Is A Brain Chemical Imbalance Medical Care?

 

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She was out of control.  She was kicking the food tray away from her, spilling all of the contents onto the hospital floor.  She was screaming that she had lost her mind.  She was repeatedly given psychotropic drugs, and anxiety medications through her IV lock in her arm.  The security in the hospital was called because of the chaos in her room, and her lack of mental stability.

The Social Worker on the floor of the Medical Facility was trying to get her admitted into a mental health facility.  Yet she was being told that the patient was too ill to be admitted.  Only the state psychiatric facility would be a place where she would be able to be taken.  Her husband refused because of the knowledge that he knew his wife was terrified of being admitted into the state facility, where services and therapy groups, or any type of milieu care was lacking.  The patient knew this because she worked there as a nurse herself.

So why is it then that as soon as her husband was unavailable at the medical facility, approximately twelve hours after security was being called, and she was still manic with psychotic symptoms and an altered mental status, she was discharged from the hospital?  They were just told that she was too ill to be put into any facility other than the state hospital, yet she was discharged home to where she would soon be in her own care.  She had been in the hospital for four nights and was being administered psychotropic drugs through the IV.  She was delusional most of the time with brief periods of lucidity.  How could this happen?

Initially she was thought to be having a Stroke due to altered mental status, word salad and inability to express herself.  A CAT Scan was done.  Later an MRI was also performed to check for physical reasons causing her condition.  Her blood pressure was elevated and medications were administered to control the elevation.  She lost her ability to reason and think for herself, and she was being pumped with medications.  Though there was now no PHYSICAL reason for her to stay in the hospital.

The brain is part of the body.  It is quite mysterious and misunderstood, however it is the main part of the body.  If there was a brain tumor, the patient would be taken care of – wouldn’t they?  Why is it then, the patient who is having a chemical imbalance with delirium due to medication changes and is unable to care for herself, ie… taking her medications, be alone for the entire day making rational decisions – would be released to her own care?  There was no aftercare, no support from the medical community such as daily mental health workers coming to the home to help with care or decision-making skills, medication management, the ability to drive herself to appointments, NO SUPPORTS FROM THE HOSPITAL!!!

What is it – too sick to go into any facility, they will not accept her for care, or be released from the hospital because physically they have no reason to keep her?  There is such a break in the medical community to let someone who is that sick to be released to her own care.  THE BRAIN IS PART OF THE BODY!!!  Even if the symptoms are psychiatric, the brain is still part of the body.  Wouldn’t somebody with delirium due to sepsis be taken care of until resolution, or there was the ability to care once again for themselves.  Yes this hospital did not have a psychiatric facility, however there cannot be such a black and white approach to mental and physical healthcare.  It is ONE person.  AGAIN, the brain is part of the body and part of the HOLISTIC measure of care.  There has to be a more comprehensive approach.  Just because someone is having a problem due to medication changes, that does not always imply that they need to be in a PSYCHIATRIC facility.  Perhaps a MEDICAL facility can help with stabilization.  Treating a person like a person instead of an object of dissatisfaction as soon as “physical” means of admission are unwarranted is absurd!!!

All she needed was to be stabilized, yet she was discharged due to her mental illness (not physical illness).  Let’s wake up and combine the person into a whole being.  The brain and a chemical imbalance in the brain is MEDICAL and yes, physical.  The body’s homeostasis is out of balance.  Let’s not discard somebody because of a brain dysfunction.  Maybe we need to change the definition of MENTAL ILLNESS into what it is.

 

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Nejron

My Own Stigma and Shame

 

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It may seem absurd that someone who is living day in and day out with a mental illness would actually have their own stigma toward the illness, though this is absolutely capable.  Did I in any way actually think that I (an advocate for equality in mental health care and understanding) would have a stigma toward mental illness?  Absolutely not!  Though this was the case.  It can be a very insidious and challenging thought.

So I did recently go through a decompensation period due to the changing of some of my medications.  During my lengthy recovery period, I was able to go to a partial hospitalization program. When I was there, I did an exercise to understand my current thoughts about my recent illness.  During this I was putting myself down and stating “how could I be so stupid” toward some of my previous behaviors during my manic phase.  It was made aware to me that I was mad at myself for some of the behaviors that occurred due to my illness.  It was my own stigma toward my illness that was bringing me down.

