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Response to HankyDub (Reply #41)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:53 PM

46. It's not always the stigma, HD. Often people who are mentally ill are in denial or simply unaware...

 

...that they have a condition that may be treatable. That is the case with my friend who committed suicide in January.

She refused to seek help for what presented as apparent major depression. I begged her for months to take advantage of services offered by the county for free, and offered to help her pay for any treatment program.

She was convinced that her state of mind was a result of her environment, and that being depressed was reasonable. Many people who are depressed say just that, but what they fail to understand is that even "situational" depression can often be treated successfully with medication or a combination of medication and therapy.

I had the police pick her up on December 7, interrupting an apparent suicide attempt. She was placed in a lock-down hospital and tended by a psychiatrist, at least one psychologist, a social worker, and nurses who are all experienced professionals. They couldn't get through to her, she would not agree to treatment. After almost 10 days she figured out the right things to say to get herself released.

She apparently made a deal with them - In exchange for freedom she had to agree to a program of treatment that included taking an anti-depressant medication and seeing a psychiatrist at a clinic that specializes in treating difficult cases including Borderline Personality Disorder. (An experienced psych nurse who is a friend of mine suggested that as a possible diagnosis weeks before her melt-down. It turns out he was probably correct.)

She didn't take her medication. She didn't go to her first appointment with the psychiatrist. The police were sent to check on her and found her at home, but there was nothing they could do. She wasn't presenting an obvious danger to herself or others, she wasn't breaking any laws, so they had to leave her alone.

Her refusal to accept treatment had nothing to do with the stigma of mental illness. She had given up.

I helped her family by taking custody of about half of her belongings after we cleaned up her apartment. I went through everything carefully to make sure I found important financial documents, photos, or anything else that might be of interest to someone. She never threw anything away, and her invoices and correspondence told a tragic story. She had been struggling with mental illness for at least the last 20 years of her life. Various doctors who were not qualified to treat mental illness took half-assed measures, prescribing drugs for depression, or OCD, or approaching her issue as an eating disorder.

They were all wrong. By the time she got to a competent psychiatrist, she was too far gone.

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struggle4progress Nov 2012 OP
slackmaster Nov 2012 #1
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struggle4progress Nov 2012 #2
Eleanors38 Nov 2012 #3
glacierbay Nov 2012 #4
4th law of robotics Nov 2012 #16
HankyDub Nov 2012 #41
LineLineLineReply It's not always the stigma, HD. Often people who are mentally ill are in denial or simply unaware...
slackmaster Nov 2012 #46
rrneck Nov 2012 #5
krispos42 Nov 2012 #6
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #7
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Atypical Liberal Nov 2012 #9
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gejohnston Nov 2012 #13
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