You have heard it here a million and one times, the mental health care system in our country is broken. We often talk about it on the show, but it is great to hear other perspectives and experiences.
Holly bravely shares her story on this episode of ...
You have heard it here a million and one times, the mental health care system in our country is broken. We often talk about it on the show, but it is great to hear other perspectives and experiences.
Holly bravely shares her story on this episode of navigating the mental health care system for 3 years with her mom. Her mom had a late (69 years old) onset of psychosis with depression. Holly takes us through her story as caretaker and the ups and downs of trying to get her mom the help she needed. In the end, it was a treatment called ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy) that saved her moms life. ECT has a stigma surrounding it that needs to be broken because sometimes it is the only answer.
If you have a story that you would like to share, please be sure to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay Wild and Weird!
Amy & Sarah
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*The Unqualified Therapists Podcast is not recommending medical advice as they are not actual doctors (Hence the name: Unqualified 😉). This podcast is for entertainment purposes only and all medical advice should be taken from a Qualified Doctor. UT shares stories and resources, not medical advice.
Sarah Simone (00:31.380)
everyone to another episode of the Unqualified Therapist. Tonight we have a special guest, well I don't know when you're listening but we are recording tonight and we have Holly with us who is a friend of mine and has been for years. We have spent some time talking on messenger and texting about mental health and you know the difficulties and getting the help that you need for loved ones. So Holly is here today to share with us her story
Sarah Simone (01:01.280)
and a little bit about her journey in how she was able to get that help for her loved one and also like kind of the roadblocks in the way. So welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on. Welcome. Thank you for coming on.
Thank you. Thank you. Hi, Amy. Hi, Sarah. Like I said, long time listener, first time caller. So so excited to be here. The reason I wanted to come on was basically to emphasize how terrible the mental health care is in our country. I wanted to tell my mom's story with psychosis and depression. And essentially, if you guys had six hours, that would be ideal.
So let me try to condense this and you guys can interrupt me at any point in time or just be like, please speed this up You know because I tend to ramble so
So let's rewind back to 2020, which was everybody's favorite year.
with the lockdowns and COVID and all of that stuff, I feel like for my mom that isolation and you're combining that with somebody who was already suffering from anxiety, OCD, and she was also a total germaphobe. And now you drop a virus in here that people are convinced we'll just kill you and nobody knows why and nobody knows how to treat it. So I mean, we've all been there, we know what that was like. So as I'm talking to her throughout 2020,
I'm just noticing changes. You know, I can't put my finger on it, but she's just not her. And, you know, she was just acting bizarre at times, but it wasn't out of completely out of control. And then we get into about September 2020. And at this point, her and my dad are arguing a lot and having a lot of trouble because she's trying to tell him something's wrong with him. And as far as I knew, there's nothing wrong with my dad.
We get to the point of October of 2020. And at this point, I mean, she's at the point that she is convinced that my dad wants to murder her. She is convinced that he is laundering money. He has several girlfriends. Just anything outlandish you could think of, she's convinced that he's guilty of it. So this is my first experience with any of this stuff. And I'm thinking like,
Oh my God, what the hell is going on? Because I know that this isn't true. So we take her to, actually, I'm sorry, my dad called one of her, she also has MS, and he called her MS doctors who treated her for 30 some years, so they know her. And they talked to her on the phone, and they told my dad, they said, you've got to get her to a hospital. She is in a severe mental crisis. You know, she needs help, even if you have to trick her, get her to a hospital.
So that's what he did. He took her to St. Clair and I know you guys are fans. I'm not, okay? So...
Sarah Simone (04:42.320)
That's totally fine because we've each had our own experiences different places. And you know, from my story, I'm not a fan of many of the hospitals around here. So yeah. And my experience is just that, just my experience. One experience. One person. So yes, absolutely. There's varying different experiences at all the different places.
Yes. Yes. So.
