Changing Seasons

on the journey, the path.

PHOTO CREDIT: Heart & Soul Photography

Several days ago I found a box of frozen juice bars that I bought not long before my most recent post in this blog.  It was mid-summer and as usual, hot and humid.  I’d accidentally left them at my son’s apartment.  They’re in my freezer as I write, but they don’t look nearly as tempting as they did in July.

The summer was like one long day.  One filled with near constant telephone calls, online research and intense email communications.

Having reached out and asked for help in the medical community led to my son’s lengthy and rather unfortunate stay in a psychiatric hospital.

My son is doing okay and maybe even quite well.  He’s out of the hospital, which is very good!  He’s in recovery and I’m processing the fear that those psychiatrists instilled in my mind.

The inpatient psychiatrist and her personal team of professionals claimed that my son was there for symptoms of mental illness, but technically and truthfully, he became their patient because of, “a note left on the (local) hospital’s computer,” written six months before the evening he arrived in the emergency room for help.

The note shaped the next months of his life, and mine.  It almost shaped a few years.

I’ve learned that time is different for me than it is to the psychiatrists we had to deal with.  In their time, a few years of my son’s life can be discussed and measured in days, as in, “up to thirty days,” or, “for one-hundred and fifty days…”

In my time, one hundred-and fifty days equals five full moons, three important family birthdays, one Thanksgiving, one Christmas, days and weeks of walking in the fresh air, one Autumn, thousands of shimmering and glowing leaves to see, two dogs’ lives worth of days to enjoy, two semesters, one Winter, several snowmen and at least, three bowls of snow cream.

In their time, one hundred and fifty days is long enough for them to mythologize, diminish or selectively forget about the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

Something inside of me changed as the days turned into weeks, and finally months.  Faith is more present in my heart and I like that.  Both my son and I are on a different, yet comfortably familiar path of holistic healthcare.  We are working with a Taoist Alchemist and have better access to an open-minded, progressive thinking neuro-medical practitioner.

I’m more cautious than I was before about our modern-day Western approach in the treatment for mental illness.  It doesn’t work the same for everyone.  Personally, accepting what psychiatry offers, requires a separation of my heart and mind.  I’ve never been good at that.  As long as my heart is still there, I’ll be listening to what it has to say.

Dealing with the mental healthcare system has been a rather political process and, one which I don’t want to repeat.  I’m sure my son feels the same way.  I hope and pray that he doesn’t have to deal with those people again.

Mental illness is as physical as any other illness is.  There can be a hundred different reasons the brain malfunctions and a hundred different causes for each reason.  Treating a person’s brain is complicated medicine.  The field of psychiatry needs a revolution.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog!

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16 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Michelle, I cannot believe it is nearly a month since my last visit here my friend. How are things with you both? I have been thinking about you for several days now so I know there must be a reason I need to send out your way…
    The weather I hope is treating you kind. and your not feeling the cold within you bones too much… We had snow here yesterday but it didnt settle… The Sun is out today. And its the SUN I am sending you …
    Wishing you a Season of Good-Will… And I hope your ‘Thanksgiving’ was a wonderful event…
    Lots of love from your friend.. Dreamwalker xxx

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    • Hi Dreamwalker, my friend, It’s been a fast month, to me. Your thoughtfulness and Sun Energy sure is welcome, as it is anytime, but I could sure use a little help lately. My body is tired. I still need a time of rest, but I have to drive (and think) more than I would like lately.

      We had a very nice Thanksgiving. Quiet, without many people around. My son visited and we rested. Christmas is a beautiful time, with all the lights everywhere and people in good cheer. I thought of you last night, and how I haven’t been a very good friend, to you and others, and I haven’t blogged to keep up with that, but I want to and my heart is very much still right here. I was going to either visit your blog or write you today, and then you beat me to it! We are connected even across the ocean. Aho!

      I hope all is well with you and your family. Nice that you had snow already. Maybe we can write each other, and you can tell me how your work is going, and how your grand-baby is doing too.

      Thank you for thinking of me. It means so much to me. You are a wonderful, and most thoughtful friend.

      Wishing you Peace and holiday cheer,
      Love, Michelle.

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      • Hi Michelle it seems I must have not pressed the reply button for Ive just seen this reply. so I am happy that I backtracked here and would love to write..I have some time tomorrow. I have some pictures of my granddaughter she is now 1yr old on 3rd Dec Time just flys!…

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        • Oh, I would love to see the photos! I can’t believe she is a year old! Time does fly!

