Sherriffs department.It’s my first time briefly outside in over 2 weeks. And basically I was outside from the hospital to the police car which I was escorted closely by the officer which would be my ride there. My court appointed  attorney can’t shut me up in the 5 minutes we are allowed to meet before my hearing. I want to fight the commitment, so it’s not a permanent part of my record. She says that isn’t going to happen, that best I can hope for is a “stay of commitment”, which means while I’ll temporarily be a ward of the county, it will prevent permanent commitment to Anoka and a total loss of my freedoms, permanately. The rest of the hearing is a blur. Then I’m escorted to a locked small waiting room for hours before I get a ride back to the hospital.

8-29-2008    My official commitment hearing takes place. I relent and allow Kimary to push for the “stay of commitment”. I also realize when they grant it, life as much as it had changed, would change even more so, once this is granted. I’m not committed, but I’m made a legal ward of the State of Minnesota for the next 6 months
.
September 1st -15th, 2008
I start to disengage while still at the psych unit at NMMC. I don’t participate in groups and don’t want to get out of bed most of the time. I find out my social workers are looking for group homes to place me in. I look at 2 of them. The first one is ideally in Plymouth, where my kids are but it’s not a great fit. It’s a group home for mostly men who have chemical dependency issues. I would be required to attend AA/NA meetings almost everyday, and well, I’m not alcoholic and I’m not a drug addict (which is in hindsight a miracle given how addictive my personality is, more about that later) but because going to some kind of addict’s meeting is required, it’s deemed not a good fit for me. The group home that my social worker wants to get me in, and that is the 2nd one I see, I do get in, but I have to wait for a bed to open.

Days go by, and I’m warned if I don’t start participating in groups, they will try to have the “stay” overturned. So I start going to groups again. I finally find out which would be my last week in the hospital. I get out on 9-15-2008 and I’m allowed to go outside as well as spend the night at my parents house, before being required to be dropped off to 90 day inpatient intensive behavior treatment group home the next day.

My Dad on 9-15-2008, my day of discharge from NMMC, comes and picks me up and wants to kill me when he finds me in front of the hospital smoking a cigarette (I conned my social worker into stopping at a convenience store when looking at the 2nd group home but was too terrified to try and smoke while in the hospital). I could give a fuck less. I’m outside and have VERY temporary freedom until I’m dropped off again to the group home, the next day. My psychiatrist right before my relase gave me a “goodbye gift” of 30 day prescription of 1mg of Klonapin, to take twice a day…Well I couldn’t say it then, but um, FUCK YOU…

By then, I’d been in the hospital for 35 FUCKING  DAYS..Couldn’t smoke, couldn’t go outside, couldn’t choose what to eat. Was not believed most of the time that the meds I was put on were making me sicker, physically. (that would be proved in my continual need for medical hosptializations as my ulcers got worse) while in the system.

9-16-2008 to 12-16-2008
I’m now in a group home that is supposed to provide 90 days of intensive behavior  treatment. I learn a lot about different mental illnesses. But like in the hospital and this will be recurrent theme while I’m in the system that most people who end up in places like psych wards for such a long time, and group homes, have never had a fully functional life. I managed a household at one time, with 2 kids, kept a job for a long period of time, owned my own car, and lived a fairly functional life. There wasn’t a lot of chaos in my life or my children’s life, believe it or not, other then the horrible hoarding, near the end. We lived a fairly quiet, loving and peaceful life. So my life is unrelatable to both staff and other patients. There is a few of us, but we are in the minority. I end up having to find the few good things of what’s to be of my new life as a ward of the state. I have more freedom then I did in the hospital. I can smoke both outside and inside the group home (there was a designated smoking room and yes, it was disgusting). We get to go though also on nightly activities. We also have cleaning assignments. We only have 2 group meetings a day, weekdays and only one a day on weekends.

I’m also in this period of time, served again, with papers for an unlawful detainer. I paid my rent for August of 2008, of course, even though I knew I was acutely suicidal. However my “stay of commitment” and lack of income, also lack of being ability and lack of viable option,  to move back to my old apartment,not to mention until I’m put on General Assistance, I have NO money. So I get an UD for unpaid rent. I’m lucky they didn’t sue me for damages. Somewhere within the 1st 2 weeks at the group home, I’m allowed to go back to my old apartment. And I want to DIE again. I can’t believe my kids EVER had to live there in all that clutter and filth. My parents and my son did try to clean up my apartment. And because I was actually a good tenant, the 6 years I lived there with them, they didn’t sue me for damages, only for unpaid rent. However I was kicked off of Section 8 for both unpaid rent and the hoarding. Which would ban me from being able to live in any type of HUD housing for the most part, for the next 5 years. That was in 11/2008. My Section 8 ban ends 11/2013.

