Tag Archives: Mental Hospital

The Rest of the Stay.

Not quite...

Not quite…

So, this is the follow up to “So, I Was at the Hospital”

I was quickly evaluated the second day. It was determined that I would be moved to the other side of the ward, meaning that I would be with the less serious patients, or the “safe ones.” This became quickly apparent that I could not stand several of them. These patients included a Native American who was totally whacked out of his gourd, a pain med addict who -just couldn’t stop-. The N.A. once pulled off an entire fingernail. The med addict sucked on a fentonyl patch, until she was caught, (oops, I tattled… gotta know the signs.)

I will rant about levels of separation in another post. But for now, suffice to say, I was seriously torn up about my treatment. I was put on several meds and I don’t remember what they are for. I’ve seen 2 doctors since, and I have still gotten no information. I only remember short pieces of the last two days.

I remember when the hallucinations stopped. I started dreaming again. And I’m not talking about the crazy-wake-up-screaming nightmares that I’ve had my entire life. I just…dreamed. It was bizarre. The dreams I have now, are so possible… And at least one of them has actually come to be truth.. It’s very strange.. I’m not sure if I am starting conversations because I dreamed about them, or if I dreamed about them, because I already needed to talk about them. It’s just funny that I KNEW how the conversations would go, before I even started.

I remember the Native being moved into my room after “Bob” (cool dude) was released. That was a ton of fun. NOT.

I remember breaking down sobbing, because I just couldn’t think. Even as I type this, I take a break and take a test to see what my words per minute typing is.. 25. That’s half of my last test.. on Jan 15th! My cognition is just lapsing. I can’t remember word. I can’t think out concepts fully. I have to type almost every 3rd word out, because I can’t spell, or type. Thank God for auto-correct!

I remember talking to nurses, doctors, and counselors who just couldn’t handle all the information at once. One nurse (my intake nurse, “George”) had to take a break because he just couldn’t handle listening to what I have been through. Soon I am going to lay it all out there for you guys. There are some things I have been through, but I can’t share them all in this post.. I will have to put them out clinically in a series of posts based on topic. The Doctor couldn’t read the whole list.. he already knew where it was going, and couldn’t keep reading. The counselor couldn’t read everything. She cried when we talked. The damned counselor! Don’t get my wrong… she was awesome.. but she had to skim because there was too much to put into a single report.

I remember when I finally turned the corner, and told them no more anxiety meds for sleeping. That’s when I was ready to go home. They tested me for TB and sent me home after 2 days… Nobody talked to Jenny. She is still catching up on everything!

I am glad to be home, but gosh darnit. I just want this trial to be over! I have to wait 7-14 days to find out whether my SMI determination goes through. I’m desperate to get the release I need so badly. I will share more soon. Thank you all for coming on this journey with me.

Now you know the rest of the stay… but not the rest of the story. Stay tuned.

So, I was at the hospital.

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that I’m home, and safe. But I don’t think anyone knows exactly why I went to the hospital. I’m going to be very frank here. If you don’t want to hear some serious talk about a deep place I was in, stop reading now.

Still with me? You are braver than I could expect of anyone. Last chance. Okay, you are still here… and I have to actually say it, for many reasons. I wanted to kill myself. I had several serious plans in mind. I wanted to hang myself, but I didn’t want the kids to find me. I then started making plans to find a local water source to drown myself in, but I knew Jenny would send the police out looking for me, the second she realized I was gone without talking to her first. I considered overdosing, and walking into the woods nearby, hopefully preventing family from finding my body… but as we all know (or should) overdosing is MESSY, and UNRELIABLE. I wouldn’t ever suggest it… even though I had plenty of medication, and opportunity to do it, myself.

I dwelled on this for four days. FOUR! I still can’t believe that. I had warned Jenny that something was up on the first day, Saturday of last week. She was wary, and watched me very closely, for which I am so thankful I cannot express. I never told her how serious my thoughts were. I never told her a single plan. I finally broke on Tuesday. Jenny asked me, very frankly, and without judgement (take notes, family of the mentally ill!) if I needed to go to the hospital. I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t say yes. I finally said that since I couldn’t definitely say no, that I had a responsibility to my family to do the responsible thing.

Checking myself in, for the second time for suicidal ideations, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I talked to an extremely caring group of health care professionals, expressing thoughts that I didn’t have the courage to express to Jenny when I was at home. I totally spilled guts. Specifically, I told all this to staff while Jenny was there. I was told in no uncertain terms that I would be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for an extensive evaluation.

The first night of my stay was the second hardest, and it really tore me up. I gave more information to that poor nurse (I will call him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him..) than I have ever told a single living soul. I told him about my abusive stepfather. I told him about my raging drug addicted mother. I told him about sexual abuse, and a 20+year history of abusive relationships with nearly every adult person I had the unpleasant distinction of having lived with. I poured out my heart and soul.

