A friend’s recent experience brought this to mind.

Twice in 2011, when I was probably ill enough to need at least some kind of emergency intervention, I went to the Edinburgh Crisis Team.  Both times, they said I was “insightful about my illness” to a degree that I didn’t need help.

Of course I’m insightful.  I have been dealing with my problems for thirteen years- half of my life. I have lived with, struggled through, fought with, succumbed to, battled, embraced and despaired of my moods. I have developed coping strategies of my own, I have worked out some things that help, others that don’t.  I have insight into my own condition because I am me.

I understand that not everybody has insight into their own problems- that it is seriously dangerous when insight has been truly lost.  But being fobbed off for being “a bright, insightful” person?  It just seems like a bad joke.  If you know you are suicidal… then you must not be suicidal enough?  Based on a strange assumption that serious risk should be accompanied by an unawareness of how bad things really are.

Am I stupid? No.
Insightful? Yes.
Still crazy? I reckon so, yep.  And still in need of help.

Or is that too insightful a comment to warrant it?


12 thoughts on “Insight

  1. I’ve been in this same position many times and it offends me. I’ve not only been discarded, but I’ve even sensed resentment from some of my doctors… to the point where I’ve even been refused proper medication. They just had to be “righter,” than me, even if it meant that I suffered.

    I remember during a really bad mixed episode when I was very suicidal, I had to fight for proper treatment.

    When I was hospitalized a few months ago, I felt my treatment was glossed over. I was told stuff I already knew (some of it was inaccurate) and got an unnecessary medication over-haul. I met one of the psychiatrist the first night I was there. He had a strongly blase, sarcastic, skeptical tone, talking to me as if I were “suspect, ” as I explained what led me to the hospital. I finally lost my cool with him told him what was on my mind and then walked off and went to bed. Besides, why would you talk to a sick person that way?

    Not all doctors have been that way with me, but enough of them have that I come to them with caution and skepticism. I watch what I say and listen closely to what they say. I feel like I have to be strategic to get the care I need -just because I too…insightful. It’s crazy.

    • I am so sorry to hear you were treated that way. It is absolutely ridiculous, isn’t it?

      Glad you managed to stand up for yourself in some ways, and used your insight to good effect when talking back to that doctor. I particularly hate that sceptical tone, that presumption that (a) you don’t know what you are talking about or (b) if you do, you must not be ill. And as you said, why on earth would you talk to a sick person in that way? It seems that even some people working in psych. services retain the myths that make me so angry in general: that mental illness deserves less kind treatment than other kinds of sickness; that you can “pull it together”; that you aren’t “really” sick if you have the slightest milligram of insight or understanding or intelligence.

      It *is* crazy. Crazier than me 😉

      • Thank you, Becky. Yes, it is. But I’m glad our insight allows us to know how ridiculous this is and not think “it’s us.” And also, I guess, that no one, including mental health care professionals, are immune to “crazy” behavior. It’s nutty how sometimes the sick person has to mentally work around the doctor’s mis-perceptions or issues to (hopefully) get proper treatment. But we’re all human, many of us flawed. But there are some great docs out there. I saw one a few weeks ago 🙂 Thank you for the reply.

      • …I didnt see the second half of your reply until after I posted mine. Id also like to add to what you said: and this just my observation- it seems that the progression on the study, understanding and treatment of various mental illnesses are slow as hell. From my perspective we are still in the dark ages. I think many of us with mental illness need insight. Lots of it. And I think the mental health pros need not only more resources to advance study, findings,and treatment, but also to LISTEN to us more. Because we know our own minds (we’ve been living with it 24-7 all our lives) and we know how we feel and how we are doing physically. And I dont understand how more doctors wont consider that. Ok. I’ll shut up now. Thanks for the discussion!

      • 🙂 Thank *you* for the discussion! Glad you saw a good doctor recently. I’ve seen quite a few now, not including the one outlined in my latest post haha.

  2. I know I just commented elsewhere, but I just discovered your blog and can’t help commenting on this one. This is one of my biggest frustrations with the psych community. As someone who is pretty good at hiding my feelings and pretending to function even when I’m not, the times I have gone to beg someone, anyone for help are when I’m on the very brink, I’ve realized I’m no longer in control, and I need someone to step in. 9.9 times out of 10, I’ve been condescended to and ignored because if you’re well enough to know you’re not well, you’re considered perfectly fine. This was put more succinctly by the crisis line who when I was a teenager told my sobbing mother that simply taking pills wouldn’t be enough, I would have to make a suicide attempt that was so extreme that it didn’t look like a cry for help – in order to get some.

    • That makes me furious! What a horrible thing for them to’ve said to your mother, and what a way to spur someone on to even more drastic action! Although I’m really sorry you had to experience that kind of rubbish, thanks for sharing it… It’s awful that so many people seem to have been put in this kind of situation.

      • Thankfully it was years ago so we’ve both moved past it in general. But when I have friends dealing with mental health issues I go crazy-advocate to do my best to help – sadly there’s only so much loving families/friends and crisis lines can do while the medical community continues to be so difficult about understanding and treating mental illness.

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