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Diary of a Madman - An Insight Into Insanity

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posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 04:58 AM
Due to recent events the subjects of mental illness and the mental health system have, once again, found prominence in the national dialogue. This happens just about every time some maniac goes on a shooting spree... Mental illness becomes a hot button issue and most people say the same thing...

How did this person slip through the system?

It is my goal to try and address that question from a very non-standard perspective. I am addressing from the point of view of a person who is in that system and has been for a very long time... from the perspective of someone who, on paper at least, is crazy.

Those who spend time in chat, or who might have seen some of the posts I have made on the subject will be aware that I have a psychological diagnosis. A rather severe one, as diagnosis go. The labels that have been placed upon me, by the mental health field are Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bipolar Disorder. To be honest, the jury is out on the Bipolar thing, as different therapists come to different conclusions about whether or not I actually have Bipolar Disorder or just Major Depressive Disorder. But, meh, from my perspective it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

For the sake of this dialogue we can just narrow it down to the most basic of terms. I have massive panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, and a predisposition towards being a bit negative and self-defeatist.

During the course of my illness I have engaged in periods of behavior which would be considered troublesome. I have self medicated in the past with alcohol and the use of pills in an off label fashion. I also attempted suicide by a combination of migraine pills and alcohol about sixteen years ago. Add to this that, for many years, I was angry, confused, and had, shall we say, more than my fair share of street and bar fights... and a pretty acceptable picture of the bad aspects of my disease is painted.

For those of you wondering about this, as I assume some will be, by this point in reading... Yes, it is very, very difficult for me to admit to these things. I am aware of the stigma that comes with these admissions. I have, over and over again, dealt with the marginalization that comes with confessing these things. Even knowing that... Even knowing that, from this point forward, I will have a target on my ATS back, so to speak... and that a segment of this community will, henceforth, simply write off my opinions and ideas... Well, opening this dialogue matters enough to me, to us, and to our society, that I am more than willing to cope with these things.

Now that my "credentials" and feelings are stated, please allow me to get to the crux of what I want to discuss. How these insane shooters "slip through the system".

The answer to this question will unsettle many of you to the core and hopefully will shake a great number of you out of a false belief system that seems to permeate the collective subconscious of America...

My answer is "What system???

Let me say that again... What system?

How many of you have wandered through a major city, or pulled off the freeway and seen that lost, obviously mentally ill person, begging for spare change? I know that in my little town, there are always at least a dozen or two of these folks hiding just behind the facade of civilization. They are often easy to miss... easy to overlook. But they are there.

And I can assure you of this... They not only stand out more than the spree killer does (before he acts) these people also try very very hard to find help that is just no there. They discover that the only "system" serving the mentally ill in this country is one big emergency room based revolving door. As soon as they can get in they are routed directly back out.

If a man (or woman) who appears to be on the verge of starvation, who is obviously addicted to chemicals, and who is walking down a sidewalk having a conversation with themselves - eyes glazed over - stench rising from their frame... if this person goes unchecked, then how can we think, even for a moment, that society is going to notice a clean cut person who just happens to post some vitriol or psychobabble onto the Internet? If the street schizophrenic doesn't raise a red flag then why would the seemingly normal, by comparison, suburban kid?

While I have never fallen into the situations I just discussed - as I am thankfully blessed with an illness that does not tend to cloud my thoughts or ability to logic and reason - I have done volunteer work with people who have. And take the word of somebody who tries to champion the lost, in this fight... finding help for these people is next to impossible. It just doesn't exist.

And, since the economic collapse a few years ago, it has gotten exponentially worse. Local mental health clinics, which were, for the most part "band aids" for the sick, to begin with, are now so bereft of funding that the mentally ill are stuck. These clinics can make more money by servicing anger management, DUI counseling, and drug addiction cases than they can dealing with the delusional. I personally have, on two occasions, had people with advanced degrees suggest to me that I should lie and say I am addicted to drugs, or to say that I have homicidal tendencies, as, in their professional experience, that would make me the "squeaking wheel" and, as we all know, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

I declined on moral grounds. But also because those kinds of squeaky wheels also are scrutinized in some very unflattering ways and I don't deserve to spend my life with the label of "dangerous". I am not dangerous. Well, not very dangerous at least.

At any rate, even with medical insurance, getting help for mental/emotional illness is a trial and ordeal that I don't recommend to anyone. Quite frankly... my experiences lead me to believe that most doctors, medical and psychiatric, are one trick ponies. If they can't throw Prozac at a problem, then they either run away or refer you to the next doctor down the street.

