This is a seven part series. A new part will be released every Wednesday until all 7 are out.
Disclaimer: As some of you may know, I took a Memoir Writing class in 2017. For that class, I wrote a lengthy (22 page) story about my first time going inpatient in a mental health facility back in May of 2015. I utilized a “journal” or sorts that I kept while in the hospital. It was really just a yellow legal pad with notes scribbled all over it each day. I was hesitant to share it here because it’s very frank and may contain details of thoughts I had that some people may find disturbing, but I also feel it’s an important look at what being in a mixed episode can feel like. In a mixed episode, you experience symptoms of both mania and depression. So you may have a ton of energy and engage in risk taking behaviors but your self talk may be incredibly negative and scary. At any rate, I’m now going to share that story with you weekly in several parts. I’m not sure how many parts yet, but I don’t want to make each post so long that no one wants to read it. Some parts of this story contain strong language not suitable for children. I know some of the stuff I have written and write in this part are really off the wall and bizarre, but they are the honest thoughts that I had at the time.
We have a group today where we play drums, play twenty questions, then toss a ball back and forth to learn each other’s names. It is your basic team building stuff, but it is pretty fun. Shortly after, Mom and Dad come to visit, but the hour and a half they are here for flies by like a number of seconds. They bring me a picture of River, my stuffed dog, coloring books, colored pencils, and markers. I hug each of them for a long time before they leave. They look weary but are trying to put on happy faces.
Samantha takes me and a few other girls outside for a walk before dinner. The food here is actually really tasty. I have grilled cheese and it has about three different kinds of cheese oozing out of it on delicious buttery bread. I head back to my room after dinner and attempt to read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but my mind is all over the place and I can’t focus long enough to get through a simple paragraph. Someone comes down the hall and wakes me up because I have a phone call and it is Tiffany! I could say “I have the best support system in the entire world!” a million times and it still wouldn’t be enough for me. Phone calls are limited to ten minutes to make sure that everyone gets enough time to use the phone so I go back to reading and dozing off. At 8pm it is finally time for snack, which is necessary since so many of us take antipsychotics that require at least 350 calories eaten recently for them to absorb properly. After snack, I am one of the first in line for meds, which I take and decide to go straight to bed.
When I find out that the movie for that night is going to be Pride and Prejudice- the Keira Knightley version, I decide to stay awake and try to watch all of it. I make it through all but the last fifteen minutes of it because at that point, it becomes very necessary for me to leave the room. One of the women on the ward, Dixie, is one of the most obnoxious people I have ever met in my life. She is constantly asking questions throughout the movie that either a) she would know the answer to if she had been paying attention to or b) no one else knows the answer to because we either haven’t seen the movie or don’t have it memorized line by line. When I get up to leave she asks me why I am leaving and I say I want to try to go to bed.
The next day I have a migraine and am excused from all of my activities. Nurse Sarah brings me an ice pack for my head and folds my laundry for me. Nurse Layla gives me 100mg of sumatriptan. It’s not what I usually take for migraines and it’s not nearly as effective. I go back to sleep for a long time, then emerge from my room for lunch, after which we watch part of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until visitation, which made me very happy. Dixie asks again why I didn’t stay for the whole movie last night. She makes me feel very punchy, but I don’t act out on it, I just seethe on the inside and dislike her from as much of a distance as I can possibly be in a small locked hallway. I said again that I was tired instead of yelling, “It’s none of your fucking business, bitch!” at her like I wanted to. See, I can be skillful even while manic! I really don’t like her. I overheard the nurses saying she has a textbook case of Borderline Personality Disorder, which makes a lot of sense. The symptoms include impulsive actions, unstable relationships, mood swings, etc.
Mom, Dad, Joanne, and Rylann all come to visit me. Joanne and Rylann can only stay for a little bit but it was so amazing to see them for as long as Rylann could tolerate being there. They have to leave a different way than they normally would have because we got a new patient who is “excitable.” Mom and Dad stay the whole visitation time and are allowed to leave the regular way. The time with them always seems to pass too quickly, but I’m so grateful to them that they are willing to come visit every time they are allowed to. After visitation, I watch part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 before dinner, then more of it between dinner and snack. Two of the other ladies, Evelyn and Marie, were both really into watching it as well. After snack, I take meds then take a shower, then other people (DIXIE) have started Free Willy 2, so I can’t watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which I have mentioned like a million times is coming on at 8:45pm and that I want to watch it. Instead, I call Sheridan and leave her a message then call and talk to Mom and Dad.
One of the girls here talks a lot about all of the time she spends in the spiritual realm and Dixie is convinced that her daughter has somehow illegally had her involuntarily committed. She thinks she is perfectly healthy but believes the doctor can hold her for 7-10 days. I’m 99% sure they can only hold you for 72 hours before committing you or not committing you for your own and others’ safety and then they can keep you here for as long as they deem medically necessary. The result of my blood work was that my triglycerides are very high, but I don’t know what that means.