          I apologize for not being a better friend (or blogger for that matter). I hope to better manage my time and energy, which would mean having time to keep up with the people I care about.

          Thank you for your continued friendship and support, even as I have not been able to return that for a while now. You are always in my thoughts and heart!

          Big hugs, and I will look for your mail. xoxoxoxo…

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  2. So glad that you’ve posted. One of my sons was in a psychiatric hospital for a week due to substance abuse issues. It’s always scary when they take their shoelaces. Even scarier were some of the other “kids” in his unit who were obviously more troubled. He was 15 at the time. My husband and I looked at each other never imagining that we could have ended up there. I realize your son’s issues are much more serious.

    It was only after my younger brother’s son was committed for a suicide attempt that I felt that someone in my family understood the frustration and continuing stigma that mental health issues carry. My son is now taking it a day at a time (sans 12-Step). He’s had a good two years now. My brother’s son is on meds for his anxiety. But we all realize that it’s a fragile balance. Love to you and your son.

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    • Hi Jan, Thanks for your comment.

      I’m glad your son is doing well and of course, am very happy that your nephew survived. I wish them both a happy and fulfilling life! I like the ‘one day at a time’ approach. I truly believe it is solid advice for people who struggle with mental and emotional health issues.

      You know, depression and anxiety run in my family like blue eyes and my son has his share of both, but a thought disorder came as unfamiliar territory for me, as well as my family. It is much more complicated and harder to treat.

      I’m not sure which is worse, the stigma around schizophrenia, or the way most psychiatrists treat people who are diagnosed and/or suffering with symptoms. They threatened to keep my son a long time and said he could be, “their model patient,” and a “star.” What a screwed up system!

      I understand better now why there is an anti-psychiatry movement and why folks call themselves survivors. I’m also more actively pursuing assisting my son in locating and accessing better and different mental healthcare resources.

      I hope to share more about our journey. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

      Peace and Blessings,
      Michelle.

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  3. Count me as one of the many who are happy to find your post!

    Thoughtful, insightful, and honest as always there is something here for us all and I thank you for coming and writing, Michelle.

    Your reflections on time are very powerful; I find I want to think about how the perception of time applies to my life, I thank you for that, too.

    I am so glad that your son has you for his mother!

    Peace, my friend.

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    • hiddenlives, Hi and thank you!

      I am always honored that you visit my blog and love that you find something I write moving or helpful. Your gratitude and appreciation are a lovely gift to my heart.

      I’m pretty glad too that my son has me for a mother 🙂 and, I have him for a son. He is a fine young man and a loving person. I’m very proud of him.

      With many well wishes for you,
      Peace, Michelle.

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  4. Hello my Dear Friend.. At last I am here… I can only imagine the heartache you have been going through but I know and feel that the Light at the end of the tunnel is growing even brighter and I am certain that as each days goes by new ground and strength is being gained..
    Each day .. One step at a time.. and I am still drumming and sending.. oh how I send.. For many are going through such emotional crisis at this time of change.. some who have never had a problem.. the good news is .. For as you know I also work with those who have been diagnosed with a Mental problem.. I have found that as we near the time of changes… I have also witness great healings as those who have for a long while been subdued and ill are responding and at last feeling self-worth …. And I have the good fortune to be supporting one who has made tremendous strides forward..

    So small steps… lead to giant strides..
    Many Blessings to you both Michelle.. and a special Hug my friend.. ((( HUGs)))
    ~Dreamwalker 🙂

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    • Thank you Dreamwalker, for your support and the encouraging stories. It has been a heartache, for sure. You are right though, many people are having problems. Blessings to all who have suffered, who are suffering, and may we all find the healing that will bring joy to our hearts and peace to our minds! Yes, I too feel like there is light, and we have indeed seen some. Indeed! I’m going to get a new drum soon. I can feel it already. A little one, like yours. Mine is heavy and I will give it to my son. Thanks for your time stopping by my blog! Peace and Love to you, Michelle. (((Hugs)))

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      • Thats Great news Michelle… and I hope you add your own healing thoughts to the world on the 11:11:11 as we need to send more Love Light and Peace out into the world… I know that ALL is Well….. Trust… ALL is well too.. and keep saying affirmations.. but then Im sure your ‘healer’ friend is well versed in that..
        Wishing you a relaxing weekend.. And so Happy that you found the time to Blog again.. a really beautiful post..
        Hugs Dreamwalker xox

