Category Archives: crisis

Spike in Crisis Line Phone Calls after Robin Williams Death

Since the death of Robin Williams, there has been a spike in calls to crisis lines around the US and Australia.  I am not sure about other parts of the world, as I simply saw articles pertaining to these two countries, however I am sure they probably went up as well.

Calls, chats, messages, and clicks on their websites to Lifeline in America, Lifeline in Australia, Beyond Blue in Australia,  the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) information line and Facebook page, and local crisis centers all around the US.

Many people were reaching out, seeking help for their depression, suicidal thoughts, and some were simply wondering how people can be depressed – how can someone look happy and yet feel so much pain and kill themselves.  Perhaps with that last question, people will begin to understand depression more and even see or help someone else around them who might present happy but really be very depressed.

While they do not really know how many people were reaching out for help due to their depression and suicidal thoughts prior to Robin Williams death versus those who were affected by his death and began to feel suicidal after in response to his death (example, when you have someone close to you die, you begin to feel like you want to die) — they are glad that more people know about the crisis lines and support systems and are using them.

While I do think Robin Williams death brought a great deal of attention to suicide and mental health, I also think it is going to die down soon as it usually does even though people seem to care very much about it after such a loss.  However, hopefully after all those posts of the suicide hotline numbers – this will not die down and people will remember these resources – and use them – and reach out for help when they need to.

Here are a few articles discussing the increases in spikes in crisis center calls — and there are quite a few more if you search on the internet.

Australian News Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis calls

American Aljazeera Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis line calls

Houston, TX News Article Discussing local crisis center call increase

Augusta, Maine Article – Discussing local crisis center call increase

The Worst Day of My Life

Trigger warning — discusses suicide.

It was the lowest day in my life.  My depression hit a wall.  I didn’t know what to do anymore.  I had been out of college, graduated 5 months prior, in December 2011.  It was May 2012 now.  I had no money.  I had quit my job in March, but it was a student job from my college, and I wasn’t a student anymore so I was bound to lose it at some point anyway.

My parents had been paying most of my bills.  Even with my job, I didn’t have enough money for rent and food.  They wouldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t blame them.  Rent, food, even my students loans – they were paying for them.  They cut me off.  My lease ended at the end of May.

I had to move home to Texas to live with my mom and her husband or I was homeless, in Indiana.  Neither option was a good choice.  I didn’t want to move to Texas.  I hated it there.  I wasn’t fond of my mom’s husband nor was I fond of my relationship with my mom – living together for more than 2 weeks usually ended up in a disaster with arguments galore.

So back to the worst day of my life —

I decided I could live anymore.  I was done.  I had attempted to end my life multiple times before.  I had failed many times before.  Usually, I called for help.  I realized it was the wrong choice.  I realized I didn’t really want to die, just wanted the pain to end.  This time, it was different though.  I went all out – I was determined to die.  I was ready to die.  I didn’t want to be saved.  It wasn’t a cry for help.

It was still an overdose, as usual.  I didn’t take the pills all at once though.  I strategically took them over time.  Ten pills here, ten pills there, ten pills here… over a course of 24 hours.  They slowly built up in my system.  My liver was toxic.  My case manager met with me the next morning.  I didn’t tell her anything.  The tone of my voice and the negativity in my voice I suppose let her know that I was having the suicidal thoughts though.  She left, but 30 minutes later called me back.  I answered and she asked me how I was.  Of course, I said fine.  She said she would call me again.  I couldn’t understand how she knew something was going on.  Before she ever called me back – there was banging on my door.  The police, paramedics… they were all at my door.  I refused, I refused to go anywhere.  Because of my past history of suicide attempts though, they could get a court order and have me taken in – with handcuffs and all if I did not go.  So I went.

The paramedics took me, I refused to tell them anything.  Blood tests were taken and showed that my liver was at toxic levels and I was very close to actually dying.  They couldn’t believe I was not sick, that I wasn’t in horrible pain from how my levels were.  I told them I refused treatment, I wanted to go home.  Absolutely not – it was not going to happen.  Mucomyst – it is the antidote to Tylenol overdose.  I was given it, immediately.  It also made me incredibly ill.  Police were outside of my door since I was set on leaving and not being treated.  I was throwing up and became very ill.  They gave me Reglan to combat the vomiting.  That was a mistake because I was allergic to Reglan.  My face swelled.  I got hives all over.  I couldn’t breathe well.  I was going to die!  Nope — then I got Benadryl.  I was miserable.  What a miserable way to be.  A few friends from my NAMI support group came to be with me.  They sat with me, disappointed that I had gone to these lengths.  I was upset.  I was upset that I didn’t die.  Yet I was happy.  I was happy that someone cared enough to save me.  I didn’t know how I felt.  I was horribly ill – mentally and physically.  I was supposed to be sent to the ICU, but the ER was trying to stabilize me from all the reactions I was having to the medications to combat the overdose.  Finally, I was sent to the ICU.

