Thursday, February 28, 2013

How I'm Coping

I am having a hard time, as I mentioned in my last post. I am hearing a lot of auditory hallucinations, as well as having some delusional thoughts, and all the while experiencing many of the negative symptoms of psychosis. But I am dealing with it.

Here are some of the ways I am coping:

1. Yesterday, I took a test that I had put off for a week. I took it even though I might fail it. I don't want to fail the class, but I REFUSE to withdraw again. I took the test knowing that I might get a horrible grade.

2. When I was experiencing a lot of symptoms during my Spanish class, I got up, walked out, and called the mental health clinic. I demanded after many repeated calls that they get my Latuda refilled. I asked for a sooner appointment with my doctor than the one that they had given me at the end of May. (I haven't seen my doctor in two months, and for a while I was seeing her every week). I took the first appointment they had available. I will see the doctor next Thursday.

3. When my Spanish professor asked me what was wrong, I was honest with her. I did not hide my disease. I said, "I have Schizophrenia, and I'm having some problems right now". I wasn't trying to garner sympathy or anything like that, but I was tired, stressed out, really having a hard time, and someone asked me "What's wrong?" so I answered with an honest response. I am proud of myself for speaking the truth about my life, and not hiding in shame at that moment.

4. My boss is making us take time out of our paid hours for lunch breaks, which we have never had to do before. So even though I am having a hard time mentally, I contacted human resources to see what the rules were on this and explain that I didn't think it was right for policies to be changed that had been in place for years without it being put in writing. I was able to do this even though I have my brain "tied behind my back" as my former therapist would say.

5. Today, after work I went and got my nails done. I didn't take a shower today or yesterday. I don't remember actually when I did. I didn't put on make up today. But I knew that my ugly fingernails with the polish shredding off from the gel manicure I had a few weeks ago looked really bad, and I decided, finally, to get the stuff taken off and have them repainted to look pretty again. I know this sounds stupid and entirely vain, but it is a small gift I could give to myself and I did that to feel better.

6.  I've been talking to friends, and telling people how I'm doing, and that I'm not really okay.

7. I was honest with my family and stood up to them when they expected me to respond to more emails about my brother. I said, "In case anyone has forgotten, I have a lifelong, incurable disease that worsens under stress." I asked them to stop emailing me about my brother and his drinking problem.

8. I told my brother that I can't be of any help to him unless he helps himself. And I told him that I won't do anything to support him if he continues to drink. He'll be on his own, on the streets. And I meant that. It's harsh sounding, I know, but it's what needed to be said.

9. I fed my cats every day twice a day, even when I have been really psychotic, and even when I don't care about anything or anyone.

10. I wrote on this blog.

11. I wrote to the disabilities services office at my university today, and asked the man who runs that office to get me a notetaker for my class. When he didn't respond to my email, I wrote to his assistant and asked her. They then responded, and my professor sent out a message to my political science classmates asking them if someone would take notes for a student with a disability. I know I need this to pass this class, and I didn't want to have to ask for it, which is why I didn't at the beginning of the semester. But this class is hard, and I cannot read, and I need a notetaker.

12. I didn't let my professor's comments about "wacko people" which he made when discussing the section of the syllabus that mentioned disabilities on the first day of class prevent me from telling him that I have a mental illness and I needed extra time to study for a test because of a setback with my medications. That was hard.

13. I only missed one day of school, which was the day I went to the courthouse to get my brother committed under the Baker Act.

14. I calmly and rationally dealt with the police when they came to pick my brother up a week ago, and even though I'm afraid of police and of people knocking on my door and particularly of police knocking on my door, I didn't let that immobilize me.

15. I eat three meals a day every day, even when I have no food at home. Then today, after having been eating only fast foods for weeks, I finally went to a grocery store, and bought some food. I knew I could only last a short period of time in there, so I quickly picked up frozen dinners and cheese and crackers, and bought it, and took it home and put it away, and ate dinner.

16. I have all my medications now, because I hounded the doctor's office even when it became obvious that people there think I'm a total pain in the ass.

17. I called my case manager yesterday, after my Spanish class, and asked if I could meet with her because  I needed help. I went to her office and talked to her about what was going on, and made plans for how to deal with it. This was proactive, and was more healthy than doing nothing and keeping it to myself while it got worse. Also, I thought about going to the hospital, weighed the pros and cons of that, and ultimately decided against it, which I think was a wise choice.

18. I couldn't go to a National Organization for Women meeting last night, and I knew that I had said I would be there, and that I had missed all the meetings in recent months. Yet, I couldn't go, so I didn't go. And that was what was best for me. I didn't let other people's opinions of me force me to push myself to do one more thing that I couldn't handle doing right now.

