Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My girlfriend is not in a coma but my sister is in a psychiatric hospital

I have talked about my sister being in the hospital before but I have never come out and said it, my sister has a mental illness.  I have been aggressive in my stance that mental illness should be treated like any other illness and that there should be no stigma associated with it.  Funnily enough I have never mentioned that my sister has been not in a generic hospital but a psychiatric hospital.  I have gone into great detail about my illness in hopes of helping others but I would not mention that my sister has a mental illness, that would have helped others, maybe more than my regular ramblings.

When someone has a serious mental illness psychiatrists, especially psychiatrists at in patient hospital, want to treat that mental illness with drugs until the person is able to function "normally" on a day to day level.  They are not real concerned with quality of life.  I have experienced this same phenomenon with my own doctors, they see a serious physical illness and they want to treat the illness to make sure I stay alive for as long as possible and often regardless of my quality of life.

I know that when I bring up quality of life issues with my doctors we can have a conversation.  Some doctors are willing and engaged to converse about quality of life and some are not but they will at least have the conversation.  I do not know if that is the case for people with a mental illness.  Can someone with a mental illness say I would rather be crazy than deal with these side effects, can they say that their quality of life is so diminished that I need to try other therapies for their mental illness?  I have a feeling that those requests may be brushed aside because after all the person is mentally ill and can they really judge what their quality of life is?

My sister demonstrates a pattern among many people with a mental illness, she does not like to take her meds.  This happens with other diseases the most famous example I can think of is Steve Jobs rejecting the medication that was suggested for treatment of his cancer.  That being said it is more common in the realm of mental illness.  My sister has bipolar disorder and in order to treat her bipolar disorder successfully she needs to take some drugs that are heavy duty and have serious and unpleasant side effects and periodically my sister decides not to take those drugs.

I understand all of this on an abstract level but on the concrete level of day to day life I am angry.  All though I preach that mental illness should be treated the same as any other illness but I still think couldn't my sister choose to hold it together at least until my dads' estate was closed or Hell maybe until I die?  Stress takes a toll on my health in real tangible ways and doesn't my sister care about me enough to hold off on being crazy so I could have less stress?  I know these are all bullshit questions and my sister does not choose to be mentally ill but she does make a choice not to take her meds.

What weight should I give to my sister not choosing to take her meds?  When she is on her meds should she be held accountable for choosing to stop them?  Is she herself enough when she is medicated that I should be angry with her?  I do not know the answer to these questions, Hell for all I know these questions are all rhetorical and I am too stupid to realize it.

When my sister was in the psych hospital either last year or the year before I was talking to her on the phone and I was angry and I asked why wont you take your drugs, your choices impact people that care about you and I worry about you.  She told me I did not have to worry about her anymore, that she had relieved me of all responsibility.  Is it bad that sometimes I wish I could just not worry about her?

All I know is that my eyes are heavy, heavy even though I am taking pills to treat narcolepsy.  I am sad, I am worried, and I feel the weight of the situation.  I have not talked about it much in this forum but I have had a decline in my health over the last few weeks or maybe two months or so, it is hard for me to judge.  I can feel the stress take away energy, energy I probably never even had in the first place, energy that is probably just an illusion from my narcolepsy drugs and you know what?  It was a shitty illusion, I did not have much energy even in the illusion of the life I lead.

A friend of my sister and my other sister have handled the situation this time and I know it is out of kindness and concern for my health that I am kept out of the minute by minute play by play of her illness.  Silence gives you a lot of time to worry, I worry about my sister and I wish she was well.