Steenie’s Big Day Out: Day One at Inpatient Care

February 13, 2013 at 1:30 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I woke up unsure about the time. The room is dark and I can hear voices in the hall as I stare at the ceiling blankly. I get up and brush my teeth for once. I put on a bra and deodorant. I don’t want the crazies to judge me.

I aimlessly walk into the main hall.  It still looks dark. I decide to get on the phone. I call my mom.
She says she can’t hear me. I refuse to yell into the receiver. It’s awkward enough talking in a cowded room let alone yelling to your mother about how your time in the loony bin is going. I ask her if she brought my phone with her to work like she promised. She didn’t. I ask if she could bring me some pants later, the ones I was wearing were covered in stains. She says she doesn’t have time. I’m trying to look upwards. Someone told me once that looking up is supposed to keep tears from falling and smearing your makeup. It’s no use.
My face can’t be buried into my hand any deeper. I rub my forehead a couple of times before I start pulling at my hair. MY fingernails embedded themselves so deeply into my palm, they leave red marks when I hang up the phone.
A nurse comes over to ask me if i’ m ok. I say i’m fine.
Another nurse wants to talk to me. We both agree that things are weird. She asks a million questions. We nod at each other and she walks me down to breakfast.

I have biscuits and gravy, eggs, and bacon. The nurse goes out of his way to get me hot sauce. This makes me feel better. I sit by myself. A silverhaired lady tells me to sit with her. I politely say no. I’m not here to make friends.
After breakfast we’re told to line up. I was expecting recess now. I wonder how dodgeball would play out here. We file quietly back into the common room.

The guy from last night keeps reintroducing himself. He interrupts people and is noisy. I jok that his name is Kenny Rogers. He doesn’t get the joke. I feel irritated and slow. I start getting anxious. I’m now the one interrupting people. Is this what they label impulsive behavior? I sit and psychoanalyse myself.

Sitting in a group, it’s weird listening to others. This is especially true with Kenny. He makes me uncomfortable.
He keeps talking how people take advantage of him, how he takes things personally, how he gets put down.

I don’t know how to sit here and be still. I have to keep writing.

I feel like there’s nothing much to say in my group session. I’m curt and impatient.

I move to the common room again. Kenny plops himself down between two patients while they’re having a conversation. Without pause, he starts grilling one of the women about her problems. She deals with him like a champ. I hope I don’t lose my temper and snap at him. I lack patience but I have to remind myself he’s sick. I need to learn patience.

I’m getting more anxious about my appearance. I don’t know what to o with myself.

Kenny asks the same girl if he could win a pageant. No one wants to say no. No one knows what will set him off. For fuck’s sake, he makes me uncomfortable. They talk to him about winning pageants until he switches to complaining about his name. I tell him that it’s better than mine.

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Steenie’s First Admission to Behavioral Health Inpatient Care

February 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

This is the first post I am going to make of many detailing my time in the hospital. I spent four nights there total although it felt like weeks. This is for people who want to know what happened, I’m too sick of talking about it to explain anymore.

Thursday:

My mom keeps telling me I’m minimizing my suicidal feelings to the cops. She wants me to be admitted. She called an ambulance about twenty minutes ago and an officer is asking me questions. “Is there anything we should know about in this bag? Marijuana, cocaine?” I laugh at him and tell him there’s nothing that fun in there. I’m sitting in the back of the ambulance, an EMT is taking my vitals. He keeps asking me if I want to kill myself. I tell him, it’s fleeting. I show him the bruises on my legs that had blossomed into bizarre patches of brown and purple. I told him I did this. I want to be admitted.

On the drive to the hospital, he asks why I feel this way. He’s looking for an answer for my behavior and I don’t have one to give him. I tell him I can’t get out of bed most days. I tell him I have fits of panic and can become inconsolable. He tells me sometimes you have to just deal with it. That’s what everyone keeps telling me. I laugh.

He asks if I was on any drugs. I tell him no. It’s the truth. I understand a lot of mental health problems are mimicked by drug use. This for once is not the case. I am genuinely on the bottom of things, looking up. I’m trying to find a way out. I claw at myself. He tells me that drugs are a crutch and that I need to control myself. I cry quiet tears the whole ride to the ER.

The cops walk me into St. John’s. They carry my bag for me. They insist. My mom crawls out of the front seat of the ambulance and follows us in. We have to wait for a room to open up. It’s busy.

I am admitted to patient observation room 20. The TV is behind plexiglass. There are no hanging wires in this room and there’s a toilet underneath the sink. A large beige shutter hangs over the sink, I guess in case I’m deemed at risk and they’re afraid I might try to drown myself in the basin. There are also cameras situated in the top corners of the room, adjacent to each other.