He took her to St. Clair and he had to basically trick her to get in the ER and it took a security guard to get her in the ER because this is how like it was almost like a manic phase. And you just couldn't calm her and you know they take her to the ER now I have to be there because again now I'm the one she trust she doesn't trust him. So we sit in the ER for hours and finally somebody sees her and essentially they just said, you know, we don't have time for this.
seek out patient psychiatric help. It'll be about like six weeks till you get an appointment. And I'm like, okay, so now what? Because at this point she hadn't been sleeping. You know, she's just, I mean, you know, with like a manic phase, it's like she's roaming around the house and just all the energy. So, of course not, of course not. But I mean, the nurse or the psychiatric person, whoever she was, she was just so rude. She was like, I don't have time for this.
Sarah Simone (05:49.296)
Yeah. I bet they didn't have a bed. That's probably what it was. Yeah, exactly.
It's terrible. Oh, yeah.
So let's fast forward not even 24 hours. She decides she wants to see her doctor who's at McGee. So I take her to McGee's ER. I tell McGee, I said, look, I don't know what's going on here. She's having some type of breakdown that like she needs help. I don't know what else to do. So St. Clair the night before, you know, told her, hey, we've got nothing for you. McGee ends up 302ing her.
24 hours later. So in my experience, McGee has been fantastic with psychiatric care because we'll get to them later in the story too.
Sarah Simone (06:42.775)
Can you just quickly explain what a 302 is for people who might not know?
So it's basically where a psychiatrist, I guess any doctor, I don't know, determines that you are either a danger to yourself or somebody else and they basically admit you against your will. So, you know, they have the power by law to admit you and like I couldn't have gotten her out, my dad couldn't have gotten her out, she's now like their property. I don't know how you explain it.
Sarah Simone (07:13.651)
Yeah, that's exactly what it is. It is like their property for 72 hours. The only people that can do that is a doctor and the spouse or a parent if they're under age.
So then, so then the 302 happens and then they, um, they decide she needs to be in Western psych, which I agree with that. So I mean, shocker. So she ended up staying at McGee for a week, just literally being baby fat because she still was pretty manic, still real, like she wouldn't sleep. It was unbelievable. I've never seen anyone
not sleep. You know, she'd fall asleep for an hour and I'd be like, oh, good, this is good. She'll be asleep for hours. No, up, you know, and then just going and going and going and going. So then she got transferred to Western site and she was on like because at this point she was pretty functional. She was 69 at this point. She could function well. So she was just on a regular floor of Western site. So that was like
Sarah Simone (07:56.020)
And also at this point, since it was still COVID, only I could visit her. So my dad couldn't visit her. And again, she thought my dad was a psycho at this point, so she didn't want to visit her. But anyway, like I could only visit her and she would just roam the hallways. She would call me at all hours of the night. I had to unplug my phone because she wouldn't stop. And she, they started her on medication there. She didn't want to take it. They threatened doing injections.
Sarah Simone (08:26.020)
the injection she took the meds by mouth. So that worked. They saw some improvement. She was there for three weeks and she was able to be discharged home. And so she came home in November, I'm sorry November of 2020. And from there because we're still in 2020 all of her visits with her psychiatrists were virtual. I don't like at all. I mean that and not a fan.
Sarah Simone (08:56.020)
So she would see these psychiatrists probably about every three weeks and You know, they just kept saying well, we need to up the meds. We need to down this med We need to change me. So every single medication change you got to give it a couple weeks to work so it was just a constant battle because Nothing was working. Nothing was working well. Things would take the edge off, but the symptoms would still be there It was just yeah
Sarah Simone (09:46.793)
Can I ask a quick question? Did they give a diagnosis at that point?
with psychosis of unknown origin because this was her first episode of psychosis in 69 years. But it is genetically, it is in the family. So, you know, it's not shocking, but, you know, she was fine. Never anything previous that was serious or anything like that. So she comes home and, you know,
Sarah Simone (10:00.382)
Wow. Okay. Yeah.
