Mental Health in Carson City: One man’s struggle with mental illness: ‘I needed to get better’
Mental health in carson City
Continuing through the month of June, the Nevada Appeal will explore mental health in Carson City.
This week: One man’s struggle with mental illness
For a full list of Carson City Resources and more information on each go here.
Carson City Resources
Carson City offers a number of resources to assist with individuals with mental health. Below is a brief description of some of the resources. For a full list and more information on each go here.
Crisis Intervention Training is a program offered with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office for deputies to learn skills and techniques to better assist individuals with mental health issues. This is meant to help reduce the number of individuals ending up in the jail and provide additional resources.
The Mobile Outreach Safety Team is also a program through the Sheriff’s Office that pairs a licensed clinical social worker to address responses to psychiatric emergencies with law enforcement. Call 775-291-7715.
The Forensic Assessment Services Triage Team is run through the jail to help individuals already in the criminal justice system receive a treatment plan inside and outside the jail.
Mental Health Court
This program is developed through the court system as a diversion program to provide a supervised, comprehensive diagnostic and treatment program for mental illness to address the problem of minor criminal behavior associated with mental health issues.
The Juvenile Justice Assessment Triage Team was created for the juvenile justice system as a diversionary tactic to provide treatment for children who have mental health issues. This program is a six-month treatment plan, meant to steer them from probation when it isn’t as necessary.
Mallory Crisis Center
Carson City’s newest resource acts as a psychiatric facility for patients in crisis to help get them immediate treatment. The facility is meant to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness that end up in the jail and Carson Tahoe Hospital emergency room. Call 775-445-8889.
The National Alliance for Mental Illness is a volunteer-based organization that provides classes, tools and resources for individuals and their families to help deal with mental health issues. Call 775-440-1626 or visit www.namiwesternnevada.org.
A year ago, Bill, who agreed to an interview with the Nevada Appeal as long as his name wasn’t used, would walk into the Carson City Sheriff’s Office up to three times a week talking about the FBI being inside his head.
He would ask sheriff’s office employees why America wasn’t like Germany and questions about God and Jesus. He would be walking down the street mumbling to himself and yelling at people. Now, after more than eight months of treatment, he is able to control the thoughts in his head.
Bill suffers from mild autism and schizophrenia and has difficulty controlling his actions and emotions.
“In your mind, you think you have control of it, but you don’t — it’s out of control,” Bill said. “It gets to the point where it’s like there is another person inside of you and you are trying to deal with that person and your own personality and your own personality is drifting away because the other one is trying to take over.
“I would have a lot of emotions because you would have your brain working so fast to comprehend all of that and its like another person is there with you. It makes everyday things harder. You don’t, your mind can’t really make choices, I mean you can make choices but it’s a lot harder because it’s that second personality where it just seems like everything is coming at you and it’s just hard to decipher all of that.”
Bill was diagnosed in 2002 and since then, his illness has created numerous difficulties; drug use, law enforcement contact, and a disconnect from his family when he was not taking his medication.
“I would get mad at (police) and wonder why was I going through this,” Bill said. “Loitering, trespassing, damage to my apartment and just it was causing more damage than good. Then it’s like you get super human strength and it sucks. I got so used to it that I thought I could deal with it.”
“(My brothers and sisters) wouldn’t talk to me when I was off my medication. My one brother would talk to me but we would fight with each other. I would raise my voice and get angry and it was the slightest little thing and I would get upset to now where it seems like I can control my emotions better where before they would fly everywhere and I couldn’t control that.”
Over the last 15 years, Bill has tried several times to get treatment, but every time he stopped using his medication because of the side effects and his religious beliefs.
“I have gotten it before, but I have been off and on and sometimes I think that it’s going to heal itself but it never works. I believe in God and I thought he would heal it over time but it seemed like it kept getting worse and worse,” Bill said. “I would ask the doctor (if I could stop one medication) and he said I could and then I would just never get back on another one because sometimes there were side effects with it and I hated the side effects. It made it harder to where I couldn’t speak and it’s like things in my body would tighten up a lot.”
But after another encounter with law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office Mobile Outreach Safety Team, Bill decided to listen and get treatment again.
“A lot of it was Bekah (Bock, the MOST counselor), she wanted to see me do good,” Bill said. “She came because I had been getting in and out of trouble and she just said it was finally time for me to seek help. So she came with another officer and they were watching out for me and she basically said we have got to do this and go to the hospital.
“I was fighting them because I thought different, I didn’t think I was sick. But if you look back I was getting more anger, more angry faster and just my emotions were at full force where just anything would set me off.”
It wasn’t easy for Bill to go back on his medication, because of his severity of mental illness, doctors recommended an injection form of medication that he didn’t like.
“They took it into their own hands because I didn’t want treatment so they can force you if it comes to that and I just said OK, well, just do it,” Bill said. “I didn’t want to but I am happy they did.”
For Bill, starting the treatment was difficult, not just because of the physical side effects, but the mental ones as well.
“When they put you back on the medicine it takes away all that stuff that is around you and gets you back in normal reality,” Bill said. “It hurts to be in normal reality because your mind lost reality itself so it lost how to do stuff, like you have mistakes and just trying to readjust my body to where it works right.
“It just shows me that there is a bigger world and there is a lot more than I thought there was because I wasn’t paying attention to the stuff around me and finally it brings it all into focus and when you have it into focus you realize its not a small world it’s a big world and I was causing a lot of destruction so I needed to get better.”
Bill said that treatment was the best option for him.
“I feel terrific, I (feel like I can) focus to make decisions again,” Bill said.
With the medication, Bill is able to hold a job and go back to school to get his degree.
“I am with Job Connect and they are helping me get rehabilitated to get back into the job program,” Bill said. “Before I wasn’t (able to have a job) before it was too hard just, it’s like an overdose of energy. My mind was thinking so fast that I couldn’t make decisions (easily).
“I would like to get into a field where I can help people like where people fall into my position I have a way to be there to help them so they have someone to lean on. Right now I just have a general studies… Now I can get everything in my life that is upside down back in order again.”