Substandard Psychiatric help in Washington State

Posted by minneapolis123 @minneapolis123, Fri, Sep 27 2:47pm

I need help, my life depends on it. I'm battling suicidal depression right now and on top of that I have been informed by an Oncologist that It is likely I will develope Multiple Myeloma cancer in which there is no cure. The Hospitals in Seattle are third rate in dealing with serious depression and consistently rate at the bottom nationally. The Mayo Clinic prides itself in helping people from all over the world with Cancer but apparently I'm not welcome for inpatient help because of my location which is really ashame because it is going to cost me my life. I do not see but one way out. I'm so sorry for my family

there are lots of people here to help support you. have you considered going to an ER and telling them what you are feeling? there are always options, keep breathing and get to help.

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Hi, @minneapolis123 – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a safe place where you can talk — even about the tough stuff. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Understandable how difficult it can be to deal with depression and the future possibility of multiple myeloma. If you are comfortable sharing, what is the diagnosis you've been given by the oncologist that makes it likely you will develop multiple myeloma?

It’s important to know you are not alone. I’m tagging @gingerw @parus @1nan @marvinjsturing who have dealt with similar issues and may be able to provide some support. @lioness @jakedduck1 also may have some thoughts for you. Members on Connect are here for you, and I'd encourage you to keep posting.

If at any point you start to feel like you may consider hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help. Your safety is the most important thing. I believe that reaching out to talk to a professional shows strength.

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@minneapolis123 Welcome to Mayo Connect. I, for one, am very glad you have reached out, and I know there are several others who feel the same way. It is hard to face this alone, and we will certainly strive to be there for you. As @lisalucier commented, what diagnosis has your doctor given you that has you thinking of future multiple myeloma? Is this the cause of your suicidal depression, or are there other factors that are contributing to this feeling? Is a second opinion a possibility for you to get? Remember, as you research MM, although it is not considered curable, it can and often does, lay dormant for a long time. I have had doctors diagnose me with one thing, and come to find out it is something different. It can be very frustrating, and cause untold stress to anyone, believe me! Now, as far as your suicidal depression, please go to a nearby emergency room, or call the Nat'l Suicide Prevention Hotline if you feel like hurting yourself. Do you have a close friend to call and talk to? A spiritual or religious community who can help you, or can assist you to get professional help? You are showing how strong you are by connecting with us here. Please let us know how you are doing right now?
Ginger

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When I have been in the darkest times of depression, thinking about my life, about all that is wrong with my body and with my mind, I feel like I have been robbed of myself. We do not imagine from our own memories and from our dreams that it could be so very hard to be alive. Really, though, we are stealing from ourselves, we predict, and we fall into wells of despair that seem boundless. These falls are generated by our wish to be anything but where we feel that which we feel, and the isolation we put into ourselves and into our behaviors is debilitating. There are times when we cannot trust our emotions nor our intuitions about where to go. That is when we need help to go beyond ourselves through others, and I hope that you can reach out to whatever source(s) you have to get beyond this moment of crisis.

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@minneapolis123

Welcome to Connect. I'm glad that you have found this group. It's been a real help to me at a time when I was struggling to climb out of deep depression.

It took two years to realize that what I was experiencing was a progressive downward spiral to the darkest place I can imagine. I was non functional in my work, and I couldn't do even the smallest jobs, like a five minute job of filling out a one page monthly report. I know that it was a hard time for my family, watching me deteriorate mentally and emotionally, and finding out that I had attempted suicide several times.

My PCP had told me to go to his office anytime I needed to talk with him, and I did that one afternoon when I felt like I had hit bottom (I only thought it was the bottom. I discovered that I would fall a lot farther before I was done). I told him and my wife about the suicide attempts and he gave me the option to check myself into a suicide recovery facility – if I didn't self- admit, he would have been required to put me in the hospital.

I stayed there for six weeks, though the usual stay is 1-3 weeks. I knew that if I checked out of the facility any sooner, I would just try again, and the next time I would succeed. I finally checked out even though I wasn't honestly safe. But before I left I set up an appointment with a psychiatrist and a counselor. I took a 3 month sabbatical from work to get recovery begin.

Being that depressed, and being suicidal, made for a long, hard climb out of the deep, dark hole. As in five + years. Even now, I'm still in recovery. BTW, my doctor started me on an antidepressant in 2004. You can do the math. There's no magic, quick fix for major depression. The process has been difficult for my wife, I know, and it's taken much longer than she expected. She thinks I should have been over it long ago. It's really hard for a person who has never experienced depression to understand what it's like to be clinically depressed.

The name of the facility is Sage View. Before I called and talked with them I had images of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I found that it was a nice place, kind of like a 10 bedroom house. It was the first year of operation, so there were some kinks to work out. I was probably not their favorite patient. There were sessions every day, nearly all day, and it was hard for me because I needed some quiet time alone in my room.