The nurse walks into the room. She’s skinny, about my age, seems nice. This all may be due to her being new to the job still. I’m glad she’s relatively civil to me. She’s the only one to not bruise me while drawing blood throughout this process.
She tells me to take off my clothes. She continues to stand there. I ask, “you have to watch me?” She nods. I make some sort of joke and swing my hips at her.

I’m watching some commercial for the Hobbit after the nurse leaves with all my earthly belongings. I’m staying calm by jotting notes down. A cop is sent in to listen to my statement. I tell him everything about my crazy. My tantrums, my anxiety, my weeping, my fleeting thoughts about everything. I tell him about the fight with my mom that led me here for the second time. I tell him the battery of bruises are self-inflicted, that I have a history, “fleeting suicidal thoughts”. If i am to be admitted, if it’s not based on merit it will at least be based on principal.

My mom writes down the playbook of psych meds in my note book, coaching me. She tells me, “don’t take the depacote or the lithium.” I nod and laugh. She leaves to smoke a cigarette.

The nurse comes back to take a blood sample. She accidentally snaps me in the face with the rubber tourniquet. She looks horrified. She tries to apologize profusely. I continue to shake my head and laugh. If i were in her shoes, this would be the least of my fuck ups i’m sure of it. She laughs nervously.

I am required at this point to piss in a cup. The nurse pulls out the weird toilet and tells me to try. I am successful. I’ve never been more proud of myself.

My arm is already developing a bruise from the blood sample fiasco. I can feel it pooling. My eyes are dry and my head is starting to throb. My mom is back in the room now, arguing with the insurance lady. The lady is talking too loud.

A younger guy comes in, asks another barrage of questions.
My $14 nail polish chipped I noticed, I am unhappy.

Dad shows up eventually and looks ragged. He tells me he just finished working a double. I can see the stress in his face. He doesn’t say much. He talks to my mom about his schedule, they jibber jabber for a while. He hardly speaks to me. I instantly feel awash with guilt and shame. He is exhausted and I have dragged him out here to be present for my first world breakdown. I hate myself. He’s falling asleep in his chair. He doesn’t deserve this. I am a selfish brat.

I settle on watching Robin Hood Men in Tights while I continue the intake process. I make a nurse fetch me a sandwich. It’s been hours. It tickled me that I could just ask for something and someone would just go and get it for me. The sandwich itself reminded me of elementary school cafeteria food. Plain turkey on a roll. No cheese. I could have gummed it. My eyes are still dry.

Both of my parents and I are waiting for a bed to open up so they can move me out of this room. All I hear is the background noise of sword fights and my parents furiously tapping on their phones. I want to grab them and throw them against the wall. I want to smash their toys into pieces. I wish my eyes would quit this nonsense. I’ve already put half a bottle of eye drops in them. The bastards.

It’s 12:30 AM. The security transport van ran out of gas. I am still waiting to be moved. My mom is talking circles. My dad is sleeping in the chair. There is no such thing as time.
My mom went out for a cigarette and she comes back in waving he arms about and yelling. She somehow managed to get into a confrontation with the security van driver while she was outside for those five minutes. She is in a full tizzy. I shake my head. Typical.
The nurse tells my parents to follow the van over to the psychiatric unit. The security driver couldn’t wait. The dick.

I make it to the proper building and the nurses at the front station take inventory of my belongings. There’s a strange clockwork orange vibe as they carefully check through each of my items. I try to not giggle in recognition. I am the anti-hero of this tale. I am the bastard brat who gets everything they deserve yet the reader feels a strange sense of empathy towards me. Love me, I’m awful.

I’m not allowed drawstrings and my notebook is confiscated. They’re scared i’ll tear out the binding and garrote someone. The nurse responsible for me sequesters me into another room and asks me more questions. She seems tired. She doesn’t laugh at my jokes. I walk back out to the nurses station.

I am given an ambien. I turn around from the desk and a petite woman with an Amelie hair cut is standing in the middle of the common area stark naked. She has a lost look in her eyes. I try not to look at her directly. I stare at the floor instead. I grab my notebook from the nurse and finish my thoughts.

A short man appears and approaches me while I’m sitting and jotting down details from the night. He
tries to shake my hand. I am unsure whether I should touch him or not. His eyes are electric and he scares me.

