The Voices Of & For Parenting Surivors

‘Merica, We Have a Problem–A Mental Health Care Manager/Survivor’s Rant.

Between watching the Spotlight Movie last night, spending the last two hours delving into trauma-informed care publications for an article I’m working on, and witnessing the damaging failures of the mental health system at work this week…I’m overwhelmed.
I’m frustrated that obvious connections between a person’s experiences and physical and mental health are not being made. I’m tired of hearing about people’s treatment plans instead of their struggles, and what led up to them.
I feel helpless watching people fall through cracks because they don’t fit criteria for help they desperately need–be it help with obtaining medical/mental health treatment, housing or other vital needs.
failing mh system
I’m tired of hearing that there is no hope for someone because his/her issues are “behavioral”, and not “real”, only encouraging individuals to continue on with reckless behaviors, sometimes involving attempts at taking their own lives, because they don’t know how else to be heard or seen.
I witnessed a psychiatrist ask a patient with an extensive history of sexual traumas if (s)he “disassociates”. She had no idea what he meant. She had never before heard the term, despite being in and out of treatment since a very young age.
Isn’t being able to identify that kind of behavior the key to changing negative and non-effective coping strategies? Doesn’t that just make sense? How has this person been “in the system” for nearly 15 yrs and it take having an almost fatal psychotic break before she is diagnosed with PTSD?? Why did she leave his office with more medication, and not a recommendation for her therapist to help educate her on what exactly PTSD is and how she can move forward in recovering?
What is it going to take?
I’m not burn-out, I’m pissed off.
The only good thing about feeling this way is it motivates me. It reminds me of the importance of creating the Trigger Points community and the conversations we have had and continue to have; the importance of sharing knowledge and stories; the power in empowering one another.
This frustrated energy is the fuel I need to continue working in a broken system, in hopes of making even miniscule changes. It’s motivation to step out of my comfort zone and present the Trigger Points anthology to the people that will benefit from hearing the stories, and understand the value of bringing the topic of parenting as a survivor to the surface.
These are seeds. Seeds we are planting to break cycles and help create a wave of cultural change. It’s an uphill battle with cultural and systemic barriers in every direction, but it’s worth it. Actually, it’s vital.
People deserve better. We deserve better.
The next generation will be better.
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6 thoughts on “‘Merica, We Have a Problem–A Mental Health Care Manager/Survivor’s Rant.

  1. This is partly why I write what I do in my blog. I was never officially diagnosed with PTSD (probably because I’ve been uninsured for years and also low-income), but after being raped in 2010, I had symptoms of it badly enough that I ended up on suicide watch at a Portland psych ward overnight where only ONE person acknowledged me as a person who was traumatized and in pain.

    They disrespected me, humiliated me, and doped me up, and told me when they released me the next day to ‘find a therapist’, My one night being dehumanized and bullied by the head of the ward told me that the mental health system was not going to heal the pain I felt. I found a different way to address the pain and anger which I believe is 1000x more efficient than the treatment I received that night. It is my dream to help others struggling with healing after trauma, because no one should be treated like I was that night.

    Thank you for speaking out about this.

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    1. Juana, having working on a psych ward I understand where you’re coming from. The “treatment” the system offers can sometimes feel as bad or worse than what you’re trying to recover from. It’s good to hear you found the strength to find alternative ways of healing.

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  2. Thank you for your optimism and for the work you do! Having grown up with a bipolar mother, I’ve gotten a front row seat to how our medical system tries to work with mental illness. The sad fact is, the modality itself doesn’t have the first clue about so much of what’s going on when someone is mentally ill. Drug companies and insurance companies so completely dictate treatment these days that it makes me sad, because people don’t explore other healing options that can actually heal them, because of money and lack of knowledge about other ways of getting well or at least feeling a whole lot better.

    My own journey of healing from having suffered multiple types of abuse as a child, led me to the world of alternative healing. Because I’ve been able to experience very real, permanent changes, with relatively little cost (all out of pocket) and time output (as compared with seeing a psychiatrist or a traditional therapist for months or years), my healing journey has been extremely transformational for me. Much of the work I’ve been doing has been what Native Americans refer to as soul retrieval. There are several ways to do this, and especially for people who suffer from PTSD, soul retrieval is definitely called for. These days, I’m seeing things like illness as a process that exists in the energy field outside our physical body, that does affect our physical body. But to heal it, we need to address this outer energy field first, which will, in turn, affect our physical body. The truly amazing thing is, I’ve been able to address emotional issues, relationship issues, and physical issues in this way.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your frustrations regarding the mental health system with us. I have recently begun to blog about depression, stigma, suicide prevention/awareness, and our broken mental health system. I was very surprised to find out that after only one meeting at a partial hospitalization program, based on answers I gave as a person going through a major depressive episode, a diagnosis and medication plan.

    At my intake meeting at a partial hospitalization program, I went through a three-hour or so intake meeting. After this meeting, I was given a diagnosis and a regimen of medicine. This was the first time these staff members had ever met me. I had a mental illness (major depressive episode). Who knew if I was even answering the questions honestly or correctly? Many mental illness significantly impact memory, cognition, judgement, and much more. Many patients may be incapable of answering correctly and others may be fearful of being honest, particularly with questions such as, “Do you hear voices?” or “How much alcohol do you drink?”. Patients may then be given an incorrect diagnosis and put on meds that, in the worst case scenario, could be detrimental to their actual illness. As a bare minimum, I believe that patients should be requested to bring a loved one or someone who knows the patient very well. Of course, such a person may not be available, but the recommendation should certainly be made. In my case, I was very thankful to have brought my wife, who corrected many of my responses for me.

    Follow my blog at allevin18.wordpress.com and on Twitter @allevin18.
    Thank you again! Al

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing that with me, Allevin. It IS crazy how we go about diagnosing and medicating individuals. The focus seems to be on the wrong issues for sure. And not nearly enough time is spent with the individual and their supports before we slap labels on them. It’s frustrating to say the least.

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