Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running in Circles, Chasing My Tail

What an uphill battle this month has been.  Since my last post on February 9th I have: called the crisis response service, had the mobile nurse unit at my home, been to emergency to visit with the mental health assessment team, been to a walk in clinic to get a doctor only to discover that a new referral had to be submitted by a primary care giver other than a naturopath, regardless of whether I had a family doctor or not.  And this was over a span of only 6 days.

The crisis response service sent the mobile nurses unit over to my home to talk with me to determine what the best course of action was based on our discussion.  It was decided that I would go to emergency to meet with the Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) that works out of the hospital for cases such as mine and more severe ones.  After waiting for 2 hours to see a nurse, I had to wait 2 hours again to see the MHAT nurse.  It was advised that even though I'm high functioning (getting up, taking care of myself and my pets, going to work, etc) that I should voluntarily admit myself to the mental health ward of the hospital.  I cried when she said this.  Really?  You want me to stop functioning to get the help that I need so that I can start functioning again?  How much sense does that make?

Since then the crisis hotline nurses have called to check on me at least once a week.  I have numerous phone calls to make to be able to find a psychiatrist in order to do an assessment to determine what, if anything, needs to be done with my medication.  Regardless of whether I had a family doctor in the beginning of this process I would still be making the same phone calls, getting the same answers and jumping through the same hoops.

My EAP has provided me with the phone number for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.  Today I called this number and got stuck in an automated loop.  Tomorrow I will try again to reach someone, someone that is not automated hopefully.  I also tried the Canadian Mental Health Association.  After calling the main number and inquiring about one of their programs, I was given another number.  When I called this second number, the nice person that answered the phone directed me back to the main number.  When I explained that's how I got this number to reach her she told me to call the main number again and ask for the Central Intake Worker by name.  Thanks...He's not in.  Leave a message after the tone.  Maybe I will try again tomorrow...

My list of phone numbers and contacts is growing, but my progress in getting the help that I need is painstakingly slow.  My patience is diminishing and my sanity is decreasing.  My friends have been there for me numerous times to support me and keep me afloat when I felt I would drown.  I cannot thank them enough for this.

When the system fails you, don't fail yourself.  Be strong and hold tight.  Have your own support system made up of many people so that you don't tax one person continuously.  Recognize that others have their own lives but that there will always be someone there for you when you need them.  In a pinch I know I who I can call.  And if that fails I know I can call the Crisis Hotline and there will be a soothing, concerned voice on the other end of the phone to talk me down or up or whatever it is that I need a that time.

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