January 20, 2015
As we begin a new year, it is important that we look ahead but also that we learn from the past. I, personally, know the importance of support in a crisis. In the past, I have had many a crisis but thankfully, I now have knowledge that I did not have back then.
Back in October 2013, I was trained on the SAMSHA approved WRAP (wellness recovery action planning), which enabled me to develop a formal plan that would be used in my recovery management. I was waiting for my husband to return from his overseas job in November 2013, in order to finalize the crisis portion of the plan. It was a busy six weeks while he was home, so we never got to complete it. He had to return to work but all was well so I put it aside until had time to complete it. In March 2014, I had a situation arise when I was meeting the deadline for my manuscript, for my recently published book A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness. It was positive stress but anytime I experience sleep deprivation, I am vulnerable to developing further symptoms. In March 2014, the situation ultimately leveled out once my sleep pattern was restored.
As a result of March 2014, I knew I needed to make the completion of my WRAP plan a priority but again, the schedule did not allow for me to sit down with key support people (there will be 5 in total) to finalize the plan.
Fast forward to December 2014. Again, I had some positive stress that caused sleep deprivation but this time I also had some concern when I was under the impression that my husband did not have a way to communicate in case of an emergency (via Satellite Phone) in his current work location. There were also some time-consuming issues (health insurance related as well as an incidence of credit card fraud on one of my cards) that contributed to my having a serious crying spell. My amazing son had not seen his mom have such a crying spell in recent years. He was unaware that I had already contacted my therapist. He began to reach out for help. This began the cycle of all that happened. My son did the best he could under the circumstances but as a 19 year old he is still learning.
I will not get into all of the details of what transpired after that but ultimately, some individuals that were attempting to help me, did not realize the full extent of the situation. Nor did they understand that my doctor had communicated with me and I was following her course of treatment. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to DIRECTLY speak with her as I did back in March 2013. So she initially did not understand that the sleep deprivation was a contributing factor and had become severe. But as back in March 2014, once the medication to address it was prescribed, I began to sleep for 8 hours, which is essential for me especially during times of stress.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of DIRECT communication with me, some individuals believed I was psychotic and in need of hospitalization. Hospitalization is the LAST resort in my case due to PTSD (post-traumatic stress symptoms I have surrounding past hospitalizations). My doctor is aware of my wishes but due to the indirect information she was receiving, she did not get the entire picture. Sadly, due to the fact that some involved made assumptions and did not communicate properly with me, the erroneous belief that I needed to be forcibly hospitalized evolved (FL Baker Act law require suicidal, homicidal or complete inability for self-care). This was not the case but again with out direct communication with the me, the patient, how would one know?
Thankfully, as Florida law does allow, I was able to request voluntary evaluation at the facility that I have requested to use if hospitalization is ever necessary. Because I was properly evaluated and screened, I was released on my own accord. Thank God my brother came in to town because he was the only one that has known me for my entire life so he had a perspective that others did not. My final discharge was on my own accord and to return, if future symptoms. Symptoms that subsided once my sleep was regulated.
It is important to understand the importance of your support people. I recognize that some have no family but we can make our family and reach out to friends, professionals or anyone we want to be involved in our treatment and recovery.
I have finalized my WRAP plan and the 5 support people I named (who will have to agree to be one) will receive a copy as well as my therapist and doctors. In the state of Florida, in order to have a legalized document, I have to name one person to be my patient representative, who oversees the crisis portion of the plan along with the support individuals. I can also provide copies to any of my friends or family that would like to have one for future reference. But keep in mind for those individuals it is for informational purposes only and only the named support individuals will have decision-making authority.
We are human and sometimes people forget the most important person involved in the situation. the person going through the crisis. Wellness and recovery are possible but we can not do it alone.
Many Blessings to you in 2015 and in the years to come.