Tag Archives: Emotional abuse

Why is there no in between sane and not sane?

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Recently a friend of mine was feeling off. She called her therapist and after speaking with her therapist it was decided she should go to the mental health hospital. She was not suicidal. She was sent away. She was essentially sent away because she was not suicidal so therefore fine. We were discussing how this is so vastly unfair. Further reflection led me to say, “This only goes to further feed the mental health stigma. You are either sane or not sane. There is no in between.” I know most of that boils down to funding. I am not finding fault with the mental health hospital itself. It is the system. It needs to start from the highest level. Government needs to start stating openly, mental health is just as important as physical health.

When I worked in probation I saw how broken the system was. I saw how many probationers were really mental health clients that could not receive help. Most often I heard they will give me medications but they won’t give me therapy. This in turns fuels the stigma that there is a “magic” pill that fixes the mental imbalance. While medications are part of the answer. They are not the only answer.

Mental health tends to be more like a puzzle. The problem is it is not just one puzzle. It is a puzzle based on each individual. Finding out how that person’s puzzle can be put back together , is the hard part. It also doesn’t help that you can’t glue the puzzle together so it stays together. It can and often does fall apart and has to be reconfigured. This makes it frustrating not only to the Doctor treating it but, also the person dealing with it. It is easy for the person dealing with the mental health issue to think there is nothing wrong. The system really does encourage that. I know this all too well.

I am estranged from my Mother and youngest sister. I  had already been in therapy for  four years by the time the ties were cut. When it was pointed out that I was relying on medication in order for me to deal with this situation I knew something had to be done. If nothing else this showed me how toxic it was for me. Not just emotionally, physically as well. No medication is completely side effect free.  I had chronic pain issues on top of this. My kidneys and liver were not happy.  Where as physical abuse is so much more obvious, Emotional abuse is much more subtle. Verbal abuse as well. We tend to tolerate a lot more from close friends and family than we ever would others. It came time though for me to love myself more. I am not going to get into the specifics. It is not for public consumption. The details don’t really matter to others.I often reflect on the situation. I do hear things here and there. What I hear still convinces me it was the right decision. We need to realize that emotional physical verbal and social all tie together in our health. They can not be out of balance.

Three years later and my kidneys and liver are back within normal ranges. I am on much less medication. I am aware I won’t get completely medication free. I understand it is a chemical imbalance in part. I am also completely okay with the fact that I will probably be in and out of therapy for the rest of my life. I don’t understand so much of the stigma around admitting to a mental illness. I don’t understand admitting an imbalance and working to improve that imbalance being a weakness. It is something that has to start from the top levels of our government AND from the bottom level of every day interactions with people. It is way past time for us to realize this.

I struggled with this when I was on medicaid and dependent on the system for my mental health care. Luckily I had years of private insurance therapy first. I knew what I did need and what I didn’t. Still they tried over medicating me. I won’t lie, I did go along with it for a bit. It took me a while to realize that over medicating is just as bad as under medicating. It is a balance. The problem is when you are in the middle of psychosis and are over medicated, it is really hard to realize that.  It is easy to see why people go off medication. Over medication made me feel like a zombie. It increased my brain fog. It made my mood swings even more unpredictable.  I was lucky that we were able to get back on insurance. I was lucky that I found a physician who listened to me. Who was willing to fine tune medications to the right mixture.  Having gone through the medicaid system I know how hard it is. I understand how broken the system is.  I had to go off all my medications for two months because I was not suicidal. They didn’t know how long it would take me to get through the waiting list. I was just needing maintenance.  The problem is if medication is part of your maintenance and you are denied that medication, you are no longer maintaining.

We need to fix our broken system in all the areas, not just physical health. We need to let people know there IS an in between. There is a work in progress level. That mental health is so much more than sane and not sane.

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Sticks and Stones…..

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will break my bones but words will never hurt me.

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Remember that. We said it. However I don’t think we realized until much later that it wasn’t true. In fact there was nothing true about it at all. It surprised me how old the saying is. When I looked it up on Phrasefinder..It was an old adage by 1862. I think it shows how much we want words to not harm us.

Words hurt. Words can be brutal. Words once spoken can peck away at you over and over until you believe them. Its easier to believe words that bring you down than those that lift you up.

Sometimes its a continual conscience decision to think positively. There are some words that are just cruel. There are some words that haunt. Often its from people closest to us.

I don’t know which ones hurt more the ones from those who know us or the ones who don’t know us. It took me quite a while to get to the point that hurtful words from someone who doesn’t know me doesn’t bother me for long. Easily less than a day. A few times I barely gave their comment a thought.

The sad truth is that words can be abusive, harmful and even detrimental to your health.The sad truth is most people won’t admit that.  The sad truth is the emotional/verbal abuse is often overlooked. Its often made to be very insignificant and trivial

It takes a long time to recover from it. Then there is a little part that never recovers from it. Its always there whispering to you at just the right time. When that little area is prone to be vulnerable.

Even after four years of therapy it still gets me.

I find myself wanting to protect others from it. To help them get out of that situation or environment.

I can’t save everyone. I know that. But I want to.  What I can do is be here, listening, offering words of encouragement and advice. Sometimes I forget how helpful that can be. How powerful that can be in someone’s life.

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When you deal with a chronic illness that is not visible, people say things. Not only do we have to deal with what others say, we also tend to be pretty harsh on ourselves as well. There are many days that I struggle to get up and get going. To get out of bed. I want to. I plan to. Then I am waking up all over again. I struggle with my own feelings that I am being lazy and irresponsible. Others comment…What have you done all day? Its easy to agree with them. It takes alot to say. I survived today. I kept breathing, I slept. I am still alive!

I found that if I wrote down what I planned to do that day. I felt like I accomplished something when I crossed off something. Even if that was take pills. Eat. take a shower. When I started that I would get ridiculously long lists. It was then that I realized just how much energy went into each little seemingly insignificant task.  It seems simple to some people to just drive my daughter to school and come back. Why would I need to rest or recover from that? It seems like they have valid reason to say I am being lazy. That I don’t want to work.

Words. They often carry much more weight than we give them credit for. Sometimes they can be a judgement. It doesn’t matter if it is a justified judgement or not. The damage is done the moment they are said.  Often without thought of the inner struggle of what someone is going through.

Its something I still struggle with. I say things without thinking of what the other person is going through.  Its hard to remember that.

My daughter and I like to listen to guided meditations at night. Not every night but at least once a week. Its helpful to remember to take a breath and think first.

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A few years ago I would not have seen the wisdom in choosing all my words carefully. Sometimes I don’t.  I am not perfect at this. I still wish to make sure my words are only helpful. I find when I don’t watch what I am saying its often in a venting session. Those I feel are okay. In fact they are needed.  Balancing  meditation, peace, helpfulness to others and our own need to vent frustrations is something that I think we never master. It is a worthwhile endeavor though. Its something that helps us thrive in our illness. I will do everything in my power to thrive. Even if that means reading sticky notes with positive mantra’s multiple times a day.Even if that means slowly shedding my eeyeore shell and becoming more like Tigger.