Still Breathing, Part 2

The first night I was actually admitted to the mental health unit of the hospital, it was already late, around 10 PM.  I spoke to a nurse and had to tell my whole life story yet again.  He felt so bad he just hugged me and let me cry.  I was scared and totally alone.  I wouldn’t talk to my husband.  I never told him where I was–at that point, I was sure he didn’t care.  I rememer wanting to scream “this is all a mistake!” but obviously I didn’t.  That would sound crazy.

I just wanted some peace and to sleep in a quiet bed.  I had just a few hours of sleep in the previous two days.  Yeah….  it’s nice to want things.  First, the air conditioning was broken and no one seemed to realize it.  I’m already a very warm natured person–my home A/C is set between 68 and 70 F.  I had no idea the temperature in the ward but it didn’t help that my bed (and every piece of furniture) was basically vinyl/rubber with a single sheet on it.  There was never any air circulation so each night I was there I would drench the sheets and my hospital gown with sweat.  This repeated each day and night until the day I was released.

I ended up with a heat rash from my back all the way down to my legs.  It was as fun as it sounds and didn’t clear up for two weeks after I was released.  I thought I had MRSA or some shit.

The first night was one of the worst ones.  My roommate was an older woman and I honestly have no idea what her diagnosis was.  She  hardly spoke, save for the occasional belting out of Unbreak My Heart which earned her the nickname Toni Braxton.  When she did talk, I could barely understand her.  That first night I went to bed first, too scared and upset to really talk to anyone.  I had my eyes closed when I first heard her come in.  I pretended to sleep while she sat on her bed and stared at me.    It wasn’t so much the noise or her presence that made me start to panic, but the smell of an unchanged adult diaper.  It may sound like an exaggeration but the smell brought tears to my eyes.  First, I have a very good sense of smell and it was overwhelmingly disgusting; secondly, it was a stark reminder of where I was.  I wanted to be out of there so badly.  I didn’t belong there!  And then I cried because I did belong there.   When the smell would disappate, she’d move and a whole new wave of stench was released.  She left the room and wandered the hallway.  She’d come in and lay on the bed with her shoes on, get up, wander around.  When I did finally fall asleep, I woke up again to hear and smell her coming into the room.  She went to our bathroom and did…something.  I can honestly say I have no idea what she was doing but the smell was making me gag and the sound was simply awful.  Later I heard a nurse helping her get cleaned up.  In the morning I made sure to ask if the bathroom had been fully cleaned before going in because it literally sounded like the entire bathroom had been sprayed from floor to ceiling.

ACCURATE

After what seemed like an eternity (but in reality was one or two days) I was able to have a short conversation with my husband and asked him to bring me some clothes.  Mind you, it was my choice to not speak with him.  He would call and try to speak to me and I wasn’t having anything of it.  It wasn’t until I had been on new medications could I bring myself to call him.  I had only the clothes I went into the hospital with:  jeans, sandals, tank top, a hooded sweatshirt and underthings.  It took the nurses about a day and a half to wash my clothes so I’d take showers and put the dirty clothes back on which I found disgusting.  I don’t even like putting socks back on after I’ve worn them, even if it was just for a little while.  I’m just weird like that.  It feels dirty.  Those dirty clothes, worn for about four days in a row,  smelling of sweat and hospital, really highlighted how awful things were.  I didn’t allow any visitors, so a nurse delivered the clothes to me.  It made a world of difference, this small, petty thing that I had always taken for granted.  The very same day as my new clothes came and I was feeling ever so slightly less shitty (at least clean), a nurse who didn’t bother to read which patient was in which bed decided to dress my roommate.  In my clothes.  Which she subsequently shit and piss in. All I wanted to do was cry and scream at the nurse that she was dumb shit but I was too afraid to.  Everything I did was prefaced with “will they think I’m crazy if I do this/say this/?  I didn’t want to be an asshole because it wasn’t my roommate’s fault and I sure as hell didn’t want to be one of the “screamers”.

Another night I had to leave my room because there was a giant cockroach in my room.  Not just like, eww, a bug, but three-plus inches of cockroach.  On the wall.  Above my bed.  It was like a conspiracy to make my hospital stay the worst experience of my life.