she starts getting along better with my dad and saying that she doesn't believe these things anymore. But part of me thinks she was just saying it to get the doctors off her back and stuff like that because she would call me and be like, well, well, your dad did this and your dad did that. I'm like, no, I don't know what you're talking about. So that was obviously frustrating and it was frustrating for my dad, obviously. So, you know, we're just going through months and
This is the other thing, and just medication was not helping. I mean, no matter what you did, up the dose of high as you can go, down the dose, change everything. They had her on out of van three times a day in the end, but all that did was make her a zombie. So, at this point, depression is worsening. She hits this point in, let's see, I think it was September of, yeah, it was like summer-ish of
Sarah Simone (11:09.805)
21 she starts to develop more depression type symptoms. So it's not so much psychosis. It's more depression and She doesn't want to leave the house. She doesn't want to do Right just no enjoyment So this continues until my dad decides that he has to she's also having more trouble and everything like that and He decides he has to get his bathroom redone upstairs so that it would be handicapped accessible So she could use it
Sarah Simone (11:29.720)
but she could never tolerate people working in her house because that obviously was something that would trigger her and set her off. So he decides that she needs like a nursing home assisted living while he gets the bathroom done to also give him a break because I mean, I don't know how he did it honestly. There was so much, you know, it was so much to deal with. So he puts her in an assisted living that also guaranteed they had nursing care.
Sarah Simone (11:59.720)
But as with everywhere, understaffed. So she was in there and she was still experiencing like psychotic type symptoms. I don't know if the change in scenery wasn't good either. But she ended up getting up in the middle of the night to get the bathroom and she was scared to push her help button because she thinks that they, because again, I don't know who they are, but they're doing something. She thinks that they,
Sarah Simone (12:33.720)
monitor that and they get mad at her if she hits her buttons so she doesn't hit her button for help she falls going to the bathroom and breaks her wrist so it took her to Presby and her wrist is broken and she's also got like a slight break in a bone in her neck nothing bad but it's a break it's a break so she leaves Presby with her wrist in a cast one of those stupid freaking neck things so now you've got like a psychotic patient who's like super weak just
super depressed. She's got a broken wrist and that collar that she can't take off for six months or six weeks. I'm sorry and has to sleep like this, you know? So they tell my dad, okay, we can handle this. We'll keep a good eye on her. We'll check her every 30 minutes. Well, sure as shit. She's back there for 10 days and she's watching a movie with the nurse and the nurse had to leave to take care of another patient, which is understandable. She gets up to get something
Sarah Simone (13:29.977)
Oh my gosh.
and breaks her hip.
Sarah Simone (13:54.557)
Oh my gosh.
So, she broke like three bones.
So they take her to McGee for the broken hip. And surprisingly, McGee has a nice orthopedic department. I wouldn't ever thought. But they did a minor surgery on the hip and then the goal was to get her rehabbed. I think at this point, no, it was just this hip surgery at this point. So she gets that done and all of a sudden she's having a lot of,
Sarah Simone (14:05.020)
product type symptoms. And she's saying she can't eat. She's saying every time she eats, she chokes. Every time she eats, she's going to throw up. So we're at the point that we're cutting up her food, like smaller than you would for a kid when they're like, like finger foods. So I mean, it was, it would take me an hour to feed her like a tablespoon of food. So, you know, we're, we're saying like, okay, what do we do now? And they're like, well, you know, they didn't really see concern that she wasn't eating, which was kind of a
Sarah Simone (14:35.020)
to bother some, but she was just like continually losing weight. And then she just became one day my dad texted me in the morning, he said she's unresponsive like she will not speak, she will not like open her eyes, you know, nothing. So basically at this point, she had shut down and she became catatonic. So if you've never seen anybody in a catatonic state,
Sarah Simone (15:14.846)
It's the creepiest thing, you know, because they're looking at you, but they're looking through you. Like, and, you know, every now and then they might mumble something, but they're not really there. So, you know, the psychiatrist that McGee were like, okay, she's catatonic. And she, at this point, she was so rigid because they get real rigid when they're catatonic. She was so rigid. And there was obviously no hope for,
getting her to do any physical therapy for her hip or rehab or anything. So, let's see what happened next. Then I think, I think she, no, maybe that wasn't there. Okay, so then she got a bed sore in the midst of all this because she wasn't moving and she was catatonic sitting in a bed and the psychiatrist of Maggie said we've got to get her back to Western Psych and we want her to go there for ECT.
