Friday, January 27, 2023

Comments by tiredmother

Showing 6 of 6 comments.

  • Sounds like you knew you needed help — at some point anyway. There is a large population that won’t accept it and reject help and treatment. So family members that don’t walk away are left with the fallout. I’ve tried to get my son to go to various support groups AA (doesn’t have a substance problem), NAMI peer to peer (says he isn’t mentally ill and why do I try to label him?). It is a tragic situation for all of us, but I am seeing some positive changes lately so am hopeful. I try not to entertain the idea of another break and focus on where we are now.

    Thanks for the discussion, but I realize that every case is unique with its own set of circumstances. Makes it difficult. And all the success stories seem to be from people who have finally taken ownership of their situation, which has to be so difficult.

  • Stories like yours give me hope and I agree that a nonintrusive level or eventually zero is preferable. If medication is needed, then it should be used as a temporary measure. But the drugs aren’t designed that way, evidently.

    I hate it that my son is on medication (I will barely take an aspirin) and I still hope that he won’t need it forever. But what do you do with someone who is so wild and delusional that he is a threat, and you have to lock the door against him as he is kicking it in? (and that’s only one example). Medication and this living center he is in has brought him to the point where I can see the real person again and actually enjoy his company. I credit this also with being around and accepted by people again. But that’s what I mean — of course medication isn’t the full answer and maybe not the answer for many. It’s very complex. I know it is fragile and yes, I fear the long-term ramifications of it all.

    This is why I envision retreats with knowledgeable doctors, nutritionists, therapists (physical and mental), vocational trainers…I could go on. Is that more expensive than the revolving door of incarceration, hospitalization, and everything inbetween? Probably not. I am calling for a new paradigm. Whistling in the wind?

    At some point my resources have been spent trying to find other means, and I am at the end of being able to help him. I sold my house, used my savings, and I am not getting any younger. The only place for him now is in the system. But no one else is there to help. I’d like other options. I know they are out there, but who can afford them? Only a few. In some ways I feel defeated after hunting down expensive rabbit holes for nothing. But I will continue to do what I can.

  • Don’t get me wrong. I meant a complete overhaul of the mental hospital model. They are hardly what anyone wants for those who need help. Just that the real estate is already there sitting vacant. Let’s use it constructively. We are in the 21st century using 19th (or earlier) models. Really?

    The Soteria model is very interesting and I’ll research further. I’ve been begging for a more integrative approach, but there is so much misunderstanding about the illnesses. I admit I was ignorant until my life imploded and it has been a nightmare getting the education and understanding I have now — and still learning. Waiting until someone gets put in jail to get help is dangerous, wasteful, costly, and cruel. I can’t tell you how many times I was told that was the way it works — just a matter of time. It turned out to be true in our case. Horrifying. The police shouldn’t be the first line here. But that is another issue. My son stable for now and finally at a transitional living home which seems to be good for him. Hardly perfect (ie scary diet). But it’s expensive and I probably won’t be able to keep him there long enough. I am grateful for the progress he has made and will take it one day at a time.

    Thank you for the welcome.

  • Oh how I wish it were true. I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary, and I am very biased towards no medications (yes, I will admit it is only my conjecture). It would be great to have a system with quality follow-up that average people could afford so that once stabilized, a person could continue to get well without medication. I agree that with a perfect system and quality support, a person could recover — that the medication isn’t fixing anything. Without support no — and I don’t mean a few hours/week talk therapy or reporting to your local social agency.

  • As much as I fought against giving my son (now 30) medications, without them he couldn’t get to the place where he is finally able to use his mind. I hate the physical side-effects, but 8+ years of no life, rejection, isolation, aggression, non-compliance, fear…(I could go on) is no way to live. Why are we closing hospitals instead of creating centers that would support a healthy transition back using all modalities? The state hospital in Virginia sits on a beautiful piece of land with MANY boarded up buildings. Also Wingdale, NY has been rotting for years. With so much $$ being wasted, and so many good practitioners out there, couldn’t we coordinate into a 21st century solution? It’s cruel and a crime.

  • I am the mother of someone who has suffered from “mental illness” for 8 years and counting. The system is broken in that there is no system, and what we have is so cruel. All treatment is voluntary…and guess the outcome on that. As I was told repeatedly, I had to wait until my son committed a large enough crime to be incarcerated — hoping that no one would be hurt — before he could be forced into treatment. Law enforcement as the front line? Not fair to anyone. I was left alone to deal with this situation until I was financially ruined, traumatized, and hopeless — and I’m not getting any younger. Where are my rights? He finally caught the authorities’ attention, was put in jail and then the state hospital to be “restored to competency”. I was terrified of the state hospital and its reputation but found good, caring people working with their hands tied behind their backs by archaic laws. This is the 21st century, can we get past a 19th century (or earlier) model? My son will (hopefully) be released from jail (now back in jail after being “restored”) in a month to a transitional living center (and now with a criminal record). I will go farther into debt to provide this for him until I can get him benefits. It isn’t the full answer, but it is the best to date and I am pinning all my hope on this plan. Sad.

    I suggest a new paradigm:
    1) new language. The term “mentally ill” while accurate (I guess) has kept my son from receiving treatment. “Don’t put labels on me!” I couldn’t get him into therapy or to join a peer-to-peer group “those people are mentally ill, what are you trying to do?” We need new words.
    2) re-envision mental hospitals (language again). I can see life-affirming centers (in-patient to out-patient) that incorporate nutrition, stress management techniques, education (+ research?), social re-introduction (the isolation is so debilitating), physical fitness, vocational training, employment opportunities (can we say tax breaks for anyone who hires?), manual labor like working in a garden, or with animals, and yes medication where necessary. I believe there are models out there now (expensive) while hospitals are closing or sitting empty all over the country. This is a crime when we have such an epidemic.
    3) while I know people like my son are suffering, the symptoms of the condition (in his case) drive people away. He has lost all his friends and most of his family. In our culture we are so afraid of anyone who is different. All I am left with is how cruel our society is. Is it possible to educate people to treat others kindly? Probably not, maybe it will happen as a natural outcome of #1 and #2.

    I could go on and on. I am heartened to see there is a forum and discussion on this subject. It is the while elephant in the room and it seems easier to slap on a band-aid. But the problem continues to fester. With so many good practitioners in the helping professions, let’s divert some gov’t funds away from wasteful spending and develop meaningful solutions.