Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mental Health...

A bitch had another sleepless night. Now my ass is truly exhausted, stressed out, hormonal and bitter.

2 cups coffee with Splenda (my ass went to the grocery) 1 % organic milk, 1 Claritin, 2 Sudafed and cigs…

Update on a bitch’s brother…
A certain residential director finally contacted a bitch. We had a long conversation about life, liberty and my fucking frustrations with the system. This bitch is happy to report that my concerns were received well and with appreciation.

The proof is in the pudding, but my ass feels better having talked to a reasonable person who seems to want what is best for my brother.

Bill’s follow up dentist appointment is tonight and hopefully teeth will be cleaned and a bitch will not have my nerves destroyed!

As for Bill’s job situation…well, that’s a work in progress. Which is another reason why this bitch isn’t getting any sleep.

Mental Health…
A bitch is the youngest in my family. My brother Bill is the oldest sibling, so my sister and this bitch have been caught up in the world of mental health our entire lives.

Our mother spent 12 years advocating on behalf of our brother…with the state, the city and the Department of Mental Health. She took the lead in his care and therapy. Basically, she lived and breathed autism for over a decade…24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My sister and this bitch watched our mother turn bitter and exhausted…slowly she unraveled. Not all of this was due to her battles for our brother…but it didn’t help.

Families are on the front lines of mental health advocacy. A bitch does not have the words to describe the fear, worry, sadness, frustration and heartache that comes with having a loved one who has a mental health issue. There is also laughter, joy and indescribable pride. My brother’s name is Bill…he is autistic and so much more.

This morning a bitch watched the news in horror. A mentally ill woman in San Francisco threw her children in the bay to drown. It has been reported that she said she heard voices. A family member said she was homeless and had been living with her chil’ren in a shelter. Someone said they think she had stopped taking her meds.

There will be the same talk about forced medication and patient’s rights. The media will speculate about the validity of the insanity defense. A morbid memorial is probably being set up…teddy bears and flowers for chil’ren who will never see them or play with toys again. People will search for blame, causes and responsibility. A few will search for the truth.

The sad reality is that mental health care is a complicated issue. Patients are often released into a world with little understanding of mental illness. Access to medication and therapy is lacking if not non-existent. And too many mentally ill Americans join the ranks of our nation’s homeless. We walk by them and avert our gaze. We read about them and roll our eyes and say shit like…"Where is their family?” or “I would never let my sister walk around like that!”

Our ignorance is present in our absolute statements about what we would do and how we would handle it.

Families face limited legal options, an apathetic public, a fucked up medical system, over worked and under paid social services and law enforcement officers who are stretched to the brink. Oh, and lets not forget the actual loved one who is dealing with mental illness.

A bitch is exhausted and tired. My ass is kept awake at night fretting about the quality of my brother’s care, his happiness and his security. This bitch worries about the present and the future. When my ass sees horrible stories about abuse my stomach turns at the thought of anything happening to Bill. When there is a media story about a mentally ill woman killing her chil’ren, this bitch is tormented that the same system that turned its back on her could turn its back on Bill at any moment.

Who will stand for my American family? Who will speak truth to government for Bill and the millions of Americans who depend on the system for so much? My ass isn’t asking for a handout…this bitch’s family has worked and participated in the building of this country for over 100 years. My ass is asking for what’s right.

A bitch wants a peaceful sleep. A bitch wants to know that Bill is a priority and that our society will judge ourselves on how we treat the most vulnerable not just how or if we pray. A bitch is torn up inside because too often my ass feels alone in this fight. This bitch is irrationally angry that other families don’t have to feel this horrible never-ending stress. And my ass knows that so many other families know exactly what a bitch is talking about…that too many American families face their own silent ongoing drama.

My ass wishes folks realized that "those people" have a name, many have loved ones who care about them and too many have families who simply don't give a shit. This bitch wishes people would see the mentally ill and handicapped...look a person with down syndrome in the eye or smile at my brother's insane joy over McDonald's rather than just sit and stare.

My brother’s name is Bill…he is autistic and so much more. He has a limited vocabulary, is hyperactive and obsessive compulsive. He also loves his family and friends, French fries and Dr. Pepper, obsesses about magazines and clean surfaces and is an all around great guy.

Our struggle is to keep him visible, to prevent him from becoming a diagnosis and to prevent him from joining the ranks of the invisible.

Sometimes my ass even gets sit down and share some of those fries.

Sometimes a bitch gets to be a sister...

8 comments:

Chris said...

squeezing your hand all the way in New York city

Kim said...

It would do well for the religious right to bother to read their bibles.

Matthew 25:45
He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me"

They should also read verses 34-46.

ABB, you keep your hopes intact. You are not alone, we aren't there physically for you, but our hearts are with you and your sister.

shoes of peace said...

We are all with you in Spirit, ABB. I know it's easy for me to say, but please don't worry. It will be okay. You'll see.
Shalom, dearheart.

bitchphd said...

I am so glad that the residential director was receptive. And I devoutly hope that Bill's dentist appointment went well this evening.

It is small comfort, but this is a hell of a post.

PissedOffPencil said...

I don't cry a lot, but everytime you write about your brother, it brings tears to my eyes.

And I think about my own little CartoonBoy and how well he's developed thanks to all the active interest that doctors, psyciatrists, teachers, day care center and a whole lot of other people have taken in him. It seems so unfair that two western countries are worlds apart.

Mr. Brian said...

I think that may be why my brief time working in the mental health field was so brief. In the time I spent there, I saw how mental health providers take advantage of the funds provided by medicaid/medicare, and don't get down to the real issue of actually doing something for those who actually need help. By the time all this "planning" and "interviewing" and "follow-up surveys" are done and billed, there are no funds left to "treat".

BarefootCajun said...

I have dealt with this issue from the law enforcement side and from the personal side. I am married to a bi-polar manic-depressive who, fortunately, is one of few who actually wants to take his meds. It was a promise he made to me before we walked down that aisle and one he knows he has to keep.

When we first got together, E asked me if I was afraid of his disease and I told him no. I have seen bi-polars at their best and at their worst. After you deal with someone so mentally disturbed from a law enforcement stand point you learn to replace fear with compassion and understanding.

I'm so happy that they responded to you and that Bill's life is getting back on track.

Anonymous said...

one word "Stress"
you need to chill out ,your brother needs you around .who cares about the jones,s
look at those movie stars now they are the ones with serious mental illness....:)
enjoy those fries /dont forget the ice cream