The night of February 14th, when Joey called the ambulance, I had begun hallucinating. I was running around naked and then I tried to run outside. It had snowed, maybe it was still snowing, my recollection is a blur. 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. 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.
Nothing like this has ever happened to me and I am still not sure how to process it all. In that shattered state, I had been convinced that everyone was involved in a massive plot against me. I thought it was the only explanation for everything. When I think back to what was ping-ponging around in my head, it was terrifying and I never, ever want to go back to that nightmare place. 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. I ended up in handcuffs on a gurney. Joey rode in the front of the ambulance. Poor Joe. He'd been by my side for the whole fall from inside the frying pan into the fire. My rock.
So I spent seven days in the psych ward that first time, where they had me on suicide watch. They let me go home with the caveat that I attend a women's group therapy program. So I went every day, 10am to 3pm. I learned so much there at that women's group therapy program. I learned a great deal about how violently continued stress and anxiety can impact a person. I hadn't realized how my job had started pressing so hard on me that I'd actually been battling a downward spiral into depression and anxiety. I hadn't understood the severity of what was happening to me. The women there were incredible. Everyone had a totally different story that brought her there, but yet we had all the same story, somehow. The world had rolled us. We shared hot tears over iced coffee.
I would end up in the psych ward two more times. This most recent visit was in early May. The psych 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, this newfound black depression weighing on me like the proverbial ton of bricks, whenever I think about giving up, it's the thought that, short term, "giving up" probably means I go back to the ward. I can't do that. Sheer terror of going back helps keep me on track with my routine. And learning about how a person's mind can also become broken, in addition to her heart. And how PTSD isn't only exhibited by soldiers, but by other people who've been through a terribly fraught situation. And how lucky I was to have such a strong, supportive network of friends constantly encouraging me.
I'm considering writing more about my experience if people are interested. ∎
Related: Behind Three Doors (Part 1)