Let me be clear here. I have never spent a single second in a psychiatric hospital. Not a moment. I've only set foot into one such facility, once, and that was to visit a relative who is a drug addict. And even with him having a full blown hard drug addiction, health insurance, and a sizable trust fund, they only kept him for four days. This statement is important because after my suicide attempt I asked to be placed into an inpatient facility. I actually begged. I felt myself to be a threat to myself or others as I'd blacked out and couldn't remember my suicide attempt at all.

I was told that I was no risk and to relax.

I was then offered Prozac and sent home.

Again I say, "What system"?

It just isn't there. It doesn't exist. And this is the cold truth that is hidden behind the headlines.

So... As this dialogue begins, renewed, each time a maniac opens fire upon innocents, let us use it as a chance to open the eyes of the general public about just how inefficient and non existent mental health care truly is in this country. Let's get beyond the stigma of the subject and begin a dialogue that might, eventually, make the USA the kind of place where those amongst us who have problems, will have access to help and to the answers they need to find.

The loss of life in these cases is always so avoidable... and yet we continue to ignore this subject because it makes us uncomfortable. It's time for this travesty of reason to end and for the truth to be discussed.

Thank you for reading this.

edit on 1/15/11 by Hefficide because: same faux paus, different approach

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 05:11 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Wow heff...

That sucks man. Good that you talk about it. They say that will be a sigh of healing... I don't know though...

Respect !

The system in your county is far worse then I imagined man. I'm shocked.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 05:23 AM
I feel the problem isn't catching all the crazy people, but designing our society to accommodate them. There are so many crazies and lunatics in this country, it would be impossible to locate and catalog them. The real solution to stopping the next Jared Loughner is making sure the normal people also have guns.

If just one AZ resident was exercising their right to carry at the SafeWay, lives could have been saved. There are just so many crazy people and so many guns that there is no other solution.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 05:28 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Before and after leaving the army, I had multiple examinations done to me. On paper they say I have some type of anxiety and maybe I do but I do not wish any harm on anyone. I might even have PTSD but thats yet to be seen. I don't know what kind of effect this will have on me in the future but I wish you the best of luck. Crazy or not, were here to help each other out.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 05:37 AM
when i was 16 i was told by the family therapist that i had schizophrenic , the dick based this on the fact that i have a habit of changing the subject in mid conversation , thinking i was unaware of it . little did he know i do it on purpose .
see i was back in new york living with my cheap dick of father and it was my first year back, my mother was still back in norway at the time and i knew i was homesick big time which affected my weight etc .

when i was 20 i had attempted to apply for SSI because of my weak back, and i went to see the shrink . ( may i add that though a list of different shrinks while i was battling to get back my 2nd born daughter ) this one guy was the most honest with me , long story short , he told me that my only mental problem at the time and still is by way is extream stress factors .

due to the loss of Zadie and how it effected me i have given my self the diagnosis of post tramatic stress disorder no doc has ever given me any meds nor have i wanted them .

all in all im still fairly normal whatever the hell that means in this day and age .
over and out
edit on 15/1/11 by alysha.angel because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 06:16 AM
Psychiatry and psychology have organizations to represent their combined interests. All organizations want to thrive and get a bigger piece of the pie. So they go to government and say they can offer solutions to certain problems. Like for instance, how to deal with system critics. Psychiatry offers to call them psychotic or paranoid schizophrenics, and medicate them, and this solves a problem for the government and it's friends. Psychiatry and their drugs are more dangerous than Hitler. They want everybody medicated. In order to optimize and continually grow their business, they will have to check every human on earth, in order to come up with bs. reasons to medicate them. Look into school shootings and antidepressants etc.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 06:45 AM
I want to start off by saying I admire your courage being open about such a hot topic right Now And coming out and saying I have a mental illness. Star and flag for you my Friend VERY INSPIRING. That being said. I could not agree more with You. I once heard somewhere that when we are a sleep we enter psychosis every night. thus the dream world is a hallucination a Virtual reality for our brains if you will. That would pretty much mean that People who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, bpd, etc., when they have a Psychotic episode They are actually experiencing there dream world in a wakeful state. To sum it up in few words This means every single Being alive is capapble of entering pyschosis at any giving time If they are capable of dreaming. And the funny thing about it is we do...EVERY NIGHT WHEN WE SLEEP. Some one asked me the other day what I would do if I could have got my hands on JLL. I responded with nothing. I just wish I could have talked to him maybe on these boards and maybe instead of being so judgmental a tragedy could have been avoided through a simple act of kindness called listening, And caring. Something that I think we could all use some practice at.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 06:47 AM
reply to post by TechVampyre

