Changing the mental health system

There is a major issue in our world that we are all very aware of yet nobody wants to talk about it.

What am I speaking on?

Mental illness.

Our society is built on the idea of “being perfect”.

Every day we wake up and put on our best faces for the world.

Our social media’s are filled with smiling faces and while I’m not disagreeing that our lives have picture perfect moments, I’m calling bluff on this “perfection” front.

We are human and we are flawed.

Though our reality is a planet full of people who are desperately chasing after perfection.

We are not Jesus.

Instead we have Jesus, to teach us the most raw lessons of forgiveness as we inevitably mess up, time and time again.

And then there’s this thing called life.

Life is not peaches and cream people.

Life is a journey full of ups and downs, heart beats and heart breaks, setbacks and stand ups.

As our broken souls chase this fantasy idea of being “perfect”, it’s understandable that we internalize every failure as a flaw.

Life gets hard and we are trained to pretend that everything is fine, that we are fine.

Mental health isn’t discussed in the way physical health is.

And why?

They are in fact, one in the same.

People are so accepting of any body part breaking down, except our minds.

When our minds are broken, nobody wants to talk about it.

Instead our society is still running on this stigma that views the mentally ill as monsters.

People who are mentally ill are weird, unpredictable, dangerous.

It’s the 21st century and the advancements being made decade by decade are monumental.

Advancements in the mental health system on the other hand have been minimal.

If you are genuinely unaware of how bad this situation is, check out An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system.

This is not an isolated incident.

Our mental health system is a freaking joke you guys.

It’s unacceptable.

For anyone who has never experienced mental illness, I hear you.

It has got to be confusing as hell when somebody “can’t just be happy”.

I get that you don’t understand.

Similar to the everyday battles someone with a physical ailment faces, yet also very different.

Our eyes can see why the man with one arm struggles in climbing the rope, our eyes validate this understanding.

When someone’s mind is under attack there is nothing to validate their behavior- nothing that screams “wow, I can’t imagine how hard it must be getting out of bed every morning”.

In turn this equals stigma and grave misunderstanding of the mentally ill.

When our brains are under attack we are left with a world of broken resources.

Mental illness is a tax on the poor.

If you can’t meet the price tag, genuine help is literally non-existent.

There isn’t a logical plan in place to actually help these people.

What needs to be done to change this?

Who are the mentally ill?

The bus driver, your next door neighbor, your best friends brother, your mom.

It’s not just the horrific individuals who commit mass shootings; the “crazy people” being tied down and shipped to an insane asylum in the movies.

Nobody is exempt from getting a mental illness.

Why are people in crisis being treated like animals?

Why are our publicly available crisis centers releasing people crazier than when they were admitted?

There is obvious room for improvement in the system and we need to do this to help our people.

Being suicidal in today’s world is like needing an emergency appendectomy in a world without doctors.

In my mind there are so many things that we could do differently.

Safe havens shouldn’t feel so cold.

I am coming up on one year of doing this blog.

It has been an insane process of self reflection and growth.

I’ve decided that I am extremely passionate about advocating for the mentally ill- people like myself.

It’s a cause that we are all too familiar with but refuse to constructively change.

It sucks being mentally ill in a world that views mental illness as abnormal.

And I’m ready to start pushing for changes.

Share this post if you want change in the mental health system.

If this post hits 5,000 shares, I will personally draft up a game plan and do everything in my power to get it to Colorado legislature.

Who better to brainstorm a solution than the people who know this battle all too well?

Together we can change the way the world views and treats mental illness.

Change starts here.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more empowering content. 💕💕💕

I hate meds

The other day I texted my husband and dropped the bomb yet again.

My meds aren’t working.

I finally freaking admitted it… to my husband and to myself.

Aren’t working like how?!

He wrote back.

Not working as in not being able to handle dramatic confrontations… not working as in telling you I hated you like a psycho…😔

My meds haven’t been working for awhile.

Finally, I’ve reached my breaking point with them.

If you’ve ever taken medication you are likely familiar with that terrible feeling when you begin noticing the meds aren’t a good fit.

You fight with yourself on if it’s even worth all of the stress and anxiety that comes with changing.

The last time I changed my meds I ended up in a crisis center on a 72 hour hold.