I spent 5 days in the ICU.  Maybe 4.  I’m not sure.  I was then released into a psychiatric hospital.  I spent two weeks there.  I had been to that hospital before, many times.  They weren’t surprised to see me.  Upon my release I only had a few days to be out of my apartment because my lease was up.

I won’t forget that day though.  The day I attempted suicide.  Sure, I had done it before – but that day, it was the worst attempt I had ever had.  It was the attempt I really wanted.  The attempt I had hoped would actually work.  It was right near my mother’s birthday, right near Mother’s Day.  It was the attempt that actually really hurt my family.  The one that made everyone realize that I was struggling really bad.  It was the day that I realized I was hurting everyone around me whenever I hurt myself.  It was the day that I realized I would probably never attempt suicide by overdose again either – hopefully never attempt suicide again period too.

I have had really crappy days since then.  I have had horrible days.  I have still had my suicidal thoughts and been back in the hospital since then.  But, when I think of the worst day, that is the worst day that comes to mind.  It was caused by all the horrible things that happened before me.  The culmination of all my past events that made my mind go crazy, it was caused by my chemical imbalances … and all those things just created the worst day ever.  The lowest day in my life.  The lowest point in my life.

My Story

I had no idea what was going on with me.  I was 10 and sad.  But I wasn’t just sad.  I was really sad.

I was 11 and I wanted to die.  I planned on how to die.  Our school was taking a trip to Six Flags and I wrote out my suicide note, and I put it in my backpack and I was going to kill myself at the park.  My mom found it though, she asked me if she needed to keep me home.  I said I was fine and went to catch my bus.  It was never talked about again.

I was 13 and still really sad.  Suicide still ran rampant in my head.  My art teacher found out.  He found out about my home life.  I trusted him. I thought he would help me.  He said he was going to.  But he took advantage of me.  He made me do things to him.  He did things to me.  He verbally abused me.  He sexually abused me.  He hurt me.  I believed all his lies. He molested me and hurt me and fucked me up so bad.  I wanted to die more than ever before.

I was 14 and moved to a new city. Life was worse than ever before.  A new school and no friends. My school counselor found out about what my teacher did.  Chaos broke out.  I didn’t want to deal with it.  I began cutting. I did not tell the police everything. He was never charged. My depression became more severe. I became sick from stress. I missed more than half the school year and stayed home because I was “sick.”

I was 15 and 16 and 17 and high school happened. My depression trapped me.  I faked my smiles and I wore my mask.  I immersed myself in school work.  I tried to pretend like I was happy and make myself believe I was. Deep down I was choking, I could barely breathe. Every day I planned my death. I didn’t even believe I would make it to graduation. Surely I would do something before then.

Graduation came and went. I was 18. College was a new start. Surely life could start over now. I was raped. My mental health went down hill. For the first time in my life I was put into counseling. I couldn’t talk though. I didn’t know how to express myself. I isolated more than ever. I cried more than ever.

Therapy continued and I made no progress, but I just kept going.  I kept my emotions in for so long that I just avoided everything. I turned 21 and my life went upside down. My arm was paralyzed. I lost control. Again. The molestation. The rape. My arm.  I had lost control again. I needed to die now. My depression consumed me.  The year was 2009.

Trigger Warning –  the next paragraph mentions a suicide attempt


 

I had many suicide attempts.  My worst was in May 2012 though.  I had strategically overdosed on Tylenol.  After being given the antidote (Mucomyst) and Reglan, both of which I had reactions to, I was transported to the ICU where I spent 4 days before being sent to the psychiatric hospital.  This was not my first time in the ICU but it was the worst attempt I had.  And it was also somewhat of a wake up call. It was my last attempt, but not my last visit to the psych hospital.

