Recovering from Mental Illness

How does one go about staying sober in a bar if you're an addict? Recently, my travel writing job assigned me an article I probably should have declined--review the five best sports bars in Indianapolis. This is a problem for me because I am an alcoholic, and I'm putting myself in temptation's path (What Is Your Reason To Stay Sober?). So recently I've been thinking about staying sober in a bar when you're an alcoholic.
How does one go about staying sober while on pain medication? Recently I fell while on the bus and suffered a bruised coccyx and strained sacroiliac ligament (not to mention wounded ego). The doctor told me it would be extremely painful for three-to-four weeks and wrote me a prescription for a narcotic painkiller. While I have no history of prescription drug abuse, I am an alcoholic, so I was concerned with staying sober while on pain medication. Here is the advice I got from my Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting about staying sober while on pain medication.
We need universal healthcare standards. Normally I don't write a post when I'm angry, but today I'm making an exception. A friend of mine is disabled due to a spinal cord injury. She was recently put in a nursing home, with screaming dementia patients, an apathetic social worker, hostile and abusive staff, and she was left to lie in her own feces and urine. When asked why my friend was getting this treatment, a staff member said "Medicaid is not the Cadillac of insurance." This is why we need universal healthcare standards--because if the rich had to be in this situation, things would improve in minutes. We need everyone in the same boat to ensure mental healthcare treatment is not motivated by the bottom line (How To Pay For Mental Health Services). Everyone should receive basic healthcare standards, regardless of insurance or lack thereof.
There are three things besides treatment mental health consumers need. I have an interesting life. I am a low-income mental health consumer, and most of the people I know are either treatment professionals or low-income mental health consumers (Reach Out To The Right People For Mental Health Help). We have many needs--obviously treatment is one of them--that people may not consider. So here are three things mental health consumers need (besides treatment).
Can childhood bullying cause mental illness? I am the proud aunt of four nephews and one niece, all age five and under (family gatherings are very lively). The oldest, Desi, has started preschool; but, as a child with sensory processing disorder, is having a hard time. The other children are mean to him--one said he hated him in front of their mothers and the other boy's mother did nothing. Desi goes into the playhouse and cries when the other children refuse to play with him. It reminds me of my childhood and breaks my heart to see it played out with my special needs nephew. I fear the answer to the question, "Can childhood bullying cause mental illness?" will play out with him.
Research has shown the therapeutic value of animals. We've all seen service animals, but did you know that some states recognize psychiatric service animals or therapy animals? Some states, like Florida, allow psychiatric service dogs. And my state, Indiana, allows therapy animals. What legal protection they have depends on the state you're in, but it brings up the issue of the therapeutic value of animals.
Did you that vitamins can relieve some psychiatric symptoms? Recently my psychiatrist ordered some lab work because I was complaining of exhaustion, sleeping too much, and not feeling rested when I woke up. The labs revealed my iron was about half of what it should be, explaining the symptoms. When you are on your medications and in counseling and still feel symptomatic, there are vitamins that can relieve psychiatric symptoms.
There are three things Sarah Palin needs to know about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Palin showed her amazing ignorance about PTSD when she blamed President Obama for her son Track's PTSD. Palin said Track's recent domestic violence arrest was due to PTSD, and as horrible as that is, it could be true. However, Palin's "party of personal responsibility" is shifting the blame from themselves (Republicans have blocked every veterans' mental health bill and every mental health bill in general) to people who have nothing to do with it. So here are three things Sarah Palin--and every politician gutting our mental health system--needs to know about PTSD.
There are three things I wish I knew about alcoholism before entering treatment. Maybe if I'd known these three things about alcoholism sooner, I would have realized I had a problem and entered treatment sooner and spared myself a lot of pain. But I'm an alcoholic, and most of my lessons I learned the hard way. So here are three things I wish I knew about alcoholism; may you learn from my thick-headedness.
PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections) is a disease that can account for psychiatric symptoms, but there is stigma around PANDAS. Recently I received a text message from Amber Becker, one of my readers, asking about my time in the state hospital system. Her daughter McKenzie has several psychiatric and developmental disorders, has been in and out of hospitals, and written off as untreatable. The State of Indiana wants to make her a ward of the state and put her in one of the hospitals I was treated at. Her fear is that if Indiana puts McKenzie in the state hospital, she'll be constantly sedated or repeatedly put in physical restraints. But here's the plot twist--PANDAS may be the cause of her problems. But there are no PANDAS specialists in Indiana, and even if there were, they're not covered by her insurance.