Mental Health

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

I’m sitting in the emergency room right now. One of my best friends had a mental breakdown today and has been hospitalized. I’m waiting to see him. He’s in his mid-30’s and used to be a happy-go-lucky stoner/surfer. I don’t know what happened today, or in the weeks, months, or years leading up to cause this.

There’s a lot of people that are struggling. At least half my family is on meds for depression, I feel like nearly everyone else I’m related to is depressed without medication. And almost everyone else I know, if not depressed, is feeling a tremendous amount of stress.

I guess I’m just writing because it’s a way to get these thoughts out of my head. I know there’s people here who are open about their own challenges. And there’s people here who are trying to help too.

It feels like this is a prevalent thing nowadays. Like an epidemic.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Unless he's actually dangerous, try to get him out of there as soon as possible. I know a lot of horror stories, told to me directly by the people they happened to. Nothing good happens in those places. People come out and they're never the same again, and no, I didn't get that from some movie.

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Post by Bram »

Okay, thanks…I tried to visit him at one hospital and talk to him at the other tonight after if he was transferred, but no luck. Will try again in the morning.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

There are places that give kickbacks to doctors who send people there.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/universa ... claims-act

Imagine a hospital where they actively make you worse. Imagine it's staffed by people who want to hurt people and not help them. Now imagine that patients who are admitted lose their rights and also lose a lot of their capacity to even know what's happening. I've personally known a bunch of people who have been in the system. Nothing good comes of it, except maybe getting approved for meds if they need them. Okay, on some occasions, people have gotten stabilized as they say, but it's a dangerous gamble. You don't know who's going to do what in there, and I don't mean the other patients.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Even Ogie Oglethorpe's gotten in on it --

"Prosecutors stated that Oglethorpe offered free long-distance transportation to eligible individuals to induce them to become patients at its facilities even when they did not require inpatient treatment."

https://www.medicaidfraudhotline.com/in ... ations_335


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

We are all living an insane life. No one is built for this. The system drives us crazy, demonizes or takes away natural health remedies, and pushes insanity on us. Kids have always run around all day, that's what they do. Force them to sit in a super boring classroom and make the ones who won't sit still take drugs. Encourage people to spend lots of time with brain and soul killing media. Then get them hooked on drugs. Which drugs? It doesn't really matter, they make money coming and going. People are miserable because their lives suck and we keep making ourselves more unhappy. Me, too. I would be so much better off had I never taken in any movies or TV at all. The net is also making us crazy. You've all noticed how there are basically zero websites that act normally. They all spy on you, and have pop ups and banners and who knows what else. You can't drop out, either, because they've made that impossible. So yes, everyone is anxious and/or depressed. There is no cure. There is no hope.

The PIC or more likely their henchman have read the essential texts on society. They know how to make us crazy. They've succeeded. And they tell us we're the ones, because of faulty brains or bad psychology. They've gotten us to turn on each other, and yes that includes me.

When someone is hurting worse than me, what would I tell him? I can't say avoid social media because that's how people connect now. I can't say go out and do things because it's next to impossible anymore. I can't say don't drink or use drugs because that may be the only joy he has and also the only time his brain fires correctly and he feels in touch with himself. I can't say spend quality time with the people in your life because the people in his life probably mostly suck. I can't say, "find value in things" because I really think that's crap. You value what you value. Phony interests are phony.

I think the only thing that helped me at all was having people just listen and spend non-demanding time with me. It would have helped a lot had I listened to people who told me I was going in a bad direction but I didn't. It would have also helped if I'd had someone to point out some big errors without crushing me but that's too much to expect.
Last edited by motherjuggs&speed on Wed Nov 09, 2022 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.


lenny
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Post by lenny »

Bram
I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he gets out soon. I haven’t had experience with mental hospitals in America since 1971. I’m not sure what I have to say will help, but here goes.

A friend of mine, call him J, was put into a locked ward in the Stanford University psychiatric facility by his family about seven years ago. I talked to him on the phone. He was very doped up on a high dose of quetiapine, which I’ve taken at much lower doses and been pretty fucked up on it (which I’ll describe later.) I’m currently on an extremely low dose now to help me to fall asleep. I may try to go off it at some point.

