Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Me and the Loony Bin


Self-Portrait
The first time I went into the mental hospital was when I experienced a psychotic break. This was in early February 2014. That night, I was hallucinating and running around the house. I was naked and I tried to run outside. It had snowed, maybe it was still snowing, but when I ran downstairs to unlock the door and get out, in my mind I had to...HAD to...get outside. There was some compelling reason and I was determined.

Joey had to wrestle me to the floor and I remember thinking "he is using all his strength. He's so strong, I'll never make it." But in general I don't remember a lot of it. I remember that I was screaming for help. I remember racing thoughts of paranoia and persecution. I thought some of my friends were gods. I thought others were demons. We were all doomed. The police and ambulance had to come and take me away. I ended up in handcuffs on a gurney in an ambulance.

Nothing like this has ever happened to me and I am still not sure how to process it. In that state I was convinced that everyone was involved in a massive plot against me. It was terrifying and I never, ever want to go back to that nightmare place. Poor Joe.

It was 7 days in the psych ward, they had me on suicide watch and they let me out with the caveat that I attend a women's group therapy program. So I went, 10am to 3pm for a week. There I learned a great deal about how violently stress and anxiety can impact a person. I hadn't realized how losing my  job so suddenly in November had started a downward spiral into depression and anxiety. It's no joke. The women there are incredible, everyone has a totally different story but yet it's all the same, somehow. I can't say enough about how much it has helped me.

I would end up in the psych ward two more times, and in group therapy two more times. This most recent was in early May. The ward is not a place I ever want to go back to again. Whenever I feel exhausted from the sheer effort that this is all taking, the depression weighing on me like the proverbial ton of bricks, when I think about giving up, it's the thought that, short term, "giving up" probably means I go back to the ward, that helps keep me on track with my routine. That, and my friends constantly encouraging me.

I'm considering writing more about my experience on the ward if people are interested.

5 comments:

  1. I would love to hear more. And I am so happy you are writing about your experience. <3

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  2. I went thru a 7 day involuntary psych hospitalization in college. it was similar to what happened to your story. blessings to you. you will get through it successfully.

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  3. Yes, definitely write more.

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  4. Well, it's happening. I'm beginning the outline for a book about recovering from depression and anxiety. My "thanks" section is going to be huge. Because all of you.

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