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minneapolis123 (@minneapolis123)

Substandard Psychiatric help in Washington State

Depression & Anxiety | Last Active: Oct 23, 2019 | Replies (30)

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I'm not sure if the people who were kind enough to respond to my original message have received any further messages from me or not. But thank you all it was helpful. I got a brief tutorial from my son on how to reply to messages here so hopefully they go through. I don't mind sharing my diagnosis from the Oncologist which is Smoldering Myeloma likely to develope into Multiple Myeloma. I'm 10 years younger than the average age for that disease.
What has got me so depressed/stressed is I'm not coping well with all these stressors at once:1) Health, 2) my oldest son is a homeless Heroin addict which absolutely breaks my heart– I did not see that one coming. I even had to do chest compressions in my home until Medics arrived after yet another OD, it is impossible to let go of that vision of him, 3) I have been working with an attorney trying to settle back taxes the last two years and still have a lien on my home, 4) My 82 year old mom is in failing health and I feel enormous guilt not being there for her enough because I can not get myself together.
5) This one is the most difficult of all– I'm seen at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance every 6 months for progression and when I explained how badly I struggle with anxiety to Dr Martin ( Oncologist) he referred me to behavioral health within SCCA. The Psychiatrists told me to take a year long DBT class that is ALL that they offered. They actually said No to a Social Worker, Psychologist and a Psychiatrist. Take a DBT class in downtown Seattle and I'm not even Borderline Personality. These are University Of Washington Behavioral Health Doctors and have really crossed a line when they denied me access to people who might be able to help and I fully intend to continue working with the Attorney and challenge them.
Before I end this letter I do want to mention that I ended up in the hospital 9/27–10/6 and was feeling somewhat better. Now I'm feeling very down again and am considering ECT which I had back in 2004 and promised myself a long time ago I would never do again because of memory loss. Antidepressants do not work for me.
My best chance I have to live out my life is to make an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and see what they have to offer. I have lived in Seattle all my life and this place really has little to offer anymore.

John J

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Replies to "I'm not sure if the people who were kind enough to respond to my original message..."

Thanks for the update, @minneapolis123. Glad to know the hospital took care of you during the 9/27–10/6 time period. That is unfortunate you were not referred to the resources you'd hoped for for help.

A conversation that comes very much to mind with what you shared about smoldering myeloma is this Connect discussion, which started back in 2011 and continues into 2019 https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/multiple-myeloma-i-have-smoldering-myeloma-does-anyone-have-this-diagnosis.

Alternatively, you might check out the group in which the above discussion appears, the Blood Cancers & Disorders group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/ and start a brand new discussion on smoldering myeloma.


Hi, John. When I began to spiral downward, I couldn't pinpoint any triggers. The doctors and therapists seem to think that I need to acknowledge them. But life was going well at the time. Of course, the more depressed I became, the more I was affected by the difficult things that, if I hadn't been depressed, I could have dealt with.

So I have a sense of how terribly difficult it is to deal with the things you wrote about when you're so far from well.

It seems unconscionable that the Seattle health community is failing to see, and acknowledge, and refer you to the people who could help you. I hope that you are finding a way to get around those roadblocks to access competent and compassionate care. It's unfortunate that you have to involve an attorney. That should not be.

Was the time in the hospital helpful? Are you able to see that your son's problems are his own, and not carry any guilt as a parent? I worked for a long time with therapists on sorting through my own guilt and shame, and doing so was vital to achieve any sort of recovery.

I'm glad that you've been able to figure out how to navigate the dialogue in this group.


@minneapolis123 That is a lot to have on your plate all at once. It can be overwhelming and make you feel you cannot get your head above water to breathe. @jimhd mentioned about your son's issues not being yours, and I agree, but as a parent that is a difficult stand to take in your mind, isn't it? Are there any resources to help you with your mother, perhaps other family nearby to share the heavy responsibility that you describe?
Will your insurance let you self-refer to a therapist for assistance, rather than the behavioral health at SCCA? Or perhaps your oncologist knows a therapist to refer to you, outside of the BH team.
I hope we continue to be a place for you to come for venting and suggestions.


How many antidepressants have you tried? I tried 6 or 8 of them before I found one that worked for me. It was a really long process, taking one for 6 weeks, then taking another one for 6 weeks, and so on down the list. It took nearly two years. I finally found one that I thought would work, Wellbutrin. I started on it the first of 2006, and when I was feeling increasingly depressed a couple of years ago, the psychiatrist had me try a few meds that could enhance the Wellbutrin. Again, it was a six week trial period of several meds until I found that Mirtazapine did the trick. Finding the right medication can be a tedious and frustrating process, but when you finally get going on the right medication, it's worth the effort.

I hear and read all the time that the most effective treatment for depression et al is the combination of medication and therapy. I can attest to the fact that it really is true. I know, the challenge is to keep mucking on through the mire, when all you want to do is stay in bed or worse. I have to be honest with you, even after all these years of therapy and medications, I still sometimes feel myself sliding down into the dark hole and want to check out. Major depression is the hardest thing I've ever faced. I've been a survivor thanks to God and the people around me who have walked with me and given me support and encouragement. In spite of myself!


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