J had to go to court against his family who wanted to put him into conservatorship. He had enough money to get an expert witness testify in his behalf, so he won and got released from the hospital, but he also lost in that he has no control over his finances. His parents are divorced and quite wealthy. His father who in his late 80s has serious prostate cancer and may not live very long. His younger brother doles out an allowance to him, since he doesn’t work. His inheritance will be administered by his brother. He earned his way into the locked ward by hitting two women, drunk driving, doing recreational drugs while on psychiatric medicine, and God knows what else. It was a number of years before he ended up there.

J is 66 and has a very rare blood cancer. I’ve only seen him once in the last 25 years in 2009. He changed a lot from a really nice guy and became very aggressive and tried to get a waitress fired. I couldn’t believe it. I apologized to her for his behavior. His girlfriend at the time (she left him after he hit her) told me that behavior was becoming more and more common. I talked to him about it, but he rationalized it. I didn’t confront him. It wouldn’t have helped. I only had a few hours to see him.

J had never been like that. He also didn’t smoke cigarettes, drink, do cocaine, nitrous, and who knows what else. With the exception of one guy, all my friends my age have serious health problems. I may have prostate cancer. I doubt it, but my PSA is high. It was four years ago when I last had it checked. I got a biopsy, and there was no cancer.

I have a sister-in-law who is bipolar schizophrenic. It ruined her life. She’s in a group home in Jerusalem with other mentally ill people. My wife says it’s pretty nice. The people are taken care of fairly well, and the staff is good. My sister-in-law (now 66) had a breakdown in her early 20s and was put into a state mental hospital in Ohio by her father. My wife and her mother flew from Israel and rented a place for a few months to get her out and back to Israel, where she got better treatment. She’s been in and out of the mental hospital but not in the last 15 years. Since then, she’s lived in group homes with other mentally ill and hopefully won’t need to go back.

In 2016, I got really depressed and broke down and went to the mental hospital. I could have gone in probably 100 times the 20 years before that but always stayed out. My wife took me. I didn’t want to be there but felt like I reached the end. It was on a Saturday, and there was almost no staff. A psychiatric nurse talked to me. To make a long story short, she said take a higher dose of medication and see what happens. I did and felt good enough not to go back.

In 2019, I turned 70. It was a huge shock. I never expected to live that long. It felt like a death sentence. I had stopped surfing. It wasn’t fun anymore and didn’t feel like it was worth it. Some serious family issues came up, and I got very depressed. I have my workout logs. From January 2020 to the end of May, 2021 I did almost no exercise. I slept 11 hours a night and lay on the floor most of the day listening to podcasts about Jewish mysticism, Joe Rogan and God knows what else. I took 2 anti-depressants which got me out of the worst of it, but I was still depressed and had no energy. I had a number of depressive episodes but nothing more than a couple months before that.

At the end of May, 2021, I said fuck this. I gotta do something. I rode my bike on the bike trainer for all of 12 minutes and overnight became manic, which had never happened before. I started sleeping 4 hours a night and had a lot of energy and could stay up for days. If I had been on cocaine I would have thought I was God and stayed up for weeks and been hospitalized. I had 2 chances to take it in the 70s for free, before there was any bad publicity, and didn’t for some reason. At my age, I knew I couldn’t get away with not sleeping for days. There were a few times I was up for 48 hours but forced myself back to sleep.

My psychiatrist told me to go on a fairly high dose of quetiapine. I can’t remember if it was 200 or 400 mg. It was horrible. I get up at night to urinate because of an enlarged prostate as do most guys my age. It causes night time urination. I took the medicine at night and had no motor control after a few hours. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall and crack my skull. I don’t have the greatest balance in the world, but you saw what I could do on the balance boards. There were times I couldn’t get back to sleep and was so fucked up I couldn’t walk 30 feet to my kitchen without sitting down twice for fear of falling. Once it took me 30 minutes to go the five feet from my bathroom back to my bed. I timed it.

