posted on Oct, 28 2020 @ 01:14 PM
I have schizoaffective bipolar and have had four run-ins with the police during episodes.
I have complied passively in all occassions, but was bruised up by one because I was scared of his aggressive demeanor, but luckily three other patrol
cars (with more gentle and compassionate officers who de-escalated the situation) showed up soon after and transfered me to a inpatient facility. I
have been taken to the County Jail on two occassions, one for inadvertantly slapping my mother during an episode (three months in solitary while the
advocates tried to get me transfered to an inpatient facility) and another time for a week or so during a traffic stop ( I negated to yield after
being awake for three days, but never exceeded the speed limit).
I have been in inpatient more than I can count, luckily I haven't had to go in for over ten years as of this writing.
I spent roughly five years homeless or couch surfing for a few days with friends and good Samaritans.
I was never informed I was eligable for SSDI until I had a severe dissociative episode in Seattle, and spent two weeks at Harborview. The first level
I was on was young, loud women I quickly distanced myself from and then I was bumped up to a more "relaxed" level with art therapy and other creative
activities. This was where I finally got my diagnosis.
Once the paperwork for SSDI went through and I was qualified, I had a small bit of income (450 a month since I was so young and had limited work
experience) but it was enough to afford a small room in a CO-OP type living situation.
It took over fifteen years to find a workable cocktail of medications. I don't respond to the newer generations of drugs, so I am on Haldol, a mood
stabilizer and two designed to help me sleep.
It also helps that I am now married to an old childhood friend whose grandmother suffered from Schizophrenia so he knows how to handle the situation
when things get overboard.
Most people don't have as much luck as I do/did and a lot aren't compliant with their meds and instead prefer to self medicate which keeps the cycle
going. I have also met drug seekers in these inpatient environments.
When it comes to police response to mental health crisis situations, most are there to get the patient into a proper care facility, but if the patient
is combative or threatening with a weapon, things go south rather quickly. It's distressing to read about, and for several years I was terrified of
officers when I had an episode after reading about the shooting in the paper or online.
Maybe they're more gentle with me because I'm female and non-threatening, but I know of some homeless who refuse inpatient and they simply get welfare
checks to make sure they're doing ok and don't need involuntary hospitalization or other services.
Others aren't so lucky. I've seen some mental health cases who are so far gone and they can't get any help because there simply isn't enough room for
them in the hospitals. It's heartbreaking to witness. They aren't violent, but just so "lost in there own world" that they just stumble around in
there own filth while passers by walk on. They aren't taken to prisons because it would be a further detriment to their mental health.
Some cases need to be institutionalized, but ever since such places were shut down en masse, there simply isn't anywhere for them to go for
observation and treatment.
With the rise of mental health awareness and homeless advocacy, I hope someone (be it a generous and well financed benefactor or Government run
institutions) steps up and takes the initiative to help the members of our population that desperately needs shelter, medication, and therapy.
I sincerely hope that with the rise of advocacy counselors working in tandem with law enforcement that we can start to see less lethal measure taken
against some individuals, but sadly, some people are too violent and far gone and it ends with the loss of life.