My first writing since arriving here at this hospital that I wrote 3/8/2011

Never mind the whole saga about how I got here.  I am here at the hospital.  No, I will mention a few things.  I showed up at my T’s office as scheduled, at 1pm.  Puzzle was safe and sound at Pooch Palace.  My T decided to hospitalize me but to have me evaluated by a psych place rather than a regular ER. I was sent over there by cab from my T’s office.  The people at the evaluation center interviewed me and decided that I should go in.  From there, I had be be medically cleared, which was a step we were hoping to skip over, but it seemed that they wanted some blood from me, etc, and also they said if they couldn’t find a bed for me, I would have to spend the night at the ER.

I was transferred to a local Boston large ER (not Mass General this time) where I was placed in a very secure room.  I have never been in such a secure ER room.  They took away all my belongings and did a “pat down.”  The room contained a metal bed with a hard mattress and no pillow.  There were openings in the bed frame so that restraints could be attached.  There were no electrical outlets or phone jacks in the room.  I stayed there maybe 15 hours, and I guess you could say it was about the same as a “quiet room” in a psychiatric floor.  I felt very safe there, and although I was confined to the space, when it was time to get transported, I was afraid to leave my little room.

It’s funny how confinement can make me feel so secure when I am not well.  I have often wondered about this. Maybe it’s because I am kept away from that threatening place that is the world.  Maybe it’s because the threats of the world are off my back while I’m in here, in confinement.  Maybe it’s because I am kept safe from the terror, because I am out of danger.  I know I cannot act on my horrible desire.  I know that for now, I cannot follow through.  I know that someone, peronified by my confinement, is keeping me from doing the awful deed that I had conceived.

I cannot get the thought of it, the picture of it, out of my head.  I see over and over the deed I am doing.  I see myself doing it.  I picture it step by step.  There aren’t too many steps.  Someone, please, stp me from doing this!

I should tell them that I felt like hurting myself while in here, and am still feeling like it.  I feel that I cannot wait until I am out of here.  I must do it as soon as possible.

I am getting doped up now and will go to bed.  I guess I’ll go out there and tell them, just alert them, that I am experiencing this.

Entry from the same local hospital I was in last time

I was admitted here Tuesday after spending a night at the ER Monday night.  I will explain the whole story when I get an opportunity to copy over the papers I wrote while in the hospital here.  I have many papers to copy over, including many of the McLean papers and the papers from my last hospitalization.

Unlike the night staff at McLean, who were like police, the night staff here are very kind.  I am mentioning this because of the marked difference.  The night staff at McLean deprived me of my human rights, and it got to the point that I had to report them for not allowing me water when I was thirsty.  Here, they even allow me to take a shower before 6am.  They let me get tea before 6am as well, when I feel that I need caffeine (I store “real” teabags in my room for such occasions).

They are secretly monitoring my food.  I found this out today, when I saw them spot my tray on the cart.  I have written a sign that I am going to place on my plate, which will be covered by a cover.  They will discover the sign when they lift the cover upon “inspecting” my tray to see how much I have eaten.  I plan to place the sign on my tray tonight.  The sign reads, “___ STAFF YOU’VE BEEN MONITORING MY FOOD YOU MOTHERFUCKERS.”  So this will be a big surprise to them.

The hospitalization has been no help to me.  I am no better than when I came in.  This is a “group” program and they insist of putting me in the “low functioning” groups where there are no meaningful discussions.  This is fine with me, sort of, because most of the time I am unable to go to groups at all because of It anyway.  There are no individual check-ins.  Most of the staff do not know what It is, and they don’t care, anyway.  Many of the staff think that I am faking It or that I turn It on and off at convenient times at will.  There is no chance to discuss suicidality, my sadness and grief, or It with anyone except one nurse who goes out of her way to speak with me individually.  There is no opportunity to talk about It or any or my problems in groups.  They do not give me any useful copeing skills because the groups are so basic.  The groups are at a 5th grade level.  Most of the time, I just sit in my room and–yes–write.

My writing is a lifesaver for me.  When It strikes, writing is all I can do.  The staff are no help for the most part.  I have tried telling them that I have had trouble with It, and they say, “What is the problem?” and I say, “I am having trouble in my head.”  And they say, “Oh, a headache, right?”  They are so clueless.  One person I was working with said, “This is my first time working with her.  I don’t know what her problem is,” and literally turned his back on me.