I reduced the dose to 25mg which I’m now taking. I’m not depressed although I’m really bummed out over the emotional hell my daughter is going through. Medication doesn’t help her either. There’s research on psychedelics about helping depression. Hopefully, something will help.

My wife says mental hospitals in Israel have improved dramatically over the last forty years. I don’t want to be in one. I’ve learned to deal with a lot of intense mood swings, not knowing who I am where everything looks unfamiliar, time distortion etc. which was terrifying and put me into the psyche ward in 1967 as a freshman at Columbia University. I was there 3 days and spoke to no doctors and was offered no medication. I got out on a weekend pass promising to return, knowing I wouldn’t. I went back to the dorm and was fine. I had undergone a terrible culture shock being in Manhattan coming from the midwest. Staying up all night talking to people didn’t help as did not going to class or doing homework (we didn’t have to turn it in.) I only studied for midterms 9 weeks into the semester a few days before and a week before finals. I did well.

In my high school of 3,000 kids for grades 10-12, I had five tests a week. Attendance was mandatory. I hated it and was kicked out of two classes for arguing with teachers and threatened with expulsion if it happened again. I wish it had, but there was no better school, so I shut up. I went from being in a kind of prison, a complete social misfit with 3 disastrous dates, no friends (there were 4 of us at the top of our class who were competitors to get into Ivy League colleges and couldn’t be friends) to making friends and way too much freedom in Manhattan. I learned not to do that again, but not before becoming so depressed I dropped out of school the next year as did 10 of my friends. I transferred to university in the midwest. The kids were nowhere near as smart, but the professors were much better. I still had a lot of mental health issues but had a very nice girlfriend which helped a lot. And it was much easier to live in a college town than Manhattan.

I’ve learned over the years that I can be in the state that put me into the psyche ward and drive a car if I have to knowing I can sleep it off or take a tranquilizer, and I’ll be fine in a few hours. I don’t want to go into a mental hospital again, but I might have to. There are no guarantees in life. I’m doing what I can not to get depressed. Hopefully, I’ll get over a lot of the bitterness I have about life. I haven’t given up. I keep working on issues that arose over 70 years ago from my family. I’ve made progress, and I sure learned a lot, mainly the hard way.

Bram, tell your friends not to give up. I listed some resources in Mother, Juggs, and Speed’s training log. There are more I could give, if you want. I don’t take recreational drugs. I smoked dope for a few years on and off and took LSD twice in the late 60s and early 70s. That was enough. Somehow, I knew after about ten days of dope smoking that whatever heightened perceptions I had from the drug could come naturally. I’ve learned to alter my consciousness through meditation, deep breathing, chi gong, Tai Chi, different kinds of movement like the Feldenkrais Method, relaxation inductions, music, dance, aerobic exercise, surfing, skateboarding etc..

One thing that helps is looking back on my life knowing I survived. I got through times where I was sure I’d kill myself and of almost complete social isolation including now.

I could have been wealthy if I’d stayed in business, but money didn’t mean much to me and still doesn’t. Being wealthy wouldn’t have made me happy. Thank God, I have enough money to get by. I don’t watch commercials, am not on social media and don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I travelled a lot. I don’t know if I’lI ever leave Israel. It’s OK. I’m fortunate to live 15-20 minutes from the beach. There’s almost no furniture in this place. I’m fine with it. My wife and I both have wealthy relatives. I wouldn’t trade places with any of them.

In the Talmud it says nobody dies with even half their desires fulfilled. I’ll be like that too, but how much could people have 2,000 years ago? If you had an indoor bathroom, you were wealthy. If I tried to explain to my grandparents who were born in the 1880s, what people want today, it would take weeks for them to understand, and then they’d they think we were crazy because there’s no way to get it.

I don’t know about you, but my generation was sold a pack of lies. Go to university, get a good job, get married, have kids, move to the suburbs. It’ll all be fine. In my high school, I never heard of a single kid with divorced parents. Now, just everybody I know is or should be. A lot of us rebelled. Some people, especially women, who fucked around a lot got very burnt. I told two ex-girl friends they’d never get married or have kids. That’s exactly what happened. One tried to get married in her late 60s. It was too late by then.

