Disclaimer: Pardon the somewhat graphic nature of this post, also I am writing this stream of consciousness style (as I do with all my venting posts), so no judgement please. Trigger warning for sure.
***** IMPORTANT: If you are just now starting to look for help, I highly recommend that you read this carefully, if you do at all. I am a bitter old woman when it comes to the mental health field because of my experience with it. There IS help, you just have to look in the right places and be patient. For me, this makes me angry considering my current situation. It saved my life when I heard it first, eight years ago. So please, get help, just know that it takes incredible patience and hope. It will be ok; it just takes time. And they don’t always tell you that when they say “things will get better.”
Ok, now for the angry venting you have all been waiting for:
“There is help out there, don’t worry.” This is a statement that I have heard over and over again and it pisses me off to no end. As someone who has struggled so much for so long, I don’t believe this anymore. Sure, there is help for some, but there isn’t help for all. The mental health field in general does not take anyone seriously who does not have a gun to their head.
Psychiatry drives me crazy, which is ironic. It takes months to get into a psychiatrist and then another month at least to see if the medication is going to work. If it doesn’t work, it takes another month to try the next one that likely won’t work either. Something like fifty-percent of people do not respond to antidepressants at all, so it’s trial and error and trial and error, over and over and over again, until a patient finally gives up. What pisses me off the most is that it takes so long to get into a psychiatrist. As someone who needs a high level of psychiatric care, being told I won’t be able to see a psychiatrist for three months is grounds to cause a freak out that lands me in the ED or inpatient – or worse.
As far as therapy goes, yes, it is wonderful for some. Especially wonderful in conjunction with medication that works. Many people can get through a bout of depression with therapy alone. Whether it be DBT or CBT, it can change lives. However, paying for therapy is impossible for many struggling people. It is difficult to find a therapist in network and if they aren’t in network, that’s probably $100+ a week. Even if the therapist is in network, a $30 copay a week is not feasible for all. Especially for those who can’t work because of their mental illness or addiction. And that is only if you are going to therapy once a week. I am so blessed to have top tier insurance through my parents, without it I don’t think I would be here today. However, I am now looking at three therapy appointments a week and until I get to my out-of-pocket maximum, which thanks to inpatient I am getting very close, this is still a burden to pay for. It also takes time to find a therapist that works for you. It is a lot like trying to find a compatible loved one – it takes time and money. In conclusion, therapy does not help everyone.
The emergency department probably angers me the most. So either you try to kill yourself, someone intervenes because it either didn’t work or they catch you in the act, or you voluntarily walk yourself in (as I have twice). Prior to the previous inpatient treatment, I was unaware that you could just check yourself in to inpatient programs directly. However, I can only imagine that you are much more likely to be accepted if you are admitted through the ER. That was the case with getting into IOP. Prior to going to the ED, I was told it would be three months before I could start IOP, but after going to the ED, I was in the next day.
Additionally, the ED is TERRIFYING. If you can avoid it, I highly recommend admitting yourself directly to an inpatient facility. The first time I went to the ER, I was traumatized by what I saw. They offered no help and they simply sent me home because they had no beds for me. The second time I went in, they were much more accommodating. This probably was because I was about to kill myself and I was committed involuntarily, so they actually took me seriously. I get so pissed off because I feel like you aren’t taken seriously if you haven’t attempted suicide.
In conclusion, I apologize for the post obviously being written from a place of deep anger. I am at a point where I feel like I have gotten all the help I can get and I still feel incredibly depressed. I have tried almost all the medication I can and I don’t know what other options there are for me, except for ECT. Also, this is clearly a chronic, genetic mental illness that will be recurrent throughout my lifetime. I was told by a psychiatrist (don’t get me started about how angry this makes me) that each subsequent episode gets worse and worse because the neural pathways are strengthened in your brain each time. As a neuroscience major, this makes perfect sense to me, but as a human being, why the hell would she tell me this?!? I have yet to confirm that statement, although I doubt its validity, but it still is burned into my brain as a possibility. I have exhausted my options and I don’t know what’s next. This is a lifelong battle that I know I can’t win, so what is the point of continuing to try?
Also, if you are one of the few reading this, please let me know what kind of posts you want to see. I would love to hear your suggestions as well. I have a ton of ideas and I don’t know what I want to post next!