From The Top

Everyday I journaled (on pen and paper)  my experience everyday so that I could have a mostly detailed account of my stay. So the after the stars everything has simply been retyped from my notes. So with out further a do

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That evening

I arrived at the ER sometime after 3pm(Saturday). My initial reason for being there was to address the numbness in my toes, but for some reason they ask you questions like "I have you felt like harming yourself" and the floodgates opened. They gave me a mental behavioral evaluation and decided I should been seen by a psychiatrist (or was it a therapist, or was it a counselor? One of those), who then decided I should be moved over to the behavioral health pavilion for inpatient care, and evaluation. It wasn't forced, I agreed to the request..

A common thing I was asked during the day was what brought you here? I often started with the foot pain, and used the suicidal thoughts for climax, and sometimes vice versa. I should point out that the doctor in the ER did say I had plantar fasciitis, I was even given a shot for it, but that was after i argued that simply taking place brand here "inflammation pills" has no effect on me whatsoever. My foot pain did decrease, but it never quite went away, and I'm sure had I been on my feet it would have been a different story. Some good news is, I called it when I mentioned it could be nerve damage as to why my toe was numb (that's two for two, first plantar, than that)

While I was waiting in a room that had a weird black mattress on top of a wood frame, no windows and a TV protected behind a glass enclosure. They were setting me up for impatient stay in the behavioral health pavilion. I had pretty severe anxiety and was told that they made an error with my urine sample and needed me to go again, somehow I managed. They kept my rooms door open or half open, and I seen several other potential behavior health pavilion  patients. The most perplexing was a tall lady with short red hair, she walked out of the bathroom post-urine same without her bottoms. She was, to say the least, on display. I turned my face quick when she looked my way, but she seemed unbothered, and when the doctor noticed her, he in a very nonchalant kind of way just said "okay lets get some pants on you". I suddenly got a massive rush of anxiety thinking of what I had gotten myself into, and how its come to this. And I kept thinking of how "far gone" that girl was mentally, and wondering if that might be me someday, or maybe I was far gone already and didn't know it.

After hours of waiting in that room, my room in the behavioral pavilion was ready. Because of the severity of the situation, suicidal thoughts, my mental state was considered potentially dangerous, so I was escorted with a nurse and 3 police officers through  the hospital to my destination. When I first arrived this to section I noticed two patients in the in a lounge area, that t kick started my anxiety, one passed them  I had to wait in a chair for the staff to make final setup and to take my vitals. I was also weighted (that's another story). The building had two sections, the part I was in, and another separate for more acute patients  I was showed to my room and then shortly greeted by another nurse, a very nice lady named Cathy, she did the usual questions Id been asked a thousand times by then, but then we just talked for a good while. I really got to know her and she just made the anxiety from the whole situation calm down. One of the things she said, is something many of you have said here "I'm still young" and I just remember thinking how I have no idea how that feels, I don't feel like. Young is childhood or teens or the first couple years of your 20s, all of which I wasted.


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Day one 

It was weird not sleeping in my bed last night. Or that I didn't fall asleep listening one of my favorite shows like King Of Queens or The Golden Girls. I normally have extreme difficulty sleeping in complete silence. Yet I went to bed quite early last night, the bedroom I'm in has no TV, in fact no room other than the lounge has a TV. Just a bed a dresser, a desk, and there is also a a nice size bathroom, it has no door though, luckily the bedroom itself does. I did go to the lounge for a bit before bed, where I met those two patients I seen on the way in, one male one female. They were pretty nice, I initially tried keeping to myself that night. But often talked to the man, while trying to  withdraw as much as I could without being rude. Learned lights off were at 11pm for the weekends, but it was just 10 when I headed back back to bed, and somehow slept like a baby.

Breakfast was decent it included eggs, bacon and a muffin, and was all surprisingly consumable. I was prescribed anti depressants, and was given them just before I ate. While I ate I had very pleasant conversations with the two patients from the other night Warming up these to, and them warming up to me so easily really makes it feel kind of homey here.

We've had a two group meetings today. In the first was just me and the female patient from before. The group was about which ways we neglect ourselves. There me, and the female patient discussed ways in which we neglected ourselves, it was really during this group that I really started to feel a common ground with her. I felt completely comfortable opening up in the group to express my  struggles with weight and my image, and dealing with anxiety and certain triggers. Ive discussed these things on the blog before, but never out loud, and it was like weight was lifted off my shoulder with every word.

