Tag Archives: state psychiatric hospital

Daily Post – Memories in a State Psych Hospital – Chocolate Cake, Flip Flops, and The Wise One

Word Press Post A Day – Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.

 

I was stuck in the state hospital.  Well, pretty much stuck.  I had reached level 4, so I had some freedom.  See, when you reach level 4, you can leave the hospital.  If there is a field trip or outing, you are eligible to go on it.  For example, we took a trip to the Indiana Pacers game – it was amazing!  It was actually my first time to a professional sports game and I had a blast. Who would have thought I had to get sent to a state hospital to go to a professional sporting event? 

As time gets closer to your release, you are actually able to spend a few hours outside of the hospital with family and/or friends and even weekend visits out – yep you can leave the hospital for a whole weekend and spend the night at home!  My family didn’t lie in Indiana, so this didn’t even seem like an option for me, but for one week, both my parents (who lived in different states), came up for a visit!

I was due to be released in 2 months if all went well.  I would be off of my commitment and we were still figuring out where I would go – a treatment facility, group home, independent apartment, back with my family, etc.  Ok ok, so where do these flip flops, cake, and someone old and wise come in?  Well, I was free!  My family was there and I was level 4!  At first, I would only be out for 4 hours for the first 2 days, then 8 hours the next two days, then I got to spend the night at the hotel for the next day and didn’t have to be back until 8pm the next day! 

You can’t have shoes with laces in a psych hospital.  Nope.  You might just hang yourself.  So flips flops!  Yep, you bring flip flops or house shoes, or my favorite were my converse shoes that they make now that have elastic and no strings (I make sure to always have those around in case I get sent to a hospital).  But the days I was out with my parents, I just wore my flip flops, easy to put on, light, and freeing!  It was like going on a vacation to a beach – you just have to flip flops on. 

Chocolate cake!  We met up with my friend and his family from my city I was from.  State hospitals are rarely going to be in the city you actually live in.  I was in one that was 1.5 hours away from where I was from.  My friend and his family was amazing though, they had come to visit me about 2x a month, bring me food (yep you can also bring food into the state hospital) and basically being my second family. So my family and I met up with them at Applebees! This happened to be my friend and my favorite restaurant!  We always ordered chocolate cake for desert here when we went to ate – so to celebrate my freedom (even if it was just for a few hours) – we had some chocolate cake!

Tech M – he was old and wise.  He made sure to tell me what to do and not to do on my outings.  Of course I knew.  I knew not to drink or do drugs.  I knew not to do anything crazy or get out of control.  I knew that anything illegal or out of control would get me to not be able to go out, lose a level, and perhaps even delay my release.  But he sat me down and really explained the gravity of it.  He spent time telling me how proud he was of me.  He spent time telling me how important it was to spend time with the people who loved me.  He spent time telling me how hard I had worked to get to the level I was at.  I left for my outings with a sense of pride for being able to go on my outings, a sense of responsibility – more than I had before. 

I still think of psych hospitals when I wear flip flops.  My friend from Indiana, he still will text me pictures when he goes out to eat (anywhere) and gets chocolate cake – “Remember Applebees?”  Tech M, I will always remember him.  He was kind and caring.  He actually got very ill while I was still in the hospital.  He took some time off, and never came back.  A week or so before I left, we were told he had passed away.  He was a wise soul and I think he gave a lot of good advice to a lot of people – he touched a lot of lives. 

People have a lot of misconceptions about psych hospitals.  I know not all are good.  And I know not all state hospitals are like the one I was at.  I definitely went to one that was beyond amazing and got incredibly good care.  I have a lot of fond memories there.  I wanted out of the state hospital so bad when I was there especially the first three months. The last past of the 6 months, I just wanted out because I thought maybe I would be stuck there forever otherwise – and yet when I left, I actually missed it.  I missed the friends that I had made there.  I missed the groups that I had gone to.  I missed the support that I had.  Even the stupid roommate situation – I missed it.  Being on my own was hard, incredibly hard.  Thinking back on these memories actually make me smile.  There were some bad ones, but there were a lot more good ones than bad ones. 

