Well, I’ve been more than silent the past few weeks, not that I need to justify to anyone why I do or do not blog at any given time… But, in reality the reason I haven’t been blogging is actually a pretty good topic for a blog post.
I have been knee deep in a mental health crisis for the past month. As I am starting to come out of mental health crisis, I have gained some perspective as to the components which caused me to spiral out of control into my head.
Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
- At the beginning of December, I had a traumatic miscarriage. I’ve already written about it, so I won’t belabor the point by rehashing the details of what happened — that is mostly for my self preservation. If you’re interested in knowing the details of what happened, read about it here. This is what triggered my descent into pain.
- The holidays, usually my absolute FAVORITE time of year, was absolute hell for me this year. I had so many anxiety attacks it’s not even funny, every time someone looked at me funny, I started crying and I had to hide in my room for most of the trip while Paul and my family had fun — as being around my big, loud, cray cray family was triggering my anxiety attacks. It SUCKED.
- To make matters worse, as I went into the holidays, I was still struggling to find a psychologist and psychiatrist to work with me in my treatment. John Hack asked me in a previous post, “What resource did you wish you could find, but could not?” The answer is TREATMENT. I have been trying to find someone to help me since September 2015, only to run into roadblock after roadblock after roadblock… I will write about this more at a later point, in much more detail, but let’s suffice it to say that if you are a.) poor, b.) not a combat veteran, it is damn near impossible to find any mental health resources to help treat PTSD. I can’t even, I’m so pissed off about how difficult it has been. Thankfully, my generous husband and parents have helped me come up with money (even though I haven’t been working for the last 12 months) so that I could start treatment with Wellsprings Health Associates in Chicago. They deal with women’s mental health issues, specifically, they specialize in helping women who have lost children/pregnancies and suffer PTSD/postpartum depression. I started my therapy yesterday and feel so relieved to have someone impartial on my side who can really advocate for me in my treatment. More on this later, happy ending (I think), but suffice it to say the lack of treatment available has been something that has made me so anxious and upset that it was a huge factor in my crisis.
- My grandmother died on January 31st. She had been suffering for nearly 10 years from Alzheimer’s Disease and hadn’t been (mentally) there for the last five (at least.) She went peacefully, but as I was very very VERY close to my Grandma, it hit me hard and pushed me down into a very dark, sad place.
These components made me so listless, so depressed, so sad that for the last month I have hardly been able to get out of bed in the morning. Thankfully, I have a great support system and, though I haven’t had access to treatment, I have had people who know and understand what is happening with me in my daily life — encouraging me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My husband, Mom, Aunt, cousins, Uncle, best friends, etc… they are amazing and loving and I am lucky to have them.
Mental health crisis is different than a mental health emergency. A mental health ER indicates that a person is so deep in crisis that they are a danger to themselves or others. That’s not what I’ve been dealing with, though I will say that the lack of treatment options was pushing me closer and closer to the line where my crisis could have become a full blown emergency.
The state of mental health treatment and advocacy in this country is obscenely outdated. I could go on for pages and pages about how frustrating it is to need psychiatric help, only to be turned away from doctor after doctor because of finances or gender or profession… it’s criminal, really, how we handle people who have mental health issues in The United States.
But, I’m still pretty exhausted and not out of the woods yet with this crisis, though on the path to being okay — instead I will leave a couple of articles you can read about how to help someone in a crisis and how shitty trying to get help for mental health issues in this country really is. Enjoy. :/
- What to Do in a Mental Health Crisis — U.S. News & World Report (July 2015)
- The Cost of Not Caring: Nowhere to Go — USA Today (May 2014)
- 7 Facts About America’s Mental Health Care System — The Washington Post (December 2012)
- How Do We Fix America’s Mental Health Care System? — NAMI (March 2015)