The best thing is that my T is coming!  Truly, she is going out of her way to come here.  She is meeting with me and the social worker–tomorrow.  I am really, really, really looking forward to this meeting.  I hope that the meeting is helpful.  Actually, I know that it will be more than helpful.  It will be the thing that makes or breaks this hospitalization.  I should tell them this.

My biggest fear is that I will end up in the state hospital.  This almost happened to me in 1997.  I cam e very, very close to ending up in Westboro State Hospital.  I avoided it by a hair.  In fact, I was in this very same hospital when the threat was presented to me.  I’m not sure how long I spent here.  Maybe insurance would only keep me here a week or two before they’d send me away to the dreaded Westboro.  For those of you unfamiliar with the State Hospital systems in most states, the general status quo is that they are very bad.  Patients can get beat up by staff.  Patients commit suicide in the wards.  Patients stay in the wards for years, not seeing daylight.  They have gang showers.  When I was in the state hospital in 1986 (see my chapter, “Pro Re Nata”–Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, Ma) a worker poured an entire bottle of shampoo over my head.  They literally watched me shower.  You wouldn’t believe how bad the food was.  At any rate, I fear the state hospital right now.  I feared it then and I came very, very close.

Today the doctor told me to think up some sort of alternative to hospitalization.  Well, what the fuck am I supposed to say to that?  Where can I go?  What am I supposed to suggest?  I guess I’ll just go home.  I guess that’s what I’ll suggest.  If they think I’m not safe to go home, if they think that I am too suicidal, then they should transfer me to a hospital that is more suited to me, where I can really get the “treatment” I need, where I can talk about my problems and not get railroaded into “groups” that will not help me.  Period.

I will continue to write.  I will continue to be vigilant.  I will continue to be honest.  But I am at the breaking point.  I have getting more and more hopeless.  I am getting more and more irritated by this place.  I wishing that they would send me home, and let me resume everything, and let me live or die, just let whatever happens, happen.

An Open Letter to My T

Dear T,

As you can see, I have arrived here today with a suitcase.  Puzzle is safely at day care today.  If you want to send me to the ER from here, feel free.  If not, I will go home.

I have these thoughts of suicide by various means.  I cannot tell you all of these thoughts.  I cannot get the thoughts out of my head.  I realize that thoughts are only thoughts and that I do not have to act on them.  I realize that thoughts are harmless and that many people have them.  What I am afraid of is that I might get too close to the fine line between thought and action, and cross over.

Throughout the weekend, I fought off the urge to harm myself.  I knew it would be difficult but I did not anticipate the pain that I would experience trying to fend off the self-destructive desires I was feeling.  I did not anticipate the struggle not to act on my thoughts, and the fear of those thoughts.

Throughout the weekend, I struggled with my eating, first eating and drinking nothing to the point of nearly fainting, and then bingeing and overhydrating.  I have not showered and I have been wearing the same clothes and sleeping in my clothes and shoes for three days straight.  I slept two hours last night.  As of now (6:15am) I am not certain whether I will take my morning medication, because I feel that it will not help me.

There were many points during the weekend, both on Saturday and Sunday, that I picked up the phone and was ready to call 911, but didn’t.

By the time I get to your office, I may be okay.  Maybe my outlook will be better.  Maybe I will “perk up” some like I did at the hospital.  That was why they sent me home, after all.

I trust your–or rather, our–judgment.

Julie

What I discovered last night

I discovered last night that I’ve been granted access to The Ride, the “handicapped” transportation system here in Boston.  I tried logging into the system using my old number, and I got on.  Surprise surprise.  This means that if I choose, I can avoid subway stations.  This means that if I choose, I can avoid the Red Line stations.  This means I can choose to stay away from a situation where I am currently at serious risk for jumping in front of a train.

Or, I can choose not to jump in front of the train.

Every time I go into the Red Line station, and walk down the platform, I feel like I am making that choice: Live or die.  Live or die.  Live or die.  Live or die.

Coping on a Monday Morning

I haven’t showered for three days.  I’ve been wearing the same clothes and sleeping in them.  When I got out of the hospital I ate nothing, and after a day or so of that, nearly fainted.  Now, I’ve been bingeing.  I have no clue if I’ve drunk too little or way, way, way too much water.  I haven’t slept.  I have no intention of taking my morning medications.  I just don’t think it’s going to do me the least bit of good to take them.  I must look awful.