This place is strange but not in the way I was prepared for. I’m still processing my surroundings. Hopefully this ambien kicks in soon so I can tune out for a few hours. it’s almost 2 am. People are up and pacing. They make me nervous. I am not ready for this 8 am wake up call.

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Steenie’s Intensive Out Patient Shenanigans – Day 1

November 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Today was the first day I decided to go to an intensive out patient program. It was recommended to me by a failed ER visit earlier this week. I was hoping for my own psychiatrist, but most in my area are booked until March.

 

March seems like an awfully long time to wait to talk to someone while you’re having a psychiatric crisis doesn’t it?

 

It’s 7 a.m.. I lay awake after an estimated three hours of restless sleep. I weigh my choices. I can either go to school and face reality, or I can stay in my pajamas and head to the nut house. 

My mother barges into my room shouting. Apparently if she comes home to find me still wallowing in bed, she is kicking me out of the house. Typical.

 

She leaves for work, the house is quiet again. I pick at a bagel and take my morning meds. The amoxicillin for my tooth tastes weird.

I look at myself in the mirror, I start to cry. How did I get like this?

Baggy purple eyes, ratted hair, swollen cheek. I look like a homeless street fighter.

I manage to make it out of the house and into the car. I pocketed a vicodin for later.

I get to the building, the “Edgewood Center” and fill out what seems like an endless stream of paperwork. I suddenly become thankful that I have rad health insurance.

I sign in and am shown around the facility. I am assigned a pager and receive a folder full of worksheets and informative pamphlets. I can’t help but laugh at the pager, bulky and old looking. It’s covered in deep scratches and worn off numbers.

 

I walk into my first group session 20 minutes late. Everyone stares at me and I suddenly feel the enormity of things. This is the first step, I tell myself. I’m going to get better. I have to get better.

I sit through the rest of the hour, listening to other people’s stories. They’re boring. Not like mine. One girl complains how she’s spending her birthday here and she relapsed yesterday on xanax. I laugh because heroin is her drug of choice, she was just feeling lonely. I thought peer pressure was for children. I’m not like her, she’s an idiot.

Another girl is constantly interjecting about her own experience with heroin addiction and how she goes to meetings and has abusive boyfriends. I tune out and start to doodle on my folder. She’s arrogant and tries too hard. I’m not like her, she’s exhausting.

 

An older black woman talks about how she couldn’t leave the couch this thanksgiving while she visited her family in Houston. I feel bad for her. She seems lonely. She allows herself to be controlled by a prior relationship. She seems obsessive. This was confirmed when she admits to hiring a private investigator to follow around her boyfriend to see if he was cheating. He was ans she still couldn’t cut things off. She makes me sad. I don’t want to end up like her.

 

We take a short break, I talk to my appointed doctor. He asks me questions for an hour. I tell him the same things I have been regurgitating for the last 72 hours. I’m sick of talking about it at this point. I’m not special, my problems are irrelevant, just make me better already. I don’t need to dig up my inner demons, I just need some Valium so I can function daily. 

 

I go back to group. They’re working on a worksheet about coping skills. Depression: go exercise, meditate, watch a movie. Anxiety: exercise, meditate, talk about it. Fear: take a benzo and forget about it.

It makes me want to vomit. I have google, I don’t need this nonsense. You people are inane and wasting my time. Is any of this really news to anyone here?

 

We break for lunch. I drink a carton of chocolate milk. It reminds me of grade school. I miss those gross lunches. 

 

We go back for the rest of the group session. An older woman, maybe 40, starts to talk about her overbearing mother in law who passive aggressively picks on her. I was rolling my eyes until she gets to the point where she starts to talk about killing herself. She said she wanted to go in the garage and turn on the car and fade away. She then couldn’t bear the harm that it would do to her husband and kids. Her solution: they should come in the car too. She discussed this with her husband, she said she could read the kids Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They would fall asleep and they would all go peacefully together.

This woman scared me. I felt badly for her but this was another level I was not expecting. This woman let a fragile old lady bully her to the point where she was ready to murder her whole family and kill herself.  This was when I decided I do not have an illness. I do not need help. This lady needs to be locked up before she hurts someone.

 

After this darkness, it was my turn to speak. I told them how I was a 21 year old student that’s had a hard time lately. I told them how I would have melt downs, how I wouldn’t sleep for days, how I can’t function very well these days. After explaining the nonsense in my life, the doctor stopped. me. She asked me if I realized that while I was talking about some traumatizing things, that I would laugh about it. I told her, my problems are nothing compared to that poor lady who wanted to murder her family. Every inconvenience and issue I have is trite and pathetic. I don’t really have problems, just things I like to complain about. I have it good.

