The Return

26 02 2011

Hmm, I swear I said something about posting every other day whetherI liked it or not, yet it’s been quite a few days since anything was said.

So what’s been going on with me? What could’ve been important enough to drag me away from such things for so long? Life is the easy answer, the more complex one is that I’ve been having a turbulent time, dealing with many changes, including in the aspect of my moods which have been bouncing round like a rubber ball fired into a room.

I’m not sure this is going to be one of my more coherent posts but dammit I’m just going to keep going with it.

Ok, so my relationship with my girlfriend, something which spans just over seven years, ended two days before Valentines Day (how’s that for timing?). My job doesn’t exist in a little over a week. In a touch over two months I will be, to all intents and purpose, homeless.

A lot to take in really eh.

Anyway, whilst I have had very strong mental images of hanging myself, I’ve yet to act on such things. However, I’ve had a couple of interesting ideas for what I’m going to do, I’m not going to say what but don’t fret dear oggler of this site, it’s nothing dangerous… ok it’s nothing inherently dangerous… ok it’s not as dangerous as me hanging myself… at least in the short term.

Anyway, the fun I’ve been having with mental health has taken two turns. Firstly, I’m being discharged for my CMHT (community mental health team) as we came to a mutual decision that, as I was refusing medication, there was nothing else they could do to help me (especially as they WON’T offer the psychological help I asked for). Secondly, I’ve been reading a though provoking book – Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. This book in itself is causing some arguement within the psychiatric community. The basic premise is that whilst meds are good in the short term, are they doing more harm than good in the long term? I won’t be giving away anything but it certainly creates a few interesting questions. it also makes at least one good point, that being that doctors are, for the most part, making guesses which may or may not be educated. It’s well worth a look if you feel like delving into psychiatrys past if nothing else.

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5 responses

26 02 2011
Rachael Black

Null,
sorry to read about your girlfriend, job and the despair that you are feeling.
Things are sideways in my life the past weeks as well and your post saddens me even more.

Please DO try some meds. My father was a psychiatrist and he spent a lot of time getting people OFF of meds they did not need.
On the other hand there are people who will need a certain cocktail their entire life. Bi-Polar patients for one.

A good psychiatrist prescribes a medication to get the patient to a point where they can benefit from therapy. Then, once progress has been made, to take the patient off the medication; this in regards to people showing up with clinical depression and not any other mental illness.
The main problem is that too many doctors -who are General Practitioners, Internists and family doctors- prescribe medication and there is no follow-up with one on one therapy or counseling.
THIS is why too many people are on anti-depressants. They never get to step two: working through their problems and learning coping skills.

I HATE taking my meds, hate the side-effects of some and the years of trying to find the right combo while also working with a therapist.
If I stop the meds and therapy it winds me back in the emergency room and/or hospital. you know what I mean.

Just give it a shot okay? Oh, and don’t put too much stock in that book. It’s written by a man with an interesting idea but he ignores several important facts. Number one being that 50 years ago people with mental illness were treated like criminals and that there were very few meds available to treat them.
Analyzing the past 50 years in the treatment of schizophrenia IS interesting and filled with history and the advents of new scientific methods in the field.
But the author is a historian. NOT an M.D.

I looked up information on the book after writing that and came across these thoughts:
http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/product-reviews/0307452417/ref=cm_cr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar

It’s just my two cents worth so take it as you like. I only have my own 35 years experience working with psychiatric patients and being one myself to go on. But hell, I’m full of opinions -smile-.

Are they refusing the psychological help because you are refusing the meds?

Keep posting. I need to know I’m not alone.
~Miss R

27 02 2011
nullfuture

Hi Miss R,

Good to hear from you again, sorry to hear things in your life aren’t so good. As for mine, what can I say apart from “Shit happens”. Ok, sounds a little offhand for a comment but the thing is that I’ve had crap times happen before and I seem to get by somehow so I tend to be a fair amount more laid back as, in the end, for better or worse, things work out. I did spend a lot of time, and still do, agonising over whether this was me making decisions for the right reason or me acting during a time of instability, but I’ve made my bed and, regardless of how I feel about it, I will lie in it.

I agree with you on the meds in that they are of benefit in times of crisis and can help get someone to a point where they can benefit from therapy. However, as there will be no therapy forthcoming regardless of whether I was on meds or not, the NHS can’t afford to apply the recommended schema therapy so they won’t, regardless of outcome. See, there’s benefits to a private healthcare system (despite the many drawbacks).

My decision to not be on meds has always been a deeply held belief, if I can handle it then I won’t be on meds, soon as I’m not safe then I have not problem with taking steps to be safe, be it a stay in the hospital or going on meds.

