Mental Health Care, Worth The Wait.

I don’t know what it’s like accessing mental health services in your area but if they are anything like where I am from then you are faced with months-long wait times, shortage of mental health practitioners and when you do get it, it can take forever and a day to get enrolled into a mental health group setting and or workshops. Indeed, where I am from the entire healthcare system is in crisis. Every one of these things can and do severely impact the mental wellness of those who are suffering.

What’s worse, is that our inpatient, outpatient psychiatric care facilities are also suffering from the brutality of government budget cuts. These are the units that are supposed to assist those who are in a mental health crisis and are in danger of harming themselves. Yet there are not enough beds to help the influx of people in desperate need of emergency medical care. Sadly, people run the risk of being turned away.

To me, the very notion that one would be turned away because of what is essentially political posturing is deplorable at best. So what’s a person to do? One would never be turned down if one was having a heart attack, so why are those in a mental health crisis, who are in just as much of an emergency turned away??

Fortunately, my mental illnesses have never induced enough pain that I needed emergency mental health care. I have had plenty of suicidal ideation for many years as well as a whole host of mental health symptoms that, over time, have worsened to the degree that I have had little choice but to seek the help of mental health professionals. I could no longer deny my pain because it was too intense to continue the facade, the lie that I masked with a smile and a cheerful disposition.

All that being said, if there was a pain scale for mental disorders, mine was at a near-constant 8 and sometimes it’s safe to say that at times it was even higher. I came to a juncture where I was so deflated, so weathered by the storm of my illnesses that I tossed stigma to the side and had enough of being held captive by PTSD, Anxiety and Depression. So I went for it. I requested a referral from my GP and was determined to wait it out. There were a few times over the years that the wait was lengthy and very frustrating.

Waiting in limbo can deflate any sense of courage you had mustered to make the referral in the first place. Still, knowing the that my situation was grave, I waited it out but I did not do so remaining idle.

Although medication has never been my personal favourite choice to help with my mental illnesses, I nonetheless was willing to try until I got in to see someone. I recommend a trip to your doctor. Around the first time I was in dire need of medical treatment, I decided that I had to take charge of my health to bridge the gap till help was available. I adopted a healthy lifestyle, clean eating, exercise and to my amazement, I was feeling better. I often refer to the two as mother nature’s natural medication. These were the key elements that got me through until I landed in front of a trained mental health professional. Combining all three was a recipe for success. More on diet and exercise mental health, diet and exercise here.

So, although it may be a daunting task to have wait in limbo, mental health care is worth the wait. Too often the people I meet with tell that they have given up and don’t bother anymore. My question to them is; “What are you doing about your illness while you wait?” There are organizations out there like Sick Not Weak, a mental health advocacy group that is there to support people with mental illness. Take charge of your health, maybe a long wait bur help down the road is better than no help at all. You got this!

If you need help check out the following resources: Crisis Services Canada and sick not weak

Contact me on facebook.com/TRTMW

The Mental Health Work Injury

As I rise this morning and prep my morning coffee, I began to hear sirens off in the distance, lots of them. They are fire trucks. After fifteen years in the fire service, they are unmistakable to these veterans’ ears.

At one time, hearing them responding to chaos would produce a flow of adrenaline and kick my passion for helping others into high gear; now, they are replaced with fear, angst and a numbing dread, all produced by PTSD. Often times it sends me into a mental health crisis and holds me captive for the remainder of the day. For coping strategies for PTSD go here:

 PTSD ASSOCIATION OF CANADA 
The sounds of sirens cutting through the silence of the early morning air, evoke in me such a range of conflicting emotions. Not only does it produce feelings of body numbing, anxiety, racing thoughts and fear, it also, makes me very angry, sad and lost. Perhaps the hardest feeling of all is the feeling abandoned by those whom I believed to be my brothers and sisters of the service. The sound of sirens is an instant reminder of the sacrifices I made, time lost with family, and the mental work-related injury that I sustained while in the course of my duties.
Moreover, they are an instant, PTSD triggering reminder that I have essentially been left behind. So, I am angry on two fronts, this intense feeling of being forgotten, and I am pissed because I love the fire service, it’s in my blood and shall always be woven into the fabric of my being. Having this resides in my heart angers me because I knew that when those bay doors closed behind me for the last time, I knew that it was indeed the end. I am now a mere shadow of my former self and a distant memory by those I battled the beast with.

The mental health work injury called PTSD has destroyed millions and disrupted the lives of those who have been touched by its symptoms. Yet, like all forms of mental illness, it goes unrecognized as a legitimate work-related injury within the service. But I ask you. How is it different from any other injury? Its constant pain, its, in my case, injured me to the degree that I am not able to work, it’s managed by health care professionals; it also requires accommodation, symptom management and requires one to learn how to adapt their life to move on from dreams and passion they once were able to do with ease. Now replace mental illness with any physical injury; broken back, head injury etc. Now apply the requirements above to these physical injuries; symptom management, constant pain….. Again I ask you, How are they different from any other injury? THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. Wondering if you

Might have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD?) check here, Signs and symptoms of PTSD.

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“I feel like a discarded garden, left to wither and die”.

You may also enjoy: PTSD: The Impact Of Stigma On Firefighters

Please note: that if you think you may have PTSD, please contact your health care provider and talk to them. I highly recommend you request a referral to your mental health services.
There are also resources out there to help, organizations like Sick Not Weak, a non-profit dedicated to supporting persons with mental illness.

You may also enjoy: Spontaneous Mental Combustion


Contact me on my Facebook page: facebook.com/TRTMW