How To Ask For Help

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I don’t know how to stop or how to get help! I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features when I was 18. The past 3 years have been ups and downs faster and more often than I can keep track of. I have a history of cutting but only a couple close friends know about. I have been cutting again after 4 months without. I’ve moved from my arm to my leg because it’s easier to hide especially with the summer heat. I am no longer taking medication nor seeing any kind of therapist or psychiatrist. I had to stop seeing them because I no longer have health care coverage. I’ve found myself in such debt that I can’t really find an escape. It’s not like I’ve spent the money on shopping sprees or anything like that, it’s more like my bills out weigh my income. I’ve applied at places for a better job but no luck. I keep finding myself thinking about suicide and developing more and more of an ideation and obsession with death. I’ve decided where, and how, just not when. I mentioned this to only 1 person who told their school counselor and they informed the police. 2 weeks ago the police showed up to do a well being check on me and I was able to get them to leave by telling them a bit of honesty with a bit of lie as well. I didn’t deny everything they asked me about such as hearing voices, but I did deny any thoughts of suicide or death. I knew what they needed to hear to leave. I can’t go to the hospital because that would only increase my debt which is part of my depression only part though. I’ve also been through quite a lot in my 21 years of life. I’ve gotten jobs, quit jobs, been in car accidents, gotten tickets, you know all the usual stuff people have to go through in life. I’ve also been through more, I have 2 older brothers one who is 26 and mentally challenged, and one who is 23 and just a prick. The younger of the 2 sexually abused me for 6 years of my life and I didn’t speak up for another 5 or 6 years after the physical abuse had stopped. When I did speak up it was thought of as a lie, that I hate him so much that I would make something like that up about my own brother. Since then I’ve felt like I’m not trusted nor can I trust my family. In October of 2009 I was raped by a guy who I thought I could trust. I was forced to have anal with this guy and at the time I thought he was 27, I was later informed by a police officer trying to help me get him to leave me alone that he is 36. I blame myself for trusting this guy. I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it. I tried to press charges a few days after the event but was told that with such little evidence that it wasn’t really worth perusing. I never told my family about this because they wouldn’t believe me anyway. Since I was a child I have had problems with hearing voices and didn’t get treatment until I was 15 because my parents thought it was a phase and I’d outgrow it. Those voices have only gotten stronger more frequent and don’t respond to medication. They keep telling me to commit suicide that it’s the only answer, lately I’ve been having trouble deciphering fiction from reality because of them. I can’t tell most of the time if what I’m hearing is fictional voice or someone actually talking to me or the TV in the background. My life no longer has meaning and no longer makes sense. I can’t get treatment without insurance and I don’t qualify for any other then the one I can’t afford. I don’t qualify because of the Bipolar Disorder diagnoses and I can’t get state help because I live at home and my father makes too much for me to qualify. I live at home with my parents and my abusive brother and I can’t afford to move out. I’m stuck and can’t see an escape.

A. You may not think so but I believe you can access help. Community mental health centers offer free or low-cost services. They primarily serve individuals who cannot afford treatment. I would strongly encourage you to consider your local community mental health center for treatment.

Individuals with severe mental health disorders (i.e. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.) are often eligible for disability benefits. Mental health disorders can be just as debilitating as physical health disorders. As you mentioned, you have a long history of severe mental illness. You very likely might qualify for disability benefits.

Applying for disability insurance is typically something that a case manager at a community mental health center could assist you with. An attorney may be able to help as well. The job of a case manager is to help individuals access various types of services offered in the community. You may be eligible for many social programs that you are unaware of. Those programs could include, in addition to disability benefits, housing, debt relief, free medication, and much more. If you were granted disability benefits, it could help to pay your bills and afford health insurance. I believe this is an avenue you should explore.

Currently, your symptoms seem to be worsening. You are looking for a job when in actuality you should be in treatment or in the hospital. It would be very difficult for someone who is experiencing severe mental health symptoms to hold a job. It is unrealistic. It would be difficult to function “normally” with severe psychiatric symptoms. You need treatment at this time, not necessarily a job.

The police were at your house recently but you refused their help. I understand that you are worried about the cost of treatment but your safety is paramount. You are seriously considering suicide and engaging in self-harm. You are not thinking clearly, most likely due to your untreated mental health symptoms. You should go to the hospital. The hospital can protect you. Right now it seems to be what you need.

I would strongly encourage you to go to the hospital immediately. Not only could the hospital protect you they could also link you to the appropriate treatment services upon discharge. If you are seriously considering suicide, then going to the hospital is the only correct course of action. I wish you well. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). How To Ask For Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/15/how-to-ask-for-help/