As for the book? It’s main question is ‘Why is the number of people on SSDI or SSI in the US going up out of proportion to population rise?’. The author never purports to be anything other than a historian, but then he had access to every medical journal published, was able to research every cross reference and read its source completely. Historians tend to be very good at research, they go where the paper trail leads and the trail has lead to questioning the long term efficacy of psychiatric medication. For me it is merely that it raises interesting points that have never been raised anywhere else in the public domain, at least not in a reference and coherent manner.

Despite what either side claims, this book should not be viewed as a way forward for treatment, or an attack on current treatment per se, more a starting block for better research into treatment. A lot of what is known about psychiatry and psychopharmacology is based on shakey ground, the evidence is there to prove so. If we should hope for better treatment then that ground needs to be more solid because lets face it, doctors can only make an educated guess as to diagnosis and treatment. What if the education is wrong?

27 02 2011
Rachael Black

I can’t believe that NHS won’t offer therapy. WTH is up with that?
Agree that docs can only make educated guesses for patients. It sucks for us.

All information is good information, but it’s how we process and use it -or discard it-.
My main point that is I don’t believe that there are any more people who are TRULY mentally ill now than there were 50 years ago. Medicine and science have just made more progress in recognizing it. There was no SSD or SSI until the early 1940’s in this country.

And what isn’t pointed out is this: It takes an average of two full years to be approved to be on SSD if you are applying for coverage under a mental illness. Two full years where you are not allowed to make ONE CENT, or have any assets. I should know – sad smile-.

I feel that a lot of people applying do not truly qualify and one of the many theories for the large spike in the last 10 years is the economy tanking. So many people equate their career with their self-worth (hell I always did). Take away their job and they become depressed.
Then put them into the hands of a family doc -or bad psychiatrist- or none of the above and…. presto. They feel the need to apply for SSD.

I believe there are several of factors for the dramatic rise in applications.

It sucks to be on SSD too. I receive $875.00 US a month to live. Yeah.
I used to make over $100,000. US a year before I fell apart in my mid thirties.
the average apartment rent in my city is $650.00 for a 1 bedroom. In New York or Boston or San Fransisco? $2000.00 a month for rent.
Then I have to buy food, pay for electric, phone, car insurance, heat (it snows and is 19F right now) co-pays for the Medicare Insurance (My allotment is actually $975.00 a month but the government automatically deducts a $100.00 a month as the monthly payment. you have no choice. then when you see a doc you pay the other 20% yourself on top of that).
Oh yes, and gas for the car, telephone, internet and I have a teen daughter.

Being on SSD is horrible. If I could work again I’d do it in a damned second 😦

I may pick up a copy of that book if I can find it at a used book store. I read a LOT. Have a feeling that you do too. Just to take a look at this guy’s research methods and sources. Plus, one can never have too many books!

Take care my friend. I wrote a blog so fucking depressing today that I can’t post it. Due to my SSD and being on Medicare there is still a HUGE out-of-pocket cost for medical procedures. I need back surgery. Very badly and soon. It is scheduled for March 31st.
But because Medicare only pays 80% of costs I can’t afford the surgery.
So I’ll be in pain for the rest of my life, never be able to ski, ride my bike or do all of the other things that used to help my depression.
Like you said. Shit happens.
So do tears and suicidal ideation.

Kittens and Fucking Sunshine,
~Miss R

27 02 2011
Rachael Black

my mistake. average cost for a 1 bedroom in Reno is $1000.00 lol!
I’m lucky. Have a 2 bedroom duplex in a half-scary half-arty/cool part of town for $640.00
Only problem is that it was built in the 1920’s (hey that’s old here stop laughing!) and costs a damned fortune to heat.
xo

28 02 2011
nullfuture

1920s eh? Yup, that’s old… at least in the US it is, place like Reno it’s almost akin to finding cave paintings. People keep forgetting that a lot of american history has fallen by the wayside because despite being centuries old, it takes a fair amount of effort to build anything substantial in areas where there wasn’t inherent economic value (such as ports etc) from the beginning.

I’m wih you in thinking that in the past 20-30 years, the reason for the sharp increase in SSDI n SSI is partly due to various reasons such as increased diagnosis rates, economic reasons, overzealous doctors, different criteria for enrolment etc etc. However, any reason is worth exploring in order to help people get off benefits and into work, for their own good rather than any sense of economic pressure etc. Strange how it works, most people on disability would love to work, but can’t atm.

Ah well, shit continues to happen, so do the tears, so does the suicide ideation, so do we.

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