Sunday, September 19, 2021

Comments by QueenofSwords

Showing 5 of 5 comments.

  • I wish I could leave a more satisfying comment because you deserve one, but before I retire for the night, I just wanted to say: you are an AMAZING writer in spite of the limitations (which I gather are very difficult, since you mentioned typing with one finger). I appreciate the trouble you took to get your story out here because you can spin the straw this world gives you (and us) into pure gold. Wish you the best from the bottom of my heart and thank you for a genuine, provocative piece that deserves a bigger audience.

  • Please share it — it makes the rest of us feel less alone. Your pain matters, however you describe it. I am grateful and thankful for you compassion. Survivors of this kind of experience need it. Never underestimate your own strength, but when that is challenged — in the face of such system(s) — you and others need to know that you are NOT crazy and you are NOT alone, my friend. Sending you heaps of light and love on your wayfairing journey. XOXO

  • I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you by cowering in the face of a legal problem by “not standing up.” You’re just another in the peanut gallery with liberal criticism to offer, and I’m sorry I came to provide my story here to disappoint you by not standing up for what’s just and fair. While I can agree with what you say from an intellectual and political standpoint, how dare you insinuate that I haven’t “acted” or “stood up” properly in this situation or any other. You don’t know me.

    I’d go through the math in my life right now. I’d give you the stats on friends and family I have to count on for “support” (or the lack thereof) of any kind. I’d tell you what’s in my bank account or state what amount of money I owe to the damn hospital based on the first round of invoices, what my rent costs in a major city, my other bills, how many rejections I’ve received for employment since April, or how many weeks I’d have before I wind up homeless — but that is far too personal and I don’t owe you that info.

    I’d tell you about my friend who emailed me two days ago and said SHE is weeks away from becoming homeless and how SHE has done x/y/z to stand up for HERself to deal with this same hospital for entirely different treatment related to a respiratory condition. I’d tell you about the fact that, even if I can’t help and I’m faced with similar prospects, I’m making room here to take her and her cat in because she shouldn’t feel alone and like she has nowhere to go. I’d recant what the lawyer I spoke to in April said about what she thought were my chances of winning my case, on what specific grounds, how long it could possibly take in her estimation, and what she thought I would get if I won an EEOC complaint. I know she quantified it generally as “likely very little” — I know I paid HER $300 as an expert who specializes in Federal contracting in particular, I can tell you that.

    I’d cite what a privilege it would be for me — for anyone in my situation — to obtain legal help and expend the energy necessary given a list of other problems I need to overcome that correlate with the math and the overall situation, and yet have the good grace to say, still, that I am one of the luckier people in our society despite all my problems. I’d tell you about my political activities at the moment to get someone into the White House who seems to get the plight of so many Americans like me and the investment of my personal time, energy, and money trying to get others involved, which is a huge commitment, and how I’ve even been threatened with death as recently as yesterday as a result of these political activities.

    But, I won’t because I don’t have anything to prove to YOU, PacificDawn. Thanks so much for your empathy. I hope YOU are in good standing wherever YOU are. It can’t be that bad if you can be a keyboard warrior somewhere, judging somebody like me who is one of but millions of people who’ve been through this situation as I’ve uncovered looking for sources of information, hoping especially that someone can empathize in a situation where one feels frightened, abandoned, and alone because what happened to me (and all those others out there) is scary.

    At least I have my political volunteer friends — they’ve been a true source of support like an oasis in a vast desert I’ve been wandering in for a while, and whom I can convene with to channel my rage into something productive without judgment. My doctor, thank God, is 100% thrilled with that because he’s the kind of person who doesn’t think depression or anxiety are chemical imbalance problems, or that they are due to some individual pathology solved by a pill and an isolating, individualized regimen or a forceful, violent detention. My symptoms are natural responses to a 5-alarm state of affairs in America, and we’re seeing the signs of many mobilizing to “stand up” collectively — thank God — because that’s what it’s going to take. That will require inclusion, compassion, and then many numbers of us acting TOGETHER to rectify these problems instead of tackling them once case at a time. Dr. Bruce Levine wrote about this years ago in his book about surviving America’s depression epidemic, one of my favorite books of all time. It’s what brought me to this sight.

    Have a nice day.

  • Sera, thank you for the excellent critical critique on the moral and philosophical angles that inform the delivery of mental healthcare. I’ve been thinking many of the thoughts you wrote about so well throughout my life, but especially in the last few months.

    For me recently, “FYOG” — those words were literally used verbatim — meant the operator on the EAP hotline (my company encouraged me to call for getting counseling for my stress) meant the police showed up to my apartment to force me into the back of a cop car and admit me to a local emergency room of an area hospital. I made CLEAR to the woman, Vicki from the EAP hotline, to the 911 operator, and then to the police that I was not going to harm myself or anybody else. I was, however, candidly trying to describe to her a feeling of hopelessness and a state of despair that I could not shake. I’d been bullied and harassed at my job over several months and was having a hard time coping. It robbed me of any feeling of security, safety, self esteem, and joy about what I’d achieved in life because I’d worked so hard to get to the place where I was finally making enough money to comfortably support myself in a very expensive city where I have no family and no friends in spite of being here for 6 years.

    During the 5-hour emergency room waiting period I endured (after all my things had been taken away and my heart rate/blood pressure were through the roof, so they tried to subdue me with 2 Adavan), I was pressured to sign a consent form to be admitted to their psych ward on a “voluntary” basis.