The second group was more of the same, it was suggest I consider seeking out a support group for the overweight, I'm open to the idea. It was also suggest I lower my goals in terms of weight loss, that I am not open to. Since taking that anti depressant earlier, I really don't feel much of a change, in fact I've sank pretty low during between times in the lounge. Anxiety and dread would overcome me, Id get overwhelmed, but Id come out of it, I legitimately thought for a while that maybe I was given a placebo.

Ive been sitting in the lounge a lot today. My mind jumping from one thing to another. Its been kind of boring, Ive been waiting for things to write about but either nothings been happening, or I've some how forgot. There was talks about another group meeting for the day, but its looking like that isn't going to happen. Ive been thinking a lot of the things I used to do at home when bored. Id do things I wasn't sure i enjoyed, sometimes I feel so lost here, and it mimics how i often feel at home, its just weird, at home I have TV, movies music and games, all kinds of entertainment at my disposal, and hear, when I'm not talking with Kat (formerly  just female patient), the other patients, or in group or talking to a doctor, or counselor or nurse, I'm writing, and when I'm not writing I'm thinking. Yet home doesn't feel more appealing to me right now Im scared about when this is all over. What if nothing changes? I'm not sure how many days I can wake up feeling empty

Lunch and dinner have come and gone, more completely consumable food. Its pasted 530pm. I fell asleep earlier for an unknown amount of time, but was woken for dinner. The day is dragging along and I was hoping it would be a lot more therapeutic, or that there would be a lot more active approaches to dealing with my problems. That little blue pill hasn't seemed to do much of anything. I'm not wanting to be made artificial by medication, but some leveling out would be nice, Its exhausting being so gloomy all the time.

Kat got a visitor sometime after dinner. I seem to be mostly fine right now, thought I slightly miss my mother. She is out of town today so I know she couldn't visit, so i didn't even call. whats really racking my brain is how unnoticed this stint will be. My so called friends wont know Ive been MIA , entirely for lack of inquiry, same goes for almost everyone else in my life. if I mattered there would be people concerned and worried about me, I couldn't just disappear for a few days. I know once i leave this place that realization will be a lot more intense.

I recently was told that i could be discharged as soon as tomorrow, and its kind of sad for me. I must admit, I feel a lot more relaxed here, and its been nice talking with the staff, some patients and meeting Kat.

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Day 2

I did some reading on my medication, turns out it could take up to 4 weeks for it to take effect, that's a comically long time from where I'm standing, psychiatrist told me super early this morning that he wanted to extend my stay a few more days, I agreed, I was a little relieved too. Most of the patients i got used to around here have been scheduled to leave today or tomorrow, particularly the two from my first day, the guy is leaving today and Kat will be leaving tomorrow. Its going to be weird once they leave and I'm the only one left from the 3 musketeers .

Two groups so far today, the first was basically just some stretching, and it was over in a flash, but the second was more interesting. We discussed how we balance, and how sleep can effect your mood, and depression. During our discussion I described my crazy thought processes to the counselor and she suggested  down the line maybe i be screened for OCD, but I was thinking more ADHD.

Lunch was horrible

My mother called for me, but policy here is, if I didnt give her my unique 3 digit patient identification code, they couldn't even acknowledge if i was here. I was originally going to calling her the night I first arrived, but decided against it. Then the first full day I just really had too much on my mind, plus I knew she was out of town and figured, why interrupt? My mom called and was worried sick and wondered why i handed called. The lady told her if there was anyone here by my name she would relay the message, and she did. We had another group hosted by some medical students, that was kind of... well juvenile, and a common thing throughout these groups as been that me and Kat have usually been the only two to participate, and this was no exception. Draw a face, put positive things about yourself inside, write generic positive quote around the faces outer border. Ugh! It was suppose to be self esteem building, I got nothing out of it personally.

I called mom after that group, and she was an emotional wreck, so I told her she could visit me for visiting hour.and she did. The visit was nice, she gave me a big bear hug and seemed genuinely happy to see me, I informed her how I was doing, and that the horror stories she cooked up in her head were not the case. After learning about all the things we discussed and being on antidepressants, she seemed to really see that i had some problems. She mentioned something about work and i immediately became anxious, then she grabbed my hand and told me it was going to be alright and that I didn't have to go back work, that it simply isn't worth it. It was a beautiful moment, and I felt like she understood, and she offered me an out.The job is a source of pain, anguish, hopelessness, and a beacon for my suicidal thoughts, and yet there is a certain level of pride from being able to say, and to actually have, a job. I'm not sure what Ill do.

