Sometimes I keep journals. Both times that I’ve been hospitalized, I’ve kept journals.
Trigger warning: what you may read might be disturbing.
Hospital stay #1, part 1 (January 2016):
I couldn’t take it anymore. People were watching my house. There were whispers at work about my performance and people were trying to get me fired. I told my wife about this but she thinks I’m crazy, that I’m talking nonsense. I’m hearing voices calling my name, and random song lyrics when no music source can be found. It’s maddening.
I broke. Somewhere along the line, I shattered mentally. I’ve been clean from coke almost a month – I broke my sobriety on New years eve- and I have no one to blame but myself. I smoked weed occasionally to try to get myself to sleep.
I’ve been sleeping horribly. I sleep for long stretches of 10-14 hours but I wake in fits of panic every three hours or so. I can’t shake the feeling that I just need to sleep. Maybe the paranoia will wane.
It was January. I had a day off work and was crying when she came home to find me losing my mind. I worried she was going to harm me. She informed me she was going to take me to hospital and that I could get better there. I couldn’t get a psychiatrist apt fast enough out patient. My wife phoned a good friend of ours, a retired nurse named Elle. Elle ended up taking me to a hospital outside our city- not the one that I work at…
Elle sat with me for a long time in a private waiting room outside emerg. Hours seemed to drag on like sand slowly eroding the pyramids. A nurse did my Intake and took all my information. I don’t recall what was sad, just things like “certified” , “stay here till a psychiatrist sees you” . Elle only left my side to get me food which I was grateful for. I was given an arm band and stamped certified. The Dr came in and prescribed some meds and left. Once I was given a bed, it was a hallway bed outside CDU. The nurses were watching me closely.
After Elle left, the nurses gave me curtains with wheels on them to give me semi privacy. As soon as I had my little blue pill called zopiclone I was out. I don’t remember a whole lot. The first few days melded into one another. I was admitted on a Monday. Today I am told is Thursday.
I feel waves of guilt. I can’t help it. My family counts on me to work hard and long to be the bread winner. My wife is off work because of health issues. Here I am losing my marbles.
Sometimes I think the nurses are here to poison me. I have a lot of allergies I listed when I was admitted. Corn. Peanuts. Hazelnuts. Almonds. Seasonal allergies. And what do I find in my stir fry? Fucking corn.
They sit behind the desk laughing. At me. Nurse D and Nurse G seem nice… but can they be trusted? I told them about the corn and they seemed really apologetic but I don’t know if I can trust them. I was in the hallway for 3 nights with nothing but a cloth curtain protecting me from anyone.
I was given a psychiatrist. Dr Niceguy was very thorough. He prescribed me Prozac and Trazadone. The Trazadone knocked me on my ass and I ended up sleeping 16 hours. He lowered the dose. He said “I don’t want you sleeping all the time.”
My psych nurse friend at work, JC came to visit. He bought me a tea and the nurse said we could go outside as long as I promised to come back. We sat outside emerg on a bench and watched a young 20-something year old strip off his shirt and wave it like a lasso in the air. He ran down the hill. A team of nurses ran after him. “Don’t you be trying that,” JC said.
My wife and Kat came to visit layer with food and laughs. Kat’s roommate Elle is a retired nurse and very stubborn. Elle’s son parties a lot. He apparently said “Nope, I’m surrounded by bitches. I’d be in hospital if I felt like that. Because bitches make you angry. And I’m surrounded by them.” I hadn’t laughed that hard in awhile. Harder than laughing at half naked-run-down-the-street-with-nurses-chasing-man.
The nurses kept trying to fuck with me. There were nuts in my dessert. I am allergic-hello! Hard to get better when people are trying to poison you…
Nurse D and Nurse G seemed nice. Nurse G got a little too close for comfort. She touched my arm and rubbed my shoulder. I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.
Finally, today, I got moved to the psych ward. Where I was deemed I belonged. I’ve worked on psych wards before, but as an employee, I’ve always had a key card. Here I had nothing. I was on the other side of the locked unit doors and I had no key. The unit is old, with outdated colours on the walls. Scuffs on the walls. Low ceilings. Cracked paint at the door frames. Two padded rooms with metal toilets and mattresses on the floor. I knew those were for code white/violent patients. I shuddered.
First patient I met was Kris. He’s 26. States that the unit is shaped like a “q”. I guess he’s right. He says nurses chart on how guarded he is and how much pacing or staring he does.
I’m in room 121, bed A. My roommate is Kay. She’s 29 and very quiet. She says she’s in for depression.
I think I’m going to go crazy in here. I’m not allowed to leave. I feel claustrophobic. Some guy named Larry keeps talking about babe’s that have big asses but nice faces. His face clicks every few seconds. I think it’s from his meds.
I’m not allowed my cell phone unless I get a day pass which has to be approved by a Dr, like Dr Niceguy. So I have novels I can’t focus on, an Xbox in the living area with shitty games and no exercise room except walking the unit or unless I decide to talk to the interesting characters I’m too paranoid to talk to. Great.
I just heard my name clear as day being called in the hallway. I rushed over and NO ONE was there. My brain… is broken? How do I fix this? ..every second ticks by slowly, painstakingly slow like someone tearing at a hang nail. I lay in my bed wishing for my night time meds… while hearing Larry talk to someone who wasn’t there outside my door. I have no music. I can’t focus on a novel. I am in pain.. this is pain.
It was hard rereading that. It was even harder to write/share that. That’s the end of part 1. I’ll post part 2 another time.