Between January 2011, my first psychiatric hospitalization, and October 2012 – I had 15 psychiatric hospitalizations and ended up with three diagnosis (bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder). On that last hospitalization I was committed for 6 months to the state hospital.  I was terrified, but at the same time, I was so frustrated and sick of life, I really didn’t care what happened to me.  I was so sure that I would kill myself no matter what anyone did and that I had no future, that it didn’t matter to me.  The state hospital was the best thing that happened to me though.

On Halloween of October 2012 I went to the state hospital via the backseat of a Sherriff’s car. It was a two hour drive and it took me to a life changing experience.  I had the best psychiatrist, psychologist, nurses, rec therapist, music therapist, group therapists, psych techs, dietician, and other support staff possible.  They were all determined to get me and others back on the right track. I left the hospital in April 2013 more stable than I had been in a long time.  On the correct combo of meds and with coping skills that I actually felt comfortable using.

Today, in 2014, I still struggle.  I have been hospitalized since being out of the state hospital.  But in no way am I in and out like I was two years ago.  I take my medication and I acknowledge that I need it.  I accept that I have a mental illness and I try to educate myself about them.  I attend therapy and participate in it actively.  I am working through my PTSD which has been a huge factor in my hatred of myself and life.  I am always working on improving and finding new coping skills.  I continue to attend my support groups.

I know I can continue to fight.  I know I don’t have to let it consume me anymore.  I don’t have to let it win. It still knocks me down sometimes.  I just have to make sure I keep getting back up.

Psych Hospitals – The Not So Scary Truth

Don’t take me!  I don’t want to go.  I’m not going!!!

Going to a psychiatric hospital can be incredibly scary.  There are a lot of horror stories about them.  And for the most part, in today’s society, the horror stories are not true.  I say “for the most part” because I know that for some people, they have had bad things happen to them.  But, in general, most facilities are safe places, where people can go and get the care they needed.  They are not strapped down for hours and hours, stabbed with needles, and/or drugged up and drooling on a couch.

As I have mentioned a few times on here before, I have a little bit of experience with psychiatric hospitalizations. 17 different hospitalizations to be exact – at 7 different facilities. 

  • 1 in Texas
  • 4 in Indiana
  • 2 in Florida

Out of all of these facilities, I would say I had bad experiences at 2 of them, and out of those 2, only one of those was a really horrible experience, and I would say I would absolutely never want to be admitted to that hospital again.  Despite that, I know people that have been admitted to that hospital, and have had completely different experiences than me – so I don’t know, perception of how I compared it to the other hospitals I went to maybe?

All of these hospitalizations ranged in time differences – from as short as 3 days to one as long as 6 months at a state hospital (that hospital was probably the best hospital I was ever at). 

The reason why I really am writing this, is because far to often people talk about their bad experiences at the psych hospital.  No one really talks about how much it might have helped them. This tends to scare people off from actually going and getting help when they need it.  They are scared they might lose their kids, or they will never get out, they will be restrained and tied to a bed, they will be treated bad. 

This isn’t true though.  I can’t promise every hospital is going to be amazing.  It isn’t a 5 star hotel, and some hospitals are newer and better than others.  But it is a safe place if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.  It is a place for you to get help.  Unless there is abuse or neglect of your kids where they are in immediate danger, they wont take away your kids if you have someone to watch them while you are there – you will get them back (per every situation I have ever encountered with people that have had kids).  You might be there 1 day (unless you are under a 72 hour hold), or you might be there a month – but that is between you and the doctor and how you feel you are doing.  If you are not a danger to yourself or others though, they cannot keep you in there against your will. 

I know it might not seem like the hospitals helped me at all, considering I was in and out of them so much.  But they did!  They saved my life.  If it wasn’t for them, I would be dead.  I would go on and off my medication, I was non compliant.  I didn’t think I needed help.  I didn’t know how to accept the help.  Every time I went in I hated life and wanted to die – or had actually attempted suicide.  They would bring me back to reality, get me back on my meds.  Get me into the group therapy there, the techs would talk to me, the psychiatrist would talk to me.  I relearned how to use my coping skills.  I got stabilized.  For the time being anyway.  For me, it took more than an acute care hospital – it took the state hospital.  For most, it doesn’t take that though.  But for me, that state hospital literally saved me from destruction. 

