People Aren’t One Size Fits All

Hi, I guess it’s time for one of my occasional rants about our broken mental health system! I am a person who had a third of my time on this beautiful planet ruined by doctors who didn’t know what they were doing, I’m still In Recovery, I’m pretty open about my story so feel free to ask questions, it won’t offend me. Every time I post something like this, I get a person commenting or messaging me to say how great their mental health services are, and if you feel like doing that, let me just respond now and say: that’s awesome for you, I’m happy you’ve received good solid help, you are in the minority and this kinda doesn’t concern you. No offense. I’m here for the ones who are getting damaged by the system. If psychiatry is working for you, keep on keepin’ on.
Ok.
Today (and for the last couple weeks) I’ve been gnawing on this very challenging question of what to do when someone you love is in an extreme state. This question has been raised because four people I dearly love have gone for a swim in the black sea over the past few months. I watched a couple of them get locked up in hospitals and put on literally handfuls of drugs (btw neuroleptics cause brain shrinkage/damage over time, if you take an antipsychotic drug you should look up what “tardive dyskinesia” is rn). I thought about my experiences in hospitals (and MH services in general) — how dismissive staff are, how it’s kind of just a holding tank while you get “stabilized” on drugs, the weird indignities you suffer while you’re trying to heal your mind, etc. There’s kind of a one-size-fits-all mindset to a good deal of mental health services.
But people aren’t all one size, and shit ain’t gonna fit everyone, and there are so many cases where the current approach (isolation, diagnosis of lifelong brain disease, drugs) is unhelpful or even harmful.
Like people who are dealing with trauma. People who are dealing with trauma that is exacerbated by someone locking them up, watching their every move, and having total power over them. People who experience psychosis or mania but respond badly to drug therapy. People who have been previously abused in psych facilities (happens all the time y’all). People who are so lonely they’re suicidal and afraid of further isolation. People who would be more validated by hearing someone say “of course you’re depressed, your life kinda blows right now” than “of course you’re depressed, you have a chronic brain disease.” People who are sad, not depressed. People who need a chance to just bug out every once in a while because reality doesn’t seem real when you have game show hosts running for president and creepy clowns popping up all over the place. People who want to be seen as people, not patients. People who are “noncompliant.” People who experience uncomfortable emotions but recognize them as emotions, not symptoms. People who are allergic to psychiatric drugs. People who are trying to recover from their diagnosed condition. People who embrace their madness to some degree. People who are poor or have crappy insurance.
These people do not have a place in the current system. Even talk therapy isn’t covered by most insurance, especially if you are not being medically treated. There are places where alternative modalities are being practiced, but they’re few and far between. So how do you help a loved one who falls into one or more of these categories when you see them suffering?
Open floor for discussion on two topics:
1. How can we civilians support alternative modes of treatment for people who are excluded from our current system in some way?
2. How can we as a culture work to destroy the silence and stigma surrounding the experience of uncomfortable/extreme emotional states (as opposed to pathologizing these states and accepting sufferers only after they have “sought treatment”)?