Looking for a Scapegoat

semi automaticAnother day and more gun violence and more people ready to blame those with mental illness. Talk about a sure fire way for people who are already reluctant because of stigma to seek help with mental illness, this will keep many from even thinking about going for help. And never do we pause to consider that maybe, just maybe, people shouldn’t be allowed to have automatic and semi-automatic guns to “protect” themselves.  If you want to deter a crime, such power is not necessary.  In many cases only muscles will do as witnessed when unarmed men disarmed a threatened shooter on a European train.

Mental illness has enough stigma keeping people from seeking help. Let’s not add people around them thinking, “They are mentally ill! They’re dangerous. Do they have guns?” Soon people will rail against mentally ill people having jobs of importance or taking care of our children. Families will be separated “to keep them safe.” We will in effect begin a movement of serious prejudice against the mentally ill. And who’s to define who and what is safe and who and what is not? Will knives and ropes and cars be out of the realm of use by the mentally ill because they might go on a rampage and kill someone?

And all the while we will sit in our homes, protected by our guns, our semi-automatics, thinking how very well we are, how we are not like “them” and how we are now safe because we have taken care of “those people.” And we will choose not to remember that we looked the other way when children were murdered at Sand Hook Elementary or when we thought the story of the movie house shootings was more exciting than the movie. We will be safe with our guns, because our right to bear arms will be all that matters.   The mentally ill be damned.

And Jesus will weep once again.

– Bernadette

For another interesting take on things:

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/08/31/436264866/is-gun-violence-due-to-dangerous-people-or-dangerousguns?

Wondering . . .

Recently I read one of the best articles I’ve seen on what depression is like.  Here’s the link:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-facts-everyone-gets-wrong-about-depression/

It let’s a person look at the different ways that depression manifests itself.  I wonder what do you think of what he says?  Does you experience of depression fit into these comments?

-Bernadette

What’s Good and Not So Good For Me About HIPAA

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996.  HIPAA does the following:

  • Provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs;
  • Reduces health care fraud and abuse;
  • Mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes; and
  • Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information

On some days I am okay with HIPAA. I like the fact that people can transfer and continue health insurance coverage when jobs are changed or lost.  I am okay with standards for information and billing and other things.

But on most days I hate HIPPA. Like when I hear about the woman who did not know her son had said to his psychiatrist that he felt like killing people. He went out from that session and killed people. The mother wonders if she had known would she had been able to help?

I hate it when I hear stories that a husband or wife has gone to the psychiatrist or therapist and the story they present is far far different than the one that the household lives with day in and day out, but the family members are restricted from entering into the therapy because of HIPAA..

I get frustrated with the law when I hear of doctors who don’t choose to hear from other family members about the person who is seeking help. They feel that the patient will tell them all they need to know. And even when those who love the depressed individual are allowed to go into the session at the request of the patient, they often find that their contributions are given the polite nod and often dismissed.

HIPAA serves a purpose and back when it originally passed, many people were spared discrimination because the AIDS epidemic was so misunderstood. Perhaps we have to re-think HIPAA and see if there shouldn’t be more of an emphasis on reducing health care fraud and abuse – for example, when health care is denied or shortened at the whim of insurance reviewers and the needs of mentally ill more easily dismissed – and less emphasis on saving our “privacy” and more emphasis on all of us working together to help each other get and stay healthy.

– Bernadette

Welcome to the Kick Depression Party!

Welcome to the Kick Depression Party!  At this party, we hope that those who join us can help those not here to realize that there are big and little times of hope and change and wellness when it comes to depression and mental illness. 

And the sharing is lively and honest:  

My mother suffered terribly from depression until her death.  In her worst times she wouldn’t get out of bed, would not eat, and withdrew from the world.  I’m lucky because observing her gave me the determination to deal with my symptoms.

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Anyone dealing with a mental illness knows that it is a daily battle.  Sometimes it is you that has to fight or you have to help someone fight it.  Nevertheless the feelings are overwhelming.  It has been difficult to reach out to others and truly express how I feel but I have done it and will continue to do so. 

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I want you to know that there is hope for you and your loved one suffering from depression.  My husband and I have endured a lot.  He is better.  We’ve survived and through this long process I realized how resilient we have been.  

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For a time I was on medication to keep me stable enough not to jump off a bridge.  The pain and anxiety were pretty bad.  But I’m here today.  

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I realized that there are times when it is okay to be down because life is difficult.  I have to fight daily to latch onto the things that matter the most to me.

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I started researching other alternative treatments which my husband thankfully agreed to try.  Since then we have learned a lot about the brain, intestinal health, nutrition, trauma and how it can affect a person’s emotional health.  We are happy to report that since last November, life is so much better.  My husband has his sense of humor back, is self motivated and is enjoying life again.  

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I learned breathing techniques, mind games, to keep me in the present moment, and I learned to be grateful.  Through therapy I learned to accept that I am a depressed person and that each episode does not have to take me out.  

hope-hands1

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I am at this party hoping that it will help someone out there feel connected.  Perhaps, it will help me feel connected to others again because I know there are many going through similar struggles.  