I learned a lot from the staff. They're big on mindfulness. One important thing that has helped me is to set goals for myself. Sometimes I can only project staying safe for one more day. Other times, I can set a goal to a month because I want to be alive to see my grandchildren for Thanksgiving. It was a long, long time before I was able to set a goal to stay alive further out than a week or two. To be honest, I still have days when I have to look for a reason to stay safe for more than a few days. The thoughts are always just beneath the surface. I would love to be undepressed, but reality is that I'm not there yet.

You expressed being sorry for your family. Can you tell me what family members you are concerned about? For me, my wife is my first reason to stay safe. I have made a list of people who are important to me, and prior to being discharged from Sage View I had to call three people and ask them to be part of my support group. I wonder if you could think of people who could do that for you, and perhaps call them to let them know what's happening to you.

Please give yourself a little time to think through the very real difficulties you're facing. I think you can give yourself one day before you do anything to harm yourself. Am I right? I sincerely hope that you can begin to create a safety system for yourself beginning today. If you want, I'll be here to listen to your pain. You can send me a private message anytime. I might not see it instantly, but when I do, I'll respond.

In the meantime, know that I'm praying for you.

Jim

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@minneapolis123 . Thank you for connecting to this supportive and welcoming forum. You've already been encouraged to please reach out to your hospital emergency room or make a crisis call to the national suicide prevention line. The only thing different I have to say is that my words are from a mother who lost her son to suicide. I encouraged my son to seek help when he told me his plan. I even sent him the help, which he refused. When pain is that searing and you see no options, that's the time to ask for help, which you are doing through your sharing in this forum. I, myself, checked myself into a hospital when I went through what you're experiencing. There just comes a point where you put yourself in the hands of caring others, friend, doctor, and sometimes even a caring stranger you talk to on a crisis call. I had to make the choice to live it die. I am here to tell you that you can do it. You are up to the task. And all of us are with you. Blessings.

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I admire your courage. Reach out to the hotlines, and let them help you. If possible, call Mayo about an appointment, and be transparent about your issues. They possibly can point you to a resource closer to home as well, if going to Rochester is not an option. Remember how strong you are, just by posting here. This is a safe place to be. It took courage for me to post here, so I know you are courageous and wish to address these issues. This community will be here for you.

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@lisalucier

Hi, @minneapolis123 – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a safe place where you can talk — even about the tough stuff. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Understandable how difficult it can be to deal with depression and the future possibility of multiple myeloma. If you are comfortable sharing, what is the diagnosis you've been given by the oncologist that makes it likely you will develop multiple myeloma?

It’s important to know you are not alone. I’m tagging @gingerw @parus @1nan @marvinjsturing who have dealt with similar issues and may be able to provide some support. @lioness @jakedduck1 also may have some thoughts for you. Members on Connect are here for you, and I'd encourage you to keep posting.

If at any point you start to feel like you may consider hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help. Your safety is the most important thing. I believe that reaching out to talk to a professional shows strength.

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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.
Sincerly

John J

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@georgette12

@minneapolis123 . Thank you for connecting to this supportive and welcoming forum. You've already been encouraged to please reach out to your hospital emergency room or make a crisis call to the national suicide prevention line. The only thing different I have to say is that my words are from a mother who lost her son to suicide. I encouraged my son to seek help when he told me his plan. I even sent him the help, which he refused. When pain is that searing and you see no options, that's the time to ask for help, which you are doing through your sharing in this forum. I, myself, checked myself into a hospital when I went through what you're experiencing. There just comes a point where you put yourself in the hands of caring others, friend, doctor, and sometimes even a caring stranger you talk to on a crisis call. I had to make the choice to live it die. I am here to tell you that you can do it. You are up to the task. And all of us are with you. Blessings.

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Thank you for your kind and meaningful words.

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@minneapolis123 i just read your post from an hour ago. ECT has changed since you had it in 2004. I had it in 2015. I didn't notice side effects but everyone is different of course. I had acupuncture and every other non-medical method that ever appeared on the mental health care scene. Meds often don't work alone and I find that a combination of chemical and non-chemical plus A GOOD THERAPIST WHICH IS HARD TO FIND IN SOME AREAS OF THE COUNTRY…can work well together. I'm thinking that visiting the mayo clinic is the next best step cause they have excellent practitioners and doctors who can look at your entire body and mind and spirit. I hear you about your son. I am there with you. I see the awful visions of his suicide daily. So keep connecting with all of us who understand and keep us informed as we do tend to get concerned if we don't hear from each other. Blessings.

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@minneapolis123

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.
Sincerly

John J

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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.

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@minneapolis123

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.
Sincerly

John J

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@minneapolis123

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.

Jim

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@minneapolis123 thank you so much for reaching out again and updating us. it really does mean a lot. i really hope you can get to the mayo clinic and get the help you are seeking. dont stop until you do. my thoughts are with you.

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@minneapolis123

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.
Sincerly

John J

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@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.
Ginger

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