19. I wrote an article for someone who requested it, on mental health, and even though it wasn't a good example of my best writing I sent it to her anyway, so I wouldn't have failed to do something I said I would do.

20. I went to work every day that I was supposed to lately. I was late sometimes, but I never stayed home. Next week the community college I work for is on spring break, so I am off for the whole week. I can stay home then.

21. I made plans with my friend who has been cleaning my apartment to come over again this coming Sunday and clean for me, and I will pay her and it will be worthwhile, and I was not too ashamed to do it.

22. I didn't try to force myself to read my books for school that I can't read. I knew it was futile, so instead of sitting in a library with my head on a desk for days, like I've done before, I just studied my notes and class presentations on Blackboard (website for school), and I didn't read any of the books for the class before I took the test, but I took the test anyway.

23. I went to my rheumatologist last Friday and waited 2 hours to see her. Because she's a good doctor, it's worthwhile.

24. I went to the chiropractor this week and last week, and will go again tomorrow. This is to help with my Fibromyalgia and arthritis.

25. I went to a dental clinic to get my teeth cleaned, finally, after not having them cleaned for like 2 years, which is really bad with Sjogren's Syndrome, and even though I knew they would chide me for not flossing, I didn't let it bother me when they started in on that lecture. That was a week and a half ago.

26. I watched the Oscars and was able to focus on it not only enough to watch it but enough to get outraged by the sexist, and racist jokes on there, and then send messages via Twitter and Facebook to the host to let him know what I thought of his misogyny and ignorance.

27. I talked to people in a Schizoaffective support group on Facebook about what was going on with me, and I read some of their posts about what is going on with them and responded to them.

28. I paid my rent for this month not only on time, but early, because I sent it with the rent check for last month that I was mailing late.

29. I made it to my appointment to renew my lease and got all my paperwork turned in to remain in my apartment.

30. I filed for financial aid for next year by the deadline (which is tomorrow) today, to be able to try to get scholarships, grants, and a little more loan money.

31. I talked to my grandmother on Skype, because even though I can't talk to her about mental illness, I know she is lonely and she doesn't have a lot of people to talk to and it helps me to stay in touch with her because I care about her and miss her.


I thought it would be better to write a post like this than a litany of all my symptoms and problems and how my medication is failing to fix them right now. I thought it would be better for me myself to write this than to write that, and I thought it would be more interesting to you reading it, and of more use (there's a great poem called "To Be of Use") than my complaints would have been. After all, I complain enough on here.

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Not so well....

Things fall apart. Per usual, something went awry when I ran out of one my medication. I ran out of Navane a couple weeks ago. Every time I called the pharmacy, they said the doctor's office didn't refill it. Every time I called the mental health center, the medical assistant told me it was already refilled. This went on for about ten days. I got the supervisor of the medical assistant to finally take care of it. So now I'm back on Navane as of two days ago.

Yesterday, I didn't have any Latuda to take. I ran out of that the day before yesterday. My lovely Medicare drug company told me that they wouldn't cover it, because I was switched without choosing to be switched, from one insurance company to another at the beginning of the year. I called the medical assistant about this, again, repeatedly, and he got an attitude as if I was just being an annoyance.

Today I was late for work. I was supposed to come in half an hour early to make up for having to leave early to take an exam at school, but I ended up getting there 15 minutes late, which means, I was basically 45 minutes late.

I just hoped my boss wouldn't notice. But I think she did.

I went to take my Southern Politics exam. I had begged the professor for extra time to study for it, a week and a half ago. He gave me this time, and when I explained the fact that I had Schizoaffective Disorder and I couldn't read any of the six books for the class right now, he said something like, "I hope you're ready for the next exam in time". Today I took the exam. He said, "If you get a D or an F on your midterm grade, you might as well say sayanarra to this course.."

In other words, no it doesn't matter that I explained I am PSYCHOTIC or that I am LIVING WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA, because that's no excuse for not being able to do well on a test. Nevermind that MY GODDAMN BRAIN DOESN'T WORK, and I can't read a page of anything. Nevermind that there are SIX ASSIGNED BOOKS FOR THIS CLASS. Just buck up. Drop the course and leave like a failure or force your brain to work, somehow, is apparently he solution. How I do that, I would love to know. I refuse to drop the course. I did not fight this hard for the past nearly 20 fucking years to have to drop courses in my senior year when I'm finally close to graduating. No way. I did not fight this hard to go this far, to give up and have to repay my financial aid money and be dead broke and useless and hopeless. I'm not going to do that to myself. So no thanks, prof. I refuse. I don't care if I fail this class, I'm not dropping out.

