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My trip to the psychiatric ward *verymildtriggers*

Posted by Llurpsie_Noodle on April 3, 2007, at 16:38:50

First a word to my sponsors
Thank you Dr. Bob. Without this forum, and the advice from people's babblemails, I wouldn't have been able to make the decisions I did. And I might have done something very bad indeed.

Precipitating causes
1)I just finished my diss draft but didn't feel happy, only more nervous. more expectations. scared
2)I hadn't been taking good care of myself. including eating, drinking water, and sleeping. After 4-7 days of this I was a big twitchy mess
3) I had been doing 3 full time jobs with no end or vacation in sight.

a) exploring my horrific past with my T. journalling and flashbacks and the works. And doing this for 2.5 weeks WITHOUT my T's availability. Pdoc said I was operating without a safety net. yep

b) writing a dissertation. 100 pages in 3 weeks. That's a lot of reading research and writing. not to mention editing, making charts and working on a long bibliography

c) my regular grad student duties, including planning and preparing for a conference, and working on old and new studies, going to classes and such

4) my aunts sent me 3 or 4 emails with disturbing and enlightening new knowledge about the depths of f*cked-up-ed-ness of 3 generations of my family. I was not prepared to process this information given my other 3 full time jobs

5) The mouse. Already at heightened alert because of stress through the roof. the prospect of encountering the mousie was utterly terrifying. I basically had stopped going into the kitchen. hence no eating. hence no healthy brain chemicals

6) disorder. travelling and dissertating too much had created such disorder in my environment that I had no calm safe place.

7) cymbalta withdrawal. Thursday was my last dose and by Friday I was so dizzy and nauseous that I felt like utter hell. And the brain Zaps. (they continue by the way... as does the dizziness. 5 days later.

How I got to the hospital.
On Thursday I told my T that I was having bad thoughts. On Thursday night I was packing to go to the hospital. I wrote out how desperate I was and my detailed plan for ending my life. The thing is that I didn't want to die. I just wanted relief. My T scheduled me an unprecedented extra session on Friday and ended up calling the psychiatrist on call and asking what the procedure for admission was. Then she drove me and dropped me off at the ER and ran back for her next session.

Admission was scary. I was left alone in an isolated room, and they took away all my possessions and I had to wait in the ER in a hospital gown and a couple of sheets. I was shivering and sweating (cymbalta and terror). After 2 hours the ER doc came and gave me brief interview. determined that I should probably be admitted. He was nice. even offered to buy me a soda from the machine outside. I was basically in a dissociated trance, but started to feel more human when interacting with someone. He commented on my large and attractive pupils. I said "don't get your hopes up, my pupils are large and attractive to everybody!)

Then I waited for 2 more hours and asked once for juice. That was good juice.

I think I was so scared that I wet myself a little bit, though. I soaked through my hospital gown with the cymbalta sweats and the terror. Then I got interviewed by 2 med students who had a whole checklist of symptoms. They were very thorough. It was a good interview. I cried a lot. The ER doc came and said his shift was over but that he was confident that I was going to be okay. I think his words were "You may be crazy now, but you're going to be okay soon". That made me feel better. so did talking to the 2 med students. Then I had another hour gap. the nurse gave me a boxed dinner with some turkey sandwith in it. I couldn't eat it.

Finaly, after about 7 or 8 hours, a real live psychiatrist came and talked to me and told me that I had some rights. basically I could commit myself voluntarily, or else she would be forced to involuntarily commit me. I chose the former.

Then I got wheeled in my bed. in fetal position and the psych nurse checked me in close to midnight. I slept soundly and felt safe for the 4 nights I was there.

The first day they over sedated me. too much klonopin and too much geodon.

The second and third days were better. Especially the third day. I got to do some art projects. I painted a lion that has strong chimeric qualities of a baboon and a boar. I showed it to T and she suggested I put it in my kitchen to frighten away the mouse.

What did I do at the psych ward
1) tried to stay out of trouble. Said please and thank you
2) tried to speak up when I had a headache or when I needed medicating, or when my food tray had the wrong thing on it (happened 80% of the time)
3) Read everysingle martha stewart magazine in stock. halloween through easter. played with crayons. wrote imaginary psychobabble posts with very blunt pencils.
4) tried my best to keep up with the steady stream of interesting thoughts delivered by a man I suppose is schizophrenic. He was a sweet schizophrenic. We had about 8 conversations, and often I had to walk away because I had really bad headaches for much of my stay
5) met 2 nice young women. One of them was feeling hopeless kind of like yours truly. She OD'd and was upset because she really really wanted to be released. She said that I was smart because I admitted to not feeling safe without taking action on it.

The real reason I didn't OD is because I was terrified that I'd have noone to wake me up and take me to the ER. I live alone right now. That's also one of the precipitating causes, I spose. loneliness.

So, I've learned a few things
1) build in leisure breaks. I bought some coloring books from Dover press and have done two pages (thanks for that idea Falls!)
2) decided to create one stress-free zone in my place. that means no work. no disorder. no pill bottles. nothing except for happy things. like my bed, with my grandmother's quilt on it. and a corner for my artist's studio (knitting and coloring are my projects right now)
3) take the klonopin. maybe if I had taken it I wouldn't have gotten so freaked out about mousie and I would have been able to take better care of myself
4) negotiate more reasonable deadlines with my advisor. I called her yesterday and told her that I was in hospital with stomach ailment. she cut me some much needed slack
5) ask for help. in writing. in words. somehow. just don't leave cryptic clues and punish my own body when people cannot read my mind.

I'm feeling better, but I'm still in pretty icky cymbalta withdrawal. I saw T today, and see her again later this week. I see my regular pdoc tomorrow and we're going to discuss some changes.

best to you all, thanks for readiing,





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