I told him about the nearly constant hallucinations that I’ve had since I can remember, but was too embarrassed to tell anyone about before Jenny. Of course, I never told her how serious those were either.

After the routine of having me change into scrubs, and remove all my jewelery, I was sent to bed. I had been up only about 12 hours, but I seriously needed the rest anyway. As I waited for the Ativan to kick in, I listened to George debrief the other staff on my situation. I have never heard anyone speak of me with so much caring and compassion. Remembering it right now, for the first time, my eyes are filled with tears, and I am typing fairly blind. I have never felt so humble, and honored before. I will never be able to thank that man enough.

That’s it for now. I fell asleep pretty promptly, the anti-anxiety meds doing their job to help me get the rest I was so desperate for. I will fill you all in on future days soon, while it’s as fresh as possible.

After a Good Visit/Outpouring of Support

Reaching Out for Love by kjherstin on deviantART (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Reaching Out for Love by kjherstin on deviantART (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

I got a little less than an hour with Rory this evening, but it was so great to see him. He was in good spirits with me, and was very happy to see me. As I was to see him. It kind of felt like I hadn’t seen him in at least a week, so we did spend some time just staring at each other. Now I can’t wait to see him again tomorrow. (This whole paragraph is written very poorly, I know, but please forgive my enthusiasm.)

We filled each other in on what had gone on during the past 48 hours, and what comes next. Major medication changes, different strategy… I am hoping to meet with someone there, either when they discharge him, or before. Both Rory and I agree that I need to be integral to his ongoing care. In the meantime, I have a list of his new medications, which I’ll research before tomorrow’s visit.

***

Also, I have been the recipient of an incredible outpouring of support. I am so grateful. Everyone we know mutually, plus everyone that I just know, it seems, has offered an ear, or practical help, or to do anything we need. I imagine that the offers will continue to pour in, and more will come once he is discharged. I do hope, though, that some of these same people will ask again in a few weeks, to check in on us once the excitement of all the events and changes subsides. That is likely to be when we’ll need the help.

***

If you’re looking for help in addition to a therapist and it isn’t an emergency, check out The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook. It’s full of great self-help exercises and reflections.

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Waiting on Shore, copyright Bob Embleton, licensed for reuse  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Waiting on Shore, copyright Bob Embleton, licensed for reuse (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I have no idea how he’s doing, and that kills me.

I have no idea what they are doing to help him, what kinds of medication they’re trying, what kinds of therapy he is a part of. What does his room look like? How are they monitoring him? It’s hard for me not to know what’s going on with someone I love, whom I’ve had almost constant contact with for the past two months, and regular contact for a month and a half before that. I’ll get to see him tonight, for up to an hour.

My biggest hope is to find out that he is finding the time in the hospital helpful, like progress is being made, or a direction is being established. And I’m sure they would have called me if anything significantly bad happened. I’m his emergency contact. But the waiting… It’s a deafening silence…

Waiting…

Sometimes There Is No Other Option

Mental Health Hospital Window by Flickr user ramenlover. (CC by NC-SA-2.0)

Mental Health Hospital Window by Flickr user ramenlover. (CC by NC-SA-2.0)

[Guest post by Jenny, aka The Girlfriend.]

No post from Rory yesterday, but with good reason. He spent much of the day in bed, and then we took him to the hospital. Nothing sudden brought on our visit; it had to be done. He is now checked in at a local mental health facility. Sometimes there is no other option.

Suicidal thoughts come with the territory with bipolar disorder. Fortunately, most of the time they are transitory. Except when they aren’t. But starting last weekend, suicidal thoughts took up residence in Rory’s mind, and never left. He told me a little bit about what was going on, but only pretty nonspecific things, not enough to get me to take action right away. But when he finally decided that it had been going on for too long of a time, and that he still couldn’t definitively say that he didn’t need to go to the hospital, we decided to take him.

There, as he told the various emergency room people what was going on, I heard the rest of the story. He had been obsessing over his thoughts about suicide, coming up with plans, examining his options, but fortunately not following through on any of them. It alarmed me some, mostly because he usually tells me enough about what is going on with him to act appropriately. But if he had told me all of the important bits as they came up, we would have been at the hospital days before.

Throughout all this, one thing has been made clear to me. Rory hasn’t had proper medical care for his mental illness. Ever. Half-assed care at best. The people he trusted with his care had failed him, and he was never in a position to take charge. We’re now remedying that, starting yesterday. He will get the care, diagnosis, treatment, and support that he requires. We’re also going to work to get other support pieces in place to set up his life in a way that he’s comfortable with and can maintain, where he can be as productive as possible.

I don’t know how many days he’ll be in the facility, but even once he’s out, it won’t be the end of the story. We’ll still have plenty of work to do. But he has a team of people who love him to help.