Thursday, June 2, 2016

A few thoughts about Mental Health

I'm trying desperately to think of ways to help my oldest daughter be able to receive the therapy she needs to overcome some serious anxiety/depression symptoms.  I live with her and interact with her daily and I'm trying to be the listening ear she needs, her advocate, the support system that every human should have but I'm just one person.  Many are supporting her from afar and send their love and prayers. . . But this doesn't seem to be enough.  Olivia has been in counseling for about 4 months now.  After battling a couple deep depression bouts she found herself in a Behavior Hospital for 3 weeks which is a lockdown facility for people who are a danger to themselves.  I don't know that she would tell you that is was the best place for her.  She was immediately put on medication for depression and began to feel a bit better, if you can see past all the sleeping she did, seizing, and vomiting during the first few weeks.  She experienced extreme dizziness the entire time there and therefore was unable to attend any of the therapy session they held to help people.  This dizziness has now been determined to be from a condition called Conversion disorder or Symptomatic disorder.  It's just another symptom of anxiety that manifests itself through physical symptoms that make it impossible for her to function.  She was released after a few long weeks not a whole lot better than when she went in.  As I saw it, she needed to be released because being in this facility was causing her more stress and even more depression. The night nurses thought she was making all this up and even told her to stop faking.  This does not help someone with these symptoms get better.   But let me back up a year and explain another condition related to this one.

Over the past year she has developed what's called PNES, Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures.  These seizures haunted her for months and would show up at random times, interrupting her life at the most inconvenient times. She was forced to quit her job because she would inevitably end up in the break room unresponsive.  She was also forced to quit volunteering at the fire station because she couldn't get a doctor to clear her to be there.  She was let go from finishing Fire Academy because of her health issues just a week before finishing.  These seizures are a way of her brain disassociating from a stressful situation.  It just checks out when it senses an unsafe place and she has no control over it.

Her counselor has been working with her now twice a week but feels she needs more help and she needs it now.  She is still majorly depressed and is experiencing some pretty low, lows.  How do you make a person believe they have value when they feel worthless?  How do you encourage someone who is being bombarded with negative emotions?  Believe me I've quoted scripture, I've prayed and told her to as well.  She is trying but is not very motivated when all she sees is a bleak future.

A  Christian residential treatment center is what she needs.  People who struggle with trauma, anxiety, depression and many other mental health issues can go there and live under the care of qualified medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologist, dietitians, and nutritionists who treat the whole person.  They do not just put you through a program that generally fits all but they tailor the program to fit your needs.  You take time out of your life to get better, to learn how to cope with disappointment, to work through your fears and anxiety, to connect with others who struggle with the same things, to reflect, to understand how much God loves you!  Wouldn't we all want to go there?

Our big hurdle to overcome with this kind of treatment is the cost.  Many people who go have insurance that covers a portion of the cost.  We don't have insurance but we are a part of a program that pays each others medical bills called Samaritan Ministries.  We love this program and have had almost all Olivia's medical bills paid 100%!  The problem is they do not offer any mental health coverage.

We have looked into getting Olivia her own health insurance but the enrollment for all insurance companies right now isn't until November. As you can imagine, someone struggling with suicidal thoughts is not someone with time on their side.  Waiting 6 months isn't really an option.  As her counselor told me today, Olivia was ready to go yesterday.

I do not want this to sound like a plea for money.  Nor do I want anyone to think that we need others to pay our daughters bills.  She created a Go Fund Me campaign in hopes that if her friends and family pool their money together it could make a significant difference.  The program did say that they will help her with a portion of the cost but obviously they aren't going to give it to her for free.  Just like someone trying to raise money to go on a missions trip, would you consider donating to a good cause of helping Olivia get past these significant hurdles in her life?  Maybe instead of tithing to your local church for the month, you could give to her treatment?  Or maybe even just a part of your tithe? I'm just brainstorming here, please don't take offense.  Every little bit helps.  We as her parents will of course give her as much as we can, which will be a significant amount but still might only be about 1/4 of the cost.  This is the best care she could get and the hope would be that the tools she learns and the care she receives would impact her the rest of her life!

Her only other option would be to admit herself to the local mental health hospital where people who have no insurance continue to come and go only getting a tweak in their antidepressants to get them past their emergency suicide attempts until the next time. The care in these places can be very lacking although they do their best with the funding they have but lets face it, the care in these facilities is rough and although she would most likely be safe, I'm not sure she comes out ahead of where she started.  

Here is the link to her campaign
Olivia's blog where she explains a bit about her life the past few months:

I can't thank you enough for considering this!