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We’ve learned that Zinc is very important for proper brain functioning.  He’s also had to make changes to his diet, eating high protein, low carbohydrate, gluten and dairy free.  He takes many supplements to improve his gut health.  Did you know that it’s estimated that 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract?  

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Some days I just let the depression come.  I submit but not without setting a time limit on how long I intend the depression to take over.  When the time limit is reached most times I can get back into the game with conscious determination.

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At different times during my loved one’s depressive episodes I’ve seen a therapist and was always told how important it is to take care of myself.  This is a challenge, but I’ve tried to do it.  I’m glad I could go to work every day and get a break.

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I still wake up a lot of mornings in fear, not liking myself, guilty for whatever reason, overwhelmed with hopelessness, but I realize it is not a permanent state.  It would be easy to give in and give up, but I also have experienced peace, joy, comfort, love and those things are worth fighting for.  

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I’m grateful for all the things that can  help in some way – breathing, meditation and yoga and brain games.  They all help.

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I think that success is having available a multitude of tricks in a bag, not just one.  If one doesn’t work, I try another.  Recognizing and believing that life is fluid with ups and down is also helpful.  

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It’s been stressful being a caregiver these past years.  I often questioned what was happening to our marriage because depression  is also a very selfish illness.  The depressed person is always wrapped up in themselves.  I often had to tell him that I’m not his therapist, but I was willing to be his advocate.  

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I can understand others’ reactions better now.  Close friends knew about our situation but sometimes they didn’t know what to say or do.  My therapist help me understand that many people feel inadequate in how to respond.  And then they do nothing which can seem so cold and uncaring.  We need to learn to me more empathetic and I’m am thankful for those who have responded with empathy to us.  

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hope4We have both counted our blessings and we are thankful that we have survived.  We’ve learned some tools to keep our brains healthy.  You and your loved ones can survive too.  By all means take care of yourself.  I wish you peace of mind.

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It’s an amazing adventure we are on – this thing we call life.  I’d rather play and participate than sit out whatever days I have left.  That’s my feeling as I struggle with depression.  I’m pretty positive that tomorrow may or may not be the best but I want it anyway. 

Thanks to all of you who came to the party to share your insights.  We are grateful for our readers and for all those who are working together to kick depression for themselves, their families and their communities. 

A BIG Reminder

It’s August 7th…..only three more days until Amy and I begin to go over what was submitted by our readers about the times depression was overcome, whether that was something small or something big.  We hope that many of you are still intending to drop a few lines to us (check out the July 27th post for details) and have just been caught up in the wonderful craziness of summer.   We look forward to hearing from you.   Hope to see your words at the party!

Caregiver fatigue, anyone?

This is hard for me to admit, but…maybe it will hit a chord with someone else out there. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m going to toss it out there and see what happens.

I discovered recently that I’ve pretty much hit the wall with my capacity for caring much about the depression and other issues my husband struggles with. Been there, done that. For the last 25 + years. And have the PTSD symptoms to prove it.

A few weeks ago, I found out that anxiety and adult ADHD issues had gotten the best of my husband yet again. So much so that he lost his job as a result. And – here’s the difficult bit – I couldn’t have cared less what he was going through. I was so absolutely worn out with a lifetime dealing with his problems that all I had the energy to care about was the near-breakdown the situation created for me.

Selfish? Probably. Understandable? I hope so.

I think he understood where I was coming from at the moment when the crisis hit. In the aftermath, though, he seems truly puzzled by the fact that I’m a whole lot more concerned with myself this time around than I am about his feelings. I’ve had to say to him a couple of times, in various ways, “Your health issues just about drove me into a place I couldn’t get out of this time. Just now I don’t want to hear your side of the story.”

It’s what they call caregiver fatigue, folks. It’s not a pretty place to be in.

But I’d be willing to bet some of you have been in that place, at least to some extent.

I’ve got an arsenal I can use to help myself survive caring for a depressed (and otherwise diagnosed) person. Not sure what strategies I’m going to need if I ever want to get back to a place where I care about the feelings of the person I’m meant to be caring for. For now I’m managing by being busier at work than I’ve ever been before.

Distraction is a good tool in the short term.

-Amy

Denied!

Yesterday on 60 minutes there was a segment on depression and health insurance. Several of the stories were heartbreaking. One particular story told of a young man who told his psychiatrist that he wanted to kill a lot of people. His claim for continued treatment was denied. Not long after, he went out and put his words into actions.

It brought up the fact that too many mental health claims are denied. They are denied either because the treatment is taking too long or denied because the treatment is affecting the expense bottom line of the insurance company. I know that there is more research that I have to do to look at a clear, unbiased picture of the situation, but the segment raised for me the brutal fact that too often mentally ill individuals are overlooked or shorted on treatment because the disease is not able to be seen, not understood, and so very, very stigmatized.

My heart goes out to the parents who lost children as a result of denied treatment. It is wrong that we allowed this to happen.

– Bernadette

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