My Story

I had no idea what was going on with me.  I was 10 and sad.  But I wasn’t just sad.  I was really sad.

I was 11 and I wanted to die.  I planned on how to die.  Our school was taking a trip to Six Flags and I wrote out my suicide note, and I put it in my backpack and I was going to kill myself at the park.  My mom found it though, she asked me if she needed to keep me home.  I said I was fine and went to catch my bus.  It was never talked about again.

I was 13 and still really sad.  Suicide still ran rampant in my head.  My art teacher found out.  He found out about my home life.  I trusted him. I thought he would help me.  He said he was going to.  But he took advantage of me.  He made me do things to him.  He did things to me.  He verbally abused me.  He sexually abused me.  He hurt me.  I believed all his lies. He molested me and hurt me and fucked me up so bad.  I wanted to die more than ever before.

I was 14 and moved to a new city. Life was worse than ever before.  A new school and no friends. My school counselor found out about what my teacher did.  Chaos broke out.  I didn’t want to deal with it.  I began cutting. I did not tell the police everything. He was never charged. My depression became more severe. I became sick from stress. I missed more than half the school year and stayed home because I was “sick.”

I was 15 and 16 and 17 and high school happened. My depression trapped me.  I faked my smiles and I wore my mask.  I immersed myself in school work.  I tried to pretend like I was happy and make myself believe I was. Deep down I was choking, I could barely breathe. Every day I planned my death. I didn’t even believe I would make it to graduation. Surely I would do something before then.

Graduation came and went. I was 18. College was a new start. Surely life could start over now. I was raped. My mental health went down hill. For the first time in my life I was put into counseling. I couldn’t talk though. I didn’t know how to express myself. I isolated more than ever. I cried more than ever.

Therapy continued and I made no progress, but I just kept going.  I kept my emotions in for so long that I just avoided everything. I turned 21 and my life went upside down. My arm was paralyzed. I lost control. Again. The molestation. The rape. My arm.  I had lost control again. I needed to die now. My depression consumed me.  The year was 2009.

Trigger Warning –  the next paragraph mentions a suicide attempt


 

I had many suicide attempts.  My worst was in May 2012 though.  I had strategically overdosed on Tylenol.  After being given the antidote (Mucomyst) and Reglan, both of which I had reactions to, I was transported to the ICU where I spent 4 days before being sent to the psychiatric hospital.  This was not my first time in the ICU but it was the worst attempt I had.  And it was also somewhat of a wake up call. It was my last attempt, but not my last visit to the psych hospital.

Between January 2011, my first psychiatric hospitalization, and October 2012 – I had 15 psychiatric hospitalizations and ended up with three diagnosis (bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder). On that last hospitalization I was committed for 6 months to the state hospital.  I was terrified, but at the same time, I was so frustrated and sick of life, I really didn’t care what happened to me.  I was so sure that I would kill myself no matter what anyone did and that I had no future, that it didn’t matter to me.  The state hospital was the best thing that happened to me though.

On Halloween of October 2012 I went to the state hospital via the backseat of a Sherriff’s car. It was a two hour drive and it took me to a life changing experience.  I had the best psychiatrist, psychologist, nurses, rec therapist, music therapist, group therapists, psych techs, dietician, and other support staff possible.  They were all determined to get me and others back on the right track. I left the hospital in April 2013 more stable than I had been in a long time.  On the correct combo of meds and with coping skills that I actually felt comfortable using.

Today, in 2014, I still struggle.  I have been hospitalized since being out of the state hospital.  But in no way am I in and out like I was two years ago.  I take my medication and I acknowledge that I need it.  I accept that I have a mental illness and I try to educate myself about them.  I attend therapy and participate in it actively.  I am working through my PTSD which has been a huge factor in my hatred of myself and life.  I am always working on improving and finding new coping skills.  I continue to attend my support groups.

I know I can continue to fight.  I know I don’t have to let it consume me anymore.  I don’t have to let it win. It still knocks me down sometimes.  I just have to make sure I keep getting back up.