After the test, I went to Spanish class, where I found myself sitting, frozen, unable to respond verbally when the professor ordered us to repeat verbs in espanol. When she went around the class asking people to respond in Spanish to questions, I fumbled and couldn't answer. The girl next to me felt sorry for me and tried to tell me the answer. Other people laughed at me. A few minutes later I thought it was my turn again, and I said, "Can I just pass this time please?" But it wasn't my turn. I got up and walked out, went to call the mental health center and make sure my Latuda was getting refilled. I asked the medical assistant supervisor if there were any openings to see my doctor before the end of March, when my next appointment was for. "Why?"" she asked. "Is something wrong?" I said, "I'm psychotic." She couldn't hear me. Bad cell phone reception in the building. Students were coming in and out of classrooms one by one to use the restroom. Some professor was sitting with the door to his office open. Here I was yelling, "I have PSYCHOSIS RIGHT NOW." Finally she seemed to hear what I said, "Did you say you're psychotic?"

"Yes."
"You mean hearing voices and seeing things?"

"Yes." (OKay that is not really accurate but she's not a doctor and I don't have time to explain the negative symptoms of psychosis to her right now.)

"How about coming in next Thursday?"
Funny, because last time I asked for an appointment sooner they said there was nothing until the end of March, but now there's something open on March 6th. I said I would come in then.

I went back to Spanish class. The classroom was empty except for the professor, who was erasing the board. "What's wrong?" she asked. "Are you alright?"

I didn't even have to explain that something was wrong as she had already gathered that. "I have Schizophrenia and I'm having some problems right now."

"Lo siento"she said. (I'm sorry in Spanish).

She asked me if I take medication. Yes, I said, and I am out of one of them which is why I walked out of your class to call my doctor. "Go to the doctor right now," she said.

"Ok", I said.

I went and called my case manager. I was shaking so I assumed that I should eat something and perhaps I would feel better because supposedly I'm hypoglycemic. I called the case manager \from the café while I was eating my tuna fish sandwich.

I said there was something wrong, and I couldn't explain it just then because I was at school, but I needed to talk to someone. She said I could come into her office and see her.

I went to her office. I drove there kind of like a robot, because I was just there a few days ago to renew my lease, so I remembered how to get there and didn't get lost. I told her what was going on. We called the pharmacy. They said they were refilling my Latuda. I thought about going to the hospital, and told her I'd been thinking about it. She asked me if I would be alright to go home by myself. I explained I wasn't suicidal or anything.

She said (again) I should get a dry erase board and put it on my refrigerator to remind myself when it's time to renew my prescriptions. I said (again), I kept forgetting to do this, but I would if I remembered.

I left, and went to the pharmacy.They said they didn't have any Latuda. "Can I get it from somewhere else?" The clerk looked at me like I was (ahem) nuts. "What?" "I said can I get it from another Walgreens?"

She said, impatiently, as if I was some drug addict, "Is this something you really have to have?"

"Yes," I said, "It is." Part of me wanted to say, "Yes, I have Schizophrenia, and I'm currently psychotic. That is an antipsychotic drug that I need, so if you don't want the police or an ambulance to come here then yes I need it right now." But I didn't say that.

They gave me enough for a couple days and sent me on my not-so-merry way.

So now I'm home. I took the Latuda, but I have to look for something to eat because it doesn't work if you take it without food.

I have two assignments due for school next week so I really can't go to the hospital right now. It would be very bad timing, and I haven't been in a hospital in five years, so I don't think it's necessary either. I just need the meds to kick in.

I think going off Risperdal Consta was a mistake.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Letting go

Last week, my dad fired my brother from his job. He deserved to be fired. He chooses to drink rather than show up at work. He chooses to wallow in alcoholism, rather than go to A.A. meetings, even when I offer to drive him to A.A. meetings. He chose to leave a perfectly good halfway house, to return to living in motels months ago, and being drunk and homeless. For the past week, with no money for a motel, he has been on the streets..

This is the day I told him was coming. I told him for the past four years. I said, "If you don't stop now, you're going to end up on the streets, or dead." He didn't listen to me. He didn't want my advice. I can't claim to understand alcoholism, or to know what it's like to be an alcoholic, so I don't have the answers. But I saw this coming from four years away. And now it is here.