Since “regaining stability” on a new antidepressant, irritability and impulsivity have been the most noticeable side effects.

However, in comparison to landing in a crazy house, these side effects seemed manageable.

At least until I found myself shouting those insanely awful words at my poor husband…

“I hate you!”

In that moment I knew I’d have to bare whatever fate was headed for me as I gear up to make yet another switch.

I love my husband more than words and the fact that those terrible words could even come out of my mouth absolutely kills me.

Who is this crazy person I’ve become on these pills that are supposed to be making me “normal”…?

I hate everything about this.

I hate that this chemical substance, that I put in my body, is powerful enough to change my values… to change who I am.

I hate that I feel trapped as this person who I don’t want to be and I hate that there is no easy way out.

I hate watching myself destroy everything that’s important to me while sitting on the sidelines in my own life.

If you read Life sentenced to medication then you are already aware that I had my identity stripped of me as a child.

I’ll never forget that very first psychiatrist visit- almost 20 years ago.

Ironically, what I have lost sight of, is who I was before being signed up for this mess.

More than anything I want to meet myself.

I want to be able to wake up in the morning and just be normal like everyone else without taking a handful of pills that don’t even work.

I want to feel completely in control of the things I do and say.

I want to know who the hell I am underneath all of these stupid pills.

There are only two things that I’m sure of.

One- if I skip my pills for a day I feel like a hungover, quivering robot who can absolutely not function.

Two- I freaking hate medication!

YES, medication is definitely required for some people.

Maybe I am one of those people…

I just wish so badly that I could have made that decision for myself.

Having done so would make this lifestyle feel much less out of control.

As I sit here watching my life play out in front of me from behind a glass window, there is one thing I wish for my readers.

While my identity may be long gone, I hope it wasn’t all for nothing.

I pray that some way, some how, this post can reach a parent who is on the fence with treatment options for their child.

I pray that if possible, this post can be enough to convince someone to just let their child be a child…

If you feel like medication is the only option, DISCUSS IT THOROUGHLY WITH YOUR CHILD.

Allow them to have a voice in the decision making process.

Let them know all of the risks involved and that this could potentially, be a life sentence– as it was for me.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more ❤️

Life sentenced to medication

“The doctor says I have depression.”

My eight year old friend stared at me perplexed as I gulped down a handful of pills at our sleepover.

It was rather confusing to me as well.

After my dad “disappeared” one day, things changed.

My mom had to go back to work.

She was terrified that the end of her marriage would somehow destroy the lives of my brother and I.

But I wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last eight year old dealing with a broken home.

One day my mom loaded us into the car.

Even my wildest dreams couldn’t imagine the importance of this day.

It was a day that would affect the rest of my life.

Following a long drive we arrived in front of a quaint little office building tucked neatly behind trees.

The interior was decorated like a cabin home.

It was quiet.

I sat innocently in the waiting room and began flipping through a magazine.

Eventually a man emerged from the large oak doors and after speaking with my mother, it was my turn.

“So… How are you?”

He offered.

“Good.”

I said quietly.

“What brings you in today?”

An odd question for my eight year old self.

“Ummm. I’m not really sure…”

He continued,

“Your mom informed about the situation at home. I can only imagine how hard that must be.”

“Ummm. Yeah I guess.”

“What are your thoughts on your Father’s drinking behaviors?”

He solicited.

“It can be scary at times. But he’s gone now.”

“Yes. Can you explain to me what’s happening…?”

“Ummm. I don’t know. My parents don’t love each other. They never did really. I was sleeping over at my friends house and when I came home my Dad was gone.”

“Mhmm. Yes. And how does that make you feel?”

At last he had poked me hard enough to unleash the stream of tears he’d been seeking all along.

“It’s fine.”

Responding as he handed me a box of tissues,

“It sounds like you have depression. You can manage your symptoms with medication. I am writing you a prescription for some today.

And that was it.

Looking out the window on the drive home- completely oblivious to how that prescription would change the way I lived my life forever.

These trips to the doctor became routine.

Every visit resulting in a new handful of medications intended to “fix” me.

In a matter of months I was “diagnosed” with three more “conditions”.