I spent 6 months there and I was scared to go.  When they told me I was being committed I was scared.  Yet, I didn’t even think much of it at the same time.  I was so over hospitals and assumed I would kill myself no matter what it didn’t phase me.  In the end, after 6 months, I was a new person.  Yes, I still struggle, but I think about how much time and effort everyone put into teaching me how to live again, not just survive in life but actually live.  The psychiatrist, nurse, medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, techs, recreational therapists – it was amazing how much everyone cared. 

People at psych hospitals do care.  It is a not a gloomy place where patients are catatonic and drugged up, tied to chairs and beds.  Groups take place, patients make friends, support is given. I still have friends from some of my hospitalizations in the acute care hospitals and friends from the state hospital.  And we keep in touch more often than other friends because they understand me much better.

If you need help, reach out.  Take it.  It is there.  Don’t be scared.

I took a big step, I called a Crisis Line

Yesterday I broke down.  My anxiety consumed me.  I tried to use my copings skills – I went out, went to Michaels – bought some more canvas and paint to come home and paint. I couldn’t handle it though.  “Hurt yourself.” “Cut yourself” “Hit yourself” “Break a bone” My brain kept wanting to find a way out of this feeling of extreme dread and torture that was going on. 

The minute I got home I knew I couldn’t do what my brain was saying. I had done that before. I did that for two years and all it did was get me put in the hospital, in the ICU, the ER, and the psych hospital.  I couldn’t go back to that.  I cant go back to that.  I am trying to stay in recovery.  I am trying to get my life back and stay on track.

I called 211.  It connected me to the local crisis line.  It is easier than dialing the suicide hotline, all I have to remember is 211 rather than a bunch of numbers, plus the suicide crisis line would connect me to 211 anyway, since it just connects you to your local crisis line.  For those of you who don’t know what 211 is – it is a free and confidential informational and referral line available in most cities/counties in the United States.  They can connect you with resources to find help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more – and in my area also provide the crisis/suicide line. 

Anyway, I spent 33 minutes talking to a wonderful volunteer.  Probably 15 minutes crying my eyes out.  Eventually we came up with a plan, had some laughs, and I am feeling better.  Thank goodness I got my mind set straight because I do not want to end up back in the hospital!

I was assured I could call back as many times as I needed, 24 hours a day, and they could help me. 

Today was a rough day, and I suspect it is going to be a rough week.  Honestly, I think it is going to be a rough few months.  I don’t think my meds are working right, or not well enough anyway – perhaps a dosage adjustment.  I don’t think my doctor is getting my anxiety under control at all – at least not quick enough.  I know that I can’t give up though.  I know not to go back to my old habit – which was just not thinking and just doing.  I know I cant be impulsive anymore.  Not that it is that easy, impulse is impulse, but I can still keep working on it.

 

If you are in a crisis reach out for help:

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Lifeline Crisis Chat

IMAlive Crisis Chat

Veteran Crisis Online Chat

Call: 211

In the UK? Call the Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

In Australia? Call Lifeline: 13 11 14  or chat with them

In New Zealand? Call Lifeline’s Warmline: 0508 927 654 or Suicide Crisis Line: 0508 828 865

Dissociation and Staying in the Here and Now.

Dissociation.  It sucks.  It has been happening to me a lot I guess.

My anxiety medication was making things worse for me, so I was taken off of it.  But while I was on it, my dissociation was even worse than before.  But even off of it, I still dissociate. It is completely frustrating

So, some of you might not even know what dissociation is. 

Dissociation – It can be mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience.

It does not necessarily mean you have Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder).  Dissociation can simply mean you , somewhat zone out, detach yourself from what is around you, go off into your own world so you do not think what your mind wants you to think or feel. 

Dealing with my past history of abuse has been incredibly hard.  Thinking of that, the sexual abuse, the rape, everything – it has just made me incredibly anxious and depressed and quite honestly, the suicidal ideations have been running rampant in my head. 

Sometimes, I don’t even have to be thinking about any of it, and suddenly a memory will just pop into my brain and trigger me and I either have a flashback, a panic attack, or completely dissociate.  During therapy, the dissociation has happened more frequently.  It is really frustrating.  Sometimes I come out of it and just want to cry.  I feel horrible.  I don’t want to talk at all. 

It is really hard to deal with.  Staying in the here and now – I guess I just have to keep learning how to do that.  I guess I need to practice using my grounding techniques more frequently when my anxiety is high and the dissociation occurs.  As my therapist says, she is there to help me through it when it happens in her office, but when she is not around, I have to learn how to do it on my own. 