So, of course, having been kicked out of every other place, he came to knock on my door one night. I let him sleep on my couch but tried to convince him to go to the crisis mental health center, because he has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in the past, and even though he does not believe he has Bipolar, and he will not take medication for it, I knew that he needed help of some kind. He said he wanted to think about it. I tried to convince him to go to the detox center nearby and he did not want to go there either. The next day he didn't come back. He took his last few dollars and went and stayed in a motel, getting drunk again.

I drove to the courthouse, while I was supposed to be in Spanish class, and filed for an Ex Parte Baker Act. This is an involuntary commitment order to put someone in a mental health facility. I told them about my brother and the state he was in. He was a danger to himself, and I said so. I got the call a couple hours later, the judge had signed off on it. The police would pick him up whenever we figured out where he was. Just then, I also got an email from my brother, saying he was at the library downtown and he wanted help. He said he was walking to my apartment. I drove to the library searching for him but he wasn't there. I called the police back. I told them I knew where he was and I could take him to the crisis unit myself. They said they had to take him there.

He finally showed up at my apartment, dirty, drunk, tired, skinny as a rail. He was, as usual, not making much sense. And he was defeated. He said, "I give up". I explained that I was going to help him get help. I told him that - for his own good - the police were coming to take him. He had already gotten out of my mom's car on a busy road earlier this week, I couldn't risk him doing that with me. I said I was only doing this to help him.. He was mad. Really mad. But the police came, and they took him, in handcuffs, to the crisis center.

All my neighbors came outside to gawk at my brother being led away from the cops. One of them asked me if I knew him. Yes, I said. He is my brother. And he needs help.

The next day, within less than 24 hours after his arrival at the crisis unit, he was discharged. Perhaps because he had been sleeping in homeless shelters and they thought he was just a vagrant, perhaps because he had no insurance, perhaps because he refused to take medication, perhaps because the crisis unit recently got bought out by a corporation and they seem to be releasing a lot of people from there right now, for whatever reason, they sent him back to the streets.

That night at 11 PM he arrived at my door. That was last night. I did not \know what to do. I did not want to call the police again. I was tired. I wanted to go to bed so I could get up in time for work today. I have to think of my own mental health as well here. I told him I was going to bed and he could sleep on the couch. He said he wanted to go to detox. I gave him my phone and told him to call them and arrange to go there.

This morning I woke him up at 7 AM and told him to call the detox facility again. They did an intake with him on the phone. On my way to work, so I wouldn't be late, I dropped him off at an intersection, and gave him money for busfare to go the rest of the way there. He promised he was going. He had their address and phone number, and he had looked at the map to getting there on my computer. He had a card from the homeless shelter proving his homeless state, so he could go in as an indigent person as he has no money and no job. That was the last I or anyone saw or heard from him.

I don't know where he is now. I'm tired. Tired of worrying about my brother. Tired of waiting for another dreaded knock on my door at night. Tired of having parents who don't even know how to help me deal with this situation when he is their own son. Tired of alcohol, and alcoholism destroying my family and people I care about and love.

I'm tired.

That is all.

I am letting my brother go.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Silent all these years.......One Billion Rising


When Eve Ensler, creator of the Vagina Monologues and V-Day, found out a statistic that one in three women would be the victim of physical or sexual violence in her lifetime, she decided to start this movement called One Billion Rising to raise awareness about global violence against women on Valentine's Day of this year.

So this is my contribution.

I don't speak about this much when I go to tell my story in public. It's not because I'm embarrassed, but because it's personal and I don't need to be stared at and have strangers know these details of my life. But I did tell some of it to the police when I was speaking to Crisis Intervention Team training classes before. They fell silent. Someone cried. I felt weird. I was shaking a lot. I didn't want to talk about it in front of a group again. But I did. I told a group of mental health workers from the community mental health center I go to about it, back in 2010. So I guess I have told the story a little bit, here and there. "Lying is done with words and also with silence," wrote Adrienne Rich. "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open", wrote Muriel Rukeyser.

The first time it happened I was about 26. I don't remember for sure what year it was. It might have been 2002 or 2003. I was floridly psychotic, which is why this story pertains to this blog. I was unmedicated and misdiagnosed with a dissociative disorder as I believed (as has been explained in other posts here) that I had been abused as a child. I had no memories of that abuse, but it was basically my mind's way of explaining what was wrong with my mind, to think that it was all based on abuse. I was paranoid. But I was not entirely crazy. I knew the difference between consensual sex and rape.

I met this guy on a dating website, and I'm not even sure I told him my real name because I remember that he had not told me his real name. I found that out later. He lived in the suburbs outside Washington DC. I lived in a rented room in Alexandria, Virginia. I was very isolated. I had two housemates in the condo but they were male and not very helpful when this incident occurred.