Plotting. Always plotting.

I didn’t scream (again, let’s not be crazy) and I got two nurses.  They were unconcerned until they saw it in all its gigantic horror.  They made a valiant attempt to fight it but THEY LOT IT IN MY ROOM.   Did I mention this was on the wall OVER MY BED?  WHERE I SLEEP?   They said I should just not worry about it and go to bed.  Are you kidding me?  Even now, thinking back four months ago, it gives me the creeps.  One of the nurses who was equally as terrified as I stood by my side as we gingerly tore the blanket and sheet off the bed, shook out the pillows, moved my nightstand/drawers out into the hallway.  You know, just in case.  They then locked my clothes wardrobe which made me laugh, as if that would keep the cockroach out (or in!) there.  I slowly calmed myself down and tried to go back to sleep.  Eventually had to go to the bathroom and lo and behold there he was, sitting in the corner of the room waiting for me.  Back to the nurses who then called a male nurse from another floor to come and kill it.  He laughed at us.  I absolutely didn’t care.  It was funny and would have been even more hilarious if it wasn’t happening to me.  It was the first times I felt normal there, able to laugh at my own panic, knowing that others were having the same feelings.  All over a giant cockroach.

Not all of my stay was bad, and again, it was necessary.  More on that another day.

1000th Post — Still Breathing

So, um, hi!  Three-plus months without a peep really gets you out of the habit, huh?  Maybe it was all the pressure of having to write a marvelously stunning post.  The tension of creating some sort of pomp and circumstance for myself.  But no, I’ve been absent for a bunch of other reasons but to cut to the chase, I’m glad to be back.  This is a really important post for me and one I’ve been dreading for the past 115 days.  As a warning, this post is long and boring.  Instead of reading this, you can go and read this or this.

My last post is dated Monday, May 12; the day after Mother’s Day.  That was the day I was released and sent home from the hospital, though I don’t really remember posting on that day.  For some reason in my mind, I posted that before my hospital stay so everything is sort of a big, stupid jumble.  But first, some back story:

Surprise.

I just haven’t had the easiest life.  Harder than some, not nearly as bad as others, but pretty fucking shitty for a fair amount of it.  If you’ve read my blog or know me personally, you know that since I was a young child my life had been a somewhat disgusting, horrible mess.  But I did what every good girl does–I pretended nothing was wrong.  I hid what I thought I was.  I tricked people into thinking I was normal.  I fooled people into thinking I was worth being around.  I was and still am very good at making other people laugh.  I pour everything I have into everything and anything as long as it’s not myself.

In reality, what was seen as a moody child-turned angsty teen was actually a girl fighting demons with everything she had.  In 20/20 hindsight, I can now see I was being pressed on all fronts:  physical, emotional, social, sexual, whatever.  It’s one thing to say you’re depressed, it’s another to actually, clinically be depressed and not know it.  Luckily for me, it was nature *and* nurture–chemical deficiencies in my brain and an environment perfect for destroying the soul of a little girl.  I have been so clouded by this for my entire life and am only now slowly seeing how it has impacted e v e r y t h i n g.   As a teenager I once overdosed on stolen painkillers in an attempt to kill myself.  I have no memory of about 3 days in my parents’ home.  They never even noticed that I didn’t get out of bed.  In my twenties I would drink myself into oblivion, skip work, leave my doors unlocked in one of the worst parts of the city.  I used razor blades to slice, slice, slice my skin.  With friends and with work I was still alone and kept these things to myself.  But no one ever thought I was depressed; again, just moody or bitchy.  Bitchy became a description that I learned to hold on to–it was my excuse and my armor and a false sense of strength.  I wasn’t depressed–I was just a bitch.

Fine. Fine. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

As major life changes came and went, so did incredibly difficult thoughts and threats of suicide.  Everything was so hard.  I planned.  I wrote letters.  I tested.  I threatened.  Cycle after cycle.  I inexplicably got older but not wiser or more mature.  Myy self destructive behavior expanded to everything else in my life: my work, my marriage, the destruction of my relationship with my parents and siblings and ultimately emotional damage to my children.  Before I go on, let me just say that my children are not emotionally damaged/scarred for life.  They’re more resilient that I could ever hope to be and despite any rough times, they’re the most loving and happy kids ever and I’m proud that even though I’ve made mistakes with them early on, I’ve become a better parent.  I owe it to myself to be a good parent.  I owe it to myself to not repeat the patterns that shaped and ultimately broke me.

