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.
Today is the third day and it’s one of the hardest. I think I may be worse off than when I got here. Thoughts are racing and not altogether logical. Yesterday, Evelyn was talking about how she can’t color anymore and this morning, I was coloring. Now I’m worried that I accidentally stole her ability to color, but I know that doesn’t make any sense. One of the most frustrating things about being mentally ill is having these off the wall thoughts and knowing logically that they don’t make any sense but not being able to make my brain and heart connect and both realize it. I didn’t sleep through the night. I woke up a few times then woke up for the day around 5:30AM. I’m also very hungry but there is over an hour until breakfast.
I’ve now had breakfast and meds- Propranolol, Gabapentin, Ativan, and a multi-vitamin. My thoughts are slowing down and I think I may even be able to read. One of the nurses suggested I nap. Oh how I wish I could nap. I’ll see the Physician’s Assistant today. I’m definitely not ready to go home yet, as much as I miss River and want to be able to go to Destin on Saturday. I’m hopeful I’ll be out in time for that though. I’m paranoid that no one likes me and I’m annoying everyone. I hate asking the staff questions because I know how busy they are, but at least I’m not Dixie. She interrupts every conversation and makes it about herself. Turning into one specific extended family member used to be my worst nightmare. Now, it’s turning into Dixie.
I was sort of afraid of the new lady yesterday, but Monica is actually very nice and cool. She has her Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology. I found out that Lily has Bipolar Disorder and Schizo-Affective Disorder and has been in and out of inpatient treatment for almost a decade. It’s been very normalizing to talk symptoms with these ladies. I’m not alone and many of my symptoms are very normal for people who have mental illnesses. Mom and Dad are coming to visit today! We get special visitation today because of Memorial Day. It sounds like Lily is crying…I want to go check on her. Against my expectations, I’m finding that I care about most of these ladies.
Lily does not want a hug and I still do not know what made her upset. The medicines are clearly helping in some capacity because I am much calmer after taking them and my brain makes more sense. Maybe they will just let me keep taking the benzodiazepines until I’m no longer manic. I actually have like 4 bottles of 1mg Ativan at home, so I can keep taking it even if the new doctor doesn’t prescribe it. Lunch is grilled cheese and it is delicious. Every time I order it, I receive something new and different. Before lunch, we did turtle themed arts and crafts with Nurse Isabelle and talked about the importance of turtling or sort of retreating back into ourselves in situations that aren’t good for our mental health. It was fun. I also colored this morning and I’ve read some. Mom and Dad will be here at 2pm to see me. It is still before 1pm, I think. One of the really interesting things about being here is that we aren’t allowed to wear watches or to have clocks in our room, so if we want to know what time it is we have to walk down the hall to the nurses’ station. I would like to nap but maybe I’ll just read since I don’t believe I could actually sleep right now.
I still haven’t seen the P.A. yet today and I want to talk to her about sleeping since I haven’t slept through the night since I got here and I was wide awake this morning after not sleeping well and waking up multiple times. I’ll be kind of annoyed if I get pulled out of visitation to talk to the P.A. when my parents only get to see me for 2 hours and she literally has 22 other hours in the day where she could see me. The P.A. tries to pull me out of visitation but I say no and she agrees that we can meet later. Visitation is good! Mom and Dad get to stay for 2 hours but it feels like only 30 minutes. After they leave, I see the P.A. She was going to increase my PRN (as needed) meds for tonight in hopes that I could sleep. Dixie is being a raging bitch tonight at dinner. She is pissed because no one came to tell her it was dinner time, even though dinner is at the exact same time today that it’s been every day and even though it’s her own responsibility to come out in the hall and check the clock like the other ten of us do when we need to be somewhere at a certain time.
One of my favorite patients in here was just having a very loud and angry conversation with an invisible person in her room. I think she may have paranoid schizophrenia but bipolar disorder and a few others are possible too. She talks a lot about all of the time she has spent in the spiritual realm and the missions God has sent her on and how badly she wants to get to Heaven quickly. There are noises coming from her room now and I kind of want to check on her but I’m kind of afraid to. She just came in here and she seems a little better now. I, of course, had to hide this notepad. Things could have gotten awkward otherwise. That was an exaggeration. I really just flipped this page over so that all she could see was a blank sheet. I exaggerate a lot and sometimes flat out lie and those aren’t things I particularly like about myself. They typically happen when I’m manic. I’m glad I’ll only have to be in here for another week, but I feel really sure I’ll end up back in inpatient again.