I went on a date with him and I was thinking in my delusional way that I was supposed to do certain things that people wanted from me because of the New World Order, and the way that things secretly were supposed to be in the code that everybody really knew but never divulged. So when he wanted to take me to a motel, I thought, I had to go. I told him, I didn't want to do anything. I had just met him. I wasn't interested in that. He said he just wanted to sit somewhere with me and watch TV with me, and this place was closer than where he lived, and for some reason we couldn't go to where he lived. I thought I had to go. I went to the room.

I don't remember how it started, but it was repeated, and it went on seemingly for hours. I remember clearly saying,, "NO", and "Stop", and that he clearly did not listen to me and did not stop.

A day or two later I went to an emergency room. Maybe it was the next day, I don't know. The nature of traumatic memory is that it's fragmented. I don't even know how old I was. I had my friend Barbara, who lived in Maryland, meet me at the ER. She said she wanted to. I had been friends with her since we met in the psych unit for people with trauma histories. She was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. I didn't know what I was diagnosed with but I basically lived under the assumption that it was the same. Nobody had yet talked to me about psychosis.

I remember the nurse who said that if I didn't report it, then he would just do it again, and that would be somehow my fault. I remember that I didn't understand how that would be my fault. I didn't even know his real name. I didn't know his address. I didn't anything about him. There were no witnesses. I talked to a police officer. He tried to calm me, but I was in a dissociative state, and I was also out of it, just not there, as in totally spaced out. I had disconnected from the world. It was too painful to be in this reality. I remember that he said he thought I was too traumatized to handle an investigation and a trial even if they could catch this guy, which they probably couldn't, and I remember being relieved that he was nice to me, and he never told me it was my fault for going into the motel room with the guy, like I knew some people would.

I cried. I took the Morning After Pill. I had to make phone calls to find a hospitall that would actually give me that because the MAP was not given out to rape victims at Catholic hospitals in the ER, so I had no choice but to go further, on a bus or in a cab, probably in a cab, I don't really remember, to get the MAP. Barbara held my hand in the ER waiting room. I could barely speak.

He called me later. Maybe it was like a week later, I don't remember. He acted as if he was sorry. I said "send me a fucking Hallmark greeting card". I told him he had raped me. He seemed to already be aware, or else, why would he call to apologize?

I got an HIV test. I would go back, for years, when I would be sane enough for it to occur to me that I needed to do so, and get one again. I got the HPV virus, and then I later contracted pre-cancerous cells in my cervix which had to be removed - twice - by doctors. That came from the HPV virus, which causes cervical cancer. If I ever get cervical cancer, I will look back on this incident as the root cause of it.

But that wasn't the last time.

It happened again years later. It was 2004 or so. I was 29. I was at the mall, which I thought was a scene out of the book The Elegant Universe, which I had recently read, as the shapes reminded me of superstring theory and quantum physics, for reasons I cannot explain to you except to say, simply, I was psychotic. I thought that in the New World Order, women were not supposed to go out alone, so sometimes, I would get into cars with strange men, just so that I would not be sent to a concentration camp. I did this numerous times. It didn't always result in sexual violence. This time it did. The guy had a babyseat in his car, in the back. He asked me if I needed a ride. The mall had closed. Everyone was leaving, and I thought I was supposed to have someone to leave with. I didn't know when another bus was coming. I said, yes, I needed a ride. He took me to a parking lot that is within walking distance of the apartment building where I have now lived for the past six years. I pass that parking lot everyday. Every day I try not to think about it.

He made me perform a sexual act in the front seat of his car. Then I convinced him to drop me off at my brother's house. I banged on my brother's door and told him I had a fight with my boyfriend (I had no boyfriend, I just made up stories to cover up for how deranged my whole life was), and that I needed him to let me in his house. He got a baseball bat and told me to get the hell away from his house. His wife and his friend were inside. He called me a cab. I thought his friend's bike belonged to me, so I took it in the cab when I left. I went back to my shacklike efficiency. The next day my mom and my brother and my brother's friend were there yelling at me, "You fuck up!" my brother said, as I had supposedly stolen his friend's bike. The bike was sitting right outside. I said, "No, it's mine", and they didn't seem to understand or didn't seem to care to understand that I was psychotic. Nobody knew what happened the night before. They still don't know.