Sarah Simone (16:05.020)
know about this because um well let me just so ECT for people that don't know is electroconvulsive therapy so it is not what we all think like I thought as soon as somebody says it I think of like one flew over the cuckoo's nest and I think you're laying on a table with like a colander on your head and like your shake you know that's what you think it's not what it is so you know my dad was about it because again that's what you're thinking in your
Sarah Simone (16:51.090)
head and you're thinking, God, this is violent. This is horrible. How could you do this to somebody? But then we talked it over and I said, look, he said, what could be worse than what we're looking at right now? Because you've got somebody that won't eat, won't speak, won't, you know, nothing, there's nothing. So we agreed to the ECT. We said, you know, get her over there. And of course, now it's the bed waiting game. So he got a bed over
Of course, even though you're an ECT patient and they know that you need ECT based on another psychiatrist recommendations, their team obviously has to evaluate you. You get a new team over there. They evaluate you. They have to put you through physical testing to make sure you can handle the procedure, which all makes sense. So by the time all that gets done, she gets one treatment. And after that one treatment, she developed pneumonia, got sent back to...
Resby, Presby's ICU. So she gets sent back to Presby's ICU basically under the assumption of, okay, you better know what she wants, like, you know, for last wishes and whatnot. She was really sick. I mean, she's got no nutrition in her for weeks. She has a bed sore. She's got pneumonia. She has no will to fight. You know what I mean? So that was that. And she came out of the ICU very quickly.
Sarah Simone (18:05.593)
Oh my gosh.
worked very well for her. She came out of the ICU quickly. And then she had to be in monofur for like three more weeks because now she's not strong enough to have ACT.
That all went fine because at that point she was on a feeding tube. I want to say she got the feeding tube somewhere in there. I thought she did. Actually it's such a blur because all in all it was like 160 days in the hospital system with everything. So again like between all these hospitals things are blurred. But so she ended up going back to western society. And now she could find a way.
Sarah Simone (19:02.351)
Finally, she was strong enough to tolerate the treatments. They had a feeding tube put in her. And she was getting treatments three times a week, which is how they start them. And then they decrease it to two and then one, and then they see how you do. So the first three treatments, we saw a slight difference, more responsiveness, opening your eyes, speaking, things like that. And then by the time she got about, I don't know, I wanna say maybe,
to seven treatments in, things really started to look better. I mean, she was coming out of it. And it was just the craziest thing I've ever witnessed. I mean, the fact that this works is just believable and how quickly it worked, I think is the other thing that really surprised me. So she had all in all, and she got COVID in the midst of all this too. So that,
Sarah Simone (20:13.747)
Oh my gosh. Wow. No.
I know, like you can't make this shit up, like seriously. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried. So she's like halfway through the treatments cause at this point all we want is her out of there. Because it's so like, I mean, you guys know, Western is not like a warm and fuzzy place to visit. You know, like your freaking strip searched, you know, like you have to, you can't bring your phone and like so I couldn't even share pictures of the kids, like nothing, you know? So we just wanted her out of there and then she gets COVID.
Sarah Simone (20:33.060)
Not at all. Mm-hmm. Yep.
So now she has to be on the special COVID or isolated for like, I think that was a 10 day isolation. I, yeah, something of the sort. So no treatments because she's isolated. So then finally she was able to finish up her treatments. Um, and then she was discharged to a rehab facility for about three weeks, two or three weeks, and she's finally been discharged home. But I mean, this was.
Sarah Simone (21:03.020)
I mean, obviously it was quite a ride. And, you know, the other thing that I have to say that I noticed, because at Western Psych, you get roommates. You don't get a room to yourself. So, you know, she obviously, because she had the longest day ever in Western Psych, she had a decent amount of roommates. First roommate I met, you know, again, just the woman unresponsive, doesn't just sits there. She was having ACT. Don't you know it? Two weeks later,
Sarah Simone (21:33.020)
away. She's so happy. She's, you know, we talked about all kinds of Christmas stuff together, like totally cool. And then another woman, my mom had as a roommate, same thing. She came in completely unresponsive, completely rigid in her bed, feeding tube in, and she also was having ECT. But the, I mean, I think what makes me so frustrated is that why do you have to hit such a
Sarah Simone (22:03.020)
in order to get
I mean, I get that it's not like an easy like, oh, well, sure, have some ACT, but like she hits such a low, low. And we begged her psychiatrist. We begged them. We said, is there anything we can do inpatient, anything? Basically, you could go to an ER and you'll sit there for 72 hours at least, but there's nothing you can do. So she had to get that sick to finally get the treatment she needed almost three years late.
story but you know I can go more into what ECT actually is and explain the process if you want.
