Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thank you, Bill Gates

I recently attended the NEA BPD conference in MN. I was excited to meet some of the experts in the field and put a face to names I have read about for so long. A lot of the focus of the conference was on scientific research regarding the ins and out of BPD. How was it caused, what's the best treatment, etc.
What I didn't hear a lot of was separate children of Borderline's stories. It's something I am starting to notice a lot. I don't know-are people afraid of us or something? So much emphasis is put on the family aspect that too many professionals, IMO, arent' able to see the big picture. Children of the mentally ill are treated as if we are software, the Access application just standing by to run a query or form a report about our parent (thanks, Bill Gates). It offends me. We are more than that. We are more than collateral patients or collateral caregivers.
Yes, we are the ones who see what happens when meds aren't taken. We see our parent wishing to die, telling us how they want to die, and then 5 mins later telling us that no, they never said that. I know that my mom can't be trusted to give accurate info. I know that. I also know that in order to help her, the docs have to have the most accurate info they can get.
So here is what I propose-
1.Ask us if we are OK giving info, don't demand it because frankly, we don't owe you a thing.
2. Beyond emergency situations where drug allergies need to be known or something like that, give us the option of letting us either give the info to you then and there or maybe let us bring back a summary the next day because you know what? If we brought them in, chances are we've been dealing with their latest crisis for quite a while and would welcome a break.
3. If we refuse to give info you must respect that. So many of use have been interrogated by doctors and/or other mental health professionals who infer that somehow the latest crisis was our fault. An exmaple is a doc I once dealt with who was livid that I didn't monitor my mothers meds. I couldn't tell him when she had taken her last dose of Seroquel and he just lost it, sneering me and saying "how can I help her if you won't help me?" See what mean? From then on I couldn't do it anymore. I am not going to be put on the hook for my mom's own reckless actions.
4. When you find out mom has 12 different scripts from 7 different docs, plz don't take it out on me. I am as much in the dark as you are about her doctor shopping. I can't control her and if I could don't you think I would have by now?
5. Don't punish us for our parents behaviors. My mom may not always know what she is doing but that doesn't give anyone the right to blame me or my sibs. She may feel suicidal because the 3 of us chose NC, but she can also choose to call a crisis line or any other on call psych service she knows. If she doesn't call or ask for help then that is her choice and responsibility (or lack of it). When so called professionals take the options of getting better out of her hands, which means facing the reality she helped create rather than allowing her to blame others, and put them into mine; it keeps her ill.

What I am asking in a nutshell is this-don't assume I have the answers because if I did I would have fixed my parent a long time ago.

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