Life goes by awfully fast. It feels like yesterday that I heard Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and the Fillmore. Reb Nachman of Bresslov, a 19th century Hasidic spiritual master, said life was like a dream of 15 minutes. Now, it’s more like a dream of 15 seconds. He said to remember all the bad times, and how you got through with God’s help, but you can be an atheist and use that teaching. He taught you have to try and find the light in the darkness and what’s good in bad situations. Do what you can to bring joy in your life (within reason) as hard as that can be sometimes. It could be a moment, like watching a sunset.

I got involved with a Sufi Sheikh in Jerusalem a long time ago and got into some crazy altered states of consciousness without drugs. It’s a miracle I didn’t go completely insane. One time a guy came in, and I could see his negative thinking was a cloud of darkness surrounding him with no light. I’ve been like that. I try to find ways out when I can. Write down a list of what makes you happy, and do something on the list.

Life is a lot lot harder than what we were led to believe. It’s important to know that and can help put things in perspective, at least sometimes. Like my accountant said, “What’s done is done. We start over from this moment.” Hope something in all this helped.

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Post by Bram »

Thanks guys for your thoughts. My buddy quit smoking weed a year-and-a-half ago (he was such a stoner that he still has that goofiness to him) and quit drinking 6-7 months ago. Doesn’t do anything else.

I got a text about the situation last night and was on the road immediately. I’ve reached out to his family. The plan is to see him this morning after I go to a doctor’s appointment that I’ve had scheduled for a month. Deciding whether or not to get him out immediately is going to depend on what state he’s in. He has a 3-year old and his own business with no employees…getting him out too soon could be worse. I’ve only heard his wife’s account of things.

I feel like the world is very challenging right now. But you can overcome a lot of challenges with the right skills, assistance, approach, or attitude.

I’ll update when I talk to him.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

motherjuggs&speed wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 11:30 am
I think the only thing that helped me at all was having people just listen and spend non-demanding time with me. It would have helped a lot had I listened to people who told me I was going in a bad direction but I didn't. It would have also helped if I'd had someone to point out some big errors without crushing me but that's too much to expect.
This is important to remember.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee

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Post by Bram »

Well….

I visited him at the place where they keep people going through these things. Passed a number of guarded security doors then into a big, bland room with a couple of games and a variety of haunted-looking people wandering around.

My poor friend was shaking non-stop and his eyes looked wild. He had some recollection of what had happened, knew he had experienced some sort of psychosis, but was clearly still in the woods. I sat with him a while, brought him a book to read, and promised I’d visit everyday.

I left rattled.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee


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Post by lenny »

Bram
You're a good friend for visiting. I've been in psychotic states and been terrified where I shook and emerged from them without any medicine, hospitalization, or talking to anybody. A few times I was shaking and as soon as I was on the skateboard I was fine. Your friend can get better. It's not a life sentence.

The psyche ward I was in was not like a mental hospital. I didn't talk to anybody and basically slept for 3 days. I was in another one from the university after I got depressed in 1971 and got out after a week. A psychologist who had worked there was one of the patients. I wasn't medicated and had one of the highest experiences of my life there. A grad student guided me through a process from gestalt therapy. After he left, I felt everything was all OK. It was as if someone had smashed me in the head and changed my entire state of consciousness. There was an enormous stigma around mental illness then, and maybe there still is. In my mind, I had really fucked up to have landed in the psyche ward. But everything was OK. My girl friend visited and told me she got a contact high from me. The experience dissipated the next day.

I've visited my sister-in-law in a real mental hospital where the people are really suffering. It was very hard to be there. I went to see a psychiatrist about ten years ago on a locked ward. That was frightening, the people were in such bad shape, and I saw them for maybe a minute, waiting to see him.