The next time was about a year later. I was living in an assisted living facility. The social worker at the hospital psychiatric unit had sent me there. It was a horrible place. I felt quite sure I was only being held there until I got sent to the concentration camp. I was still totally psychotic, and not taking my medication. The other women who lived in the home were elderly and were all afraid of me. The owner eventually kicked me out because Medicare wouldn't pay the thousands of dollars this place wanted for me to live there. One day I was walking. I thought I was supposed to go on missions; I was following clues. I would go wherever the clues would send me, when I was psychotic. I would do the things the clues told me to do. I walked from Palm Harbor down to Clearwater, and I walked down the side of U.S. 19. I went into stores, and an office building, where I thought I was supposed to go, but then I couldn't figure out what exactly I was supposed to do there, so I would leave. I was standing on the side of US when this fat man in a sports car pulled up and asked me if I wanted a ride. The voices told me I was supposed to get in the car and go to New York with him. He had a New York license plate. He was really weird, and talked fast, and I couldn't understand what he was saying. The next thing I knew we were in a parking lot. He was making me perform a sexual act in the car. I hated it. I wanted to get away but I had no one to turn to for help. I knew the people at the ALF would just be mad at me for having run away for the whole day if I went back there. He left me at the neighborhood pool. I started walking. A girl that worked at the ALF drove by and picked me up in her car. She asked me what I was doing and where I had been. I don't remember what I said. I never told anybody what happened that day, at the time.

It's time to end violence against women. I find violence against women with psychiatric disabilities to be rarely talked about and I suspect it's extremely common. I have met too many women to know that this is not a rare story that I have. This is not an anomaly. I wish it was, but it isn't.

Sometimes I get the urge to talk to my therapist about it (or I did, when I still had a therapist), and she would try to slow me down, and say, basically, let's not go there, because apparently people with Schizoaffective Disorder can't handle trauma, or at least that is the opinion of the therapists I've had. They have basically told me to never bring it up. To just forget. But I don't forget. How could you forget?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My brother is lost

My brother is 32. He is six years younger than me. I remember the day he was born. I remember, his whole childhood. I remember, when he wrote me the letter that said, "stay weird, it's the best thing you've got going for you", when he was 13. I remember when I had to pick him up from the Principal's office from high school because he got into trouble. I remember when he got married. I remember when he played guitar in a band. I remember when he drove and owned a car and owned a house.

He lost his wife, his house, all his money, and now even his job, to alcohol. He lost his car to a DUI accident years ago. He's been living in motels and in and out of my mom's house and my sister's apartment for the past four years, but mostly in motels.

My brother, the bright one, the funny one, the one I admire. My brother who has destroyed his whole entire life with alcohol. My brother who suffers from diagnosed but untreated mental illness and who has no health insurance. My brother is homeless, with no money, no food, and probably no hope. And all he cares about, all that seems to matter to him, is where he can get his next drink.

My brother has been missing since yesterday. We don't know where he is. On Monday (two days ago), he checked out of his most recent motel. Nobody knows where he went. On Tuesday, my dad fired him from the job that kept him going for all these years, the one fallback he always had, that job that had enabled him to pay for motel rooms and go to bars.

He won't answer his phone. He blocked me on Facebook. I don't know if he is even alive. I can only hope.

I talked to my mom about getting an ex parte order to have him Baker Acted into a hospital, because he obviously needs help more than ever, and we're all worried that he might be suicidal.

It makes me feel helpless, not being able to help my brother. I looked out for him all his life. I stood up for him.. Anybody bothered him, and they had to deal with me, including our parents. I cared. I loved him all his life. I still love him. But it's not enough. People love him and try to help him, and it's not enough to make him get help. It's not enough to make him want to live. It's not enough to make him put down the bottle.

My brother has been basically a walking dead man for years. The only bright spot was when he went to the halfway house and AA, and I was never so proud of him as I was then when he was going to meetings, and living a sober life. I really believed in him, and had faith in him, and admired him. But he did not believe in himself. He gave up and went back to living in motels. He needs a a wake up call, and I can only hope that being homeless on the streets with no job will be that wake up call.

It is so hard to have family members who are alcoholics or drug addicts and have to worry about them all the time. It is much like having family members with mental illnesses. And in my brother's case, he has both. Today I called to talk to a Crisis Intervention Team trained officer to see if there was any news on my brother because they were looking for him last night. But the officer never called back yet. I talked to someone in NAMI and asked for his advice as he helped start the CIT Training program here in this county some 17 years ago. He gave me the name of a person who might be able to give me advice.

At the end of the day, I know there is very little I can do for my brother. I know that people have to want help to get better, at least somewhat. I know that they won't force him into the hospital unless he meets criteria, and he knows the criteria, and he's a really good liar.

All he ever does is lie to everyone, every day. And mostly, he lies to himself.

