I made a mistake, by the way, in yesterday's depiction of a severe manic spell: the starbursting ideas I mentioned may be irrelevant. That I can vouch for when memories are examined under the steady glare of sanity. But at the time, everything seemed ultra-relevant and important and sparkled so dazzlingly it was all too compelling and THAT is why I got so lost in the blizzard of my ideas. It was absolutely impossible to separate wheat from chaff, to examine any one idea and most especially to think out a stream of consequences in stages. Which meant that when truly stupid ideas grabbed me (example: to take a flying leap through the upstairs window) the full folly of my compulsion never dawned on me until many weeks later. Which I still find really disturbing and I'm extremely glad my Dad brought me up NOT to be impulsive. If I had been an impulsive person, and had given in to just one of the deluded ideas upon which I thought at the time I ought to act out, I'd have got into trouble deeper than I could ever have imagined. I can just imagine Advocacy for the Prosecution painting me as the most evil person alive, when I was too ill to calculate anything and most especially to analyse or think out the consequences of anything further than one single obvious stage.
O man yet AGAIN I end up on the same subject. I'm just finding it hard. Really hard to deal with this. I force myself to go visiting when really I don't want to go visiting at all. Now that she's in company of less disturbed people it's a lot easier. Over the years they seem to have tightened up their procedures so that only the very most desperately disordered (or dangerously deluded) people get admittance to a ward. No matter how upset a person might be, if they're not judged to be a suicide risk, or a danger to others, they probably won't get let in. No matter how much they beg, plead of cry, they are turned away. And the staff who do it know that if they misjudge a situation, they may well be the very last person that patient asked for help. Another sad truth is that psychiatrists cannot really help people who are "just" upset, or stressed past breaking point, or bereaved. Even if they're really, really upset and suffering intolerably. If it's not mental illness, doctors usually can't help. They can treat schizophrenia. Ordinarily they can bring down a manic episode quite easily. Clinical depression they can treat with a choice of over forty antidepressants, or mood stabilizers (there are four main ones) or antipsychotics (about 28 types) (quetiapine, which I'm on, is a treatment of choice for bipolar depression, because it does not elevate the mood the way antidepressants do ~ which can easily trigger a manic episode). If all else fails, there's always ECT. But no way in hell would I ever submit myself to that, no matter how bad I felt.
But my point is, I've seen extreme cases of psychosis clear up entirely within a few weeks. Yet people who come in to escape bad relationships, or bereavement or simply because they cannot escape loneliness and pain, probably will not be helped, and that's very sad...
The one single good thing about having a nasty label like "schizoaffective" is that if I ever do become seriously ill or desperate, I know that psychiatrists will take my case seriously because I've got the second most serious psychiatric condition there is. (Schizoaffective disorder is said to have an outcome worse than ordinary mood disorders, but better than schizophrenia.) So if I do ask for help, they turn me away at their peril. I've not only been turned away from the psychiatric Emergency Department in years past and told to come back when I was "actively suicidal", but TWO psychiatrists have summarily chucked me off their lists. The first time I had the impertinence to SMILE while recounting how dysphoric I had felt and I suspect that doctor (who had never seen me before; he was taking over another doctor's clinic at the University I used to attend) assumed I must have been stoned on cannabis. Which I was not. I was only reacting to his manner. I had the not-uncommon condition named "smiling depression". Most of my laughs and smiles back then were faked anyhow. The second time a medical student didn't seem to know what to make of me and so called in her supervisor, who was a notorious hater of junkies. He told me I was on so much methadone that antidepressants wouldn't help me anyway, which was an utter lie because I did get successfully treated with mirtazapine once. It was the second and third times I tried to go on it that I became hypomanic and all the trouble ensued... All that was BEFORE I got any diagnosis except depression, then CFS, then depression again ~ and I spent years knowing "something" else was wrong, yet no idea what it actually was... So any trust I had in psychiatrists has been long-since lost and even though my last one was a very good doctor, as a group, I don't trust them at all. Dr Lovelace is booking me an appointment with a shrink. As much as anything, I think I really should see one as it's been eighteen months since my last appointment and I can't tell Dr Lovelace that it happened in a methadone clinic as I don't want "drug addict" back on my notes...
Well I have to terminate this long and rambling piece here. If you're wondering why so much psycho-talk, it's because I have spent so much time on mental wards visiting my friend, and it seriously started to do my head in... But I think I'm better and she's better now. So that's good. If I can only get my sleep and my mood back to normal, because it's still too low, then all will be FINE!
ETTA JAMES: STORMY WEATHER