We as families and individuals living with Serious Mental Illness bear all the hardship and struggle to gain support, treatment and our sanity within a system that fails us at every turn. There also resides stories of inspiration, determination & sheer luck in accessing services, those tales are palatable to everyone & much less frequent. Although the statistics will make you believe people receive necessary care, I am here to point out quite vividly no they do not! If you have an illness no matter physical or mental it requires treatment, whatever the choice of treatment is, when you're lucky enough to even make the choice, the services are beyond inadequate.
The challenges are not insurmountable, they definitely feel that way, and it is extremely frustrating to have to exist within a set of limits that you did not create, the system did. The boundaries set forth are very difficult to maneuver alone, I tried, so many times I tried. All my efforts were met with disdain & rejection. The mental health complex is like a maximum-security prison locking up families on the outside of its walls, trying to claw their way in. People need support and access to care and services as a family unit, when they are fortunate enough to have that connection. So many of our street level people have lost that necessary family system because of Serious Mental Illness & Addiction which can cause episodes of anger & rage along with many other behavioral & mood disturbances. Supporting & advocating for the individual also means caring for the family as a whole which will ease the burden on the community and the meager resources we have.
Have you ever had to ask for help in a Mental Illness Crisis? What happened? What could be done to create a better experience for you and your family member? Do you feel comfortable calling Law Enforcement for help? Have you called 988, for yourself or a loved one?
When my loved one experienced paranoia and delusions, it was scary and devastating and I truly thought as naive as I was that when you called for help, in a crisis, help arrived. Boy was I wrong, it did not. I got the run around the it's someone else's job, not our responsibility, no intervention, only complete ignorance of the devastation we faced. I am not comfortable with the idea that we as families are on repeat in a never-ending cycle of the failures of the mental health care system. There are many stories of this fact but in particular the one that haunts me is when I was told by the ER doctor in no uncertain terms, he had his first psychotic break! WTF? Those were the scariest words I had ever heard, and I honestly was not even sure what exactly they meant but I knew it was bad! What I did recognize was the cold matter of fact way the ER doctor made it seem like no big deal happens all the time! To her of course it happens all the time at the ER during her 12-hour shifts. It is an unfortunate condition to become indifferent to the suffering of those you are charged with helping. It was such a confusing time with no one to help us through the tangled maze we were trapped in.
I truly hope if you find yourself or your loved one in a crisis due to Mental Illness you get the necessary support or intervention. Whatever you do, stay strong, reach out and do not give up! Things do get better; it takes patience and perseverance!