Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t, but I started having GRAND thoughts and ideas and trying to make these thoughts and ideas happen too quickly. My “vacation” 🙂 at the [Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Complex] helped a TON! I was surrounded by an awesome staff and even the patients were super cool and fun to hang out with! 😀
I also wanted to share with the world something I formally called a “Bipolar Protocol Sheet.” I’m now changing the name to “Mental Illness Recovery System” (M.I.R.S. for short). I think more than just people suffering from bipolar could benefit from it.
Here’s the rough draft that I just emailed to some friends and family.
Mental Illness Recovery System
This document is meant to be a guide for people close to me in the event of me “wigging out.” This will probably go through multiple versions and rewrites before a “final” version is released. I’d also like it to be a template that could be used for other people with similar problems.
How to Use This Guide?
Read it in its entirety, then refer back to it when you notice a “warning sign”
First I should explain what a warning sign is (in the context of this document.) A warning sign is basically anything that you may notice that could be a sign of me moving towards losing it/wigging out. Historically speaking there seems to be approximately a two-week window where I start acting out of my element before the eventual crash that leads me to a mental hospital. During this two week window there should be warning signs present. The tricky part about seeing them is that there is probably at least one present every day to one level or another so it’s sometimes hard to tell if it’s a noteworthy warning sign or not. After reading the list I ask you to use your best judgment. When in doubt, ask me, or ask someone listed as a contact within the document (if you feel uncomfortable asking me yourself.) There will be a section of the document titled “Protocol for Alerting Me of a Warning Sign”
- 5 or less hours of sleep for 4 or more days
- Talking/thinking fast
- Acting “Scatterbrained”
- Too much talk about things of a “esoteric” nature
- Getting too focused (or obsessive) about any one thing for “too long” (this could be too many hours in a day, too many days in a week, use your best judgment.) Examples of things from the past are (computers/technology, Taichi, Meditation, video games, etc.) This one is a little tricky to call though…
[If you have more things to add email me/leave a comment]
Protocol for Alerting Me of a Warning Sign
What do you do if you believe I am on a path to the mental institution? This can be tricky, but I hope the following text helps you figure out the best course of action to prevent what could be a potentially unpleasant experience for you and me both. You should be aware of the fact that because of my previous experiences I have become VERY conscious of the fact that I must function in society in a way that is different from the general public. This has led me to become very careful about exposing myself to situations that could possibly lead to a domino effect leading to hospitalization. I’m saying all of this to let you know that I pretty much ALWAYS think I’m on top of things. For anyone to come into my world and tell me I am off could be seen as… “negative” thinking or something and I may disregard it (depending on my mood at the time, although I try my best to be in a receptive mood about such things.) Also be warned that approaching me too often about “warning signs” in a manner that “bugs” me may result in me consciously and unconsciously covering up evidence for you to see as to reduce the frequency of being bothered.
I personally believe the best approach is to ask me questions as opposed to making statements. For example:
Instead of “Casey, I don’t think you’ve been getting enough sleep. I think you might be [some statement referring to me being on the road to hospitalization].”
Start a dialog with a question first. Example:
“Casey, have you been feeling rested lately?”
or even more directly
“How many hours of sleep did you get last night?”
I respond with a low figure like 3 or 4.
“How many hours did you get the night before?”
I respond with another low figure like 4.
“Do you think you have been getting enough sleep lately?”
I should respond with a no. And you will have probably brought the issue to light if it had somehow been clouded from me because of a recent stressful situation.
Also, you can be very direct about a concern, ie.
“Casey, I think you’re starting to [lose it, or however you wish to phrase it]”
The only problem with statements like this is that they need to be used very sparingly, as I have a low tolerance for them and if used too frequently means I will consciously and unconsciously shut you out from status updates that you would use to formulate an opinion like this.
One option available will be to contact one of the contacts not listed in this first version of the document. My Mom will probably always be the best choice as she will always have the most up-to-date information on who to contact and how.
This is just the first draft of this document. The final version will be a hard copy and will include my medical history and doctor contact information for those of you close enough where information like that could be potentially useful. In the event of me needing to go to a hospital or see a doctor, a doctor and hospital (with proper contact information) will be listed. These locations should already have copies of my medical history (as I will provide them with it) but it is always good to have back up (in the event that they can’t find it, or I need to go to another location.)
Questions/Comments/Feedback can be emailed to me or left below as comments.