Mechelle Hoselton (Stone) passed away as a direct result of bi-polar disorder this year in 2018. Despite struggling every moment since she was diagnosed in 2005, Mechelle devoted all her efforts to loving and helping everyone around her. Mechelle wanted nothing more than to educate others and to support them, and would help anyone regardless of their circumstances.
“George W. Bush is the second anti-Christ,” I thought to myself as I entered the Oakway Spa, where only men were allowed on this hot sunny day in 2005.
I had just gone shopping and had bought a new outfit. They let me use the women’s facility to get dressed. I put on a rainbow-colored bathing suit under my new skintight flagger-girl Capri pants and white tank top.
As I was about to leave the spa, I spotted the cards lined up belonging to all the men who were there to work out. I thought it was a secret society. I lunged toward the undercover cop dressed in the neatly pressed suit. I shoved him and said angrily, “I know what you’re up to and you’re not going to get away with this!”
I stripped down to my bikini. I was barefoot, running around the parking lot and threatening to douse myself with gasoline and burn myself to death if anyone touched me.
I now thought I was in a video game. I ran across the street and jumped into a koi pond. The cops were called, and they made their arrest. In the back of the patrol car I was sticking out my tongue and saying “neener, neener, neener,” as if I were 6 years old.
Bipolar disorder was revealing its nasty self once again.
It would be the second of eight hospitalizations in a year and a half. By the end, tranquilizers and restraints often were too well-known. They just reinforced my delusion that George W. Bush was the new Adolf Hitler, and that I was one of his experiments.
Delusions and paranoia controlled my very existence. I had stopped taking my medication because I became suicidal and I was gaining weight.
What a big mistake on my part: I should have worked with my psychiatrist to make adjustments. Instead, I was led to homelessness, unprotected sex and a new love for crack cocaine.
I was hospitalized three times in Eugene. Unfortunately they turned me away the fourth time, which was the night I became homeless. I went missing for two months, hitchhiking to Utah and Colorado. That was right after I told one of my best friends that she was the devil, and that I needed to kill the devil. To this very day, I’ll never know why they didn’t commit me.
During most of my hospitalizations, I would have benefited from a lengthier stay. Instead of a day to a week-and-a-half of treatment, a monthlong stay, minimum, would have been sufficient.
That would have allowed me to get adjusted to my medication and stabilized. Instead, it was as if they bandaged a compound fracture and sent me home as soon as possible.
I believe that I had too many rights as a mentally ill person. In most cases, I threatened to sue the hospital if they didn’t release me. Even though I was out of my mind, legally they couldn’t contain me because I was not “a danger to myself or others.” I actually was quite a danger to myself.
I believe doctors need more power to place individuals on holds, especially if there is a psychologist involved. Due to the system, my therapist did not have the “right” to be part of my treatment. This is someone who had known me for 13 years. She of all people would have been the mastermind of my wellness. Instead, in most cases I was released within a week or so and sent back to society to cope on my own.
I now know that one can appoint a medical power of attorney to overcome the obstacles with one’s medical treatment. The advanced directive form can be found at http://www.nrc-pad.org/content/view/349/5/, or ask your psychiatrist. It will allow people who are incapable of making decisions to have a representative make medical decisions on their behalf.
Although a medical power of attorney is a great measure to have, during the peak of my illness I was in deep denial that anything was wrong. The last thing I would have done was sign an advanced directive form. I believed I had control of the entire universe. The worse my symptoms became, the more in control I thought I was.
Mental illness is a serious biological disease. Funding is low for programs, and they are cutting 30 percent of mental health care services in Oregon. It will take all of us as a community to come together and fight for what’s right, bringing relief to these vulnerable people.
There are many ways one can get involved. Donate clothing, blankets, backpacks and toiletries, and fund the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill/Lane County.
NAMI offers support groups, information and an abundance of resources. Its offices are located at Lane County Mental Health, on the second floor.
Get involved in legislation that supports mental health programs. Also, St. Vincent de Paul has a program called “Lift” and “Vet Lift” that assists people with dual diagnosis. They offer permanent housing for these individuals. You may provide supplies directly to them.
Mechelle Stone of Eugene (www.mechellestone.com) is a student who is writing a book about her experiences with bipolar disorder.
EXTRA – Possible changes in Oregon’s Psychiatric Advance Directive Laws, Mental Health Association of Oregon, May 19 2009
EXTRA – Declaration for Mental Health Treatment (Oregon). Comment – this is not a legally binding document.