When I was asked if I could have controlled what happened during my illness, that was an absolute “no” from me.  I was responding due to my illness.  I was trying to help myself to sleep, and was searching for someone to help me (to no avail).  I ended up in the hospital and in a delirium state.  The decrease of my meds, and lack of sleep, along with our ignorance to the escalating problem caused the problem to come to a head and get out of control.  I did not have control over my illness without the help of medications, at that point.  What had occurred and my behaviors were beyond my control.  And becoming aware that I also had my own stigma was an eye-opening awareness.

Realizing that I also had fears and stigma based thoughts toward my illness ironically helped me to be more understanding of myself.  It is not helping myself to be mad or ashamed of behaviors that I had no control over.  And now that I am in a healthier state, I can reflect and see my own ignorance.  It is the illness that I can be upset with, not the person suffering from the illness.  Understanding and compassion, even for myself, is a wonderful way to help me to be an even more effective advocate toward the stigma related to Mental Illness.

 

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Surviving Abuse

 

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I was in the bed reclining on the pillows in an upright position waiting for my ex-husband to come in to see me.  The past few weeks had been a whirlwind of emotions.  I was caring for our three children (all under the age of five) and managing my business at the same time.  All of this while doing the bills that seemed insurmountable, and seeing a Department of Social Services Counselor on a weekly basis in our home.

The attack to my psyche came about a month prior when my young son had a puffy blue and purple bruise on his eye, and the department of social services knocked on my door.  The immediate panic that I had to hide was terrifying.  And ultimately it amazed me that my ex-husband never had to even talk to the state services, despite the fact that he was the aggressor in the house.  Before this episode had ever happened, I never had any form of delusional or paranoid behavior.  And a month or so later my symptoms began to appear.  It was obvious that the trigger for my illness was the stress of my living conditions at that time.

I think that my mind went to the fear of my ex-husband possibly molesting the children because that possibly was an insult that I could resolve, and that I could make him accountable for.  That was inexcusable and he would absolutely need to be out of our lives.  It was apparent that my ex-husband being held accountable for being an angry, emotionally and physically abusive person and father did not warrant a look into from the state services.  He was never even met by or talked to from the state services.  I was the one being held accountable and being watched.  Whatever the reason for my mind twisting into the delusional thought of molestation, it was thankfully untrue.  However for him to respond in such a way while we were alone in that bedroom stayed with me in my thoughts for all of those years.

Yes, his pride had been attacked.  He was being questioned as if he may be a predator of our children.  My mind truly believed that this was happening.  The charges of molestation were obviously discarded when the children were questioned.  And the behind closed doors emotional trauma or physical abuse was not a topic of discussion – that part of our lives was still hushed.  Yet for him to then (while I was in a decompensated state and unable to speak and barely move) take both of his hands and purposefully put them around my neck, with a sinister look of hate and disgust on his face, was the most evil thing that I had ever encountered.  I was in a state that I was unable to even respond.  I only had the capacity to just watch and observe what was being done.  After a brief period, he took his hands away from around my neck and walked out of the room.

The many years of living in the same household while fighting for myself and for the children to have a happy and less threatening environment was always there.  Those moments of intimidation and terrifying fear were never spoken of.  However the extremely loud and stressful behaviors of abuse continued.  Thankfully, I had my parents to help me to keep a stable atmosphere and outlook in my and the children’s minds.  My mom and dad both knew about the anger, but never knew the extremes of the situation.  The threat of that day was always in the back of my mind.

I had seen my ex-husband and his father choking each other while they were fighting during a heated argument when I was dating him.  I was about thirteen years old.  This type of behavior had never even been on my radar before.  I was a secluded child that had been kept away from the harsh realities of the hard side of the world.  But this type of behavior was apparently stuck within him from a young age.  And breaking free from such thoughts and behaviors is a process.

The emotional trauma and fear continued throughout my time with him, until I was thirty-seven and I left him and everything behind.  Although there was love and humor and fun at times, the underlying rage was always there.  And when I was able to secure the children out of the home into their colleges or other living situations, the time to be able to leave was made evident.  It was not a planned departure, but it was an essential one – especially when the thought of suicide for its first time became a possibility.  My will to fight was dimming with the children leaving the situation.

Moving on from that part of my life into a new beginning was indeed a scary and lonely adventure, but I was granted people into my life that were a part of the plan.  And eventually I met my new husband that was able to help me make it through the extremely turbulent times of readjustment.  So now here I am in the downhill slope after a traumatic climb toward independence and healthy living, and managing through caring for and the loss of both of my parents.  And now is the time to enjoy and manage the twists and curves along the way with my best friend and spouse beside me since maintaining health and happiness with mental illness can be challenging.