I’m officially diagnosed as having major depressive disorder (MDD), or what they used to call clinical depression or what they used to call depression or what they used to call witchcraft/possession/hexed.  The past two years have been a seemingly unending downward spiral of awful.  I found out my last living grandparent passed away…via Google…a year after the fact.  My cat of 13 years died and I still blame myself to this day.  My marriage was falling apart to an appalling degree with behavior on both sides to match.  My dad died 600 miles away from me, laying in a coma for seven days before he was taken off of life support.  I hadn’t spoken to him for about 6 years prior.  I was not welcome at the funeral.  I never said good-bye.  My husband and I went through a difficult separation for reasons that I don’t need to discuss here.

For the record I didn’t want any of this.  I was trying, dammit.  I was fighting to get physically healthy, working on getting mentally healthy.  Trying to get my shit together.  And then just everything fucking fell apart.  No, not really.  More like burned to fucking ashes.

Right to left for you non-manga readers.

I went to a physical therapist for my knee.  I began seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist.  I was taking my antidepressant.  I was doing what I was supposed to do.  Problem was, the antidepressant wasn’t working.  It had worked before, and with great result.  After a lapse of a year, I was back on it and was so sure everything was going to be fine again.  It took nearly 6 weeks to realize that it really wasn’t working.  Sleeping from 8 PM to noon isn’t normal.  Staying awake for days isn’t normal.  Physical pain all over isn’t normal.  Not being able to take care of my children isn’t normal and it’s also completely unacceptable.  My therapist (Monday 5/5) insisted I call my general practitioner; I saw him the next day (Tuesday 5/6)and he changed me from pill A to pill B.  The change was so drastic and awful that the next day (Wednesday 5/7) I was screaming, literally screaming for my husband to come home.  Take care of the kids.  I. Could. Not.

I called the doctor and waited for a return call on what to do.  Hours passed.  I argued with my husband.  Locked my door.  Packed my things.  I wanted out.  In a panicky fight or flight way.  I NEEDED out.  The nurse called back:  Basically it was too soon to change my medicine; if I felt worse I could go to the emergency room.  My husband and I fought and fought.  I walked out of the house with nothing but my cell phone, driver’s license, and debit card.  (Ran away is more like it.)  He called the police because he was worried about what I’d do; I called the police because I wanted my things out of the house without more confrontation.

Nothing says well-adjusted like getting a ride to your house in the back of a police car, lights on.  No sirens, though.  We don’t talk to our neighbors anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter.

I went inside, got my things and left.  I drove around.  I drove some more.  I called home.  I argued some more.  I drove and drove and drove.  I wanted to stay in a safe hotel.  I just wanted to escape that current situation, but then what?  Escaping to what degree…I still can’t say for sure.  I only had enough money to stay at the sketchy extended stay hotel (I’ve stayed there before; soooo sketchy).  By the time I got there at 11-ish PM, they wouldn’t let me have a room.  Apparently, the crime is so bad that they won’t let anyone check in after 10 PM.  Great.

Pretty much.

I drove and drove and drove.  I finally ended up in the emergency room.  I didn’t have anywhere else to go.  I went into the emergency room Wednesday night/Thursday morning around midnight.  Now, when you are finally out of the emergency room area and admitted to the actual medical hospital, you are segregated in a locked ward for drunks, crazies, and generally violent people.  You get a gown that is a different color than the regular patients and you have to give all of your possessions (save your underwear) to a police officer.  He checked everything in, put it all in a bag and locked it up.  Then you’re evaluated a few times to decide of you’re a good candidate for being locked away for a while.  I saw the first counselor at 8 AM on Thursday 5/8.  I saw the second sometime around 10 AM?  Noon?  I was told that I’d be transferred to the mental health ward of the hospital at a different campus.  At this point I legally signed away my legal right to leave the hospital of my own volition.  It’s simple, really–you have to stay under a doctor’s care until he or she gives you the OK to go home.  This was the first point that everything became unquestionably terrifying.  I waited to be transferred,  so no need to eat lunch.  At 6 PM I was told that I was still going so there was no need to eat dinner, I’d eat at the other hospital.  At 9 PM I was lucky enough that a nurse noticed that I hadn’t had any food all day so I got to eat another patient’s cold, uneaten food.  Then they strapped me to a gurney and put me in the back of an ambulance and I was on my way.

