Rob had a psychotic break just a couple of months before his death, and that psychotic break landed him in a mental hospital for 4 days. Because we didn't have insurance, our options were limited.
Once out of the hospital, he was under the care of a regional mental health foundation. He saw a case worker once a month, and at that time they spoke with him for roughly 15 minutes before handing him a complimentary bottle of Zyprexa. Two weeks before he took his life, they added in Prozac. I have learned since his death that that window of time was a dangerous one, where thoughts of suicide already prevalent with Zyprexa users were likely to increase even more.
I had no idea.
We had asked our case manager about other resources like individual or group therapy or actual doctor contact, but were told that there was a waiting list at least a month long, and they would let us know when something opened up. We never received that call.
Rob saw a local (unrelated to his overseeers) therapist once and said at the time that he thought it was helpful, but didn't want to go back because he was concerned about money. I told him what he had told me a thousand times in our marriage: "If your mind's not right, nothing else matters. Therapy is in the budget. Always." But he never did go again.
The McNeece Mental Health Fund's goal is to allow someone like Rob, at the most crucial and important moment of his life - in mental crisis with very little or no resources to get proper care - to get the oversight he needs, whether it be therapy, weekly doctor visits to monitor medications, additional hospitalization or even education.
Please join me in honoring my love by helping someone like him. He shouldn't have been lost; no one should be lost like this again. I appreciate anything you can do. We have already made a difference.
My Facebook post detailing Rob's story was shared almost 100 times, and many people reached out to me with stories of their own mental struggles, and for advice in dealing with suicidal family members.
In addition, with the help of Morning Day Cafe and their new Mental Health Mondays, we are reaching out directly into our community, offering support, friendship, acceptance and love to anyone and everyone.
Also, just in working with a local mental health practice, we have been able to share Rob's story such that at least one patient in Rob's same situation (super-intelligent, possible bipolar diagnosis, proud) have acquiesced to the therapist's recommended courses of treatment rather than fighting the reality of their mental illness. We WILL continue to make a difference. Because to not move forward in this manner would be a slight to my husband, and I just can't have that.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me turn this into something he would be proud of. xoxo
FACEBOOK POST - Dec. 5, 2017 "Four weeks ago today, my husband committed suicide. That morning he dropped me off at work, came home, finished a note he'd been drafting on his computer, probably spent a minute or two saying goodbye to our dogs, grabbed the padlock key from a drawer in my grandmother's buffet, walked past the dogs, out our back door, across the yard to the shed, unlocked the padlock, opened the door, went inside..., put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. I'm not ordinarily one for sharing unhappy details about my life on Facebook, but I don't want to hide from this reality or cover his unfathomable actions. I will always be proud of my husband and defend the idea that his was not a "selfish" act. In his three-page note, Rob talked about his mistakes, his guilt, his feelings of inadequacy, his regrets, the effects of his medication of two months (Zyprexa) and his love for me. I am putting this out there not for sympathy; I don't need it. I just want you all to remember the hurt that we can't see in people and make this the kindest holiday season yet. Listen to each other, ask real questions, check on each other, ignore your judgements of people around you and make every day count. I never thought that the last day was going to be the last day, but it was. I have my own regrets and looking back, all of the signs were there; I just couldn't see them because I was too busy moving us "forward", solving problems, reaching goals... I intend on making this mean something; I am setting up something (a fund, a scholarship, a foundation?) that will help at least one person in crisis at the most critical time of their lives. I am also working with Rob's favorite local restaurant, Morning Day Cafe, on a bi-weekly event, Mental Health Monday at Morning Day Cafe, that encourages those with feelings of hurt or uncertainty to come in and just be around people who can relate and won't judge. Once I have details about the former I will post them here and I hope that you'll join me in honoring a man who was my biggest champion and who never treated me with anything but respect. Our relationship was rock solid, but his medicated mind told him he was a burden. He was always "Mr. Wonderful" to me and he always will be. I know I'll never be loved like that again and I still feel lucky! Details to follow. xo" - Meri Jane Cates AKA MJ McNeece https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155755647457906&set=a.42648842905.51365.802822905&type=3&theater
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