Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mental health missteps.....

I went back to my class tonight...the dad was on call so he couldn't go. I am hoping he will come again next week. This week was so much better than that first class.

They talked about our family member's initial time of diagnosis and I found myself so angry while I thought of that time as I listened to everyone's experiences.

My girl's issues began when she was very young. It was as if someone had flipped a light switch and she changed from a sweet, regular little girl...into someone else. Someone dark and depressed and angry who soon was drinking, lying and  smoking pot. We took her to dr's and to counseling....the responses we received ran the gamut from minimizing the changes we saw as *just* teenage angst (Isn't teen suicide an epidemic?) to me needing to "be the mother" and get a hold of my kid. It was awful. I felt like something awful was happening and no one was listening.

As the years went on, we saw lots of dr's. One in particular said to me, "Her depression is debilitating," But never suggested that we see a psychiatrist or that she have a psych evaluation. The pediatricians never suggested a psych evaluation. However, all were quick to prescribe strong psychotropic medications to calm her deepening symptoms. I trusted their judgement. I believed I needed to do a better job when they told me of what they perceived as my mistakes. When they told me she was just being rebellious, I believed them. I would think, "Ok, I need to toughen up. She won't get anything over on me from now on." I literally felt like I was chasing her and trying to stay a step ahead of her at all times.

It was just a few weeks ago that a psychiatrist we met with said something about "mood disorders" and they often hit at that age of 12-14...during puberty. That was the first time I had ever heard of a mood disorder. I of course went home and started Googling...its my girl to a T.

Why has it taken so long? Years and years. I feel like we have just been shuffled along through the system. Even this current time in treatment has been filled with shuffling around and ridiculous criteria for someone in her condition to fill.

Everyone spoke of the isolation they feel. Their families don't know what to say, their friends don't know what to do, so they stay away. I shared that my extended family doesn't ask about my girl. They just don't bring her up most of the time. I am down to only a few close friends....because I simply do not have the energy to maintain friendships that are surfacy and just for fun. Faking it is too much effort most days... and you know what felt so good? Was all of the nodding heads I saw there. They got that and I knew I wasn't the only one.



Signe said...

I'm nodding my head, here, Annette. I understand the isolation and core friends. How faking it is just too exhausting. I can't tell you (well, yes I could) how frustrating it is to see how many people in the world of mental disorders don't make the effort to help. How long it takes to find just one person who knows, understands and makes a difference. I'm glad you've found some answers. I'm glad you've found some understanding. Just for today.

Topper said...

I so often feel like you are writing about my eloquently

Anonymous said...

Our family's experiences with the mental health system have not been good. My son was diagnosed as having a mood disorder (depression) at 15, which then led to substance abuse. He had weekly sessions with a psychologist and saw a psychiatrist monthly. I thought that they were fine people. They were much too slow to recognize the substance abuse. Despite their efforts, they could not reach him. He had therapy for at least 3 and a half years. Now when I look back at their advice that they gave me as a parent, I question alot of it and wish that I had questioned it at the time. I hope that your daughter has a more positive experience and outcome. Please keep your open mind and quetioning attitude. You are a very intelligent woman - You are every bit as bright as the professionals.


Hattie Heaton (Mom of an Addict) said...

Annette, I just want you to know that I am praying for you and your girl. I also want to say that I think that perhaps those who you could only be "surfacy" with, were just wasting your time to start with. One of the gifts of the suffering we go through is the fact that we are able to streamline our lives by being able to look straight at what is important and allowing the rest to just fall away. Our kids are helping us to learn more and more about what we're made of and maybe in this fight we're helping them to see that they are so worth it. I love reading your honest, heartfelt insights.

Erin said...

I guess the new term for anxiety and depression is now a mood disorder. My son struggled with depression as a teen and it may have led to his smoking pot and then he moved on to other drugs over the year and finally became a heroin addict. I can't honestly say his depression caused this, it may have been a contributing factor, but to me it is kind of like what came first the chicken or the egg? When he was in rehab there was a young man there who had schizophrenia he was clearly using heroin to numb himself from the awful effects of his disease. When I asked my son why he used he said it makes you feel like king of the hill and sometime you just want to get really fu*k#d up. They really cannot properly diagnose an addict until they have been clean for a year and even after that the years of use have altered their brains. I mean I struggled with crippling anxiety many years ago but never turned to drugs or alcohol.