Thank you very much for that post and the information that you've added to the discussion here. Very thought provoking, timely, genuine, and informative!


posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 07:07 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Hey Hefficide,
great thread and thumbs up for speaking about your health issues and also for telling it like it is. I just want you to know that you are not alone in this. It is estimated that about 30% of Europeans suffer from some form of depression. Myself, I have been diagnosed and am being treated for bipolar disorder (similar to you, I don't really agree with it, because the manic episodes are few and far between and rather short-lived, while the depressive episodes are plentiful and have a long duration) and my shrink says there is no need to talk about it in public, because of the stigma associated with mental illness. I respectfully disagree. If we do not talk about mental illness in public, then that stigma will never go away. Sure, I won't talk about it right after introducing myself to someone, but if the talk turns to such a matter I will reveal my issues and talk about it openly.
To the poster who said that psychology and psychiatry are governed by institutions with the sole purpose to drug us into oblivion: while you have a point, namely that many psychological issues could be treated without drugs and there is generally a tendency - especially among psychiatrists here in Greece - to prescribe some drugs instead of offering alternative cures, because it is the easy way out, there are nevertheless conditions that require medication. Mine is one of them; if I did not follow my prescribed therapy to the letter, I would have been long dead by suicide by now.
To anyone who reads this and has some psychological problems and has been prescribed some medication, don't stop your medication. It will have disastrous effects; I have seen it for myself and I have seen it with other fellow patients.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 07:15 AM
reply to post by WalterRatlos

Thanks for sharing WalterRatlos!

The therapist I used to see always cautioned me about context and timing - as well as choosing to whom I spoke with - regarding my illness but was always supportive of the notion of discussion.

I tend to tell people, in real life, about my issues fairly quickly. I've found that getting it out in the open early causes far fewer problems than bringing it up late in the game. I'm pretty much the same in real life as I am online so, usually, when I say, "BTW, I have such and such a problem." the response is often "Well, duh!". And this isn't a bad thing, as everyone is usually smiling and laughing during these conversations!


posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 07:23 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Even knowing that, from this point forward, I will have a target on my ATS back, so to speak... and that a segment of this community will, henceforth, simply write off my opinions and ideas... Well, opening this dialogue matters enough to me, to us, and to our society, that I am more than willing to cope with these things.

Well I hope not, but human nature is what it is.

I've worked with kids who've been permanently excluded from schools for violence, mental illness, learning difficulties etc. Some small few have gone on to become criminals, two or three have killed and others have been jailed for violence and/or stabbings. Many of these guys don't want help, or when they ask for it they refuse to accept it when it arrives. By the time they hit adulthood, there's a wake of officials involved in their lives and a paperwork trail dwindling back into their childhood...

The process of flagging the serious causes for concern, is that messy it can take years. These guys live chaotic lives. Trying to get them and the multiple agencies in one place at the same time is like arranging a galactic alignment. I've had similar experiences with the homeless mentally ill too.

For this reason, it becomes society's responsibility to protect them and us. It's at this point where society turns its back and fails miserably. The outliers of society bounce around like pinballs and if they don't 'hit' us, we don't tend to care.

I recognise your message here, and share it too. At the same time, it's hard to picture a world where everyone gets their fair share of care and just isn't set up that way. On top of that, human nature often opts to isolate instead of attending to.

(re-reading this post, not too sure how OT it is

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 10:30 AM
reply to post by Kandinsky

I agree with what I think you are saying.. that it is logistically impossible to keep some folks from falling through the cracks, as it where.

My concern is that the system, as it stands now, is more like a canyon than a crack. Loughner, in particular, as all spree shooters do, did display red flags which should have alerted somebody. Hell now there are former classmates of his filling up entire news shows with their thoughts on how weird he was.

Just to think that a single informed person, in his sphere of influence, just ONE might have recognized those flags and guided him towards some help.

