Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Five days in the psych ward... Day one...

Day one:

That first night was the worst.
I tossed and turned unable to sleep for most of the night.
And I was sooooo cold!
I was wide awake at five thirty in the morning and could hear all the goings on out my door.
I could hear a woman yelling at a nurse because she wanted her meds.
She kept insisting that she had to be able to leave at seven thirty exactly.
From what I could gather she was headed to rehab and the person picking her up had stressed that she needed to be ready to go at exactly that time, or else...

This woman was very rude.
That was made clear simply by the tone and volume of her voice at such an early hour.
The way she spoke to the staff etc...
I'm not judging or anything, we all have our problems... 
But when she whined about getting her coffee with no please or thank you,
 boy howdy I was glad she was leaving that morning.

I stayed in my bed unsure of what to do.
Finally I braved getting up and asking for my "box".
(Everyone had a box with things that were deemed unsafe for us to keep at all times, we were only aloud to use the things in our "boxes" when we needed them.  
They included things like:
contact lenses/glasses
These are things I had in my box, things I had brought with me to the hospital.)
I was given my box with strict instructions to bring it back when I was done,
I was given some towels as well.

I went to the bathroom in my room.
It had only a third of a door, the top and bottom missing.
There was no handle and no lock.
Because I was sharing my room with an invalid 
(she had a bum knee)
there was a bench for her to sit on that took up half of the shower area.

Somehow I managed to shower in the low water pressured small stream of water.
I had been smart enough to bring extra clothes and underwear so I had something clean to wear and did not have to stay in the horrible hospital gowns.

After I had showered and dressed, with little privacy, I was at a loss of what I should do.
There were other "crazy" people eating their breakfast out in the common area.
But I being shy didn't dare approach them.
I figured I'd spend the entire time in my room talking to no one.
But it wasn't to be.
It wasn't long before my assigned psychiatrist came and collected me.

We walked out of my room and past all the others in the common room.
As I walked into the room that the psychiatrist led me to I could hear the others talking about me.
I can't remember what they said exactly, but something to the effect of:
"That's the one."

I spoke with my psychiatrist for only a few minutes.
I explained to him that I was feeling suicidal 
and he tried to deduce if my feelings were chemical or environmental.
We decided that they were chemical.
So I was kept on my medication.

I was led back out to the common room and encouraged to eat my breakfast.
I remember a bagel a banana and some fruit.
I ate the banana.

While I ate a tech came up to me needing to take my vitals.
Something they do regularly to make sure you aren't dying on them.
He took my blood pressure and said:
"Okay Rose we are going to play a game.  You guess what your blood pressure is and if you guess right I'll give you a dollar.  If you guess wrong.....You will be publicly flogged."

I was confused.
Was this guy actually teasing me?!
Doctors and hospital people NEVER joke.
I have learned this over the last several years of spending time in hospitals having babies and from my many trips to doctors offices for having said babies.

This should have been my first clue that the psych ward wasn't as terrible as I thought it was.
I finally gave in and guessed.
I guessed low, not taking my stress into account.
So I was wrong, but I wasn't publicly flogged, lol!

The other ladies that were there were very nice to me.
Most of them knew my name.
They asked me questions and were very friendly,
the "mad" lady having left before I got up.

There was a teenage girl who was 19.
There was the older lady, who was probably in her 50's, that I shared a room with.
There was a girl my same age, her head was shaved.
There was another lady who must have been in her 30's, she was so nice and funny.
There was another lady who was in her 40's who could never remember my name.

All of these woman suffered chronic pain.
Some of them struggled with drug abuse.
Only the 50 year old was somewhat active in the LDS church.
They all had very negative feelings towards the LDS church.
I'd come to listen to several conversations ridiculing the church.
I never joined these conversations.
Some would say that it would have been an excellent time for missionary work.
But I was neither in the right place mentally or physically to be hailing the gospel.
Though there were several times that I had to work really hard to hold my tongue.
I wanted to defend my church and my beliefs, but couldn't think of anyway to say something that wouldn't have made matters worse.
I figure that if the Lord really wanted me to say anything 
He would have blessed me with the right words to say.  
As it was I had nothing but my faith, without words.

Later after lunch I was visited by my therapist.
Such a nice sweet understanding lady.
She only had to push me a little in the right direction for me to be able 
to discover the answers to my questions on my own.

After talking to me for quite a while she said,
"Rose you are a perfectionist."

I gave her a weird look and thought to myself,
If I were a perfectionist I would probably be much more successful than I am.

I left the room with that thought playing over and over in my mind.

I was given a form to fill out.
One of those "personality" type "tests".
This one called "SCHEMA".
It would show me my "life traps".
I set to filling it out and thought nothing of it.
I gave it to one of the techs who would analyze it and put it into the computer 
which would then show me what my "life traps" are.

Turns out my "life traps" are 
Failure to achieve

I'd be given a book that would tell me more about these things.
As it was, simply seeing that made a light bulb go off in my head.

The reason I feel like a failure.
The reason I feel like I need to be perfect for everyone but myself.

So many things clicking into place I didn't know what to do with them.
So I wrote.
I wrote how I was feeling.
Which basically boiled down to being a  failure.
I dissected what it was exactly that I was failing at and why.
And when I couldn't write any more I sat back and pondered and watched the people around me.

I slowly and shyly made friends with the other "crazy" women in the psych ward.
Turns out that they weren't so bad.
Though we each had our problems, we found friendship in each other.
We found support.
We found understanding.
I'll probably never see any of those women again, but they have burned a lesson into my life.
It doesn't matter who you are or what you've been through the bottom line is we are all human, 
we all want to be loved,
we all want someone to care about us,
we all want encouragement,
and we all want someone to talk to.
(All things I've found in the Lord)

That first day was only the beginning of me "getting better"...


Shannon and Doug said...

Thank You

kwily said...

I am dying to read the rest! You have faced my greatest fear and it's helping me so much to read about it!

Briann said...

you are so amazing, thanks for sharing this