I hope my brother is out there somewhere tonight, maybe in a homeless shelter, maybe in a motel, maybe somewhere, and I hope he thinks about calling me and I hope he thinks about getting sober and getting help, and going to the hospital.

 

Monday, February 11, 2013

the end of the short term boyfriend relationship

I just broke up with boyfriend of three weeks. He didn't really seem like my boyfriend, in that I never met him in person, but we talked on the phone every day and he sent me texts all the time. I met him on Facebook on a support group for people with Schizoaffective Disorder. I wasn't looking to meet anybody. In retrospect, I should have stuck to my initial suspicion that this was a bad idea, to start talking to him every day. I can't say I don't want to date someone with my illness - obviously, I myself have this illness, in all its glory, and I can hardly discriminate against people who have it! But this person was not taking his medication as prescribed and was having active delusions that he was Jesus. He was also telling me about violent incidents he got into where he instigated fights with people and then they "attacked" and "battered" him, as recently as yesterday. I feel truly bad for this guy, because he seems to know that he is ill and yet not realize properly taking his medication could help him immensely and talking to his treatment providers about thinking he's Jesus just might be a good idea. But I can't save anyone. I started thinking I could "help" him (always a bad sign with me), and so I became willing to take all his phone calls, even the ones I had no time for, and respond to all his texts, and sit on the phone with him while he watched TV and didn't even talk to me. He would call me "babe" and talk about me as if I was his "woman", and I guess part of me liked feeling like I mattered to someone, like someone thought I was attractive enough to talk to me that way.

But then the more he told me about his incidents of getting into fights with people, and especially an incident of pushing his girlfriend years ago and knocking her down, and another incident of hitting his mother (because she hit him first, so he thinks this was okay), I realized that there were too many red flags for me to ever want to really be involved with him, and I was not going to really want to go and meet him alone where he lives in a mobile home 3-4 hours from where I live. I was supposed to go meet him next weekend.

Then tonight I told him I had to study, because I am really behind in my Spanish class, and I have a test in a couple days which I won't pass at all, if I don't spend all my time studying until then, whenever I have free time. He said "so what time can you call me tonight?" I explained I wasn't calling him tonight. He sent me continuous text messages asking me when I was going to take a break and call him and why couldn't I call him and watch TV with him, and when was I going to stop studying, and then, of course, came the, "Do you even have time in your life for me or not?" I said, he was being so demanding of my time that if he expected this much out of me, then no, I don't have time, because I don't have as much free time as he expects me to have for him. He wrote back (I refused to get on the phone with him because it would never end), that "I come before everything else in your life and if that's not the way it is going to be then this is not for me." I wrote back and said, "This is not for me". Obviously, no guy I met on Facebook and have talked to for all of three weeks comes before everything else in my life. Number one, in my life, comes MYSELF.  After that comes my family. Then my friends. Then my schooling, my job, NAMI, the National Organiation for Women and feminist activism, writing this blog, my cats, politics, social issues, Facebook, and then maybe a boyfriend.

If a boyfriend thinks he is going to come first, then I guess there isn't going to be a boyfriend, particularly not a psychotic boyfriend who gets into violent confrontations with people and considers me "his woman".
\
So that, basically, was the end of that. I'm just glad things didn't get further along with him before I realized what a bad situation I was in.

The last thing I need in my life is as controlling guy trying to keep tabs on me all the time and tell me what to do with my time and my life. No thanks.
"You are too controlling for me," I said, and "I am a feminist".

Adios.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"Tell me about your car accident" (or adventures in the chiropractor's office)

You may have noticed I was feeling rather sorry for myself in my last post. Well, it is hard when your treatment providers leave you behind, but I didn't mean to act as though everybody had left me behind. In fact, even though my therapist left me, I have other people around. As Mary pointed out, my friend who came to help me clean was being a good friend to me, and I definitely appreciated that. I didn't pay her as much as the work she did was worth. She was doing it largely as my friend because she said she wanted to help me. She said she couldn't believe the mental health housing agency that owns my apartment hasn't done anything to help me with this problem.

Also, I said in my last post the New Zealander had abandoned me, and that wasn't entirely accurate. He did move in with his ex-girlfriend, and no he doesn't love me and we don't have a romantic relationship anymore, but he has offered to still be there for me as a friend, so it wouldn't really be fair to say that he abandoned me.

Okay, so on to the chiropractor's visit.

I had never been to a chiropractor before yesterday. The one I saw was an intern, who I could see for free, because she's still in training. She took a very detailed history, which involved going over my plethora of weird illnesses that are little understood by most medical professionals, and which make me sound immediately like a hypochondriac upon mentioning them. I then had to go over every medication I take which included my psychotropic drugs and that was fun, as always. "Latuda??" They have never heard of Latuda anyplace. And then, finally, came the wonderful conversation about my car accident seven years ago.

