"The difficult I will do right now. The impossible will take a little longer."
I am a psychotherapist. I am a Psychiatric Social Worker, affectionately known in New York State as a L.C.S.W., Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have been in the field 40 years having started as a Psychiatric Social Worker Trainee II at Kings Park State Hospital on Long Island, October 31, 1968.
It has been long career and will get longer because I'm only 63 and as a Social Worker who has worked his career in Community Mental Health Centers has never made much money, has very little retirement other than Social Security, and raised 9 children working 3 jobs.
The last week I have been trying to help the family of a client of mine get her hospitalized because she is psychotic and while not an immediate danger to herself or others, meaning suicidal or homicidal, her thinking has become increasingly disorganized, she has developed paranoia, and she has been exhibitng poor judgment, just walking into neighbors homes, driving aimlessly all night long, calling 911 reporting that people have broken into her house, scaring her kids, etc.
With advent of HMOs in the late 80s, it has become increasingly difficult to access psychiatric services for patients and the system of care that I helped build in the 70s and 80s has now been pretty much destroyed.
I have become once again personally frustrated with how inhumane our caring for each other has become with the advent of reagonomics and the culture of greed. Under the guise of cost effective management, and increasing the bottom line for a mercenary health care system which is driven by profit rather than care, people most in need of services can't get them and even health care providers with years of experience and savvy are met continously with bureaucratic barriers to keep people out of care to save money rather than provide care to people in need.
I write about this here because it is a moral issue. We as Americans have to decide what kind of a society we want, one in which people are hungry and food insecure and lacking in health insurance while it spends billions on war and bailing out failing financial institutions or one in which we refocus and meet the more basic needs of people for food, housing, healthcare, education?
As someone on the front lines day in and day out, we are seriously messed up as a people. Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, but if you've got money and are rich it sure helps you get treated with more dignity and worth. We believe in justice, equity, and compassion if you can pay for it. Otherwise it is a crap shoot as more than a million poor black folks in America's prisons will tell you. We believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning but then allow media outlets and our government lie to us continually and rarely object for fear that we will be labled sympathetic to terrorists if we disagree with their policies. We have, supposedly, a respect for the interdependent web and yet soil our nest daily again going for the profit and cost savings rather than respecting the very enviornment that sustains us.
I was awoken last night, at 2:00 AM 01/01/09 saying that my patient was in the psychiatric emergency room and wanting back ground information. I had already called at 7:00 PM on 12/31/08 telling them I was sending her in and Please, Please, Please, don't just send her home.
And so my first conscious act in 2009 was to try to get help for one suffering human being afraid of been rebuffed and rejected as not being bad enough to get the help which she so desparately needs. And I am reminded of the saying, "The difficult I will do right now, but the impossible will take a while longer."