Wednesday the First

15 Jul

I was woken dazed and dopey Wednesday morning by someone demanding I wake up for medication. This followed a familiar pattern the entire week-me not knowing what time meds came, and them not really calling. They finally started announcing the meds later in the week.

I grabbed a breakfast tray. Cream of Wheat. I put the tray back and decided junk food would suffice for breakfast instead. Corn twists in hand, and headed straight back for my room, my need to hide, find a den, strong and overwhelming. I needed to be somewhere that I could keep my back against the wall.

The room was set up as a larger room with 4 “pods” radiating off it. I was 4d. Next to 4a was a long streak of blackened vomit. Only after I heard my shrink chastising another patient and saying ‘Well Chloe, this is what happens when you eat a handful of Seroquel” did I get it. Chloe was suicidal, rather butch looking, and seemed to be in and out of the lock down area. She was so very angry, which I could have handled. What I couldn’t handle was the bloody Eminem that blared from her headphones constantly, cheap headphones that let more sound out than it kept in.

4b held Eunice, a nervous looking woman who never really explained why she was there, and who left a day or so after I arrived. She was very much a mother. She sent herself a beautiful bouquet of flowers, but signed the name of a daughter who wouldn’t speak to her. I was jealous of the flowers.

In 4c was Jane. Jane had been in the ward since April, and seemed proud of that fact. She seemed to have no real desire for improvement, instead finding some sort of comfort within the never changing routines. She also had some sort of disability, MS or a palsy. She was very clingy and manipulative to people who would let her. I found her incredibly irritating-her manner of speech was clipped, and almost forced into sounding broken. She was constantly bumming cigarettes off someone. She sprayed oodles of hairspray, and whined constantly that she couldn’t do a thing with her hair. Cause we were all there to impress after all.

I stayed huddled in my pod, and imagined that this was a glimpse into what prisoners felt. Not the same, but very similar. I started feeling like a caged rabbit, hated knowing I was being watched. When I walked down any hall, I could feel the small black orbs staring at me. At night, I could feel the flashlights on my skin. There was no real privacy-even the bathroom was shared and was so absolutely echoey that any business taking place was shared with everyone in the larger area.

People didn’t flush. People left lights on. People talked. People did, well, people things.

Truth be told, Wednesday was a mad rush of doing nothing. There was nothing to do. Later in the day they had movie night, and the nurse kept urging me to go. After the 5th speech about not liking to be around people, she finally got the hint. I sat in my bed, solving nearly unsolvable crosswords puzzles, wondering what was so wrong with me that life had come to this.

I could no longer run from what was wrong. I had to stop and face that I was sick, period. Not a bit messed up, but sick, broken. I had gotten through life with a combination of charm, wit, will and pure stubbornness, luck really. I had become good at compensating for my issues, and had adjusted to my moods. I had become a woman apologizing for her abuser.

And I could not do this any longer.

4 Responses to “Wednesday the First”

  1. feartheseeds July 15, 2007 at 11:58 am #

    What you wrote before, about being bored… I forgot about that. I was in for a month when I was nineteen. The TV was always in the control of the elderly, nearly comatose, patients watching their shows and the Price Is Right. They would never let me sit in my room. They wouldn’t let me have a pen, so I couldn’t write anything, and the schizophrenics were always hogging the magazines… there was a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen in there and we’d play cards together, but then he disappeared. I even started dating a girl who had jammed 120 (or so) Tylenol and the contents of a bottle of Vodka down her throat. We’d get together at 1am in the common room and hold hands and kiss and talk. It was like camp. I was in there because I was suicidal but I was too young and couldn’t see the sickness in the people around me, let alone my own disease. So it was camp. I was in there for almost two weeks before I finally understood what was going on… it wasn’t until I finally started recognizing the insanity and despair in the other people that I figured out that I didn’t want to be like them.

    Unfortunately, when I got out, I wasn’t better. I was too young to understand, and the people I was surrounded with were even more ignorant than I was.

    That last paragraph, about no longer running and “apologizing for her abuser”… that’s an excellent connection. It’s an excellent description of the relationship between bipolar disease and the people it infects. Congratulations on getting through this and coming out with some tools and an increased awareness of what’s going on inside you…

  2. bon July 15, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    reading. riveted. hopeful that somewhere in all the misery of being here that recognition of living like you were “apologizing for your abuser” has helped you…though so sad that the system meant to provide help seems so…pitifully limited?

  3. Chick July 15, 2007 at 2:29 pm #

    Wow. A lot of this I could relate to from my own hospitalization, with a few exceptions. We weren’t allowed headphones, ipods, cd players, any of that. The tv was the “focus” of the room unless it was “group time” and you had to be there if you wanted to ever get out.

    But everyone stared at the group leader like zombies, so it was almost as if they were still watching television.

    You have a talent for putting a horrible situation into words that evoke powerful memories for those of us who’ve been there, and let others who’ve not get a clue of what it’s like to deal with this stuff.

    Hang in there kiddo.

  4. CharmingDriver July 15, 2007 at 10:51 pm #

    Hey babygirl. I’m so sorry I haven’t had much in the way of advice of late but please know we’re pulling for you and your family everyday.

    Given our situation recently, please know that one day at a time is the very only way to make it through alive; we may not be happy or thrilled to be there but that can come later, right?

    Hugs Hugs Hugs One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. We will make it. Promise.

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