spectating participant

May 9, 2005

feeling verbose

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:13 pm

maybe I’m feeling verbose because I have pages of pages-to-be-written sitting in front of me, but my mind keeps wandering back to some thoughts from earlier. I went to dinner with chris at a little italian place and had below average fettucini alfredo and a frozen cannoli. Was quite nice to have dinner together cause this a busy week for him at work and he knew he wouldn’t be home before 10pm tonight. We touched on this topic a little bit and it fleshed out a few more things for me.

i’m thinking more about the stigma associated with mental illnesses and also the current climate of the prozac nation. i have a psychiatrist that I don’t really feel is all that great over all but he gets the job done in the medication management and listens to his clients. However, I feel he is on that trigger-happy bandwagon to throw a diagnosis to anyone who walks into his office. I meet some of these people at our group therapy meetings and can’t help wondering where he comes up with his diagnosis bases. Some of these kids are just that, kids who are adjusting to the adult world, adjusting to college, and are dealing with breakups and disappointments of life. Wait! Not all of them, some seem to have serious reasons for downing drugs every day, but it really puts me off when talking to those that keep getting in under this new idea that anything and everything is a mental disorder.

I know I come of sounding like a bit of a psycho snob, but in a way i feel like I am. I guess it is hard to feel much support from people who’s psychosis includes being sad for a week and then being hyper for a week (their words) and none of the other bipolar perks. When I’m manic, it is not just having more energy, it is not eating, rarely sleeping, and hallucinations, visual, auditory, sensory hallucinations. I guess I don’t expect someone to have hallucinations in order for me to think that something is really wrong, but it sure helps if there is a little more than “I was just very bouncy and happy and acting silly” or “well, I just felt bad last week and I wasn’t doing good in class and my boyfriend broke up with me.” I expect the days in bed, inability to actually drag yourself out of it, sleeping through life to make it go away, being convinced 100% that your friends don’t care about you and never did, hearing a non-stop beratement of all your incompetencies.

Now, sounding like a total bitch about the whole thing, comes the most frustrating part. We’re being spoon fed diagnosis’s through the television and magazines, prozac as a simple solution for feeling a little down from time to time, a medicinal escape from the reality of life. And the world sees this, they laugh at what america is becoming and the legitimacy of more serious cases of mental illness (and mine could be argued to not fit into that category at all, well at least till I’m sitting in the psych-ward admissions office) diminishes. Perhaps I’m one of the people I want to fight back against, feeling like the world has created an epidemic from nothing but freely handed pill bottles leading to public state of disbelief and feeling that its-all-in-our-head (just a bit ironic). Yes, there are people with serious need for medication and treatment and there is validity to depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and others. I sincerely believe that and each time my meds back off and I realize that I will not be able to escape this, the seriousness of mental disorders and the reality of living with them hits me. I am sure that the majority of the people who are getting care do deserve it, but I see that there is also a push to make a diagnosis the cure all for others.

Most physical diseases are not treated this way. People don’t comment about having diabetes and have people question the validity of it. They deal with the same challenges of living with a disease that need constant monitoring and attention and treatment and don’t have to feel like the world thinks they are making it up. But hey, maybe the world doesn’t think that, maybe this is all in my head that they do, and the world really does think that mental illness is a serious and real condition, with a real risk of death in some caes. Now, if that was true, then maybe medical insurance would open their eyes and start providing some better coverage for these services.

As a slight tangent, Chris started a new job and we were looking over the medical insurance plan together for which one he should pick. I told him that my biggest concerns when checking out insurance are how much they cover for mental health, drugs, therapy, medication management appointments, and-most importantly-inpatient treatment services. That honest statement and realization that I have to have hospitalization coverage cause it is highly likely that I will need that service at some point in the future was a hard one to vocalize and internalize. But it kinds just part of the playing field, if I play my cards right, do as I’m supposed to, the risk is pretty low that I’ll need it. But, doctors do strange things (like take you off one drug and not replace it with anything for a couple weeks, against your requests/opinion) and sometimes the drugs just don’t work or your mind starts working against you and the drugs, and you need to know you’re covered for services like that.

Okay, no more tangents, no more fussing, no more broken thoughts and possibly somewhat irrational accusations against the world. I need to get back to developing a research proposal that is due later this week.