The doctor was constantly adding medications and never replacing them.

Each visit solidifying “I am crazy” and “I am broken” in my little head.

Eventually it reached a point when I was taking thirteen prescription medications.

If I wasn’t broken to begin with, I surely would be now.

I was a pharmaceutical guinea pig.

Maybe that’s the reason that to this day I have this deep seeded belief that I’m not normal.

That I’m defective.

That I need to swallow pills to function like other people.

18 years later I still take medication.

I have a handful of mental health conditions which vary based on the doctor you ask.

Currently I take 4 different medications which keep me right at the edge of sanity.

I’ve established as much of a “freedom” from medication as possible.

My body has been relying on meds for so long that I need them to just feel “okay” now.

I don’t know who I am without medication.

There are times I still wish I could get the chance to meet myself.

My real self.

Times I feel that I’ve been robbed of my true identity.

How would my life would be different if my adversity was categorized as “life” instead of a “flaw that needs fixing”?

Maybe I would end up with the exact same prescription cocktail after all, even if I’d never become dependent on meds as a child.

The problem is that I’ll never know.

Parents- If your child is going through a rough time PLEASE weigh ALL of your options before jumping into a treatment plan.

Don’t commit to a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

I’m not disagreeing with medication.

I’m not blaming anyone.

I’m simply giving a voice to my eight year old self who didn’t have one.

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An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system


I was in crisis.

Suddenly the seemingly perfect life I’d been living was in total havoc and I just freaking lost it.

I needed help.

Time away where I could sit and talk with someone to work through my problems.

That is what happens at those inpatient mental health places…right?!

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This actually wouldn’t be my first experience with the mental health system.

In 2011, I was put on a 72 hour hold after firemen broke my window to rescue me following a suicide attempt.

You can read more about that experience by clicking the link below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

https://project-identity.blog/2018/04/02/my-untraditional-fairy-tale/

This story leaves you hanging however in regards to the system.

The only thing I really remember from that experience was sitting in a dark room, completely isolated, only to be released in my hospital gown three days later.

There may have been other issues in protocol based on the severity of my condition at the time.

That was also 2011.

By 2018 they surely had new measures in place to give those in crisis a safe place to go….

“Alexis. Are you a danger to yourself?”

Well knowing that my response would decipher my freedom, I finally amounted the courage to say the word.

Yes.

Life as I knew it was suddenly out of my control.

The walls melted beside me as the EMT’s laid me on a stretcher and wheeled me out of my doctors office.

You guys I’m a pretty normal human these days.

I don’t go out.

I don’t get in trouble.

I’m a mom to two beautiful little girls.

Call me basic.

Yet however “basic” I may be, I still managed to land myself in a crisis center on a 72 hour hold.

This could be anyone.

So what exactly happens to you once you get turned over to the system?

Is our mental health system enough to “fix” people?

See if my experience changes your opinion.

2018 inpatient mental health experience

After completing a gene test, it was determined that my antidepressant wasn’t a very effective choice for me.

Ready for better management of my depression I decided to make the switch.

The catch?

I’d have to ween off my current antidepressant for three weeks before starting the new one.

This is actually protocol as taking multiple SSRI’s increases your risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Two weeks in and I was feeling just fine!

“Maybe I don’t need this antidepressant after all!”

Until on week two, day five, when “life” happened.

Laying on the bathroom floor staring into space.

Every once in awhile reminding myself that I’m a mom and I need to get my butt out there and suck it up.

Only to inevitably explode tears in front of my children and end up back on the bathroom floor in effort to shelter them from my “crazy”.

Terrified of the system after my first experience, I attempted to sleep it off.

Fast forward to the admittance of needing help at the beginning of this article.

Here is what the next 72 hours had in store for me.

10am: EMT’s come to my doctors office to take me to the hospital.

10:30am: I arrive at the hospital. A guard is placed at the door of my ER room to keep an eye on me. Sitting still, sobbing quietly, trying to not distract the nurses from tending to actual emergency care.

12pm: A urine sample and blood work are finally collected and sent to the lab. I still have yet to talk to a therapist. Regret starts sinking in.

3pm: The medical tests came back normal. I’ve now been cleared from medical and an order has been submitted for me to speak to a counselor for placement.