This, to me, is the underlying tragedy of the Arizona shootings... They were so damned avoidable. As are all spree killings. If mental illness did not bear the stigma that it goes, and had public support, this guy probably would have been offered help.


posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 11:10 AM
Quantum physics is all around,and general constants of general relativity are fragmenting for some unknown reason and society is becoming more chaotic and less ordered there is nothing that can be done its part of the cycle of our planet and we are all prisoners to its abode in the ether and the cosmic forces that exude itself on us.I fear for the future of the human race as sanity is in small measure and love for human existence is in decline.
The theory is quite simple ying and yang,quantum and general constant,both exist throughout the universe and one force takes presedence over another from time to time and some individuals fall into the quantum,chaotic way of thinking and their brains don`t function rationally,I hope this explains that changes in earths standard way of running ultimately will affect each persons brain function and madness prevail,anyone who is overly paranoid should seek medical help as we are going into some strange times.
edit on 15-1-2011 by gringoboy because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 12:07 PM
It's a concern that people are being told to be careful who they speak with regards any psychiatric diagnoses by doctors. They ought to know better. All they're doing is making people feel unnecessarily bad about themselves. I have encountered stigma re mental health but only ever from those working in the profession. It touches so many peoples' lives - either through self, friend or family associations in this day and age that most people have some kind of direct experience.

They always said the best way to break down barriers - especially re schizophrenia - was to actually meet someone with the diagnosis. Preconceived notions disipate.

I appreciate different areas have different issues re care but in the area where I live 'the system' is all too obvious. We have more psychiatric beds than anywhere else in the country. There is no medical insurance required courtesy of the NHS - you can/must stay as long as the doctor determines you should.

The problem here isn't getting in - it's getting out. I know many people detained for years on end. I knew people (now dead) who had initially been detained due to 'social deviance'. i.e. young women who had children as teenagers. They spent their entire lives in these places.
edit on 15-1-2011 by christina-66 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 12:29 PM
A big part of the -problematic- circumstances for the mentally ill I have noticed, boils down to money. The economic and educational status of the parents, and the economic situation of their society. I am an asperger with schizoid personality disorder ( Which means I avoid people as best within my power to reasonably do so.) But I was born into poverty. Parents were minimally educated. My father was a drinker. But on top of all that, I encountered many experiences that -traumatized- me, so I also got PTSD, distymia, anxiety disorder, and used to be suicidal tho am not any more for a long while. Luckily, I -never- got into illegal drugs. It's bad enogh when you are raised up in poverty and stay there, but then your country (The US economy) goes to hell and all kinds of people who never dreamed-------they would become homeless, find themselves so. It just all boils down to money. I wish our society was like in Star Trek. They don't have a monetary ecomony because replicators give everyone their free food, anything you want, so everyone focuses of intellectualy and athletically bettering and challenging themselves instead of working for a corporate slave master, because A.I. does all that stuff.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 12:41 PM
I'll agree that it was very courageous to write about this Heff, and it is also very well thought out and expressed.

For what it's worth - a "gap" - I was thinking about the other day ...

I too once had PTSD. I am the victim of extreme physical violence. But - mine came not from a person/abuse or war - but from accidental injury.

There is no "program" for this. Nor even sympathy, really. A domestic abuse victim has sympathy, counselors, programs, self help books, even TV shows. Programs may not be widely available - but they do exist. Same for Veterans - there are hospitals and 'help' - not always the greatest, but it does exist.

But you take those severely injured through accident (I'm OK now btw), and in my case - several bad injuries combined with witnessing other horrors (including a gruesome death) - well - I was upset, too. And stressed. And fearful. And angry - but to whom do I appeal? Who do I get angry at? Gravity?

You can't even really talk to anyone. And you know what they say? You're lucky. I'm lucky? Really? Would you say this to a war Vet - hey - you're lucky! Happy Day! Would you say this to a domestic abuse victim? No. And if I was lucky - it would not have happened in the first place.

You might get a bit of sympathy, but not much of that, either. After all - who needs it - LUCKY YOU!

Anyway, just an odd gap I've noticed. And - this is also an area where an average person can "snap". And yet, there really is nothing to address it.

I am further thinking of many other life stressors that could cause anyone to really 'lose it'.

And if there is no where to turn - and things keep piling up........

Just to wrap up the above story - I did go to a shrink, he said I had PTSD, and I got some - ah 'behavior therapy' and - mmmm, I don't really remember, thought work on over coming phobias, like that, gave me some books to read, this did help. As did the passage of time.

But of course - I could afford to do this too, and it was available. And I did *realize* also - that something was wrong. If I'd have listened to others I might still be a pannicky basket case because in their opinion - I was lucky!

Ah, some little niggling things do still creep in at times though - I'm going out in a bit - will I slip on the ice? Crack my head open?
But, these ideas no longer *paralyze* me. Because I sought out, and could afford, help.