Sarah Simone (22:58.917)
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. For sure.
Okay, so this is all from the National Institute of Mental Health's website. I just, I didn't just make it up and pull it out of my ass. Just so everybody knows. So, ECT is usually considered only if a person's illness has not improved after trying other treatments like medication or psychotherapy. To be eligible for ECT, a person must have severe treatment-resistant depression or require a rapid response
circumstances such as being unable to move or respond to the outside world, AKA catatonic, being suicidal or being malnourished. So when they actually do the procedure, the patient is under general anesthetic. The procedure itself is very quick. It's a short acting general anesthetic and it's also given with a muscle relax. And so the person is not seizing all over the table, like what you're, you know,
Sarah Simone (25:13.320)
people think. So basically what they do is they go in just like any type of procedural room and they put them under the anesthetic and then they put electrodes at certain places on their head. Then they send an electric current through the brain which causes seizure activity and the seizure activity lasts under a minute. So the anesthesia actually ensures that the patient does not experience pain
Sarah Simone (25:43.320)
pulses. They're also their blood pressures being monitored during this. They probably have the pulse ox thing on too and they also have, let's see,
Oh, they also do, I think, help them up to an EEG to make sure that they do have the correct seizure activity. They need to make, confirm that an actual seizure has been achieved. And the weird thing about ECT, and every doctor we've spoken to, every article I've read, nobody can quite pinpoint how or why it works. Just the electrical impulses that cause that seizure somehow reset,
Sarah Simone (26:13.320)
What is causing the depression? You know the severe symptoms and the other half of the CT is that nobody knows How long it lasts and we were told that from the beginning, you know so People only need a couple treatments. Some people need to keep coming back and coming back and coming back but so far I want to say my mom's about six weeks out from her last ECT and So far so good, you know
Sarah Simone (26:43.320)
So that's definitely good. As far as side effects with ECT, the most common ones are headache, upset stomach, memory loss, muscle aches, and like disorientation or confusion, which I think is kind of, I think the disorientation or confusion, I think is just kind of a given because you were given anesthetic. So of course you're going to be disoriented and confused. But the memory loss.
Sarah Simone (27:13.320)
I always told everybody when they were asking about how my mom was doing at that point, I said, it's like 50 1st dates, that movie. So every time she would have a treatment, she'd come back from the treatment and she'd ask my dad, well, why am I here? Remember, you foul, you broke this, you're in Western's like, every time. And it took a couple weeks before that stopped. But it was just, then the next day, the memory would come back and she'd be okay.
Sarah Simone (27:43.320)
There's still some memory loss we noticed, but again, it's better than the alternative. I mean, that's all I have to say.
Sarah Simone (28:18.003)
Yeah, definitely. I think there is such a stigma behind it, even I experienced my own feelings of stigma around it because before I had my, was it before that? I'm trying to remember when it was. At one point when I was in, because I also had treatment-resistant major depressive disorder,
Sarah Simone (28:44.040)
and my therapist said to me, I think you need to try something like ECT or ketamine therapy. And I was like, I'm not doing that. Because I had those same visions in my head of being shocked and it being this barbaric procedure and losing my memory and it making me catatonic, doing the opposite of what it's intended to do. But I think, you know, hearing this story and...
Sarah Simone (29:13.440)
knowing the side effects and things now and the way that it's supposed to work, it sounds like it works just the same as the ketamine therapy, the psilocybin therapy, ECT, they're all doing the same thing, they're resetting, they're reigniting those nerve endings, those firing processes of the parts of your brain that produce happiness that have died off and are just existing there, not working. And so they're just making them work again. And so
Sarah Simone (29:43.500)
there shouldn't be the stigma behind it. And I agree with you. I think it is the anesthesia for the confusion because I, as everybody knows, I went through eight million surgeries and for two years, I didn't know what day it was, where I was, what was happening because I had surgery every like four months. I could my brain fog was so bad. It was because I was going under general anesthesia for hours at a time over and over and over again. And so I think that that has that wreaked havoc
Ha ha ha!