9:30pm: Just shy of TWELVE hours in the emergency room staring at a wall. What did I sign up for? AT LAST the counselor is here to do the assessment. Following a stack of paperwork, the decision is made to send me to a crisis center. Now more waiting while they search for an available bed. The nurse said this can take up to 24 hours.

11:30pm: A surprisingly short (2 hour) wait time until I found placement. But wait there’s more…. time to submit the pre authorization for insurance. I was told once again this could take up to 24 hours. Please get me out of here.

1am: Once again I’ve “lucked out” as insurance only took an hour and a half to respond. How people could be stuck helpless in the ER for DAYS possibly… I can’t even begin to fathom. Can I speak to a therapist yet?

1:30am: EMT’s arrive to transport me to my new “home”.

2:15am: I have finally arrived. However, it is the middle of the night. I guess I won’t be seeing a therapist today.

Note: This entire ridiculous day was enough to make a person crazy. I was over it. This definitely was NOT what I was expecting. There were not therapists on duty to help me through it. The panic attacks were unbearable. I had missed the window for medication distribution so I’d have to manage without the pills that help me sleep at night. I felt so trapped and out of control. Everyone was sleeping so I couldn’t even cry it out like I so badly needed to. Choking on my tears, hyperventilating, trying to be quiet.

It was the ultimate depressive low.

5am: Finally I decide to try and sleep after my attempts at escaping were unsuccessful.

7am: Time for breakfast. I was able to fall asleep for a little over an hour. 😫

8am: Medications are given. If you haven’t seen the doctor yet, no meds. Even if you brought your own medication in the original bottles with your name on them. My body is literally so used to taking my medications that if I miss a dose my skin gets all flushed and I feel like I’m dying. These symptoms adding to my already full load of problems.

9am: Group therapy. Essentially, working through coping skills. It’s incredibly hard to focus while I’m still overflowing with the problems that got me in here and the fact that I still haven’t been able to talk to ANYONE about them.

10am: Free time. Either read a book if you brought one, color if that’s your thing, or lay in the dayroom and sleep like 90% of people did.

12pm: Lunch.

1pm: Group therapy.

1:30pm: THE DOCTOR FINALLY CALLED ME! Andddd, my visit with her was a whopping 5 minutes. At least the order had FINALLY been put in for my meds. I’d have to wait until evening medication distribution to get them though.

2pm: Free time. More day sleeping…

4pm: More group therapy… still can’t focus.

5pm: Dinner.

6pm: Visitation.

7pm: Group therapy… again.

8pm: Medications. Which thankfully included me this time.

9pm: Bed.

This routine was the same schedule every day. The only difference the following day was that I FINALLY SAW A THERAPIST. For a ten minute one on one session. ONCE.

So, if I ever found myself in a mental health emergency again, would I make the same choice in asking for help?

As much as I hate admitting this, absolutely not.

The mental health system failed me.

I 110% left feeling WAY worse than I did when I got there.

You guys, how is this our system?

How is it that treatment for someone who is suicidal doesn’t involve any quality one on one time?

Why was the day filled with free time and taking naps (which is terrible for depression) while activities involving exercise (great for depression) didn’t exist?

Shouldn’t it be a priority to get severely mentally ill patients their medications in a timely matter?

Our broken system has psychiatric patients using emergency care rooms as waiting rooms… potentially for DAYS based on some of the wait times I was given. Is it really the best idea to tie up our EMERGENCY ROOM nurses with mentally ill people they can’t help?

I’m not sharing this as a salty ex-patient trying to make something out of nothing.

I’m sharing this because this could happen to anyone.

Depression doesn’t discriminate.

This is the system your children, your grandchildren, THEIR grandchildren may need to use some day…

I’m sure that there are options, for extremely wealthy people, to fly somewhere and have an actual therapeutic experience.

But what about the rest of us?

What about the suspects in these shootings that we keep saying need mental health treatment?

This is OUR mental health system and if people are leaving crazier than they came in, IT’S NOT WORKING

If you are appalled by this article SHARE IT!

Not enough people are aware of this sad reality.

Let’s expose the system for what it is.

It unacceptable.

Make your voice heard.

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Project Identity