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Mental Health Awareness and Creative Arts Gallery INC

Brian continues his blog on the topic of “self-medication”

A long list of setbacks while in the throes of “self-medicative behavior” to alleviate my disturbed thought process and a first move towards a recovery environment

So, after I finally confided details of my thought process and traumatic memories with my counselor, I was given the diagnoses of schizophrenia, substance use disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.  And no, I wasn’t placed involuntarily into a psychiatric ward for the rest of my life.  I was however still Far from being “well”.   Although, I communicated my thoughts to a counselor, I still felt isolated and clueless as to what to do with my life.  My only thoughts of taking any life action at the time was to figure out how to get out of living with my mother and ways to reconnect with my son who had not been murdered by terrorists as I learned.  But the dominant feature of my thought process was still what most would call delusionary and paranoid and, in the world, as I knew it then, there was no social outlet to share my thoughts and feelings without the fear of public rebuke.  There was no safe support network in “coming out” as a young man with a schizophrenia diagnosis.  This fear extended into “support” groups I attended at the time including AA- So without a support system that I could trust I fell back to what “worked” for my distressed mental state at the time.  Drink quick – Blackout…. And this behavior would lead to a series of major setbacks in my physical and mental health at the time. 

Since my memory for a good period during this dark phase of my life is poor or lacking, I thought to share a timeline my mother put together as to the jagged mental health / substance abuse journey I took over the years.

Timeline:   prepared November 19, 2008

First rehab – Westchester County after coming home from Pomona College in California

During the next 17 years Brian lived with girlfriend in Washington DC, relapsed, lived in Switzerland, relapsed, was married (Tennessee) and had a son (California).  His son is now 14 years old.  After the divorce in 2003 Brian seemed to be somewhat homeless with another girlfriend (she had mental problems).

May 2004 – Brian was admitted to Suan Prung Neuro Hospital in Thailand

June 2004 – Brian’s father, Gordon Belt, went to Thailand to bring him home – through ex-wife, girlfriend, acquaintances , and legal authorities we were advised that he could not come home alone and that someone had to come get him.  The embassy helped.  Alcohol and drugs – at dangerous levels. relapse

June 2004 – Returned to Copake, first his father’s house and then mine – he left for Canada (girlfriend there) and was rejected at the border.

July 2004 – got a job at Simons Rock, Great Barrington, Ma.

Aug 4, 2004  – met girlfriend in St. Albans  returned to work

Oct. 10,2004 –  went to Canada

Oct. 22, 2004 – brought girlfriend home

Oct. 23, 2004 – left with girlfriend for Washington State

Oct. 24, 2004 – in North Dakota

Oct. 26, 2004  – in Kittle Falls, Washington

Oct. 28, 2004 – Bellingham, Washington

Nov. 9, 2004 –   girlfriend calls to say Brian needs counseling, send $300  the money was sent to her.  Brian left her.

Nov. 16, 2004 – girlfriend called for help – AA member went to see Brian. – Relapse

Nov. 19, 2004 – called to say he and the girlfriend were moving to Eugene, Oregon

Dec. 1, 2004 – they are renting a trailer at the Church of Christ

Essene

Dec. 29, 2004  — Brian is in jail in Weaversville, NC.  – drinking, destruction in a grocery store. relapse

Jan. 2005 – Brian and girlfriend are living in Mars Hill, NC.

May 2, 2005 – I sent $105 for Brian to live in a Hostel in Asheville

May 27, 2005 – Brian was beaten, kicked out of hostel and went to ex-wife’s home.  I sent her $200 and she put him on a bus to Kingston, NY.  I picked him up there and took him to the Albany Med Psych crisis – Dr. D.

Brian was transferred to Columbia Memorial.- relapse

June 13, 2005 – Brian has appointment with counselor at the Mental Health Center in Hudson, NY

June 14, 2005 – he has appt with Dr. T at Albany Med for testing

July11, 2005 – appt. at Twin Counties Hudson

Aug. 2, 2005 – appt. with psychiatrist.

Aug. 30, 2005 – Brian went to Chinese Embassy in NYC to get a visa

Sept. 1, 2005 – he flew to Taicang, China for a job teaching English ( he located the work on the internet and they paid for him to go)

Dec. 5, 2005 –my call to Brian in China found him drunk or something — relapse

Dec. 6, 2005, The employer in China arranged to have Brian flown to Los Angeles

Dec. 16, 2005 – I emailed a ticket to fly home from San Francisco after Brian was released from jail – public drunkenness.

