My Opinion on Involuntary Commitment and Conservatorships (For example, Amanda Bynes)

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This is not just a problem regarding Amanda Bynes  and her parents.  (Info on her parent’s fight) It is not just a problem that Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan’s parents faced.  It is an ongoing problem for many people with mental illnesses and their families.

It also played a role in Adam Lanza’s Newtown shooting. It is suspected that the reason he did it was because his mother had filed papers  and “Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed.” Ref1

In the case of the infamous mother who wrote “I am Adam Lanza’s mother”, she stated she was told by her son’s social worker that, she was told  the only thing she could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail, and that’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”  Isn’t that sad? She knew something was seriously wrong with her son and she couldn’t get the help she needed until her son was in a rage and said “Then I’m going to kill myself and injured his mother that he was committed.

It  is a problem people with many people who suffer from mental illnesses, including me.  There have been several occasions when I knew I was manic and needed help and couldn’t get it.  I knew that I was spiraling out of control. However, I could not honestly say I was a threat to myself or others and therefore couldn’t get admitted to the hospital. I had to actually get so manic that I did something really stupid before I would get hospitalized. Lucky for me, I never did anything illegal. However, I could have.  I did do a lot of things I am not proud of and could have been avoided if I had gotten the help I needed when I insisted that I did.

It was not just me knowing I needed to be admitted. It was my parents, friends, other loved ones, etc. that would insist that I needed to be involuntarily committed and their hands were tied too.

It should not be like this.  No one should have to wait until someone does something illegal or is so far gone to get help.

This was not just something I faced one or two times. This has happened to me several times in Florida and a handful of times in North Carolina. My parents, friends, loved ones, and I would insist that I needed help and would be turned away. Some times, I would get discharged from the hospital only to walk right back in and say I needed help.  That is just crazy and the system needs to be fixed.

It should not take someone to do something drastic when their loved ones are pleading with doctors that their child is really not right.  I am not blaming this on the doctors or the police. I am blaming it on the system. Something needs to change.

It should not take a tragedy or a celebrity to be in the public eye to get this issue in the forefront of the talk about mental illness. It should not be something that parents like mine have to face. The mental health system has several problems, but this one needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

In addition, I have to say I am upset with Britney, Lindsay, and now Amanda.  They could do so much to help others. Instead, they deny they have any problems. It is obvious they do. They might not know it or not think they do when they are sick. However, when they get better, they could help others and instead strengthen the stigma of mental illness. They can’t admit they have a problem so that perhaps others will seek out help. Instead, they act like it would be so awful if they had one. The stigma is another problem that people with mental illnesses face.  Just think about all the people that these three girls could help.

I  applaud Patrick Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Glenn Close’s nephew and sister, Cavan Ace, Philip Green, Carrie Underwood,  Demi Lovato, Tessa Bonhomme, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, Patty Duke, Jewel, Willard Scott, Royce White, and numerous other celebrities who have spoken out about their mental illnesses. They are helping with the stigma and showing that it is ok to talk about mental illness. For more famous people who suffer from mental illnesses, click here and here2 .

We need more people like these to stand up and admit they have a problem. We also need to change the broken system including making it so family members and even the own patient can get the help they need before it is too late.

Contact your legislators in Congress. Thank those who are doing so much to help erase the stigma. There are many great organizations out there. You can also contact celebrities via Twitter, FB, or by sending them a letter. Let them know your concerns and/or appreciation for their efforts.

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About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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7 Responses to My Opinion on Involuntary Commitment and Conservatorships (For example, Amanda Bynes)

  1. chrisahickey says:

    Yes! Excellent, and needs to be said, again and again!

    • You are right, Chrisa. We need to change the way things are handled. More needs to be done to try and prevent things and family members should be able to do something. I would even give them permission when I am not sick to get me admitted when I am in trouble. Unfortunately, it does not work that way and makes it more and more frustrating.

  2. If you are well enough to walk up to a hospital and ask for treatment, you are generally not sick enough to be admitted. (There are exceptions for the wealthy and fully insured). Or as one pundit put it, “It’s harder to get into Bellevue than Harvard”

    • Djjaffe,
      I can see why you would think that if you are sick enough to walk into the hospital you don’t need help. That might the case for other medical problems. People who obviously are a threat to themselves (way to get admitted) can walk in to a hospital and get admitted. I agree that those with money have it much easier and it bothered me when Katherine Zeta-Jones checked her self in for 30 days to get help with adjusting her meds. There is no way someone with even good insurance could do that realistically.

      Unfortunately, there are many people out there who need to be admitted who aren’t If there family members, friends and even the person see that it is necessary, then it should be available. At least in my case where I know I am getting hypomanic it quickly can turn into a full blown episode. It needs to be a preventative thing. The longer I stay out of the hospital the worse it gets. The worse it gets the more time I have to stay in hospital. Then, I have to deal with all the things I did when I was in the full blown manic episode.

      It is unclear to me if we agree on this topic or not. Hopefully, you will have a better understanding where I was coming from when I wrote this.

      • I agree with you. I,too, know when I am hypomanic and so does my family. That is when I need help and am willing to get it. It really needs to be a preventative thing. However, it is very hard to get help then and I quickly spiral out of control. I regret the things I do too. What is really hard is that when I am manic, my family knows and I may not at that point because I then think everything is great. I just wish that at that point my family could get me help. They have tried and since I am not a threat to myself or others it is near impossible. We have even tried to point out that my behavior can hurt others and myself, but they don’t want to listen. It is not right. I do agree with you and totally understand where you are coming from.

    • I have never heard the saying that is harder to get into Bellevue than Harvard, but there is a lot of truth in it.

  3. A.C. says:

    There is a good reason why it is hard to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and that has to do with civil rights. Many people would commit a relative just to have control of the wealth or to get him out of the way for some personal reason if it was easy to do it. In China opponents of the government are branded mentally ill and committed to psychiatric wards. I think it is good that in many places in America it is hard to have someone committed and it should remain that way.
    http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/bioethics_article/chinese_psychiatric_hospitals_used_to_incarcerate_political_opponents

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