April 23, 2004

What works for me

I wanted to explain what I think hasn't helped me in the mental health system. First of all I didn't have benefits for one whole year while I was transitioning between disability and SSI. I would go to the local county clinic and see a psychiatrist and beg for meds every month. He would give me enough samples to last me one month. Eventhough this was not costing the county a cent; he acted like a nazi and refused to give me medication. This started happening after about six months of samples. He kept yelling at me and badgering me about going off of disability and getting my SSI. The fact was that I had already put in for my SSI, but couldn't receive it until the state disability ran out. Also, I was not given services for indigent clients. So I ran up some credit cards paying for medication out of my own pocket. I still resent this and don't feel comfortable walking back into that clinic. The other thing is a case manager who has this alliance with the government programs. She is not a federal employee, but she felt compelled to hold up the regulations for receiving Section eight housing. My mother wants to buy a triplex so that she can afford to give me an apartment under section eight; but this worker became outraged and said that that was a violation of the regulations of section eight. Seeming as how I am practically homeless you would think that this worker would be thrilled that I might have stumbled upon a solution. Also, she became irate and raised her voice at me when I mentioned the programs I thought should be cut from the county budget as the consumers were making budget cut decisions. We have a budget defecit that is a fact and can't be changed unless Governor Arnold decides to raise taxes. The teachers are being asked to cut programs. They are being asked to cut their health benefits. The Regional Centers are being asked to cut programs for the developmentally disabled. The main cut they are looking at right now is cuts to in home supportive services wages that are currently being given by a relative. If the relative can't afford to stay home with the disabled individual, they will have to return to work which leaves the disabled client in a board and care. Arnold cut the car registration here and so we are facing cuts to police and fire as well.

What has worked for me was a job program that helped me to write a resume so that I could get a job in the school system. If we had training for consumers that would lead to jobs in the community which pay a living wage (which in L.A. is probably at least $18 an hour) with health benefits we could rise up from poverty and our mental health status would improve. It is a great stressor to not know where your next meal is coming from or if you'll be able to get your meds or where you will live.

Los Angeles County Mental Health is currently attempting to test all consumers for diabetes. My question is: what happens to the consumer once they have been determined to be diabetic, insulin resistant, or hypoglycemic? What is done to help people cope with these illnesses? Certainly there is no nutritional education. I wanted to see a dietician and was told this was not covered under Medi-Cal. I have gone to two doctors for help only to be referred to a third. Thank god I am getting health benefits through work in May, because I have suffered too long with this. My blood sugar drops two to three times a day. Schizophrenia is consuming my whole life.

I went to meet with a couple of coworkers today at a restaurant to explain paperwork to them and I got attitude from one employee. She was a friend, but now chooses to keep our relationship to matters pertaining to work. This is because I wouldn't rent an apartment with her. All of April I avoided her. I was scared to go to her club as I am required to do once a month for my job. She can be nasty at times. So I faced her today and told her what I've been needing to say to her about her not fulfilling her job duties. I told her they were part of her job, and I didn't see why she had a problem with it. Also, I had to meet with one employee who gets very condescending. That went okay too, and I feel like maybe I cleared up a few things that were confusing him. Just a week ago I was considering quiting. I thought I was never going to get health benefits and I was upset about the low pay and difficulty of the personalities and paperwork I face. I'm glad I didn't quit though. It is so nice to go downtown and have everyone ask how I'm doing and have them really want to know. We all have weaknesses and we are forgiving of one another. If I quit I would really have empty days and no comraderie. I feel like I can make a difference.

Sometimes living alone can be so lonely. I get suicidal a lot. I never attempt though. Twice when I was a child I drank rubbing alcohol and had to have my stomach pumped. I was a strange kid. When I'm suicidal I don't floss my teeth. Now I need a root canal and will have to pay for this out of my own pocket. Medi-cal will take at least a month to give the dentist a treatment authorization, and I don't have time to waste here. I guess when I go into a depression I forget the things that bring me joy in life. Loneliness is as slow sure suicide. I have friends but don't get to see them often. I really need to have more friends. Sometimes I can be a litlle hard to take though. I tend to isolate when I'm in public. I don't talk to people. At school I feel like an outcast so I just stay quiet or only speak when I have the answers. Sometimes I know the answer but don't speak. I have three semesters and one summer left before I get my B.A. in Creative Writing. I still have to take the writing proficiency exam to graduate. It is easier to write poetry than it is to write an essay. I found research papers easier though. It is hard for me to pick a thesis sentence. I am having a hard time affording my education and my health was such that I didn't want to attend this spring. I will go in the summer though. If I pass the upper division writing proficiency exam soon, then I can take an independent study course in Psychology. I want to write on the effects of society on mental illness. People with mental illness often believe that the problem does not lie with us, but instead with the general popultaion and how they perceive us. Also, society causes alienation.

Posted by Butterfly Emerging at April 23, 2004 02:57 AM | TrackBack


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