A Hole in One?
MENTAL HEALTH dates back to prehistoric times when cave men were thumping women over the head and telling them ugggh! Around 5000 BC, during medieval times when these individuals were thought to be possessed by evil spirits or demons they would put a hole in the side of the persons head to let the evil spirits out-this was called skull trephine. Other reports state that exorcisms, incantations, prayer, atonement, as well as magical and mystical rituals were used to drive out the evil spirits. That was then this is now!
Michelle and I met in a hospital emergency room; both our sons had taken ill or as some would call it they had an episode! We were triaged and then given an ER room and after a couple of hours we were sat in the hallway in chairs up against a wall in front of the nurse’s station along with others who were there for the same purpose. As Michelle and I observed other patients, parents and friends seated in this row, we decided to dub it “mental health row”.
After sitting there about seven hours you couldn’t tell the patients from the families. We were livid…but to no avail! Why is this an issue? We are talking about a major University with no better accommodations than medieval times. When they presented the hospital clothing for our sons, Michelle’s son donned a purple gown two sizes to small with the compliment of red footie’s. My son was draped in a green gown, and to complete his mental health ensemble he was given a pair of red and white footie’s; now they both not only had presenting symptoms but they looked the part. Both their bottoms were hanging out because the gowns were too small. Not to mention the girl who took off her gown to turn it around so the opening would be in the front for better control…HA! HA!
Poor Michele after about the eleventh hour of sitting in a chair with hospital guards around our sons and others, she took off her shawl, laid it on a bedside table put her head down and covered her face from the light and the potential spectators, she then quietly dosed off to sleep - to tired to worry about the fate of her son at that point. I passed by Michele and saw her wig was tossed and her lipstick was now on her cheek, her eyes were red and her eyeliner and mascara was smeared over her eyes as though she were a panda bear on display. I walked by her and gave her the same affirming nod of understanding that I gave her when we first met in the ER about twelve hours earlier …still no admittance for our sons. I wanted to sleep but was too afraid of what we might miss if I did! I kept vigil for both me and Michelle.
I sat beside my son and thought about how much I should be on the TV program called SNAPPED but then I would not be able to write this short note.
Why is this so important? I gave these scenarios not to bring attention to Michele or me but to shed light on how individuals with mental health issues are treated. And the growing needs for transformation of the mental health systems. If we as the families are ill treated or overlooked when seeking treatment for our loved ones then how much more are the people who suffer with this illness…more cuts are coming, we better start talking about how to help our children and others children, in addition to each other through these tough times. The social stigma attached to mental illness was, and to some extent still is very pronounced and the ill treatment of these individuals can even be tied to family honor. In me and Michelle’s case this is so far from the truth. We have suffered every indignity possible with the fate that has been served to our sons. But we have to find some relief and solutions besides locking them away for life.
We need to understand the politics, politicians and the everyday people who care about this issue. Thanks for letting us babble on like we had a hole in our head…pun intended.
Pam and Michelle