My wife is about to come out of hospital, after her first hospitalization for a combination of manic and psychotic symptoms. Those of you that have seen my previous posts will have seen that we have two young children in the house and it was horrible before we got her out and very negative on the children.
I feel like she has had a team of a mental health advocate and social worker fighting her corner on everything and pushing her rights, whilst I am left fighting to work full time, look after the children etc with no time for pushing for my rights or the children’s.
I had made it clear that if they wanted to discharge her to me and the family home then I had to be part of the discharge plan, see the medical information and agree to the plan. I was meant to dial in to her tribunal for this reason. However, they just went ahead and did the tribunal without even dialing me in. I strongly suspect that this is because I will have to have seen all the medical information, and that there will be things in there that my wife doesn’t want me to see, hence her advocate has petitioned for me not to be involved. I’m told it was highly unusual that I wasn’t involved.
I feel like this leaves me in a situation where I am about to become the protector of two young children again, the carer to my wife again, yet I have been given almost no information etc to enable me in this role.
It also makes me question mental health advocacy. Reading posts here there are two quite clear perspectives I see, both driven by love and fear in equal measure:
The parents of children with psychotic illness - love their kids, scared they won’t have a normal life, wont them to have as much rights as possible and ‘many, many opportunities to get it right’.
The spouses / siblings of someone with psychotic illness - love our spouses but love our kids too, driven by love for the children and fear of what the psychotic person will do with the children next time. Scared of the emotional abuse etc. Scared that they too will be mad by the end of all of this, leaving the children without a sane and emotionally available parents.
Neither perspective is right or wrong, I can emphasize with the first group and I hope they can empathize with me. However, my thinking arrives at two points:
The rights of young children and minors should be paramount and supersede those of a mentally ill person. Children are not healing aids. Furthermore, someone just said to me ‘she may need many, many chances to be a good mother’. You can change this statement to ‘she will need to be allowed to fail with the children multiple times in the hope that she gets it right one day’. There is a lot of research on the effect of psychotic parents on the long term output of children, and we can remove genetics because the adopted children suffer too, what happens to the children in these multiple failures, why should they suffer at all?
Aristotle ‘We are what we repeatedly do’. Does it matter why someone does something? The output is often the same, the effect on other people is the same.
From my limited experience I think mental health advocacy has shifted too much in the favor of supporting the rights of the ill person, and not enough to the rights of those around them. I also feel that this has become one of these topics where the left wing politically correct lobby can just brutalize those that disagree with them and label us philistines, a little like the recent gay marriage lobby. Personally, I supported gay marriage, however at the time I was disgusted by how those that didn’t support it were treated. It’s like I’m being made to feel like some kind of controlling, uncaring hard liner for wanting to know the medical situation and care plan of a person about to move back into my house and that has the right (unfortunately) to be alone with my children.