Chiropractor, "You wrote down here that you had a minor car accident. Tell me about that."

Me, "Well the car rolled three times and was totaled so it wasn't really minor, but I wasn't seriously injured or anything."

"Which car rolled three times?"

"My car."

"You were driving this car?"

"Yes."

"Well who was at fault?"

"I was."

"Was anyone injured?"

"No one was involved but me."

"I don't really understand."

"It was basically a suicide attempt, so...."
"What?"

"I drove into the side of the Skyway Bridge, okay?"

"OH!! OH my!! OH!! OH!!!"


I then tried to steer the conversation elsewhere rather abruptly. But it didn't work.

"Did you seek treatment in case you were injured?"
"No, because I was not well, and I was not taking care of myself at the time, so I did not seek treatment."

She wrote something down after I said that.

It's never good when medical professionals write things down. It always means something bad has come out of your mouth. Something incriminating.

Again, I steered the conversation away. She seemed relieved now. She said, "I think we know each other pretty well now. I feel like we should be having coffee."

I appreciated her not talking to me as if I were a freak of nature.

The end result was that they are going to do some treatment for my Fibromyalgia there so we shall see how that goes. I am hopeful about it.

I still haven't met my boyfriend yet. I mean, he asked me to be his girlfriend two weeks ago, but we haven't met offline yet. We just talk on the phone every day. He's very nice, and also has Schizoaffective Disorder, so I feel we understand each other. At the same time, I'm definitely not falling in love or anything like that. It is just more like a friendship. So we shall see how it develops.

And that is all for now.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

abandonment

Today I saw my therapist for what will apparently be the last time. I had intended to visit her at her other office, outside the community mental health center, and continue therapy, but she indicated to me today that she didn't think I should do this. She thought I should stay at the wretched community mental health center and see yet another therapist there. Again. I couldn't help but wonder why she wanted to leave me behind. I couldn't help but feel a little abandoned.

In the past year, my whole treatment team has left. Over a year ago, I had to stop therapy with my therapist of four years. I was able to continue seeing her for some months for free since the insurance wouldn't pay anymore, but then that ran out, and by the beginning of last year I had been without a therapist for some time. I had tried a new therapist who had left after my first appointment with her without so much as notifying me. And I had tried another therapist - a male - who I didn't hit it off with at all. And then I had given up on therapy. Then in December 2011, my nurse who gave me injections every two weeks for years left. Then I started with a new therapist. Then in May my fifth psychiatrist in seven years left. Then in December my case manager who I had for seven years spoken to every week left. And they closed my case and didn't give me a new case manager because I'm oh so much better now that I don't need one (or more to the point there's no money for one), and now my therapist has left. All that I have left at the mental health center is my new doctor.

My entire treatment team left me. More than once. It's hard not to feel abandoned in that situation. Here I am, fragile brain and all, holding it up asking, "Please, help?" and then they say they will help and then they leave.

The New Zealander abandoned me to move in with his ex girlfriend and decide to just be my friend. .I know he doesn't see it that way, but I do. I was happy in a romance months ago, and now that's dead and gone.

Technically, I have a boyfriend now. He is a guy I haven't actually met yet though. I know him online and through the phone. He also has Schizoaffective Disorder and lives in Florida. He seems nice, if maybe a little unstable much like myself. We talk a lot now. He sends me texts. He calls me and  I don't know if it will ever amount to anything, but I know it's better than feeling like I'm dead all alone all the time.

The negative symptoms are killing me. I do indeed feel quite dead. I have no motivation. I'm behind on all my college work. I have read none of my textbooks, and I have not studied. I don't know how I will pull good grades out of a hat at this rate.

Because my apartment really needed help due to my avolition and apathy, I hired my friend to help me, and she did a great deal of work here the other day for very little money considering the time she spent here. She spent four hours just cleaning my bathroom. And another four hours cleaning the living room and the kitchen. I did laundry and took out trash and folded clothes, and tried to put things away. The place looks a lot better now - except for the bedroom which isn't done yet. My case manager from the housing agency came today and said it looks great, which is good.

I will be having my friend come out every two weeks now for a while to help me. I simply can't manage to keep house on my own, so as I know that this is a common problem for people with the disorder I have and with other mental illnesses, I am no longer going to live in denial about it. I am going to face it and deal with it.

In the meantime, I am lonely. I feel rather lost. But I'll go on. That's what we all do.

 

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