The past fear of emotional trauma will always be a part of my past, but I have to remember that it does not have to dictate the present.  The present is now learning to and living in a healthy state of mind.  I have many parts of me as a person; such as a mother, wife, PTSD survivor, anxiety sufferer, friend, bipolar fighter, grandmother, writer, blogger, traveler, decorator, etc…  But to remember that these are just parts of me is the most important thing.  They, in themselves, are not who I am.  I am a beautiful combination of many good, bad, important, fun, loving things.  I am me – not a diagnosis or someone fitting into a category.  I am unique and I will survive.

Make a Difference

 

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We have all heard the saying that actions speak louder than words, and this saying is so true.  It is not what you say that shows someone how you feel.  It is absolutely the actions that you take that demonstrates how you care.  It is the emotional connection that is brought into the relationship that truly portrays how you care about someone.  It is not the possessions that we receive that matters.  It is the time taken to make someone’s day that touches the heart.  It is the smile, the helping hand, that little extra effort in making someone feel wanted, and welcome, and cared for, that shows the compassion in your heart.  And this shows what you are made of.  Be someone who is full of warmth and integrity.  Be that person that offers the laughter needed in a time of sorrow.  It offers so much more happiness to give of oneself than to receive.  The character of a person is reflected in their pureness and decency.  Live to make a difference in someone’s life.

 

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / stanciuc

Resilience

 

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Find resilience and bounce back to a stronger, healthier, smarter, more able being after a fall, as if being lifted by the wing of an angel and delicately being placed back into an upright position.  Then while gaining balance and footing, purposefully without hesitation and with driven determination, putting one foot right in front of the other.

There is guidance.  Look up to the heavens and the stars in the darkness, and know that something more exists.  There is purpose for all the chaos that is created on the walk with each day.  There is no such thing as coincidence.  Each passerby, each pleasant smile, or helping hand is in the divine plan.  Just keep a steady gait and move forward toward what will be.

A watchful eye is upon the situation, and believe that with each fall, excellent wisdom is gained.  A new perspective is becoming envisioned and is coming into focus.  The teetering will be steadied, and a beautiful, bold, withstanding, and powerful stance will be created.  Just keep moving forward and all will be made present – in due time.  Resurface stronger.

 

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Nejron

Analyzing My Bipolar Lifeline

 

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In a recent life line chart depicting my journey with bipolar, a revelation has been made aware to me.  I find it amazing that until the age of thirty-seven, I was only hospitalized for psychiatric difficulties two times.  The first time has a definite correlation to a particular traumatic experience in my life which I believe may have been the trigger associated with my bipolar episode.  The other episode was when I was once again scared by the association with this traumatic event, along with overwhelming circumstances in my life at that time.  I was able to manage my illness quite sufficiently while raising my children, becoming a Registered Nurse, and monitoring my symptoms.  This was achieved while being described as the “crazy”one in the family.  I believe though that I helped to pave the way for my children to become who they have become with their education (especially following by example), and developing their values and morals as well.

It was when I began the second chapter of my life that turbulence began to ensue.  I had depressive episodes that began with the ending of my first marriage.  Panic attacks, anxiety, and PTSD (I have found), along with depression were the culprits that caused much of the problems that began when I started my journey on my own, after ending an emotionally stormy relationship.  This makes perfect sense now.  Of course I had anxiety and panic, I began living in an unknown world to me.  I was also taking care of my ailing parents which accounted for much stress during that part of my life.  I was living on my own, then starting a new relationship also which brought forth the emotions that dealt with my post traumatic stress disorder.  It was only after resolving marital unease and learning how to travel untouched waters that the turbulence then settled, and I was able to obtain happiness and make peace with my past experiences.

I have explored these past eight years or so and have realized that it has been primarily anxiety, panic, ptsd, and depression (associated with that anxiety) that were the major reasons for my hospitalizations.  Sure managing bipolar has always been part of the equation, but the changes associated with my life and my new diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in recent years were the culprits.

It was an unfortunate setback that when all of the progress that had been made with accepting my past and moving forward as not a victim anymore but someone who maintains health as a focus, that then my medication regime was played with and a tornado erupted.  This was definitely something that could not have been predicted.  It had been almost twenty years since being hospitalized specifically for any form of mania – this recent time being the worst ever.  I fought the discord, but the chemicals that my body was used to unfortunately ruled the situation.