Oh also - you know who gets really stressed out, has a high suicide rate, depression, and risky behavior? Paramedics and other such similar medical personal. Not something you'd think - maybe people would think these people are 'happy' because they save lives and have cool jobs - but in reality - many have head issues from the stress and witnessing - I'm going to say 'stuff' as I don't like to let my mind contemplate specifics of such things for too long. I mention this as I read about it recently, and it is kind of parallel to my own feelings. Or, maybe you could say I experienced similar from the "customer" end of it all

Again, great thread idea, thanks all for sharing, and a happy peaceful day to all!

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 12:50 PM
reply to post by Whiffer Nippets

Whiffer Nippets!

Thank you for sharing. My PTSD experience has been very much like that, in a sense. Most doctors are reticent to talk about it. I occasionally end up in the ER with massive panic attacks. I preface the visit by telling the doctor that I have no interest in being medicated and I only want them to make sure that I am having an anxiety attack, as opposed to a heart attack or stroke (Two things that my panic attacks literally feel like to me.). It is very common, even after I tell them that I am not "trolling for Xanax" for them to become agitated and to say "I am NOT giving you Xanax."

They are so accustomed to this one problem being hijacked by drug addicts, they are unable to deal with the real cases of PTSD that come to them for help.

Imagine, those who don't have these issues, having to crawl, humiliated and embarrassed, to another person for help, with earnest and honest intentions and problems, only to have them accuse you of being a junkie. It's very, very, very degrading.

Once they give me an EKG and let me know my circulatory system is fine, it has become my custom to get up, get dressed, and check myself out before the doctor even returns. It's less traumatizing that way. Trauma, BTW, which invariably aggravates the PTSD. A vicious cycle.

Educating even doctors about the realities of mental illness is something that this country is very behind the curve on. As I said earlier, I think all they really learn in med school is a one day course on prescribing Prozac.


posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 12:56 PM
And WhifferNippets, not only EMS personnel, but security guards. When I was undiagnosed and trying to land security guard night watch'man' positions (working mostly alone) I had the misfortune to be right in the middle of traumatic scenes with dead bodies, just because I was a security guard. Like the time I was coming into work, and my supervisory personnel were standing over a window washer guy who had fallen several stories from the corporate building windows, laying face down in a pool of blood but he was still in the genie-lift basket. I had to go into the 'post' where the CCTVs (closed circuit tvs) were, and watch his wife and kids approching because they were on their way to have lunch with him on the beautiful grassy grounds. I watched their reactions. For another security company at a hospital, my duties were for me and this other s.o. guy, to take a man who had freshly died on an operating table, and put him a the cadaver freezer compartment in their morge. G*d D*mn it, I have never handled corpses before, I was no g*d d*mned funeral worker, what was up with that?

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 01:12 PM
going to a psychiatrist is like going to a mechanic, they'll always find something wrong.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 01:17 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

I used to have panic attacks, I trained myself out of it. It *does* become physical too - at the point where one hyperventilates - at that point there is actual physical and chemical stuff happening.

I don't really remember *how* I trained myself to stop these. I did READ alot about the whole thing, and then discussed phobias with the shrink, he gave me some books, most of it was DIY because I did not have much $ to spend on the shrink - and in fact - I remember him telling me that phobias were relatively easy to overcome.

I do remember - If I felt pannicky - I would drink alot of water to flush any excess adrenaline, stomach acid, etc out of the system. Then I would tell myself - well - the worst thing to happen is that you will faint. And - you will either talk yourself out of this or you're taking a walk! You will have to go walk it off!!! This does work, walking it off, getting some air, and just looking at it this way helps - yes - if it is super crappy weather outside you bet I WILL be 'talking myself out of it' because I do not want to go out in the crappy weather

These are some of the things I remember doing to talk myself out of panic attacks. I have not had one in years though.

I too went to the ER at times for this because I THOUGHT I WAS DYING. And - it was shortly after I *had been* operated on, etc - so for all I knew there WAS something seriously physically wrong.

Oh, this was back in the day too - apx 20 years ago - before they were crazy with the pills and in fact - I don't think many of these pills even existed.

Well, for what its worth. I hear you. Read and research as much as you can. This, is ultimately what helped me the most.

I wanted to add that as well for any others with any various issues - there's enough info on the net, one of the many great things about the net. Of course, the person has to want to do this - and first of all - they have to recognize that something is amiss.

People who are religious should know also - your Minister or Rabbi should have some counseling / mental health training also. It is part of their study and training. If you are not sure what to do or where to go for help - these people can help you also. If not directly, they also know where to send you in your community for help. Just an FYI.

One more stray tidbit - people like me often become adrenaline junkies. Weird, huh? But it's fairly common for those of my particular circumstances.

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