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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Case Mismanagement

Why us mentally ill folk dont deserve your disrespect.

Getting up at two in the morning works surprisingly well for me. I'm hoping this isn't just part of my normal cycle of getting up at completely random times of the day and night.

Consider that I usually work at night and sleep during the day. When I do that, between one and four in the morning is my very-most productive part of my work day.

But contrast, for me to get up anywhere between five and nine in the morning is cruel torment for me. It's not at all the normal human trait of taking some time to transition for sleep to full wakefulness: to the extent I do manage to get my sorry ass out of bed during that time of the morning I always feel just like I've been beaten with a baseball bat.

For almost all my life i figured that _everybody_ felt that way when they started today, but once Bonita came to live me she was completely incredulous. She wasn't at all fresh as a daisy when she woke up. Rather we'd set the alarm for when she had to get up for work, the two of us would lie in bed listening to the radio, we'd talk for a while then she'd get up, eat breakfast and go to her work at a Biotechnology Plant.

I'd go back to sleep then get up around ten or eleven.

She and I eventually discussed this in quite a lot of depth. She told me it was not at all normal to feel that way when one has just woken up, that while there is a transition for most people - but apparently _not_ for Cheeto-In-Chief, or perhaps Master President prefers to Tweet when his brain is not yet in gear and so he can be his very-most creative - while there is normally a transition, for other people it's not at all like it commonly is for me.

Despite all that, for most of my life roughly once every two weeks, there will be a morning when I have no trouble whatsoever getting out of bed. I can get right up, make a real breakfast rather than just eating cold chili directly out of its can, get dressed then get right to work.

Now here we have a puzzling phenomenon: I eventually clued in to that I had what was originally denoted as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome but that Some Manner Of Wiser Head Than Mine later renamed to Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder.

It's not a disorder! Not by any means:

At three in the morning back in 2011, I dialed 9-1-1 to request a VPD officer serve a No-Contact Order on my mental health case manager, as during the previous day she was ringing my cell all damn day. Every single call might have been a potential client. Always I looked up, grabbed the phone, looked at the Caller ID, sent her to voice mail then went back to sleep.

Or tried to anyway.

Eventually she turned up at my front door then proceeded to wail away at my doorbell. I wish to G-d one of my flatmates had been there, had they answered the door then called out for me, I would have made plain my soul-burning desire that she give me some peace.

Eventually I staggered to the door as if I'd just risen from the dead, opened the door then not so much "accepted" as snatched from her outstreched hand but a one-week supply of my Happy Pills.

This despite that SHE KNEW DAMN WELL THAT I WORKED AT NIGHT.

In Vancouver, to place a non-emergency call to an on-duty cop or Deputy, one must call 9-1-1, then after saying "This is not an emergency", ask that such a cop call one back. A few minutes later, an officer called me from his cell in his patrol car.

"She's just doing her job," he pointed out, though quite sympathetically.

"Suppose I sold magazine subscriptions on the graveyard shift. For me to ring your own doorbell at three in the morning would be for me just doing my own job."

Again he was completely sympathetic but I failed to sway his decision.

I was not yet aware that I could have had a Process Server - better: a uniformed Deputy - serve that No-Contact Order had I petitioned the Clark County Courts for one. The proper name for a No-Contact Order or Protection Order is "Temporary Restraining Order" but I had not clued in to that fact.

This because there are numerous varieties of Temporary Restraining Orders.

So I tried to reason with Vancouver's Finest.

No one must have been knocking over liquor stores that particular morning as he and I had the very-most friendly chat for well over an hour:

"Consider that for you and I to be having this conversation at three-thirty in the morning suggests that you have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome yourself."

"You're probaby right," he quite reasonably agreed.

Eventually and quite sadly he informed he had to stop slacking all night or he'd get Desk Duty. As we parted I asked "So will you serve that No-Contact Order on her?"

"No, but I'll tell her we had this conversation."

Quite cheerful he was in saying that.

I never saw her ever again.

I was soon fresh out of Happy Pills so I turned up at Dr. George Mecouch's office. The entire PACT Team was there, even their manager. I figured my Case Manager had griped about me sending the coppers after her. From Community Services Northwest's page on their Mental Health Services:

Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT)

This is an intensive mental health outreach program serving adults with a severe and persistent mental illness (such as Schizophrenia) that are not well served by traditional mental health services. Using an intensive case management model, PACT utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to promote the individual’s independence, rehabilitation and recovery. PACT aims to help individuals manage their illness by providing housing support, symptom management, maintenance of a substance-free lifestyle, and by minimizing involvement with local law enforcement.

I was at first puzzled as to why I was assigned to the PACT Team; I expect this was due to my first contact with it having been at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington where I met with my Prodigal Case Manager as well as Psychiatric Nurse Michelle Gregory. Many but quite definitely not all of my Western colleagues were a little loopy:

One of my other roommates in my own estimation really did not need to be there. I never once heard a delusional word from him, while he was unable to deliver his rent check himself, he did write those checks which were delivered by a Western State Social Worker. Well before I was discharged myself, he went back to the cold, hard and cruel world.

Then returned but three weeks later. That made me sad, I knew well that he would not have come back so quickly had there not been good reason:

MIKE DO YOU HAVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

Consider that when one of my roommates asked what computer programming was, my answer involved explaining what source code was, then I wrote Hello World for him:

#include <stdio.h>

int main( int argc, char *argv[] );
{
     printf( "Hello, World!\n" );
     
     return 0;
}

No, that's not source code.

This is source code:

"12345678910"

That particular coder was powerfully intelligent, I'll have you know.

Just a little loopy.

However I really was not the typical PACT Team patient. Very first thing upon my discharge I texted my dear old friend Jason Pawloski:

What happened?

I mouthed off to a Judge.

I mean I really did. That Fair And Balanced Legal Professional totally lost it in the direct presence of her Court Reporter's tape recorder! I'll write about my great many hearings presided by this particular Space Cadet Judgee Trainee in a future Wall Of Text.

I some fine day write about what an excellent Psych Nurse Michelle Gregory is, as well as - having worked with the mentally ill for so many years - also a Therapist.

Back to my session with Doctor M. and friends. Remember Dr. M. and friends?

After explaining why I had damn good reason to do so, I said to Doctor M. "I want a written prescription for an entire month's supply of Happy Pills that I can take to the pharmacy of my choice then pay for with my own money."

"Sounds like a plan," Dr. Mecouch agreed then cut me a scrip.

While I didn't mention it, among my reasons for wanting to choose my own pharmacy is my by now former case manager always brought me blister packs. This is commonly done for patients who for Psychiatric, Neurological - which could well become a problem for me and soon - or due to being of advanced age are unable to keep track of themselves.

For her to always bring me blister packs, each being for but one week, I found profoundly offensive.

The entire staff turned up for our next few sessions, eventually it was mostly just Dr. M. and a Psych Nurse or My New, Improved Case Manager.

Recall that I said I'd never seen my old, disrespectful Case Manager ever again. I eventually realized I never would,so after two or three years I asked what had become of her. It would be best were I not to tell you who I asked:

"She resigned."

That was not at all my intention in so-forcefully griping about her. Rather, I quite honestly hoped that she would develop some real insight into human nature as well as the minds of her mentally ill clients, most of whom had Chronic Schizophrenia, Depression, Manic-Depression or my own Bipolar-Type Schizoaffective Disorder

"Those were dark times."

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