Friday, July 5, 2013

Sleeping with the Enemy

I am sure that the term "sleeping with the enemy" has a history aside from that of the (terrible) movie of that name, but my search couldn't come up with it. However, my understanding of it is that it means to be willing "bed partners" with the "enemy" (a rival organization) in order to gain something. This can be seen all the time in business, international diplomacy, the spy game and, well, how many times have we seen a gold digger sleep with (IE; "wed") some decrepit old man in order to get her hands on some or all of his money (hello, overseas brides). It's distasteful but seen as worth it in order to make what's seen as a necessary or desired gain.

I've not told on this blog the story of my experience with the mental health care system since I entered it almost exactly three years ago except for touching briefly on it in The Medication Conundrum. I detail it far more in my book, Dancing in the Dark - Why? If you fully knew the background story, you'd know that to return to the hospital is very much a case of sleeping with the enemy for me. My mental state was far from rosy when I entered the mental health care system in July of 2010 but it really went in the shitter from that point on. There are people, apparently, who do  "well" on medications and those who do not (the don'ts are documented in Pulitzer Prize nominated science writer Robert Whitaker's two books). I was of the latter category with my suicidality increasing while under the care of the system and my mental faculties decreasing which is quite "normal" (meaning the norm) according to Whitaker's meticulous research. (and I will get to in future posts why medication therapy increased my,and many others', suicidality and psychotic episodes)

So why do I wish to fraternize with the enemy, an enemy which just about destroyed me? Well, a few reasons.

First, I'm at wit's end and I can feel the familiar suicidal drive of before returning (and this goes back prior to my first hospitalization so pre-pharmaceutical drug era). I understand this feeling very well and have a strong sense of how much I can control it or not or how much it's beginning to take over my mind. I feel I'm ready to let it take over complete control but not quite yet. So to stave it off for the time being I see no other recourse than to return to the only place that is safe, the hospital. It's not ideal, but I see no other way. It's true that I am in much stronger mental shape than from the past three plus years and am more aware than ever of the danger signs, but I have no real idea how much or little I can trust myself. I just know from much, much, much prior experience that once things get past a certain point deeper forces can take control and then all bets are off. I don't want that to happen - yet. There are things I want to get finished yet so it's in to the safety of the hospital I will go.

Secondly, I will very shortly have no home. I wrote in another blog post, Of No Fixed Address, how I intended to handle this but it does not appear that it will work out as I'd envisioned. This impacts me twofold. One, the stress and distress of this is greatly contributing to my declining mental state and two, well, I really will have no home. I really don't want to live on the streets (or likely out of a tent). I feel I've fallen too far already. So in strictly practical terms, I see it as a warm bed, access to shower facilities and three meals a day. Not only that, but more dignified as well

Thirdly, I have no one to talk to about this. My feelings of isolation and loneliness, the dangers and damage of which I began to touch upon here, are beginning to ramp up off the charts again. This too is greatly contributing to my increasing suicidality. So a couple of things. I've always made friends in the hospital and I'm sure I'll do that again. And they're my kind of people. People who get what this is about. There's no better feeling when going through dark shittiness than to be around peers who get you and what you're going through. Aside from that, there is sometimes very good group therapy available in the hospital. These are valuable, valuable resources, resources which I haven't, despite many efforts, been able to obtain on "the outside" (and the free therapy through UBC is still two months away).

Fourthly, I am still working on my book and would like more details about the workings of psychiatric hospitals and as well I'd like more personal case studies. So I'd look at it as going "undercover" in order to conduct research. Honestly. (my nose for journalism was honed through photography to where I'd do just about anything to get the shot, only now I'd do just about anything to get the story)

Fifthly, psychiatric hospitals in BC always provide on site social services. I hate bureaucracy with a passion and have been loathe to go to the local offices and deal with the distasteful process of getting on welfare (about which I have no choice but the shame and disgust is strong). The hospital makes this process much, much easier and more pain free. Furthermore, this may help better set me up long term with fewer hassles if I can score a long term disability pension out of it. I'd naturally prefer a proper career and income from that but at this point I have to accept the diminished possibility of that. My own mental state is not ready for it nor do I have any reason to believe that any opportunity is going to be afforded me any time soon. So I have do something to secure an income of some kind. Not only that but long term disability pays better than normal welfare and offers other better options as well. So to set up some sort of minimal financial security this is my best - and only - bet.

Sixthly, I'd like another shot at some psychiatrists. My dear readers here have no idea just how well read I am on the human brain, mental health issues and psychiatric medications. Suffice to say that I relish the chance to go toe to toe with the people who so readily and haphazardly attempt to treat the incomprehensibly complex human mind with their simple medications. They'll find me "troublesome" let's just say (and you have no idea just how troublesome I can be). I have, as one example, gone toe to toe with a neuroscientist on this - and won. He was - and I do believe the past tense is correct here - a strong proponent of the chemical imbalance theory of depression and the ability of SSRI anti-depressants to "correct" these "imbalances". We were discussing it (online) and to support his case he sent me some very recent research papers on it. I picked the papers apart and destroyed his position. This caught the attention of another neuroscientist who was reading along (and who I'll introduce later) who's been a very strong ally and research partner of mine ever since. So believe me, not only will I relish this, I'll be well armed. I'll find it highly entertaining. Trust me.

So if I can get in, I'll just game the system for as long as I can. I'll have a place to sleep and stay, I'll have my books to study. I'll have good old fashioned ring binder note books in which to write, pretty much everything I'd hoped to have as I described in No Fixed Address, albeit with less freedom, except I'll have research to conduct and peers to hang out with. It's merely a sacrifice of freedom for security and safety. Not ideal but better than the alternative. As far as the dangers of having to go back on medications go, I'm a pretty crafty old hand at the psychiatric hospital game and have more than a trick or two up my sleeves. Worst case scenario is that I may have to take a mild dose of lithium which is probably the least harmful of their brain toxins, something which I'll be able to handle for a short period.

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