In so called primitive cultures, the families and the tribe take care of the mentally ill. They know that people can get into altered states where it causes a lot of suffering, but it doesn't have to last. They don't use medication. It helps a lot of people. I'm not a fan of the medical model for treating the mentally ill, where they’re separated from society and seen as very sick, but it does help people sometimes. I believe the values of western society with an emphasis on material success cause a lot of alienation, pressure to succeed, terrible distribution of resources etc. are responsible for enormous suffering and contribute greatly to poor mental health. But that's the world we live in. We have to make the best of it.

There was a small psychiatric hospital in San Francisco that no longer exists that allowed people in psychotic states to go through them without treating them as though they were sick. I think most of the people got better. There's a biological component to mental illness, but there can be a very deep message from the subconscious on how to redirect one's life for the better. It can be a viewed as a crisis to bring healing, which the medical profession doesn't usually believe in. Hopefully, your friend gets helped and out of there soon.

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Post by Grandpa's Spells »

I've known two people in the last couple months who've had to go to the hospital. One was released after a night, another was away for like 7 weeks. Both extremely capable professionals.

I think this stuff is a a lot more visible than it used to be, in part because the stigma is present but greatly reduced. There used to be the stereotype of the guy whose wife left him and he became an alcoholic -- that guy was already an alcoholic. Or have a breakdown and they just disappear into a hospital or the streets or another town.

Hopefully this is a quick recovery. Has to be hard for the 3 year old.
One of the downsides of the Internet is that it allows like-minded people to form communities, and sometimes those communities are stupid.

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Post by Bram »

GS,

I hung out with his little boy while his wife visited him. We ran around and explored together for an hour and the kid seemed fine. His wife told me the boy wants to see his dad, and my friend wants to see his son. It’s only allowed over FaceTime right now. But I told her she should wait a couple days to do that. He is clearly not right currently.

Lenny,

I agree that western culture is a huge obstacle to mental health. Thanks for saying he’ll get better…it’s really hard to see that right now, but it’s still good to hear.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee

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Post by Bram »

A couple updates….

My friend was in the behavioral unit (mental hospital) for a little under 48 hours, then released to his home.

I visited him two days after his release and he was still shaky, then again three days later and he seemed almost 100%. After an hour of hanging out, he joined me for a surf. Today he’s back at work.

There are four factors, I believe, that contributed to his breakdown.

His marriage — his wife is incredibly mean to him. His phone is full of texts like, “You motherfucker! You’re the worst father on Earth!” That was after he went surfing on the weekend for two hours, leaving his son with his wife.

His son’s health — his three-year old had a baseball-sized tumor removed shortly before his second birthday. There is a legitimate fear the tumor may return…which is why he tolerates the wife’s abuse…attempting to spend as much time as possible with his son.

Horrible work schedule — twice a week he gets up at 4am to drive 2-2.5 hours to northern LA (hideous traffic), work for his brother all day, then drive home. He works full days four more days a week.

Very little stress relief — his wife will not let him ever surf if she can.

The inverse, of course, would be helpful. I told him to stop working in LA and surf more — he seems on board for this. We’ve talked about his wife in the past — she insults and belittles him whenever I’m around — but, prior to the breakdown, he told me to STFU about that and he just hopes it will stop.

So we’ll see….hope everyone here is taking care of themselves, not taking shit from others, nor dumping it on them either.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

We've all read a lot of stories about athletes getting injured or sick when they've been dealing with an impossible situation. People break. I broke. If your friend can't or won't change things he may have another break of sorts, mentally or otherwise. He's getting not enough sleep, plus 5 hours each day on I-5, plus stress at home, yikes. Someone in my life has chronic back pain and he can't or won't acknowledge that his wife is the problem. Probably not much you can do if he doesn't want to hear it.

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Post by Bram »

MJS,

That’s exactly how I look at it. Too much pressure can snap a limb or a mind.

My friend’s mom is a nurse and she said psychotic breaks happen to 2-3 out of every 100 people. As long as their stress stays low afterwards, it’s only a one-time event.

Me and you have talked a lot about trying to nudge (or drag) people in the right direction, but holy shit it doesn’t seem to work all that well. I’m just gonna be his friend, do what I can, and accept what happens.
“This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.” — Bruce Lee

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