As I head into my seventh year of work for HealthCentral:
I will document here my own experiences in the so-called mental health system and offer solutions.
Sadly, the best treatment I received is often atypical. My mother drove me to the ER within 24 hours of my breakdown. A day later I was hospitalized and started taking Stelazine. Three weeks later I was released home and had none of the symptoms I exhibited the night I got sick.
A week after coming out of the hospital, I started to see a private Italian therapist that I continued to see for four years. She focused on my goals and for me to live as normal a life as possible. She vetted my philosophy when I told her " all a person needs in life is two friends, pizza and a really great sound system."
My mother's guilt paid for the sessions.
From the fall of 1987 after I got out of the hospital until June 1988 I attended two day programs. The second day program was a joke. Medicaid paid for these programs.
From the fall of 1988 to January 1991 I lived in a halfway house and then a residence. SSD and SSI paid for this housing.
All during this time in the mental health system (apart from my sessions with the private therapist) I had to fight to be taken seriously. I fought my way out of the second day program and into clerical training by OVR: the state agency that trained people with disabilities so they could get jobs.
From March of 1993 to June 1995, I attended group therapy at a center in Manhattan. My health insurance at work didn't cover the group therapy so I paid $25/per session out of my own pocket.
From the fall of 2005 to June 2006, I saw another talk therapist one-on-one. He wasn't great however he did focus with compassion on my problems. I stopped seeing him because I achieved what I set out to address in therapy at that time. The health insurance co-pay was $15 per visit to see this therapist.
In the fall of 2007, I met for 10 sessions with a therapist who provided cognitive behavior or CBT, also for a specific issue I wanted to resolve. This was the absolute best use of the $100/per session I paid out of my own pocket.
My first doctor who I saw privately was more of a friend than a professional. He instituted a drug holiday in April 1992 that failed three months later.
The second guy was a bozo. He kept asking me at the end of every visit if I was in a relationship. He kept pressing me to switch to an atypical, and I refused every time. I saw him from spring 1998 to 2003.
In July 2003, I started to see Dr. A: a true professional I'll stay with until he retires. I pay him out of my own pocket because he doesn't take insurance. He engineered the cross-titer from the Stelazine to the Geodon in 2007. I continue to see him and I do not currently have a therapist of any kind.