Sarah Simone (30:13.480)
year after. I mean, it took like two years actually for it to totally leave my system. I'd be interested though, to know we're not going back, but I'm saying I would be interested to know if you would have been actually been able to have it because we tried for so long with Scott. I really think it's that catatonic state is really what they're looking for after you even said about her roommates. That was the thing that they all had in common and that's the bullshit that you have to get to that point
Sarah Simone (30:43.440)
or you can get the treatment. And I don't know what it is about that, that they don't wanna prescribe it or they don't wanna like advocate for it. I think therapists do, but psychiatrists might not and the hospitals might not. It's like this last resort. Well, last resort is like they're dead. So let's try this first. But Holly, I didn't realize it was three full, she just got done. That's three full years of this.
Sarah Simone (31:15.801)
So my question, I have so many questions, but one of them is now that she's back home, does she have any recollection of everything that went on and does she feel like, does she understand it? Does she remember it? Does she, you know, I don't know, what is, what is her frame of mind now and how is her relationship with your father?
sure you do.
Okay, so she really doesn't remember much, which is kind of bizarre. She doesn't remember thinking the things she thought about my dad when she was originally hospitalized in 2020. She kind of remembers bits and pieces. She does not remember any of the injuries. She doesn't remember breaking her wrist. She doesn't remember the fall that broke her hip. She knows these things happened. She does not remember it.
Sarah Simone (31:43.320)
I don't know, you know, the psychiatrist's assumption was she's blocking it out, you know, like it was so traumatic that her brain blocked it out. So I don't know. But her frame of mind at this point is amazing because when all of this happened in 2020 and even into 2021, you know, I realized at that point.
Like, you know, your mom is your best friend.
her because the person that was standing in front of me was not my mother. Like, you know, she, the mental illness had done so much to her that she just wasn't the same. So I had to mourn the loss of that person before I could even begin to process anything, I guess. I don't know. I mean, there was an absolute nightmare. I mean, there's no sugarcoating it. It was just fucking ridiculous.
And he was so depressed and so uninterested in everything for years. And after the ECT, she smiled. And you have no idea what a big deal that was. For me and my dad, we were like, she smiled. Like it wasn't like you had to like force it out of her. She just smiled and she can engage now and she's interested.
TV again and she wants to see pictures and she calls me now and before you know she wouldn't pick up a phone to call anybody because she was just miserable she was just completely so her frame of mind is really good right now and she's totally fine with my dad she can't believe she thought the things he's telling her that you know so she's totally fine with my dad I mean he's taking care of her day and night you know
Sarah Simone (34:15.890)
So she's not back to who she was is what you're saying. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
No, no, but she's definitely, I don't think she ever will be, but she's definitely way better than any personality, you know, any shred of personality that she's been in these last couple of years. This is the best I've seen her, it's the happiest I've seen her in, I don't even know how long, at least 20 years.
Sarah Simone (34:29.420)
you know, this was before all the diagnoses and hospitalizations and everything, but yeah.
Sarah Simone (34:54.404)
Have the doctors, has the psychiatrist or anyone made mention, if it's a rare occasion that a diagnosis like this would happen at 69 years old? That's just mind blowing to me. So this is clearly then it's not a...
Agreed. Agreed. It was mind blowing to every doctor. Every one of us. All right. Let's go.
Sarah Simone (35:16.879)
a normal thing or not normal. It's not a regular occurrence.
No, because typically, you know, when you have somebody that struggles with any type of psychiatric illness, mental illness, you see it in younger age, 20-ish, you know, oh, they've been in the hospital every couple of years, nothing. And again, like I said, she had her quirks in hindsight. A lot of things make more sense now. No. I mean, the full-blown psychosis did not hit until age 69.
Sarah Simone (35:51.842)
So do you feel like, because you said it's the happiest she's been in 20 years, do you feel like there was depression that maybe was undiagnosed all those years? Okay. Depression can mask a lot of other things too, I feel like, because it takes you down to such a low level that other things aren't able to present themselves. So if she was depressed for 20 years, there could have been some other things.
