“Jeanie, it’s time to wake up. Breakfast is here.” My stomach rumbled but my head said, “Pretend you don’t hear him, he’ll go away.” I heard the sound of the tray being sat down beside me, than the sound of the blood pressure cuff. “Crap, I might as well do this.”
I sat up realizing I had a male CNA and I’m stuck in this stupid gown with no bra. Life is just getting better by the moment. I noticed my white board had actually been filled out, not sure when I fell asleep but I guess I really fell asleep hard when I did. That was good. At least I knew I could live in a mental facility and sleep. lol This was a plus.
“How are you feeling today?” he asked while taking my blood pressure. “Better than last night I guess.” I replied. “Your heart rate is 110, is that normal for you?” “yes I answered, my heart just beats super fast.” “well here’s your list of activities today, and tomorrows menu. I need you to pick out what you want to eat ASAP and turn it in and the pencil. I’ll be back to check on you in a bit.”
Oh good activities. Was I going to learn how to put peas in nice rows? Sweet Jesus, I get to go to group therapy. DBT group therapy? What the crap. Why am I here anyway? None of this is going to help. Fine I’ll eat my damn breakfast. Oh look pancakes! And they were good pancakes.
My CNA came back in about an hour later, I assumed so he could make sure I hadn’t kept my fork or something but no he pulled up a chair and we talked. I learned he was in school and yes this was his hardest job ever but it was worth it. So I shared with him that I was there because honestly and pardon my language I was loosing my shit. I hadn’t left the house in weeks, I showered only when I couldn’t take the gross feeling anymore, I was itching everywhere all the time, I hadn’t slept like actually sleep for weeks and most importantly I was hearing voices. He didn’t bat an eye. “Staff says you fell asleep between 3 and 4, I woke you up at 8. It’s not a lot of sleep, but I notice you’re not itching.” He was right, I hadn’t even noticed.
First group therapy season time came up. I wasn’t forced to go, just asked. But I knew if I didn’t play the game I wasn’t getting out. So I finally left my room. Oh I was nervous. Like the lunchroom in high school all over again. I got to the common room and relaxed a bit, there was plenty of space. For the first time I got to see who else was there. There was a lady with cancer. One man who was on his 7th OWI, and a girl who didn’t want to go back to her group home so she kept stabbing herself with pencils. (They can’t release you if you need medical attention)
This was my first introduction to DBT therapy. (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) I could go into the long definition of it but that is why Wikipedia exists. 🙂 For me through, the short definition is that it’s a way of disrupting my thinking patterns. When I have a mood swing, something major happens, someone is mad at me etc. I panic, I spend hours and even days obsessing over it. DBT brought into my life ways to break that cycle. Take a shower, play a stupid FB game. Something that disrupts the pattern. I had actually learned something of value.
“Jeanie, the doctor is ready to see you now.” Oh no psychiatrist time. Okay I can do this. Why was I so nervous? I couldn’t feel my legs, I was sweating, heart racing. “Jean Louise it’s just a doctor!”
“So Jeanie tell me whats going on.” I spit it out, again. He looked at me and explained there were many drugs we could try. We certainly needed a benzo but before we start using major drugs, he wanted to check for seizures. He also put me on prozac but at a inpaitent level. So off I went that was it, the prozac would be ordered for the evening and the klonipam as a PRN.
I went back to the common area, my OWI guy was there. He was stuck for 30 days. I learned he had been clean for almost 3 years, and they caught him with the car running in a casino parking lot, passed out. Otherwise he was just like anyone else I knew, he was in a band, struggled in love but held a job. (If he still had one he really didn’t know)
The rest of the day was the same, quiet. Oh and arts and crafts! Let me tell you I make some great plant pots. I told and retold my story roughly 10 times. Each staff member took the time to sit with their paitents and talk to them. It was annoying, but having the perspectives of so many people gave me something to think about.
Bedtime…..Oh klonipam I was out. Well atleast until I heard the yelling and rustling around in the hallway. I had to look, I mean really it was a psych unit. It was 4 or 5 cops, wrestling this 350lb man down to the ground. I don’t know how but they already had the straight jacket on him. Finally they had him down, and gave him an injection (i’m assuming he had court order of some sort because they can’t force meds on you). They got him into the padded room. All went quiet again.
I woke up in time for breakfast and headed down to eat. To my surprise there was the man from last night. I couldn’t help my curiosity so I sat at his table. I asked, “So what book are you reading?” He pulled it away from his face, closed it and showed me the cover. He smiled kindly as he said, “It’s a biography on Alan Greenspan…..” my jaw dropped. I couldn’t get through the chapter page on a book about Alan Greenspan.
Mental illness does not care about your IQ, your race, your lifestyle choices. It’s why I use the White Tiger as our symbol. They also have disrupted genes. To date they can identify about 7 differant genes that cause bipolar.
That is why we need our medications and access to them. That was literaly 2 differant people I saw. And at the right dose and the right medications we do not become zombies. We are just like you, only we need our meds and support to keep us focused on our goals and not our illnesses.