Dec. 21, 2005 – started AA Wed, Fri, and Sun.

Dec. 22, 2005 – Counselor

Dec. 28, 2005 – Psychiatrist

Jan. 2006 – Counselor/Psychiatrist/AA

May 12, 2006 – Brian got a part job with Stage Works in Hudson.

May 16, 2006 – relapse –at Stage Works – Police took him to ER

July 24, 2006 – Brian started a bike ride from Virginia to Asheville, NC

Sept. 3, 2006 – relapse

Sept. 4, 2006 – came home

Sept 20, 2006 – Brian went to Asheville to visit his son.

Nov. 7, 2006 – Brian hospitalized in Pottsville, Pa – alcohol, psychotic, Dr. U. — relapse

Nov. 12, 2006 – he was discharged to come home.  I picked him up.

Jan. 9,2007 – while I was in Zimbabwe, Brian packed up and left for North Carolina.

Jan 12, 2007 – Brian calls family member to say he plans to stay in Asheville for 2 weeks.

Jan. 23, 2007 – Brian asks for Librium order in Asheville.  He said he sees a counselor in Asheville

Feb. 5, 2007 – Brian calls from Motel 6 in Mobile, Alabama and says he is on his way to Julian, California.

Feb. 11, 2007 –Brian is at a hostel in Albuquerque, NM

Aug. 2, 2007 – relapse in Albuquerque.  I sent an email airline ticket home

Feb. 15, 2008 – I posted $5,000 (per public defender’s suggestion) for Brian to leave Columbia County Jail.  The charge was drunken driving and possession of marijuana.

The felony charge was later reduced to misdemeanor.

May 3, 2008 – Brian had a grand mal seizure here at home I called 911, he was airlifted to Albany Med

Sept. 16, 2008 – Public defender agreed to end the case with some provisions.  Brian’s driver’s license was suspended for 6 months, and he completed the assignment at Twin Counties and continued with counseling and group meetings.

Nov. 5, 2008 – Nurse Rose called from Mental Health Center after Brian was in his group meeting – she said Brian’s B/P was sky high and that I should take him to the ER.

Blood alcohol was very high also. Relapse   He was discharged Nov. 6.

Nov. 13, 2008 – I called Brian’s counselor to say Brian looked and acted drunk and talked “off” – he said take him to ER if he does not improve in a few hours. His sister, Leslie, came after her work.  She observed same problem and we both talked to his counselor as we could not get Brian to go to ER with us.  Counselor arranged for police to escort Brian to ER – Columbia Memorial.

The results were very high blood alcohol and B/P.  Leslie found the near empty liter of rum under the bath towels in the bathroom cabinet.  Relapse.

Nov. 19,2008 – Brian is a patient on 5th floor psych lock up at Columbia Memorial Hospital – he is advised to go to rehab but says he plans to go to St. Augustine, Florida in a couple months.

WHAT NOW??????   Alice Belt – mother

PS somewhere in this I missed another 911 call after the basement was trashed and the drunken/psychotic behavior caused an ambulance transport to the ER and then a transfer to psyche lock up in Harrison, NY.  After a few days he was released to home.

And yes, it would be time and time again that I would be jailed for some public drunkenness offense and placed back involuntarily into psych ward after psych ward.  I got to the point of not really caring about anyone or anything at all except the booze to wipe out my thoughts.  I did get some disability income that kept me afloat even though I have no memory of applying for disability.  Perhaps, my counselor filed paperwork with me at some point knowing I was unable to carry out any sort of steady employment due to my problems.   

It was then in the summer of 2010 that I had a sit-down discussion with my mom as to what to do with my life.  After the countless series of relapses and hospitalizations, I was no longer allowed to live with her due to my erratic and self-destructive behavior.

Undeniably, my mother was at her wits end as to what to do- What I remember is she calmly spoke to me on a summer day in 2010 and said to me we need to come up with a plan- either we plan for you moving into a community residence to recover from what is bothering you or we need to plan for your funeral.    Her honesty and desperation sunk in to my emotional being and I agreed to move into a community residence.  I took this next essential step in my recovery process not for myself but because I could feel the pain my mother was going through, and I didn’t want her to suffer.  So, I packed up my gear yet again but this time for a community residence outside Boston, Mass that had other residents living there with serious mental health diagnoses.  It is here where my Recovery journey began to take shape. 

By Brian Belt

Executive Director of Mental Health Awareness and Creative Arts Gallery INC

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