Yep. Absolutely. Yes.
Thank you. Thank you.
Sarah Simone (36:16.779)
things happening there that she just wasn't expressing, saying out loud to anybody, and put to write like that would, it's a full blown psychosis where there could have been like some smaller psychotic episodes that weren't presenting themselves out loud. And it sounds like COVID was the trigger, because it's, it was the weirdest is the weirdest thing that I think we've, anybody's lived through. I often said like, I'm, I say this, you know, like not that I
Sarah Simone (36:46.719)
really mean like that I'm glad he wasn't here, but I said it a lot like I'm glad that Scott wasn't here for that because the psychosis and what he would have done and the things he would have said and where he would have gone and I just can't even imagine because there's such a weird fucked up thing that happened to hold the whole world and there's just so many ways for you to get paranoid and so many ways for you to go down rabbit holes and so many ways for you to believe
Sarah Simone (37:16.619)
everybody's out to get you. And so I think that that is super triggering for psychosis. Yes.
Yes. And that's what I think too. You know, I mean, my dad doesn't 100% agree that COVID did it, but I just feel like it was the straw that broke the camel's back, you know, because that was a lot. I mean, and she was, you know, because I think when the lockdown happened, we were all freaked out. I mean, I think everybody across the board was freaked out. But then we all started to be like, Fucking Christ, like, you know, she would
by my house, no lie, she would drive by my house with the car windows up and a mask on to see my kids. Because that's how scared she was. You know, so I feel like, and like you said, there's so many things to make you paranoid. That's all that was on TV constantly, all day and all night. You know, this person died, that person died, you're going to die from this, you're going to get it from here. And that's all she...
You know, so you think about that, and I think that's what really, really just was too much.
Sarah Simone (38:32.029)
Is she on any medication now?
She is. She is on, she's on a Fexer and Xyprexa. And that's been probably I'd say the best combo she's been on this whole time.
Sarah Simone (38:51.341)
What it's making me think about a lot is that in hindsight, hearing this story and thinking about COVID and thinking about all of the people who were experiencing things like this, it absolutely breaks my heart. I was thinking more during that time about people who were
Sarah Simone (39:19.500)
in domestic violence situations, you know, whether it was children or partners, and I was really hurting and aching for them, but I didn't think at the time about people who were experiencing mental breaks and how impossible it would be to get treatment when hospitals are being overrun by this unprecedented, unexplainable illness. And they're just like, I mean, I mean, I'm not sure.
Sarah Simone (39:49.580)
And there's no excuse for that nurse's response to you. But I also can see how a nurse would get to a breaking point to be like, I don't have time for this because in my eyes, in this point of view right now as this nurse, this is not the pressing issue, it's the filled floors. So having to try to find mental health care for someone during that time, having to find mental health care
Sarah Simone (40:19.380)
not during COVID is fucking impossible. Add COVID on top of that. So imagine finding a bed then. No, like it's just, and so when you were saying, I don't wanna say that I'm glad he wasn't here, but I knew what you were gonna say because I was thinking the same thing. Like it's better that he didn't have to live through that experience because he wouldn't have made it. He wouldn't have made it, no. It would have been something awful. And the psychotic breaks are so hard, Holly, to watch.
Sarah Simone (40:49.220)
like you look at the person and they're looking, they look the same, but they're like not that person at all. And there's no talking. There's, you cannot say anything that's going to convince them otherwise. And that's just so hard. That's so, so hard. And I can't even imagine three years to figure it out. That's a long journey. And I mean, it's amazing what you and your dad did for her. And,
Sarah Simone (41:19.680)
I just, I'm so grateful that, you know, she's come back around and that she's happy. I love, I don't love it, but because I don't like that she was sad for 20 years, but I love at the end, she's the happiest she's been. Does she still like a germaphobe or will she visit with your kids? That's good, that's good.
Yes. Yeah, it's just happy. You know, I mean, it's great.
She'll visit with my kids. She's still a little bit of a germaphobe, but it's a lot better.