    “But what if I lose my clearance? What if my employer fires me? I have to report back to to work on Monday!” I got taken down there on a Saturday. “It’s for your own good,” the misinformed social worker said. Except, I WASN’T covered under the FMLA at all as an employee of only 6 months at the time, I’d later learn through my company’s HR. I had yet to realize that my company’s filing of ADA paperwork to cover my leave would also result in a trigger for OPM to re-investigate me, even though I’d had a clean record for over 10+ years, simply because now I had PTSD and a “mental disability.”

    A physician spent about 10 minutes talking to me in the ward, as I raced through my past history, current mood, and circumstances that brought me to the ward in a publicly humiliating manner, on a weekend where I expected to do my taxes and laundry and then report to work on Monday as expected. This psychiatrist in the ward said that I was talking fast and therefore had “mania,” so she concluded I was bipolar and they’d lock me up in there indefinitely — until THEY felt like releasing me. I heard suggestions about medication I didn’t need for a disorder I don’t even have and even a threat about ECT. “It’s for your own good. It’s what BEST for YOU.” Heh!

    I was successful in securing a discharge against medical advice by the third day after they overheard me talking to some lawyers when I’d obtained phone privileges during the morning. I think they saw I was not crazy but understood my admission there was an event that escalated out of control, I was not a threat to myself or anyone, and despite the immensely stressful ordeal, I was of sound mind to put up a fight and demand my release. When I was released, the psychiatrist threatened that the discharge against medical advice meant my insurance might not cover the services rendered for the 3 days. She was terrible.

    The original EAP line operator, who said she was sending the police to my apartment “for [my] own good” said this would save my life and “help” me. I knew I was going to lose my job, my career, and everything, and that’s EXACTLY what happened.

    About 3 days after I returned to work 3.5 weeks later as the hospital pushed back and refused to cooperate with the HR paperwork to allow me to return to my job — forcing me to find another, but much better physician, thankfully, who diagnosed me with PTSD but we wouldn’t start with medication FIRST due to my reservations about it (the second doctor was GREAT) — my company, Alakaina Foundation Family of Companies, fired me on the afternoon of April 4th. I have never been fired once in my adult life at 40 years old; this was the first time. I lost my clearance because I lost the sponsor who’d hold my clearance (my company) while OPM could investigate me as a result of this mess. My career that I worked SO hard for, — making so many sacrifices for and having maintained a clean record for 10+ years — was over. I have not been able to find work since.

    If I tell the truth in an application and admit I’ve got PTSD, I’d likely be discriminated against, even though it’s illegal. If I lie and say I don’t have it, then I can’t request a reasonable accommodation if I need one AND the government would consider me as dishonest and a threat to national security. Isn’t this system we’ve got in America so fucking beautiful? *all together now* “THIS IS FOR OUR OWN GOOD.”

    The hospital is breathing down my neck and will send my bills to collection early next month. I have to pay a LOT in rent (I have no roommates), didn’t have a lot in savings because contractors seldom do since they often have to fund their own unemployment due to lay-offs, etc. and I still owe them over 1k that my insurance didn’t cover for a bill that was something like $12k for 3 days. An especially cruel twist was that my company terminated my health insurance at midnight on the day I was fired, preventing me from receiving healthcare unless I paid out of pocket because I can’t enroll in Obamacare and I don’t qualify for Medicaid. In my past experience, you’ve usually had your insurance until the END of the month and then they’d send you the paperwork for COBRA, which nobody can afford. I have seen the good psych (the second one who diagnosed me with PTSD) out of pocket at least two times since I got fired (monthly appointments) and also pay out of pocket for my medication, 7.5 mg of Mirtazapine each night. The meds have really helped the original symptoms I was struggling with for months, notably insomnia and lack of appetite.

    I worked for the Army, too — the irony. They’ve been talking a lot lately about the problem with PTSD and suicides by service members, with the Army and Marines leading the other services, just like in a real war.

    Everyone in the chain said some form of “this is for your own good” to me. Is it any “good” that now I’m unemployed, uncleared, not insured, owe medical bills, and on the brink of possibly becoming homeless, as a result?

    This was “good” for Vicki, the EAP line operator, who felt she’d dodged some kind of liability. Thanks for ruining my life, Vicki.

    This was “good” for the very nice policemen who came to my apartment — they were just doing their job, after all and their job is to keep the public “safe.”

    This was “good” for the social worker in the emergency room, who wouldn’t lose HER job or health insurance (or clearance — she said she had one). She had another woman waiting who’s husband was shouting on the speakerphone, “She doesn’t want to sign the fucking papers and be transported! Wait until I get there to be with my wife.” He didn’t think “signing the papers” would be any good — I had a feeling he and his wife had been through an event like this before.

    This was “good” for the first idiotic psychiatrist at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. She’s the “expert” and gets paid to lock people up and medicate them for things they might not even have, providing them with “services” they don’t even want or need.

    This was “good” for my company, who probably feared a lawsuit because I’d complained about the hostile work environment prior to them referring me to the EAP to get help with “[my] stress issues.” I was advised by a lawyer I consulted with to litigate for discrimination, harassment, libel, and wrongful termination and file a complaint with the EEOC. I am very angry about what happened to me. I feel like I have NO rights and it’s terrifying.

    I decided not to litigate. My family said it would just drag this horrible experience out for far too long, and THAT would not be “good” for my mental health or healing. As much as I want people to pay for doing this to me, I just want to have peace.

    No, NONE of this was “for [my] own good.” I wouldn’t say this was an effective means of “getting help — don’t be afraid to speak up and ask, it’s for your own good,” our culture advises people, recommending they speak up and seek treatment if they’re in a bad place. This was no good at all.

    Sadly, what would’ve been “best for me” would’ve been to keep self-isolating, not tell a soul I was struggling in a hostile work environment, “cope” and self-medicate — basically, get no help at all. I am irate.