As the time grows closer that I’m going to “graduate” from my temporary initial group home, my social worker starts looking for a group home for a permanent placement, She finds one that considered decent in the beginning of 2008 and I move there directly from the other on 12-16-2008.

12-16-2008 to 12-31-2009
I learn more then I ever want to about Mental Illness at this group home. I’ve already been in the system and really not ever alone for 4 months now, because even when you are outside, there is other people. One of my roommates as there is 3 people to a bedroom in this place has both Multiple Personality Disorder and Paranoid Schizophrenia, my other roommate just has BPD2 and Paranoid Schizophrenia. J, the 1st person I was referring to, was very social depending on what personality you were dealing with. “M”, was very quiet, however she practically NEVER left our bedroom. “M” if she would talk, which was rare, could somewhat relate as she had adult children. However that’s all I knew about her. There were 4 houses in this group home in South Minneapolis and about 70 residents. Some people realized their illnesses, some didn’t. Most of them had been in the system most of their adult lives, if not since they were teens. Most of the staff was shocked by my particular situation which they had never heard of.
Most people don’t get nearly committed at the age of 38 1/2 or give up custody of their 5 1/2 year old daughter who’s never seen her mother function normally and their 15 1/2 year old son who saw his mother disengrate physically and mentally…….

Because I participate a lot in the weight loss surgery community, still.
People believe I had a lot to do with my complications, such as my vitamin deficiencies. This is probably the 1st time I’m going into such detail, as fact is once I was on my “stay of commitment”, I was court ordered to take all medications that a psychiatrist or ANY medical professional deemed necessary. Which also meant vitamins. It also meant if I missed a med pass of Tylenol, my group home could control how much freedom I had. I had several medical hospitalizations, and honestly while I purposely wasn’t trying to make myself sick, I had freedoms, I wasn’t used to. The food at NMMC and both group homes was absolutely awful. I had $100 to live on a month. The food, that is if I could eat, at Fairview University Medical Center, was awesome. I also once I got out of the hospital started seeing my old psychiatrist who put me back on either Xanax or Valium, my choice, he would not ever allow me to be put back on Miltown (now known as Equanil) like ever again.

I was not allowed to be on pain medications other then inpatient admissions and after falls that landed me in the E.R, as even though I still had gained almost all my weight back (almost 100 lbs) I still had reactive hypoglycemia,  pulmonary hypotension plus the psychotropics at almost 225 lbs. I also had a need to infused with iron and “banana bags” as well as Protonix for the ulcers. Even the staff at the group home was perplexed by how medically fragile I was given how fat I was again.

I learned a couple of valuable things. Don’t date anyone you meet in treatment or a group home. I actually ended up dating a guy who was in the behavior treatment center I was. He was a nice guy, but he was also a MH “frequent flyer”. I also learned if you miss a tylenol pass one too many times, that was enough for the nurses to restrict my inability to be away from the group home from 4-2009 til 12-31-2009 for more then 4 hours, as prior to that, I was allowed to have my meds packaged and could spend an occasional overnight somewhere else. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned, and it sticks with me today, is that safety is definitely not a guarantee wherever you live. However the most dangerous place til then was not my neighborhood but the group home. I learned how NOT to be come a victim but maintaining a sense of dignity because I wasn’t going to become a violent perpetrator to others, even though I did live in constant fear which wasn’t irrational given my circumstances.

In August of 2009, I finally had my hearing for my appeal for SSDI. I won both on medical and mental health disabilities. In fact, the judge told me at the hearing he was appalled it took so long and told me at the hearing that I was going to be awarded SSDI, that he was ruling in my favor. I had a young vulnerable child in the house at the date he established me disabled.I had multiple medical diagnosies and a few psych diagnosies.  With all the workers in the last 2 years I had my kids, was exposed to, NO ONE thought to press for an expedited hearing. My next blog I will address probably why I’ve made my peace with this. But why I advocate, as this could have helped both my kids and I enormously of not having to go through some of the stuff we did. This is why I’m going public with something that’s so humiliating not only to me, but my family. But I’ve helped other people when privately sharing this. My hopes is that it will other people…