It was finally official!

I am going to preface the next part by saying that I was at the nice hospital.  The hospital they send you to when you have insurance and money (I have insurance, at least).  This was not a horror story hospital, there was no Nurse Ratched, and surprisingly, no ghosts.  Having said that my experience there, while necessary, was terrifying.  This post is already way to long and there are video games to be played and school to be taught.  The next few updates will go more into detail about my experiences and what’s going on with me today.  After that, hopefully I’ll be back to normal posts about kids, cartoons, video games, and all that good stuff.

things and stuff

I’ve been busy and well…preoccupied.  These distractions are not yet over, but regardless of the outcome, I feel that it’s all been for the best.  So in the meantime:

Hungry.

OHSHITOHSHITOHSHITOHSHITOHSHITOHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT

I have just been notified that this is my fucking 999th post!  WHAT.  So…so much pressure and anxiety all of the sudden.  What am I going to blog about for my 1000th post?!

I’m really making this out to be more than it is.  I’ll probably blog about poop or something boring like that.  Or not.   Suspense!

Fighting for Charlie

So, in a rare departure from my usual low brow humor and self loathing, I wanted to bring some attention to a GoFundMe that my friend created:  Fighting for Charlie.

I’ve known Julie since Jr. High (middle school for all of you weirdos that don’t call it Jr. High).  Truth be told, I have always been a bit jealous of her.  Okay, that’s a lie.  A lot jealous.  Not like, if I kill you, do I become you jealous, but…the more I try to explain this, the more crazy I sound.  Anyway, I think she’s amazing.  She’s smart and pretty and talented and strong and all those things that you could totally kind of hate about a person if you were a jealous, petty, crazy person.  *ahem*  She’s the kind of person I wish I knew better and the kind of person that you’re pretty sure that her highlight reel on Facebook is pretty darn close to her behind the scenes. She and her family are really one of those “great people”. They have amazing support from their families, friends and entire community.  I’m really proud to say that I (kind of) helped (sort of) get the ball rolling by basically complaining that I wanted to do something but had no idea what to do.  Southern Illinois is far away, and my pennies don’t travel well.  So when the idea of a GoFundMe came up, it seemed like the perfect solution. Please check the link because I’m lazy. Basically, their son Charlie is in need of a Pediatric Hemispherotomy. Big words are generally bad, and then you add “pediatric” to it and it gets downright terrifying. As religious people often say, God only gives you what you can handle.  I can’t handle baking a bad loaf of bread (there was a brioche incident recently, I’d rather not discuss it) so I’m pretty sure that’s why my kids have thus far been healthy.  Because I would handle what the Patricks are going through with the grace of a chicken with its head cut off.

Go give to people who really deserve some relief in their lives.

rocks

Rocks
To see a rock in your dream symbolizes strength, permanence, stability and integrity, as conveyed in the common phrase “as solid as a rock”. The dream may also indicate that you are making a commitment to a relationship or that you are contemplating some changes in your life that will lay the groundwork for a more solid foundation. Alternatively, a rock represents stubbornness, disharmony and unhappiness. (via dreammoods.com)

I dreamt I was in an outdoor marketplace, like a bazaar.  Lots of colorful tents and some stone/mud buildings.  Lots of either dirt or clay–it was very bright.  I came to a stand where there were all different kinds of rocks in a tray on display, but I couldn’t tell how they were sorted.  Some small but jagged, some flat river stones about the size of my palm and so on and so forth. The man said I would have to swallow a stone.  If I chose, I would have to pick 100 stones to swallow, but if he picked, he’d only give me one stone.  I was afraid of what he’d pick for me, but in the end I said he could pick the stone.  Then I woke up.