FUNNY FRIDAYS

I am going to start a new weekly series called “FUNNY FRIDAYS”

I just want to clarify that in no way am I trying to make light or make fun of mental illness.  But humor is healthy and sometimes we just need to learn to laugh at ourselves and our situations.

 

When life gets you down —

 

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Crisis Intervention Team – Importance of Having CIT Trained Law Enforcement

Recently on The Journey of Kylie, she blogged about a situation involving the cops handcuffing her in a rough, violent manner during a mental health encounter when she was not violent or resisting them in a violent manner at all.

This got me thinking about CIT officers.  CIT officer stands for Crisis Intervention Team.  These are officers within the police or sheriffs department who are trained to interact and deal with individuals who have mental health illness. 

I have personally dealt with CIT officers when I was in college, on many occasions.  All of my interactions with them were very positive.  In my city, the majority of officers were trained in CIT.  In fact, when they were trained, part of their training was to go to the local psych hospital and talk to the patients and get our perspectives on how we were treated by police officers when they were called to our apartments/houses.  I was in the psychiatric hospitals multiple times, so I talked to those going through training about 3 or 4 times to help them understand what would help me if they came to my apartment, and what would not help me, and my past experiences were like. 

Not everyone has positive experiences though.  As you can tell from The Journey of Kylie, interactions with cops during a mental health issue, is not always positive.  And not every city has CIT trained officers.  In fact, a lot of cities don’t.  There are actually countless stories of people with mental illness being shot and killed by cops for one reason or another when it could have been prevented if another tactic could have been used to help them rather than kill them. 

It is really absolutely reprehensible that these things are happening.  People with mental illness should not be treated like this.  If we are not an active threat to someone else.  If we are not an active threat to ourselves.  Holding a gun.  Holding a knife.  Holding something that could be used as a weapon and actually dangerous.  If we are not resisting arrest and causing problems.  Why are we being shot and killed?  Why are we being slammed against walls and handcuffed? 

Yes, I have been taken to a hospital in handcuffs.  But my hands were cuffed by my sides or in front of me.  I accept this and understand why this was done.  It was explained to me and done in a dignified manner.  While I did not really see the need for it as I was not resisting and was voluntarily going, I was treated respectfully at least.  But these awful treatments of people with mental illness are completely unacceptable.  They are not and should not be accepted by anyone. 

If you do not have CIT officers in your city, talk to your criminal justice department about implementing it, I have listed some resources that you could contact about it at well:

CIT International

NAMI – CIT

Mental Health Crisis Institute – Law Enforcement CIT Training

FBI – CIT Article

 

 

 

Suicide does not end the Chances of Life getting Worse, Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting Better

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Suicide Hotline

Lifeline Crisis Online Chat

IMAlive Online Crisis Chat

International Suicide Hotlines

Therapy – It came and went

Therapy – It came and it went.

I was terrified about going today.  After dealing with a family reunion that made me face relationships and past issues that had hurt me I was not looking forward to even thinking about therapy, and yet I was also looking forward to it because I wanted to talk about it.

My problem is simple though — I want to talk about things, and then I get to therapy, and no words come out.  I have all these words in my head, but I can’t form them into sentences.  I don’t know how to say them, I don’t want to say them, I don’t want to hear them out loud.  Occasionally I have been able to say certain things here and there though.  So I was hoping that perhaps some of it would just come out today.  Opening up to people is incredibly hard.  Even once I have built up trust with my therapist I find it hard.  I completely trust her, but for some reason, talking just seems almost impossible even though I want to do it so bad.  Does anyone else have this problem?

The session actually did not go horribly.  I did go into a bit of a flashback though and ended up completely breaking down crying.  We were talking about something, I don’t even remember now, and I simply just went out of the moment, the next thing I knew I was just crying cause I was having so much pain and emotion about what had happened.  But thankfully I was with my therapist and she could walk me through it.  I wish I had a professional therapist on my shoulder 24/hrs a day for when that type of thing happens!  It calms me down so much quicker than I can do on my own!

I cannot wait until I work through all of these past traumas.  I can tell I am stronger than I was from when I started though.  And while things might get harder, I will only grow from this in the end.

Alarm set for Friday next week to begin again!