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.
Mom came for Samantha’s family group earlier today before Dixie was discharged. I didn’t really get to talk to her about it, but I felt like a lot of it didn’t really apply to us. Dixie came in at the beginning and started giving Evelyn’s mom shit about not calling Evelyn at all in the past month. Evelyn is such a pure sweet person. I sometimes think she understands things most other people don’t. Still, it was none of Dixie’s business. I really worry about myself in the moments when Evelyn makes perfect sense to me. Like when we were talking about how maybe this is a coma we’re in and it’s not our real lives. Or her idea that maybe she was stuck inside a Ouija board. Her brain is just so fascinating. She is also tremendously kind and just wants to help other people. She has conversations with people I can’t see and sometimes I wonder if I’m just not enlightened enough to see and hear them, too. Which is pretty good proof that I definitely need to be in here. Anyways, it was lovely to see and tease and joke with Mom.
At the end of our group, Monica got here! It was so great to see her and just talk and laugh about everything that’s happened. If I couldn’t laugh, I think I’d have to cry. I just took my first increased dosage of Tegretol and Gabapentin and I have to say, I do feel calmed down and more normal, but that could also be the Vistaril, Klonopin, Ambien, Propranolol, etc. It meant so so much to me that Monica drove all the way out here to see me. She brought me books and she tried to bring me Reese’s cups and Coca Cola as well, but those weren’t allowed in as food items are contraband. I am endlessly grateful for my support system. I don’t like to use the word often, but I’m incredibly blessed. I love that the pages and pages I’ve written since I got here are just the same 26 letters rearranged over and over again. Every book is the same way and it blows my mind!
What if I never get better? What if I’m just in and out of hospitals for the whole rest of my life? What would that mean for me? I know what it would mean, really. I would rather die than spend the rest of River’s life away from her. Where does she even think I am? Grandmom and Granddad sometimes come home smelling like me. Does she think it’s just her I don’t want to see? Or maybe she can smell the mental illness? She could certainly tell I wasn’t well before I came here. She was behaving much better and spending a lot of time curled up next to me. I don’t know what I’ll do if I’m not released in time for the beach. I’d be sad about missing it and feel guilty about Mom and Dad missing it and annoyed about not getting to see Jac or Brad and Jeff and the Laurens and Lily and Carson and my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmother. I think if at any time anyone starts being negative or invasive, I will just say, “I’m not comfortable with this conversation.” I think that would be a good way to handle it.
Monica couldn’t believe that we don’t have groups led by LPCs (Licensed Professional Counselors) here but she said it was like the Hilton and I agree. It’s an all women ward with 11 single rooms. The food is good, the nursing staff is excellent, and the doctors are ok too even if they do directly contradict each other. I kept trying to ask Monica about her life but then I’d get distracted and talk about something else. I know it was only the mania, but I still feel bad. It’s so hard to focus on only one thing right now and it’s a real struggle to concentrate. I wonder what River is doing right now. Probably sleeping in between Mom and Dad on their bed. I feel so badly for Mom and Dad right now. I know they must be so worried and scared but I’m really very safe in here and it was bound to happen some time. I will just be seriously pissed if Mom and Dad miss the beach because of me.
I wonder if people have successfully killed themselves in here and if so, how? Aside from drowning themselves in the toilets, which I discovered my first night would probably be the only way to do it in here. Has someone killed themselves in my room? Is it haunted? Is that why I wake up during the night? How old is this building? How old is this mental health ward? What would have happened to me if I had been born 50 years earlier? I would have spent the first 24 years of my life as a normal girl then been sent away to an asylum forever. Mom and Dad wouldn’t have been able to make it to every visitation, I’m sure. Would there have even been visitation? What if Mom and Dad are lying at home murdered in their bed with River in between them also dead? What if that asshole bear that killed the neighbors’ dog killed them all? I should try to go to sleep. What if I don’t wake up from all the pills they gave me? I love you, Mom, Dad, and Jac. I love you River. I love you Asher. I love you friends. I love you family. I love you kindred spirits.