She asks me to not compare myself to others. She tells me I have real problems. I still don’t think that’s true. Oh, some one died. That sucks. I need to get over it. There are lots of worse things out there and I should be grateful that I am as lucky as I am. Complaining just makes me feel like a pussy who can’t appreciate what I have. Like I have room to complain, you know?

 

After this, I get paged back into the nurse’s office. She gets more of my medical history and demands a piss test. I comply. Tomorrow I have to get up earlier and get blood drawn while fasting as well. They want me to quit drinking. I told them i’d thin about it. After all, i’m not there for substance abuse, i’m there for mental illness. If I want a beer, why should my mental state keep me from it? Seems trite to me. 

I then went to get my meds filled and got sticker shock. There I was, thanking whatever false prophet that I have health insurance. Being sane and well is not cheap. This opportunity is one that should not be wasted.

I’ll see how tomorrow goes.  

 

 

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Steenie’s Super Fun Happy ER Adventure Time

November 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I realized that I had not slept in three days. 7 am was creeping up and my dog was stalking the squirrel outside my window. I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head, and shut my eyes tight. My breath was heavy as the dog walked over from the window and nestled herself against my back. I had to get up. I had class to go to. Things to do.

Last night, midnight, I was watching a documentary about the sphinx in Egypt. I start bawling. I’m clawing at myself, shaking, on fire. I can’t stop the thoughts from flooding around me, overwhelming me. I cried for hours.

I spent hours fiddling with my guitar, painting my nails, planning grandiose trips to Chicago. I consider grabbing a few things and running off. I don’t want to sit here anymore. I’m bored. It’s 4 a.m.
Wouldn’t it be perfect? I could just sleep on floors until I got a job waiting tables and I could finally start that band. You know, the one where I become a cult hit and I have my own line of shoes at Macy’s? Nothing could stop me from being happy.

I talk myself out of it, I have responsibilities. I’ve have school in three hours. I need to sleep.
I lurk Reddit, learning about economics and a litany of useless talents. It’s 5 a.m., I wonder if I should just get up and make breakfast.
I think this is a great idea. I’ll make bacon,eggs , toast, waffles, omelettes, and a strawberry banana shake. Of course I have to go to the store first but it’s only 5, I have plenty of time.
I look back at the clock. It’s 6 a.m.. I guess I’ll just lay in bed some more. I don’t like pancakes anyway.

I roll around for another hour, listening to the christian evangelical station on the radio. Apparently they need me to buy their audio cassettes so they can send shoes to Uruguay.

It’s 7 a.m.. I get out of bed. I walk over to my mom and tell her that she needs to drive me to school, I haven’t slept in three days and the vicodin on top of that makes me unsure of my general road safety.

She has appointments she says.

I ask her, what should I do? My hands are trembling, my mouth is dry, and I pace around the house while she gets ready for her day.

I tell her i’m tired of this. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m scared.

She takes me to the hospital.

Conveniently, it’s the same hospital her own appointments are. We walk in, do paperwork, and wait for triage. My mom leaves. The nurse calls me in and takes my vitals.

My right arm is brown and purple from the IV I had on Friday. The nurse eyes it, I bet she thinks I’m a junkie. She asks the usual questions; who are you, why are you here.
I tell her, who really knows right? Like, existentially, no one knows. Who am I really? She didn’t appreciate my humor.
I tell her how I haven’t slept, I panic, I see things, I’m inconsolable. She asks if I’m suicidal. I tell her no, just overly existential.

I sit some more. Apparently mondays are the worst days for ER visits. They see 100 more patients on mondays than any other day. I have no sense of time. This doesn’t bother me.

They move me into a room eventually. They make me put on scrubs and take all of my stuff. I don’t know why they do this on account of there being all sorts of fun things in the room I could hang myself on. I make a mental note of the different materials at my disposal.

I pace around the room, look at all the odd colored dials and levers. I sit on a stool and spin around for a bit. I watch the shopping channel and make a note of how badly I wanted to smack the host’s face. Headphones are not life changing technology and Beats by Dre are not something you need for audiobooks you cunt.

The first professional comes in to see me. It’s a middle aged russian RN. He reminds me of Nico from GTA. He’s nice to me. He asks about my affliction and such, and walks out. He eventually brings me some water.

