Traumatic deja vu experience with police -- no wonder we have such a mental health crisis.
I posted earlier about my son dying by suicide this January. He was 25. It has been extremely tough, as many can relate. So many of the comments on my post were so helpful to me that I re-read them many times when I'm struggling.
There is such a huge misunderstanding of "grief" and "depression". There is also a MAJOR misunderstanding on how to treat depression period, particularly before it gets to such a debilitating stage as suicide.
So onto my traumatic experience. Two days ago I had to call the company that handles FSA claims (medical claims for reimbursement). Note it is NOT my insurance company, I'm talking about medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance but you can get reimbursed from a health savings account that you contribute to yourself. This company had denied reimbursement for my grief counselor therapy, despite having approved several previous ones. So I was calling to find out why.
The customer service agent who took the call was trying to figure out what the issue was, trying to understand the type of therapy, and I mentioned it was for grief counseling due to my son's death. She told me "I understand, I lost my brother and my father." Of course, I broke down at that. She told me that she was so sorry for my loss, told me she understands the guilt that comes with it and reassured me it wasn't my fault. I thanked her, told her it was very hard, and that I missed my son very much. We got my claim resolved, I thanked her tearfully when she again expressed her condolences, then hung up. I actually thought how nice it was that I got not only a kind agent but one who understood grief.
24 hours later there is a knock at our door. My middle son opens the door and there are two policemen standing there asking for me by name. BTW, this is EXACTLY how we were notified of my son's death by suicide back in January...his younger brother answered the door and they asked for me by name (I've never understood why they didn't mention my husband's name too).
My son comes to get me and I am FREAKING out. Major PTSD. I'm thinking "OMG...did something happen to my daughter?" (she's away at school). Turns out the woman at the claim agency called in a "welfare check" for me. WTF???? The police treated me like I was a criminal. They kept asking me what I said on my phone call with the claim agent 24 hours ago. It was so bizarre, almost like I had called in a bomb threat. They just kept quizzing me and trying to see if what I said matched up with what they were told. I kept reassuring them I was not suicidal and I never mentioned suicide in the phone call with the agent. But they just kept quizzing me like they didn't believe me. It was horrific.
It wasn't until they left, after quizzing me for at least 15 minutes, that I realized they never asked me if anyone else besides my son was at home (you'd think they want to find out if I had support if they truly thought I was at risk). They only asked about what I said on the call...which was 24 hours ago anyway! Who cares?? Isn't what's going on NOW more important? Do I have support? Do I have resources? That's what they should have asked if they truly felt I was at risk.
Humiliating. I was so shaken up. I had full-on "fight or flight" adrenaline for hours. Shaking, heart pounding, feeling nauseous. And the flashbacks to the day we were notified of my son's death wouldn't stop.
No WONDER no one wants to tell anyone if they are suicidal. If this is how they treat someone based on the inexperienced judgment of complete stranger--what the h*ll? And my other son witnessed all of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Traumatic for him because of the flashback, AND I worry it would dissuade him from getting help if he--god forbid--needed it. What the hell are we doing in this country in regards to mental health?
I hate the term "defund the police" but we sure as h*ll need more $$$ towards getting qualified mental health personnel to go out on calls like this. God forbid it was someone truly suicidal.
My god we do need a change to the police force.
What ever happened to common decency and genuine ability to show caring and empathy- among the police or anyone, for that matter?
I would call the police department and share your thoughts about how the officers handled things.
It might make a difference- for them to learn from you.
My 22 year old niece attempted suicide several years ago and they put her in an empty room with a computer to do a zoom call with a psychiatrist but, would not allow her to talk to her Dad. Luckily she is in a much better space now.
An empty room to do a zoom call with a psychiatrist--a stranger--but not allow her to talk to her dad? That's horrible.
These horror stories are exactly why people, especially young people, won't speak up.
It's almost more a liability thing. People are more worried about being sued than investing in what will truly help. Just throw the person to a psychiatrist, put them on meds, let 'em go, and wash your hands of it.
People who try to commit suicide and are hospitalized at far more likely to recommit in the first month after their release than any other time. That makes sense to me since just being hospitalized doesn't teach the patient on how to deal with the life stressor that they will have to deal with when they are released. Hospital is an artificial environment, everything regulated, scheduled, etc.
We need to have enough resources so that we can treat people intensely but in their same environment when possible. "Process in place" is a term I've seen some mental health professionals trying to push for.
Remove the stigma!
Makes a lot of sense!
It may sound strange but, hearing the Ukrainians talk-
I realize how down to earth and realistic they are.
How have we in the US become so removed from
caring for one another?
I was hospitalized in Tiajuana, Mexico years ago & I was struck by how caring the hospital staff were.
Having worked in critical care in hospitals for years,
I felt sad for those who are our patients in the US.
As awful as it may have been, it is helpful to hear what you have experienced cc & Im sure the woman you spoke
would never have meant for this to happen.
Please, hang in there cc & know that we are all here for you! 🥰
I think social media, 24x7 TV, smartphones, etc are the worst things that happened for mental health and just lifes joy in general. The simpler things in life, and the value of those simple things, are almost completely erased.
I think of my husbands childhood as an analogy. He and his family grew up extremely poor. 6 kids total. He said around Christmas time their toys would disappear because his parents would wrap them as Christmas presents. But he said his best Christmas ever was when they each got their own box of Hostess Ding Dongs. Before just a single box of Ding Dongs shared amongst 6 kids was a luxury. But they all got a whole box! That was the best Christmas ever and he said he was HAPPY.
Then you compare to very rich kids who get brand new cars, luxury vacations, expensive clotheswhatever they want. And these kids are often miserable, high suicide rates or drug addiction.
So I think thats similar to what you are saying about Ukraine and what you experienced in the Tijuana Hospital. Simpler things like family, food, lovethats what matters.
I have survivor's guilt from accidents and in the service. I'm humbled by your experience and willingness to share it.
I'm in real bad shape but I am on my own unless I want to be committed to a mental health hospital, which would amount to a roof over my head. There I feel, at the behest of this same county, I would be further traumatized and victimized, the fool of my city. Not rational, but my world is small in that respect and word seems to get around.
I wanted to be a tough guy once upon a time and never deal with such things, a realistic endeavor to be sure.
You mentioned you were in the service, that alone should earn someone never having to worry about a roof over their head. And never have to worry about getting WHATEVER help you need.
Guilt added to grief is the most painful experience there is to the human soul. Survivors guilt is in that category soI absolutely know how incredibly hard and painful that is. Im so grateful I found a grief counselor to help me with this. If Ill ever get there I dont know. But for my sons sake I told him Im going to fight.
He, like many males, tried to tough it out on his own. He felt something was wrong with him if he needed help. I only found that out later when I saw some notes he wrote. So much pressure on males to be the tough guy.
I hope you are able to find help that actually HELPS.