Last week we were in the shower.
But really, you should go and read last week's post so my opener makes sense. ;-)
That moment in the shower was like standing in mud, not being able move. I felt like I couldn't see anything. No matter where I looked, what direction I turned in, I saw white space. Not walls, just white space that went on for miles. I saw nothing and that nothing was endless.
Welcome to my first emergency room visit.
I don’t know how emergency rooms work. I’m not a specialist on the logistics: who comes first, why is the wait so long, why can’t you get anything for the pain, and the list goes on. I can come up with a few ideas like the lack of ER staff, the severity of an injury, and the amount of people waiting. Having said all that, arriving to the ER in my condition was not given enough attention. It simply was not viewed as an emergency. Only when there is physical, VISIBLE harm, do we get the attention we need. Is there blood? No. Is she breathing? Yes. Then she can wait.
Definition of emergency
1 : an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action
2 : an urgent need for assistance or relief
So then we ask, “Is it life-threatening?” You tell me. What questions do we ask? Are we asking the right ones? My life felt threatened. I was afraid for my life.
When I was admitted to the hospital due to a mental health crisis, it was difficult for me to understand why it took so long for someone to help me. I didn’t feel like anyone cared about me or what I was experiencing at that time. Maybe it was because my wife was with me and she seemed to have things under control. It’s hard to feel justified trying to explain it to you because you had to be there. I was crying, uncontrollably. I’m pretty sure I was staring off into some place. I don’t know where. I can’t even remember arriving, talking to any sort of secretary, or even getting into a room. I know I did those things because Sarah was there and we talked about it.
The fact of the matter is, my wife brought me to the hospital because I needed urgent assistance. We were desperate for help. I didn’t know how to help myself and she didn’t know how to help me.
I think that’s one reason why mental illness can be so scary. One day you feel really great, happy, and on top of the world. And the next day you’re in the deepest, darkest hole imaginable. You do not want to wake up and repeat another day like that. That is not normal. Not all people make it to the ER in those situations.
I believe that not all hospital staff are trained to treat mental health crises as actual emergencies. I may be biased, but I’m not alone. Yes, I am fully aware of the wonderful staff out there that recognize and understand a mental health crisis. I will tell you this though. Society has misunderstood mental health for quite some time and that includes hospitals.
After waiting for two hours during this particular ER visit, I was taken to a room where a woman asked me a bunch of questions. I couldn’t even tell you what she said. I mean seriously, I was not in any shape to answer her questions at that moment. My visit resulted in her handing me a packet of information on depression and anxiety. I was sent home. It was like a one-size-fits-all brochure. The lady was probably just doing what she was trained to do, but it wasn’t good enough. I’m not sure what is. I just know there’s a better way. How do you give a brochure to a severely depressed person and expect them to do something with it? Luckily I have Sarah, who assisted me in moving forward.
My poor wife. She felt helpless. I couldn’t console her. We were a hot mess together, but she was determined to help me. She didn’t waste any time. She started doing research on psychotherapists and psychiatrists and psych, psych, psych. I may not have said it then, but Sarah, I love you so much for your strength and determination.
I saw a psychotherapist for a bit, but it wasn’t helping. This lady sat cross-legged in her chair and constantly asked me, “Well, why do you think you feel that way?” I DON’T KNOW LADY THAT’S WHY I’M HERE! I fired her needless to say. Just wasn’t for me. That’s OK. We don’t always find the right shrink on the first go. I’m sure she was a great fit for others.
Between those visits and taking time off of work, things just got worse. I would return to the ER eleven days later. Maybe this time it'll be an actual emergency...???!!!
See you next week. Thanks for being here.
I just want all people to learn and grow together.