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Foul Mood After Calling Health Insurance Companies

I’m sure it is frustrating for the customer service reps who answer insurance claims questions.

It is also really frustrating to be the one calling. Why on earth can’t they show the progress of my claims on the website? Because it’s “confidential” and “sensitive” information. Yet every time I open the pages of my health insurance websites there are articles designed specifically for my health conditions.

I sometimes feel as though I’m showing signs of paranoia when I call the insurance companies. But it’s all real. And it puts me in a foul mood.

Psych Ward: Transformation: The 1st Time A Patient Smiles, Laughs – And Why

One of the greatest things about being in the psych ward is the first time I see a fellow patient smile or laugh.

Imagine (if you’ve not been there before):

When I enter the ER for a psych visit, the nurses and doctors watch me for awhile – I think it depends on how many beds are available up in the psych ward, or about keeping me in a confined space so that they can evaluate me to see how stable I am before sending me to the ward.

We’re not allowed to wear clothes for a day – or more. Red Socks with white treads for falling risks, Grey Socks with white treads for the rest of us. [Another story, another time]

A group of us are in this space, and we walk around while many of the staff are behind glass. When I am able, depending on why I am there and how capable I am, I make an effort to attend programming. By showing up to Poetry -or- Dance Appreciation -or- Groups, I show that I am making a commitment to get better, that I am trying, for goodness sake, to reset.

Many of the programs have art themes. When I attended a Chair Yoga class on Day 2, a quiet patient who kept her eyes down most of the time, smiled. Then she laughed. She didn’t want to try the Chair Yoga, but she loved the music. Her eyes just lit up with wonder. She giggled. It was wonderful to watch, and I started to feel better just watching her joyfulness.

I saw it again when a patient having a tough time was given a guitar to play by the glassed-off staff. He didn’t quite smile the first time he played, but I saw who he was on the outside, on a different day. I felt clearer and proud when I attended a Poetry class and could write again, after holding a journal for five days but without writing anything down with my golf pencil.

Studies have been done, and it’s pretty common knowledge: ┬áMental illness and creativity – even artistic passion – are closely related. I saw it in the ward – every visit I’ve had, every outpatient program. Art connects us to one another, and to a part of ourselves that we may not otherwise be able to reach, in a ward with white walls and locked windows. I know that it is one of my favorite parts of being in the psych ward. I look forward to it, even when I am checking myself in.

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What Do You Want To Know About the Psych Ward? A POLL.

Weigh in! I’ve gotten quite a few questions about what it’s really like in the psych ward, and I mention things off-hand that really surprise them – That I think is basic, since this was my third time in. So – Here’s a poll: What do you want to know? I’ll answer them in the order I get feedback. You don’t have to be on the “outside” – Others with mental illness might want to compare visits, and leave comments!

There’s also the one I forgot – Why did I go to the psych ward – How did it start? How did I communicate my hospitalization?

The Saint of Book Stores

My drawing from last night. Helped me relax so I could sleep, now that I’m on fewer meds. It was a good part of my day:

Photo on 3-19-13 at 9.01 PM

Storm Outside, Calm Inside

We’ve been hit by Sandy in the NE. Those of us with a health issue have additional considerations:
1) Keep to your medication/ meal/ sleep schedule as much as possible;
2) Limit your exposure to news about the storm. I watched the NY & NJ press conferences, and will now stay away from the news until about 4:00 pm. That gives me a break, and it’s all repeats until then, anyway;
3) Take advantage of healthy escapism. If you are at home, do things that are fun that you normally wouldn’t: Play a board game, Watch a movie that is very different from the current situation; Get extra sleep; and
4) Call the NAMI help lines if you need help with a mental health question. Call someone if you feel suicidal. If you’re alone, think about staying with a friend or family member that you can get to safely. Precaution is sensible. Those of us with mental illnesses know a lot about precaution. Trust those instincts.

Best of luck!

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