In the meantime, they are often banished to exile. Read one person’s tragic journey in and out of psychosis. The dove, symbolizing peace, seeks hope.
The Dove Hovers
Margot excelled at a responsible job in a middle-class community, where she actively participated in church, community and events. After enduring several life blows, Margot sunk into a moderate state of depression. Although still functioning at work and home, she sought early psychiatric treatment to improve her mood and concentration. Placed on a common antidepressant, Margot became anxious and agitated as her focus became more impaired. Her psychiatrist coldly assured her these were normal side effects which would abate.
But they didn’t. In fact, they continued to worsen. Finally, the psychiatrist discontinued the medication. Soon after, Margot experienced delusional thoughts. At her next visit, her psychiatrist quickly noted Margot’s psychotic symptoms and prescribed an anti-psychotic medication. Sadly, Margo was not warned that the medication could cause a stroke, especially given Margot’s smoking status and prominent familial history of cardiac disease.
The Dove Nosedives
Margot’s condition deteriorated further. The psychiatrist then recommended an outpatient hospital program. While waiting for an intake appointment at the hospital, Margot’s spouse sought consultation from three medical professionals, including an ophthalmologist, about Margot’s symptom of blurred vision. All three dismissed Margot’s complaints because she was clearly psychotic, making little sense.
At the hospital intake appointment, Margot was admitted to inpatient psychiatric unit. The hospital psychiatrist diagnosed her with schizo-affective disorder and prescribed strong anti-psychotic medications which worsened her condition tremendously. Margot was discharged in such a deteriorated condition that she could no longer work, care for herself or be left unattended. The subsequent partial hospitalization program counselor wrote Margot off as unable to ever work or drive.
Following with outpatient treatment, she returned to her previous psychiatrist and started seeing a therapist. The psychiatrist adamantly denied the possibility of stroke or dementia and fabricated a strange tale to explain Margot’s current symptoms. The therapist blatantly exploited Margot to pursue her own self interests. Both the therapist and psychiatrist abruptly abandoned her without viable referrals.
The Dove Rises
After floundering for months, Margot finally learned that she had suffered a mild stroke and still had residual dementia-like symptoms along with mild physical weakness on one side. While obtaining medical records to apply for disability income, the ophthalmologist admitted that he suspected a stroke when Margot visited him months earlier (days after starting the anti-psychotic medicine).
Meanwhile, Margot was treated like a leper in her community. People suddenly avoided her. When she did receive phone calls, they were brief and uneasy. At the few social events she attended, people blatantly ignored her, but whispered about her behind her back. Some people urged her to get a job, even though she was still mildly psychotic and couldn’t drive. There were many false promises of future get-togethers, failed offers of help and insulting last-minute social invitations.
Over time, she found a competent therapist and psychiatrist who helped her attain a near-full recovery. However, her depression lingered as she started looking for a job. Over 15 months, she suffered repeated rejections when she applied for low-paying and volunteer jobs. Eventually, she landed a volunteer and low-paying part-time job outside of her community.
The Dove Questions
What are the lessons here? Is suffering simply the fate of those with mental-health disorders? Can trials and tribulations lead to growth and hope?
Story, changed somewhat to protect anonymity, is printed with permission. Image is under license from Shutterstock.