I came face to face with the reality today that treating someone with a mental illness is a very tricky and difficult venture. My mother is in the psych ward in the Kamloops hospital and I took the trip out here from Victoria to visit my step-dad and see my mother in short intervals. She is in isolation and has 3 passes to go outside into the main area. Last night I watched as she tried to eat her jello and we both kinda giggled as jello is the last thing that you want to be eating when you have the shakes from your meds. It was difficult to see her in such a state. Her attention span was nearly non-existent, her memory has faded, she is experiencing psychotic symptoms (voices) when she tries to go to sleep at night. She is strong and is pulling through as the doctors struggle to find her a mixture of medications that can create a balance or stability that she is so obviously lacking. I really wanted to speak at the hospital as they had a youth corner but on such short notice my material was not acknowledged. There were a few things I noticed about the Kamloops hospital…the majority of the nurses were kind, there were many cushy chairs in the lounge and they had a pool game which my mother and I played, even though she ducked out after 4 shots. They had old school exercise machines there, and a stairmaster that was the size of a crane! LOL The main thing I noticed was my step father's support and love for my mother. He held her as she told him over and over how much she loved him and he shared her sentiments. He uttered 'I will always be there to take care of you'…and then it really hit me. This is the kind of man I want in my life. No matter what the situation he is there every night to see my mother, and provides her with humour and open arms. It is often difficult for partners to understand and be supportive. He keeps wondering why can't they just fix her? I assured him that in time the doctors will be able to find a cocktail that will help my mother resume her life and he needs to simply accept that it may take a long while. I am so happy that I came to see her and that she is safe; it brings me comfort to know she is there and being looked after. It certainly is not scary and their main concern is to protect you. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is starting a 10 year Anti Stigma Campaign to deal with the stigma that pervades our health care system targeting health care workers in particular. There needs to be a type of sympathy and empathy when dealing with people such as my mother and there needs to be a recognition that my mother is not merely a patient but is a person in a delicate state and needs nurturing and understanding. In closing I have to send some of my prayers to a man named Andrew. He approaches my step father every day at the hospital and swears my dad is his brother. He asks him to bring him home as he is not supposed to be there. He is somebody's father and grandfather and I wonder if he ever gets visitors. I hope my mom offers him company, being the angel she is…I have no doubt she does. Well, I am off to bed and will continue to Twitter, Facebook, Market, Fund raise, network, and encourage others to please help promote Bipolarbabe in the name of fighting for a cause-Mental Health Education and Awareness and eventually a cure! More to come on that front later… Much Love, Babe xo
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The Stigma-Free Society, formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC, is a registered non-profit since January 2010, receiving charitable status 8 months later in only 29 days from date of application to approval.
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