I do still struggle with my PTSD and realize that this will always be a struggle for me though the event that caused the trauma in the first place is forever in my past.  I do not believe reliving the possibility of forced detachment from my children will forever be in my future, which causes relief beyond measure.  And I am also no longer living in an environment of anger.

So yes I am concluding that I am still a victor.  Though life has been hard to manage since the divorce from my ex-husband and I have had to get help with managing my emotions at times.  I successfully learned how to do that effectively.  I do still struggle with my emotions at times, but I have achieved a happy, beautiful walk toward the future in the recent past and this setback will not stop me from moving forward in that same direction.

 

 

 

The Promise Of What Could Be

 

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I was told that it was about two inches high, and that my mom had paid ninety-nine cents for it.  She had bought it over twenty years ago and gave it to my dad for his new office.  The base was about two inches wide and it held about a cup of gravel.  This tiny plant was what “could” be.

As time went on this tiny plant grew swiftly and became strong and tall.  It started to tower over my dad’s desk and was replanted many times.  The leaves became large and dusting it became a ritual.  Before we knew it, the “tiny” plant towered over him while he worked, and leveled itself at the ceiling in the high office building.

When dad died it was left in the foyer of the building as a memorial.  A wooden cross with a plaque on it with my dad’s name and title was put into the large base.  The tree was massive and continued to want to grow taller.  It stood in the foyer for a couple of years, until it became too much for the employees to care for.

There was now a bird house located on its main trunk and the mere size of the tree required a tractor-trailer to relocate it to its new home.  Unfortunately when I took it, it needed to be trimmed down to fit into the residence.  But the thriving plant thrived!  New baby growth appeared frequently and it towered to the new ceiling and loved its new home.

My mom eventually resided with us, and hospice was eventually called in.  She was , in the last few days, brought downstairs in her bed and situated in the living room.  The towering plant watched over her during that time.  That ninety-nine cent little twig that mom bought for dad, that grew to be  a memorial tree with the bird house on it and sat nearby to her bed, proudly grew up to its glory.

My mom knew the possibility of what “could” be.  The beauty of this tree was proudly displayed in his office, then comforted her at her time of death.  And now it is (once again) growing to hover at the ceiling of the new residence in my comfortable new home, with the hope of comfort and care, and beauty, to be felt and seen.

The twig that “could” be is now the experienced memorial to those that I love.  I see the growth of a living thing that is now a part of my heart that has been a part of their hearts.  It is a beautiful thriving part of my home that truly instills comfort, love, and the promise of what could be into my home.

 

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Pakhnyushchyy

Advancing Forward Through Adversity

 

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The past month and a half has been a fractured part of my story that has truly been a difficult part of my life.  To at one moment be living my life and feeling as if I can handle anything that comes my way, then the next moment not even realize that I am in the depths of extremely scary delusions that are controlling my mind is a brutal blow to the psyche.  And to now not even remember most of those days of chaos is disturbing.  It is impossible to describe the horror that one feels with this type of experience.  I literally became someone who I am not.  My behavior was inconsistent with who I am.  How is it that I can turn into someone that I am not?  I was told that I was combative and swearing frequently, that I refused to eat, that I even threw food and refused medications.  This is definitely someone who I have never experienced.  And really, it is someone that I still cannot relate to.  I do not recall this part of me.

I was told that this was probably due to changes in my medications that did not agree with me, and therefore I had a delirium response due to the decrease, and also became manic.  Before and during this time, I was unable to sleep – though I did try to care for myself before this episode, and try to relieve the insomnia (without success).  I called my therapist for help with changes and problems that I could not resolve (to no avail).  I did take the brief advise from both my doctor and my therapist.  I was told to use distraction and keep busy.  I was like an organizing freak.  I was also told to use coping skills with problems, so that part of my life became a focus as well.  I searched for ways to cope with distress.  My new calling became ways of coping.  This was for my own relief as well as for others.

It really is surprising how I feel like I missed the whole month of August.  I have been recovering from being unable to think clearly and being unable to talk clearly.  My speech during my acute episode was word salad, and was unable to be interpreted.  And to actually be able to once again take my own medications and to time manage has had to be refreshed in my mind.  To even get the dose of medications at the right amounts has been a challenge, as well.

I finally feel as if I am on my way moving forward to a new happy place.  A new start has ensued and I am moving toward the place of peace that I have known.  It will take time, but I know that this bump in the road was for a purpose.  Eventually I will understand that purpose and for now I will just live my life continuing on this roller coaster ride.

 

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / hikrcn