An Opinion on Mental Health

Peony (2)

I’m feeling more than a little guilty about not posting as consistently as usual and I’m afraid this will not be the kind of uplifting post that I normally try to achieve.  We all have struggles in life and for that past 10 to 12 years we have struggled with my youngest daughter’s mental illness.  At this point I can only refer to it as a mental illness because I’m not sure what exactly it is.  She was diagnosed with Bipolar II a number of years ago and has been medicated ever since.  Unfortunately, as I’ve seen with other people with mental illness, medication is fine for a while but brain chemistry changes and the drugs they are taking are no longer effective.  For Cait, instead of really trying to figure out what the underlying problems were more drugs were added year after year to counter new symptoms.  Then drugs were added to counteract the side effects of the drugs she’d been prescribed.  A few weeks ago Cait hit a depression the depth of which I hadn’t seen before.  A week ago she stopped taking her meds because she just didn’t see the point in any of it any more.  On some level I can understand that.  She’s tired, so tired of all of it and the thought that this is a lifetime disability just made her stop functioning.  Her mental health team was horrified that she stopped taking her meds.  Friday she went to the hospital, asked for a psych evaluation and she was put into full hospitalization. (This was after she spent 34 hours in the ER in a solitary room with a guard and a recliner).  I’ve quoted what she said on FB before they took all electronics away from her.

You need to know that my Caitlyn is a brilliant woman with her masters in clinical mental health counseling.  This is a two-edged sword in a lot of ways.  She continually self diagnoses and now she’s in a situation where she’s observing and documenting everything that every mental health worker is saying and doing.  I think her hope is that she will either get a different diagnosis or a new medication regimen that will help her cope with what’s happening in her brain.  Cait is also a very strong, willful person and will make sure she understands what is happening while hospitalized and will not settle for some off the cuff diagnosis or medication changes.  She is already questioning the drugs they are giving her.  God help the people taking care of her, she will make each and every one of them question their diagnosis and probably their career choice as well.

When I read the quote below I understood exactly what she was saying and was seeing the mental health system for what it is first hand.  When the tragedy at Sandy Hook took place the first thing I said was the perpetrator and his mother had been seriously let down by the mental health system in the US.  There is not enough funding, and it continues to be cut daily.  Once an unstable individual reaches 18 a parents’ hands are tied.  We are no longer privy to any information of any kind and cannot make life or death decisions that ultimately affect our children.  They have to be coerced.  Cait committed herself “voluntarily” only after realizing that she really had no choice and I was the one who had to drive her there and make her do it.  Harsh.  This is one of those moments when I truly wish things in my life were different.

“And now I know why we have people who end up being on the assailant end of mass shootings and bombings (not that I didn’t already know this and I am absolutely NOT excusing any of that behavior but…) …ya know, we wonder why all this stuff has continued to happen and has probably gotten much worse lately…honestly, take a look at the state of the worlds friggin mental health system!! ESPECIALLY the United States!! I mean, seriously?? Are you really stupid enough to believe that those things would have still happened if we actually VALUED and PAID ATTENTION to those that are in or need to be in the mental health system in this country?? Wake the fuck up! Stop CUTTING the mental health budget and dont bother putting all this time and effort into friggin gun control laws because honestly it’s almost to the point of no return on that front…why don’t we put our time and energy into fixing the true ROOT of the problem instead of just glossing over it and making he issue about weapons…if people want weapons, they will find them…or make them. It doesn’t matter whether there are laws about their possession and such! That’s not going to stop someone. Why don’t the people of this country open their friggin eyes and look at the REAL problem here?! Our mental health system SERIOUSLY blows!! But then again, I already know, people are stupid. Guess I forgot. Lol (rant over. Sorry everyone! Just seriously annoyed, as a mental health professional and someone that knows the value of mental health services…if you disagree, I’m not trying to start an argument so don’t try to start one with me. Thank you.)” Caitlyn Semanie

For the time being Cait has her journal and a pen that gets assigned to her with each shift.  She is surrounded by insanity the likes of which she has never seen.  When I visited her yesterday she said, “I think there will be a book coming out of this and I may have to become an activist for mental health care.”  Watch out, when Cait says something like this she means it.  And I can’t wait to read that book.

8 thoughts on “An Opinion on Mental Health

  1. So sorry to hear the issues that your daughter is dealing with. I am not a expert in mental health issues by any means but I am a believer in the healing powers of our Lord & Savior Jesus. His method does not involve chemicals that change the actions of our body and his healing is forever. I will pray for your daughter to overcome what she has been dealing with all these years and for a sense of peace and joy to return to your household. May God’s blessings be on you folks.

  2. Your daughter sounds like a real fighter. Diagnosis is such a crap shoot, depending on the experiences of each individual doctor, especially with mental health issues. Caitlyn has the right idea: take notes, speak up, don’t let them roll over you when you know your body better than they do. And if the diagnosis sounds wrong to her, given her education, she’s probably on to something. You did the right thing getting her to a safe place.

  3. It is sad where we are willing to put our money. This country has become all about the money and mental health is considered at the bottom of the barrel. My ancestors used to say there is a very fine line between insanity and genius. I would say your daughter is living proof of that and so it makes it so much harder for both of you. My prayers will be with you this week and onward.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this post a lot since I first read it. Another friend of mine recently revealed that she has been dealing for about 30 years with the same diagnosis. I read a saying today that made me think of Caitlyn – “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”. I wish the best for her – and for her parents who love her and worry about her.

  5. I felt the need to respond to this…First of all, thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers in this situation. When Mom said she was blogging about me, i was worried at first, but realized that her writing and my experience would only further educate others. Second, i wanted to say that this experience has definitely opened my eyes A LOT more to the issues involving the mental health system and the way that people with mental illness are treated….there WILL be a book that comes of this, as well as some sort of activism on my part. I haven’t quite figured out how or what that will look like, but i can no longer stand quietly by and let this happen to others.

  6. Pingback: An Opinion on Mental Health | Through The Woods

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