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        • Thank you my good friend! And yes, I will definitely and am sending healing thoughts out there. That is the biggest thing I am getting with the Taoist Alchemist. It is pretty cool! Like being around him cleans out my mind and my heart, which opens up a place for love. I have a lot of pain and fatigue, from moving boxes and cleaning, but I must say that there are times when I sing and like music (haven’t enjoyed that in years!) and I finally understand what some folks mean when they say they feel like they did when they were 20. Never have I understood how this could be so. But mentally, when I have the pure mind and heart, I feel so young. It is good to feel that way :). Big Hugs, Michelle.

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  5. Oh, Michelle, I’m so sorry it’s been so awful trying to deal with your son’s “team”, and for the damage left behind. I’m glad you are back to writing, though – I missed “hearing your voice.”
    If it helps to share parts of the experience, then I hope you will, as sometimes just writing out things can be what’s needed to let them go. But everyone is different, works thru things differently, and perhaps you’d rather leave it behind. Whatever works for you – know that you are cared about, cared for, and if there’s anything I can do to help, even if you just need someone supportive to talk to at 3 in the morning, you have my number.
    I’m glad you have a new practioner who is taking a very different approach. It should not be one-size-fits-all in medicine, whether psychiatric or otherwise. Everyone’s body, mind & soul is uniquely their own, and all three must be delicately balanced in order for healing to happen.

    Many hugs, much love, and wishes for a much smoother road to travel…
    Blessings – Ash

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    • Thank you Ash. It is good to hear “my voice” too. I guess telling all of what happened would be good, for me, but it’s hard to tell without feeling like I’m exposing my son’s private life. If it wasn’t for that, I’d be writing more than anyone would probably want to read!

      I am also fatigued and you know how that zaps the brain. Sure seems to get mine hard! Thank you so much for your support and offer for me to call at 3 in the morning. You watch out. Might just take you up on that one morning, esp., with the long nights coming on. They go on forever.

      Learning again about holistic health and in particular, how to treat conditions of the brain is a task indeed, but the holistic doctor helps a lot with this. We still need the help of modern medicine. It’s a process and a journey and one I hope is, like you say, an easier one to travel.

      Wishing you and your family blessings, love and peace,
      Michelle.

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  6. I wondered where you were…and hoped you were okay, just busy. Summer is the time to be outside—away from computers and televisions. BUT, it sounds like you weren’t strolling through open fields and pruning roses.

    Because of my nephew’s many years dealing with the psychiatric community, I too am hesitant. Much more cautious than before, realizing we can’t trust blindly. I don’t know exactly what you’ve been through, but I can use my imagination and come pretty close to understanding…

    I have never heard of a Taoist Alchemist. What is that? If you have time, I’d love to learn more about this approach!

    Love to you and your son,
    CZ

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    • Hi CZ,

      Nice to see your comment. It’s been a long time, forever it seems, since I posted. So much was going on, and it seems like that would be the time to write, but it was all overwhelming. And no open fields of roses, but definitely some mountains full of brush to walk through.

      As far as what I or my son went through, well, there are worse things happening inside our psychiatric facilities, than happened to my son, but he was not altogether spared. He gained a tremendous amount of weight on the medication and after I finally got him out, which took what felt like moving a few mountains, the doctor said she knew all along it wasn’t the right medication for him. Sigh… Now, we are working to help him get his metabolic system back to normal, along with helping him to learn new ways of living his life.

      Of course, we try to see the good that came from the hospital situation, which mostly was a chance for my son to have time away from negative influences. He has a long way to go, I think, but another thing I learned, is that taking life day by day is the only way I know how to keep on having hope. It’s hard thinking of the future and I hope the day comes when that isn’t so scary.

      Maybe, if I have the energy soon, I will write about my experience with the Alchemist. I asked him when we first met if he could turn lead into gold and he laughed, but he said yes! Then, he explained that the lead is an analogy of the toxins in our bodies (and minds) and the gold is… (Well, I have to learn more to discuss it). We practice connecting to Heaven and Earth. Sometimes, he asks me to practice an “attitude of gratitude” (I think I’m quoting you!). Mostly, my son and I have focused on learning about nutrition.

      Thanks for stopping by and asking about us. I hope you are doing well. Many good wishes to you and your family!

      With love,
      Michelle.

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