The next person to see me was this old woman. She was my assigned doctor. She didn’t ask me many questions asside from, are you wanting to kill yourself. In fact, that’s the only question any of these people have asked so far. I keep telling them no but I guess they assume at one point i’ll change my answer.
She wasn’t much help. She just tells me she deals with medicine so she’ll have a councilor see me.
Another hour passes. I’ve been in this room for maybe 3 hours now.
A councilor shows up at just about the same time my mother decides to pop back in. This woman was mousey and was missing teeth. She kept smiling and made me nervous. She wanted to know if it was ok to talk in front of my mom. I told her no and sent my mom to wait in the hall. My mom was not happy about this.

The lady asked me the same questions, do I want to die and all that. I told her no, I just don’t understand the meaning of existence and ya know, what’s it matter. I don’t want to die, I just want answers.
She nods and giggles and writes down more notes. I furrow my brow and wonder what she’s noting about me.
She asks if I drink or do drugs, I tell her no more than usual. I tell her how I don’t sleep for days, I cry for hours unable to move, I put myself in stupid situations, I interact with people in an unladylike fashion. I tell her I see things in my periphery that I can’t explain sometimes and how I put the milk carton in the cabinet sometimes. She doesn’t seem to be concerned with this. After all, I don’t want to kill myself.

Another hour passes and I finally manage to get a vicodin for my tooth. The last one I took had worn off hours ago and the pain was getting unbearable.

The councilor came back in another hour later with a piece of paper telling me about an intensive out patient program.
I start bawling. I had been sitting in the hospital for six hours for them to decide that it’s not their problem and they can’t do anything for me. They couldn’t give me this paper six hours ago and tell me to go else where? Nope. I didn’t want to kill myself so there’s nothing they can do.

I’m hysterical. I’m pulling my hair out. I’m convulsing in my chair. I’m screaming and wailing. MY mother is arguing with the councilor. She leaves. I continue to meltdown. The world doesn’t exist to me at this point. All I can focus on is this feeling of overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. I feel like i’m disintegrating. I can’t help but to howl and claw at myself.

The doctor comes back in and my mom argues with her. The doctor says I wasn’t like this when she saw me. My mom says, no shit. They argue some more, I don’t remember what was said so much. I was face down in my own lap on the stretcher while Jerry Springer was blaring from the television.

I’m still trembling and muttering and bawling. The doctor says she can’t deal with this, puts up her hands, and says she has to leave the room. I scream, I have to want to kill myself to get help? I don’t want to die, I don’t want to feel like this anymore!
The ER doctor leaves without saying anything else.

I’m hyperventilating, choking on my own breath.
My mom yells at the nurse to get my clothes, we’re leaving.
She tells me to calm down before they admit me.
I can’t.

I put my clothes on while sobbing. I can’t believe how utterly on my own I am in this. Even in my darkest hour, when I felt it was bad enough that I needed immediate medical attention, no one could do anything for me. I’ve never felt more hopeless in my life.

We walk out the front door after begging the RN to give me something to calm me down. My mom making a scene the whole way through the lobby, “We’re leaving worse than when we came in, how does that work?”. She’s screaming and freaking out too now.

I get a doctors note excusing me for a week so I can go to this outpatient thing. I don’t know if talking to strangers while eating boxed lunches will really do anything for me. I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do to get better. I cry the rest of the ride home from the hospital.

In typical mom fashion, we don’t go straight home. We go get lunch, we go to walmart, and we go to off the rack. I’m high as balls walking through walmart while my mom picks up her prescriptions. I almost fall into a rack of clothes while looking at something. I nodded out in the pharmacy waiting area. My mom had to retrieve me.

I got home at about 8 pm, 12 hours after this had started and I was no better. My mom insists that out patient counselling is bullshit.
I’ve got some numbers for a psychiatrist but who knows when they’ll have time to see me.
I talked to my professors, I might have to take incompletes for my classes.

I don’t know what to do. This is the worst I’ve ever felt. I feel like my life is collapsing and there’s no way to keep back this terror I feel. I can’t function. I’m scared.

I’ve talked to a lot of my friends in the past few days and they have been the most loving and supportive people I have ever met. Without their support, who knows if I would have had the strength to continue forward. Even if they don’t really understand, they offer their words of encouragement and love. They have no idea what that means to me when I feel like i’m tearing apart at the seams.
To have people in my life that I know I can come to when things get bad is something I’m not entirely used to but I am so incredibly thankful for that.
I don’t know if I would have the strength on my own to keep going.
Just being able to vent and get perspective allows me to see how crazy I am and let’s me get out of the delusions a bit.

I don’t really know what my next move is. I just want to be happy and feel normal. I’m sick of this crippling feeling. I still just want to run away but I know that’s not a real option. I guess I’ll continue to sit here and paint my nails and hope for the future.

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