When do you require respite? Before or after you finally “lose the plot”, so to speak?
In my experience, having respite before I have become unwell would have…well, prevented me from becoming unwell to begin with, and made a big difference to my overall mental health and well-being.
After telling service providers and agencies that you are noticing your old warning signs popping up again, is it not up to them to put provisions in place to prevent you from becoming unwell?
In my case, this is not quite how thing have worked.
Let me digress somewhat:
In my early childhood years, my mother constantly threatened me with institutionalization if I did “not behave” accordingly when I was beaten etc. by her.
I never thought she would go through with it, until one day she finally snapped after giving me the “hiding of a lifetime” one morning. I was sent to a place that I don’t ever want to return to, and spent about 2 weeks (I think) there.
The people there scared the hell out of me, they were both highly medicated and extremely unwell. I don’t know what any of their diagnosis’ were, but I am guessing most had been there for many years.
My time spent there was traumatizing, I saw and heard many things which still stick with me to this day, but those details remain inside my mind until my books are finished (I will be writing extensively about this period).
My experience there has affected me – I am afraid of situations where I do not know people’s true intentions (which is often the case with people who are highly medicated and/or severely unwell). I have in the past been to “day groups” where various “clients” go to just spend time etc. I have always felt the same there – outnumbered, and very afraid of my surroundings. It is clear that this is most likely a direct response to my earlier exposure to people in distress who were institutionalized (some without consent) has affected me greatly.
These types of situations would not be “respite” to me, they would send me into a tailspin of inner turmoil, and fear, and this is something I have struggled with for years – if I do not agree to be put into these houses with these people, I cannot access any other form of respite funding.
To place someone who is becoming unwell into a situation which would truly send them over the edge and make them more unwell instead of offering them somewhere to go to unwind, relax and be at peace – is this not in some ways unfair?
(Funding in this country – or at least in my state – exists for “Carers” to receive a break away – they are not offered a house with a whole lot of people who are “more unwell” than them, it would not work for them in that scenario either, obviously).
When I think “Respite” – something which would work for me would be 2 weeks in a very peaceful environment where I can just sit and be with myself, write as much as I possibly can, and just unwind and decompress from the shit which has built up over the years.
SO, why is this supported for someone who “cares” for someone like me, but not for someone like me? Confusing? You’re telling me, the whole thing is a mind-fuck of the highest order, to be honest, and sometimes it’s all I can do to prevent from completely losing it!
Some organizations in particular truly get my blood boiling (I won’t give them the satisfaction or fame by naming them), but to deny someone their wishes, even though they have confessed that they are becoming further unwell, and need this to travel forward with their recovery journey? Come on…
Knowing that others in my situation also struggle with finding funding for respite is also a worry, especially when I know of people who’ve had much more insignificant and less important things funded for them!
Seems to me that these organizations pick and choose based on a variety of “criteria” who they allow this funding to be accessible to, and the government obviously agrees with this approach otherwise they would not allow it to be so non-flexible.
To think of all the people like myself who are slowly falling through the cracks of this very narrow minded system is painful really. How many times have people asked for help, only to be told that they don’t fit into a specific category so therefore are not eligible, but so-and-so down the road has an extra diagnosis so they are?
The people I feel for are those (like me) who are categorized as “complex” or “difficult”, labels which really mean “too hard” – people who often have several overlapping diagnosis and can often be seen as “well” but feeling incredibly shite inside. These complex needs people often need more than one type of help, and often what they do have is useless to them (at least in my case).
I have been put into the “too hard basket” for years now, and still am sitting in there, unattended and missing out on some of the simpler things which people with more “common” issues such as Depression, Bipolar or schizophrenia have easy access to.
Is it fair?
It must be, because it’s allowed to continue occurring, and nothing is planned or getting done about it in my case, yet people like me are struggling to fit into a system which continues to fail providing.
A system designed to keep people like myself at bay and instead of offering them what they need (and what others have access to) – denying access to said services and treatments, with explanations so out-there and unreasonable it makes the mind boggle.
Working on someone’s “Goals” is not recovery (when they are currently so unwell that they simply do not have goals anymore).
Providing a service to someone who identifies as complex, and with various issues which does not meet their needs, but continuing to provide that service is not recovery, nor is it helpful.
Offering respite to someone who has identified fears and complex needs regarding particular people in a house full of said people is not good practice, or healthy practice.
Telling a client whose previous experience with mental health drugs is extremely bad that there’s not really anything else that they can offer them is bad, and not helpful, or healthy practice.
Offering someone with complex needs nothing but advice on what can be done, instead of helping them to do it is not helpful, healthy or good practice.
Forcing a client to admit to things to make you feel better is not good, healthy or helpful practice.
Refusing to offer alternatives is not good, healthy or helpful practice.
GET IT RIGHT!
Health photograph designed by Jcomp – Freepik.com