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Day 3

Its Tuesday and today we have already had 3 group sessions before lunch, very informative ones at that. There was one with a dietitian, which really RE-opened my mind to portion sizes. The doctor didnt mention anything about discharging me so I guess Im here another day, which doesn't bother me, I go back and forth on if I'm taking anything in, or if this is helping, but A part of me knows it is.

Today Kat was due to leave, she managed to make the 3 groups and had her finally lunch meal with me, we had some nice discussions and shared a few laughs before she left. The term fast friends never made so much sense. I connected with her with a level of ease that is just shocking. Its amazing how sometimes traumatic events can bring people together.

Journaling today has been hard, I have not kept up with previous days. I actually took an unintentional nap earlier. There seems to have been a sudden boom in patients. Its a much different crowd this time though.

A lot of resources seem at my disposal, its overwhelming sometimes, I just have moments and I'm like whoa, there's so much to do.

I'm estimating Ill be here until Friday. Morale is down quite a bit. I find myself sometimes examine the new patients, if there is on thing we all have in common its depression, its interesting how differently we all wear it though.

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Day 4

This morning they increased my depression medication by doubling the mg. I'm hoping it will help in the long run. after writing that last sentence I was informed by the psychiatrist that I would be discharged today.

Theres a lot of paper work involved and they have to fill my prescription so its not a right away kind of deal with these. Before the dust could even settle I was off to the days first group, solo. This was a spirituality group, a nice christian pastor spoke a about self-awareness in a very broad, insightful way. There was also this whole portion about clinging to things that are destructive. I feel like I got a lot out of that. Honestly, it sort of brought everything Ive gone through into prospective a bit.

Its just after lunch and I'm waiting for my mother to arrive, its a bittersweet feeling, I'm sad to leave, but also kind of excited. I am certainly going to miss the safe environment  I was in, and I know there are battles ahead of me now that I'm back in the real world. For some reason a lot of the people here believe in me, so.... here goes.

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Comments

  1. Brandon, its SO good to hear from you. I hope your stay in the hospital and the new depression medicine helps you a lot. What did the er think caused the numbness in your toes? Are they numb now? It sounds to me like your mother loves you very much. I am a mom and can tell you I would be devastated if I lost either one of my children and I am sure your mother would feel the same without you too. Your readers care about you also. Thanks for updating us and I wish you the best.
    Jeanette

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    1. Thanks Jeanettte, the numbness in my toes was due in part to plantar fasciitius and nerve damage due to compression from standing.

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  2. Thanks so much for writing all that. I can understand it would be very scary seeing the woman with no pants and wondering "why am I here, I'm not like her am I?" but I'm sure people were there for lots of different reasons. It sounds it really helped you to step away from your usual life for a while.

    My brother has OCD and nothing you've said makes me think you have that, but of course I could be wrong. I think mainly you are very depressed for a variety of reasons including that your hormones are probably all over the place. I hope the depression medication works out, it can take a while. Sometimes there are side effects like dry mouth but I believe they generally go away after a few weeks so stick with it if you can and see if your depression improves.

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    1. Yeah it seemed out of the realm of the possibility, but its not as crazy as it sounds once the flare settles, I have this thing with pencils Ill go into with a post someday.

      Thanks for your support!

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  3. Glad you made it home safe and sound my friend. Sounds like the last few days have really helped you get focused. That's awesome!

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  4. Brandon, I am so relieved that you are OK. Thank you for sharing your adventure-I am sure that you dispelled many myths that people have regarding psychiatric facilities.

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  5. I'm glad you are home, but I'm even more happy about you being honest in the ER and actually getting some help! YAY! That was brave of you! That unit sounded pretty scary at first, but it's interesting how safe and comfortable you ended up feeling. And I'm glad you figured out the medication takes up to 4 weeks to work. There are a lot of people in my family who are on anti-depressants, and it took them on average 2-3 weeks to really start feeling better, so hang in there!

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  6. I'm glad to hear you're back home Brandon. I hope things get better for you very soon.

    Mollie

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