Sarah Simone (41:49.800)
So does she see a therapist or is it just the medicine and then just kind of like going back to her routine? So is it still a diagnosis of psychosis with unknown origin or have they landed on something a little more explanatory?
No, she sees a psychiatrist, I think it's every three weeks. But again, it's virtually. So I don't know, I just, I really hate that, but I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me. I don't know, maybe that's just me.
I swear they landed on something else. It was still psychosis, but I forget what the other word was in there. But it was some type of psychosis. I mean, you know.
Sarah Simone (42:35.791)
That's just my human need to know to have an explanation. Yeah. There doesn't need to be one. You don't need to give me one. You know, we just want to always have an explanation for something and like why something happens.
get it. I was the same way. I mean, again, like you said, 69 years, and then all of a sudden you get severe psychosis, like what the hell? And you know, nobody had any explanation. They're like, yeah, this is very weird. Oh, thanks.
Sarah Simone (42:49.440)
just happen. Yeah. Thank you very much. Very helpful. So there's a lot of things that you told us that I think I learned and I'm sure our listeners learned and Sarah as well. What is like
Sarah Simone (43:19.240)
to know from your story. It can be more than one thing. I never wanna put those constraints on someone. Just one. Ha ha ha.
Oh my god, that's a hard question. Okay, good, good.
Yeah, because I have a really hard time. If you ask me to name one thing, I'm like, but I like that too. No, I'm kidding. So I think the reason I wanted to talk to you guys was my biggest thing is that mental health care is not being trained in this country. And you guys said enough on here. I know your listeners know. I know you guys know. It's terrible. And I just feel like my story illustrates that you have to get to such a low, low
Sarah Simone (43:39.520)
Or you can actually even be hospitalized. You know, and it's just crazy to me because, you know, you come to the hospital having a heart attack and nobody's going to tell you, well, sorry, we don't have any beds, but good luck with that. I hope you make it through. So it's not viewed in the same way, which again, you guys know that. It can be so detrimental to your physical health, but it's not treated in the same way that other physical ailments are.
So that's one of my big takeaways, I guess.
Sarah Simone (44:34.179)
Well, we are so appreciative.
of you sharing this because, yeah, we say it all the time on here, but that's just our two voices. Exactly. We need to hear all of the voices speaking up to say, this is fucked up and somebody needs to do something about it. And so we're very thankful for you doing that on here for us today. I also want to say thank you for helping to remove stigma around ECT therapy. So that's a huge block for some people. It was one for me.
Sarah Simone (45:05.860)
We shouldn't have to we shouldn't have society helping us to shun something that could be a lifesaving measure for them
Sarah Simone (45:19.760)
Yeah. No, I was going to say a similar thing. I appreciate your voice because, you know, again, like Sarah said, we're just saying the same thing over and over, the two of us back and forth to each other out into the void here. So it is so good to have new voices on here with new experiences, you know, because people could say to me, well, that was your experience with the hospital or that was only your experience or like your husband was untreatable or whatever.
Sarah Simone (45:48.360)
people experience that, then it gives like it validity to it, you know, that, yeah, it's a fucking mess. And, you know, we need to do something about it and still have no idea what that is, but talking about it and bringing it to light, I think is the first step. So I just am really appreciative of you for your vulnerability and sharing your story with us. Thank you again so very much Holly for joining us today. I want to say something about I want to make sure people if you find yourself or a family member loved one in a crisis please reach out to 988 it is a newer number here in the United States so I just want to make sure we remind people that that does exist. I have seen actually
Sarah Simone (46:48.380)
around Pittsburgh with the 988 number listed on it. So they are trying to spread the word, and I believe that it is a more readily usable service now that it's up and running. And I just wanna say to all of you out there, Holly included, that are caring for loved ones with their illness, thank you. It is a heavy lift and it is a hard thing to do and it is appreciated by your loved one
They can't say it and it's appreciated by the whole family and all their friends. And it's just an amazing thing for all of you out there caring for someone with a mental illness. That is a hard fucking job. So, yeah. So thank you, Holly and warriors. We hope that you are having a great week and that you learned something new today and that you were able to hear another person's story of the mental health world.
Sarah Simone (47:48.600)
to kind of just get some new information. We hope that you stay wild and weird warriors. We love you.