Coping on a Sunday night

I’m about to head in.  I’ve decided to bring Puzzle to day care tomorrow and then bring my suitcase to therapy.  If I have to go in, Puzzle will be safe and sound, and I’ll have my necessary belongings with me.  My T can send me straight to the ER if she wishes.  If not, I’ll go home, and pick up Puzzle at the end of the day.

I may need to do this–bringing Puzzle in to day care–for a few days until this whole thing blows over.  That way, if I need to get myself in, it’s a lot less complicated than trying to get her over there in a hurry.  She loves day care, anyway.

Coping on Sunday afternoon

I called my friend that I met at McLean,  my roommate, finally, and told her I simply didn’t know what to do, and that I was thinking of packing my bag for the hospital.  I told her I was in a bad way.  We talked for a bit.  After a while, I began to calm down.  The horrifying self-destructive thoughts and drive toward suicide subsided gradually.  Eventually, our conversation normalized to the point that I felt good to be helping her out, being a supportive friend, giving her advice on the ins and outs of being on SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).  She, in turn, gave me tidbits of advice.  Maybe I should think about one thing at a time.  Definitely eat something.  Let’s get together sometime, she said.  And don’t you know, nobody has a landline anymore?  By the end of our conversation, which lasted over two hours, I had enough energy to do a bit of cleanup around here, and cleaned off a space to do some work on my novel.  Now, I’m ready to get going on it for a few hours.

I know, though, that my suicidal thoughts aren’t going to stay away for long, that I will have to deal with these thoughts when they return.   I know I’m not in the clear at this point.  I’m okay for now and I can breathe, and this is a good thing, so I’m going to take advantage of the time and get a few things done.

It has been a scary weekend without access to my T.  I don’t know what she’ll say.  I don’t want to tell her about yesterday.  I don’t want to tell her about this morning.  I don’t want to tell her what the specific thoughts were.  I could not say them out loud.  I could not tell my friend, of course, I could not write them here, and I  refuse to tell my T the specifics of my thoughts.  Or maybe, I will.  Maybe I should.

As I write these words, the thoughts are returning.  Shit.

Thoughts are only thoughts.  They cannot harm me.  They cannot harm me.  They cannot harm me.  I do not have to act on them.

Guess it’s time to pick up the phone again.

Well, no.  I can’t be on the phone all day long.    I don’t even want to be on the phone right now.  I’m phoned out.

Thoughts are only thoughts.  They cannot harm me.  They cannot harm me.  They cannot harm me.  I do not have to act on them.

I feel driven to do two things right now.  One thing is _____.  The other is to pack my bag.  I think I’ll pack my bag.  It’s the only thing I can do to distract myself from the thoughts.  I’ll be back.

On Our Walk

On my walk with Puzzle, I thought about many things.  First, I thought I would write a letter to my blog readers.  I know there are people out there who read my blog and are reading the It Notebook.  As Puzzle and I walked along, I mentally composed the note:

“Dear Blog Readers,

I know I have made you uncomfortable with my talk of suicide.  If you do not like it, you do not have to read it.  I am only a person suffering from two mental illnesses trying to get by–day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.  I recently survived two psychiatric hospitalizations, during which my condition worsened.  I was released from the last hospitalization two days ago.  I left the hospital with intent on suicide.  I am still alive and trying to survive the weekend.  It is very difficult.  If you do not like what I say, just close your browser window.

Julie”

Then, after I mentally composed this note, scary thoughts came into my head.  Very scary thoughts.  Plans.  I am not a person who acts impulsively, but these thoughts scare the shit out of me.  I promise, promise, promise that I will call 911 first and never, never do what I am thinking of doing.

I wonder how I’m supposed to get these thoughts to stop.  There must be a way.

Maybe I should pack a bag.

 

A bit more time has passed

A bit more time has passed.  I rested.  I woke up and I feel about the same as I have since 4am.  Brushing my teeth felt good, though.

I don’t know what to do.  It seems like it will be bad luck to pack a bag.  If I do, I’ll surely end up going back in.

These urges are very strong right now.

I will keep it under control
I will keep it under control
I will keep it under control

I need to shower.  I need to walk Puzzle.  Have a cup of coffee.  Do ordinary things.  A shower and a walk and coffee might make me feel a whole ton better.    I’ll give it a try.