Time goes by so slowly. Especially when you life does a “180”, like mine did. Even though I was so medicated, the fighter in me, couldn’t make my peace that this is what my life had become. In November 2009,  I started getting SSDI and was put on Medicare. My psychiatrist realized the enormity of the damage that being on the quantity of psychotropics was doing to me and started weaning me off of the Seroquel,Depakote and the Zyprexa I was on. I was prior to November of 2009, 2000 mgs of Depakote,800 mgs of Seroquel, 60 mgs of Zyprexa, 600 mgs of Zoloft A DAY. I was also on acetaminophen for pain and ONLY acetaminophen, as Lyrica (I’d been diagonsed with Fibro by then) and Neurontin didn’t work. I was also on 200 mgs of Topamax (for Migraines since puberty). That’s an ENORMOUS amount of medications to be on that effect people’s ability to think clearly. On top of a diagnosis of BPD2. However once I got Medicare, he wouldn’t be able to see me anymore. I also had him take me off the benzodiazepine I was on. The little Valium or Xanax I was on, didn’t work effectively, it wasn’t worth being prescribed it.

December of 2009
Right after my birthday which was 12-2, and the 2nd birthday I spent by myself at a group home, an incident happened. A newer resident who’d been hogging the one and only television with cable in the group home got in my face and started screaming at me as he said I could watch a show and he had hogged the tv for like the last 10 hours. I still backed down, but was upset as one of the staff members was nearby,could hear him, and did nothing about it. I did end up filing a grievance with the State Omnibudsman of MN, as while I was lucky he didn’t hit me, he had hit other people, and other acts of violence by residents were not taken as seriously as they should have been by the staff and owners of the group home. The group home also had a horrible problem with mice. It was freezing cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer. It now had also made me public enemy #1 to most of the staff and the owners of the group home.

December 29th,2009
I go to call on my cell phone to check my balance on my checking account to see if I have enough money for a pack of cigarettes. To my delight, I have a balance of over $9700 in my checking account. I finally got my  SSDI  backpay! YAY!!! I call my family, give some money to my sisters, my parents and son won’t take any, buy myself a netbook and go to the library to go on Craiglist, as I want to find a place to move to, A.S.A.P.  Other then my family, I don’t tell anyone that I got my backpay. I go to the library and find a condo for rent. IN PLYMOUTH. YAY!!! I call the guy, we make arrangements to meet on 12-31-2009 as I ironically have a dental appointment in Plymouth and I can conveniently take a taxi to meet him.

12-31-2009
I go to my dentist appointment and take taxi to the condo. I know of the complex I had lived there 17 years earlier with my son in the building next to it. It’s a studio with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool on the grounds and I’m 2 miles away from my kids. I write him a check,happily for $750, as he banks at the same bank  I do, he gives me the keys, I take a cab back to the dentist office. I take a medi-cab back to the group home. It’s late afternoon but most staff is there.

I go to see the manager of the group home to address my concerns about safety,mice, the horrible food and my inability to not leave the premises normally for more then 4 hours unless I have a medical appointment and throw in ” you should probably know I’m moving”. She asks when. I tell her “tomorrow”. She tells me to tell the nurses. I tell them that. They are like “you can’t”. I’m like “I SO can”. “My stay of commitment expired almost 8 months ago, and as of tomorrow I can do whatever the FUCK I WANT TO!!!!” “HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR” and I walk out of the room . Because the next day is a holiday, I end up renting for $200 for 4 hours (A fucking bargain, if you ask me) to move me on 1-1-2010. I tell everyone who comes in to my sight that I’m getting the fuck out of there.

1-1-2010.     I move into my cute little condo. By myself. After 16 1/2 FUCKING MONTHS IN THE SYSTEM… I’M FREE…               AND THIS IS NEVER EVER GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME AGAIN….NEVER!!!!!

This will be the longest blog I ever write. It will hopefully explain as well as futher blogs, why I am a medical and mental health activist who both exists in size acceptance and a supportive long term weight loss surgery peer. It will explain further why I think there is a need to talk about taboo subjects such as hoarding and suicide. And I’m advocate for anti-bullying, both children and adults. I don’t believe it was a coincidence, that there was 3 of us alone, on that psych unit from my high school who were horribly bullied our entire childhoods at NMMC with serious mental health issues as adults. Oh and note, I use the profanity. A LOT……The “eff” word” is my best verbal friend…..          Not all my blogs will be serious though. I’ve lost a lot, I also have gained an enormous amount of insight. But because of my medical and mh disabilities, I’m not very concise, I don’t think or express myself in a logical sequence of order. You can pretty much guarantee there’s no such thing as grammar and sentence syntax, with me. It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because I have had too many health issues that have caused major cognitive damage and aphasia. But I still have managed to retain my sense of humor so my blogs with be a mixed bag of sorts.As I pretty much have an opinion on almost everything, and I’m not afraid to share it with anyone….

To Be Continued…..

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