Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Breathe

Back in the '80s...or maybe it was the '70s, I remember hearing about some self-help book titled, "I'm OK, You're OK." I think it's a great title, but unfortnately I cannot relate right now. I am not OK. My family is not OK. Oh yes, in the greater scheme of things we have food, water and shelter; two incomes; two great kids and live in a country that despite all its backward flaws and quirks is a pretty damn good place to live. But in the past week my life was turned on its head when I found out that mental health is NOT something to take for granted.

Last Tuesday I spent 7+ hours in the Emergency Room psych unit at the local hospital. Out of respect of privacy for the individual involved, I am not going to say who, but let it be known that it was a very sad place and not one I want to revisit. The walls were that soft blue meant to calm. The rooms had no doors for protection and observation. And the lifeless shapes of people obviously desperate enough to end up there, were wrapped as shrouds on single beds under white knit blankets.

There is one thing I am grateful for during those dark hours though. People. The counselors and doctors we encountered during that period were amazing....even though it took 3 hours to be seen. Even though there was no social worker on staff to help us fit the pieces together after we left. But they cared. While I sit at a desk all day, these folks are locked in this unit with very sick people. Some of whom they will help but only temporarily. I may never see them again but I want to say thank you.

I also want to thank the counselor and psychiatrist who have helped my family through this crisis as we wait, and wait and wait for a facility to open up so we can seek the next round of long-term treatment.

And I 'm grateful my husband's employer offers damn good health insurance. Sadly though, I know thousands...probably more...don't have this benefit which really should be a human right. Call me a socialist folks but everyone should have the right to get health care for their family especially in times of crisis. The ER that day when we left was packed. Some probably only had a cold or a cut finger but they had nowhere else to go. Think about it.

And finally thanks to my friends. Through this time they have reached out in various ways, mostly social media, and for that I am so grateful. My Mom asked, "are you seeing a counselor?" Not now. But I am have many lovely  Facebook friends who care and give a shoutout when needed. I have a few who despite my "I don't want to talk" call me. And then there is my amazing husband with a capital "A." He is my rock and maybe I'm his little pebble as we try to stand strong and keep our family from floating away.

So if you are reading this -- and really this is just more for me to diary -- go hug your loved one. Don't turn your head when you see a homeless person next time. Give them the damn dollar or go buy them a sandwich. And when you hear about a suicide, please, please, please don't be like I have on more than one occasion and say, "How selfish could they be."

I'm not OK. But I'm going to be. And so is my family.

1 comment:

  1. I read this with great admiration of your strength. Those words must have been difficult to write but through them you are inspiring me to stop and think about what is important; family, friends, and most of all compassion to those we might not think need it. I'm sorry you are going through this. You are in my thoughts.

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