Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Emilija (and any other mentally ill OT/healthcare professional)

Hey, I can't get my stupid email to work. Please email me at masterofirony@att.net when you have a chance. You may be a great help with this article I'm writing.

(And also, I'm not really out at work. They know about the MAOI, I explained that when I was starting to act crazy as I went off the other AD, and also they know because of the food restrictions. I'm pretty paranoid about eating something hidden in some food, so they've gotten used to my obsessive NO CHEESE on everything I order out, etc.) But they have no idea I'm bipolar or anything beyond depression and I think that I take anxiety meds sometimes, which they know mainly because they see me since I usually remember at lunch and I think I've made a crack about them. So they don't REALLY know whether that is true or not.) What I am willing to do is to write this article, possibly for Advance since it's not very researchy, and I'm not going to give much info beyond my name, and there are literally hundreds or thousands of people with my name. What I'd like from you (and any other mentally ill OT) is just stories about stigma you have encountered.

Some of the examples from my life I may include are:

  • The nurse who held up a Geodon packet and tried to impress me about how it can cause Q-wave disruption with instant cardiac death, kind of laughing at how he could just give this out. Which wasn't so funny since I'd come off it thanks to extra-pyramidal sx just weeks ago.
  • The contract I lost because my COTA told everyone I was psychotic and in the hospital for 6 weeks, when really I was TAKING an anti-psychotic that gave me a reaction that landed me in the hospital for 6 hours in the ER. From then on every time the DON didn't like something I did/suggested she'd say in staff meetings "what does she know, she's CRAZY"
  • That same contract was partially lost because a family complained that I looked like I was on drugs because of my dilated pupils and flat affect, side effects of my meds. I had facial masking on Geodon before the EPS and they decided I was on drugs and went to the administrator. He asked my supervisor, she explained it was prescription and it never came up again until they didn't want me. Nobody even offered a drug test.
  • The numerous times I've been on disability and everyone has totally ignored it, avoided the subject, never even asked if I was feeling better, while I've contributed massive amounts of money for other people's flowers, support checks, etc.
  • The phlebotomist in the hospital who drew my blood then walked past the sink into the bathroom, came out and commented on how she must be "crazy". To a committed psych patient.
  • The refusal of a job to take my word for it that I wasn't able to walk between buildings in the heat, and then the reluctance to listen to my doctor's orders as such.
  • The constant jokes about how "crazy" mentally ill patients are, the calling them "psycho" and other names constantly.
  • The recently overheard groan of an LPN "Uh0h, she's on Seroquel and Depakote. You know when you see that that you've got a major mess to deal with". I was on those meds together 6 months ago.
I don't know what else, and I'm sure not all of that will make the cut. But other people's experiences will certainly make it a better article.


otgirl said...

Oh Jen! Do it! Do it! Do it! This article is a GREAT idea! So brave and just, well, needed. Time for us as a culture to check our assumptions, prejudices, and discomforts once again.

Just Me said...

Thanks for the support. I've got it partly written. So far I like it. I've been thinking of this for YEARS, so I'm kind of glad to be writing it.