Inpatient Experiences and Nurses

I feel for nurses who work at psychiatric hospitals. I really do. It takes a special calling to be able to fulfill that type of nursing role. Sure, there’s less blood and guts, but the work is often thankless. Many times, the patients don’t want to be there themselves, and they tend to take their anger out on the nurses. This could be a verbal altercation or a physical altercation. As with all nursing jobs, the hours are bad, and the pay isn’t that great. There are many reasons why there is burn out among nurses on psych units, but that doesn’t excuse some behavior.

During my last stint, for example, I was intake room, and I could over hear the nurses gossiping about me from their station. They said, “The little psycho is back.” Yes, I had been there before, and yes, I was psychotic, that’s why I was there the time before. They said more, but I will leave those parts out.

The issue, however, is that this tainted my whole healing process at this hospital. I, basically, said what I needed to get home as soon as possible. I wanted no dealings with anyone there. I had lost trust in the staff, and I was extremely embarrassed.

Nevertheless, not all the nurses were like those nurses, who were there when I came to the hospital. When the hospital was discharging me, they couldn’t setup an appointment with my psychiatrist. They told me to call him, when I got home. To make a long story short, I had no medicine, and the hospital psychiatrist said I needed to get the scripts from my psychiatrist. Nurse D, went out of her way and got the inpatient doctor to prescribe partial scripts and called me to pick them up.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Thank goodness for good nurses! Also, if your burned out, consider a career change, especially if you are working in a psych unit. You could be doing a lot of unintended harm.


My Compulsion

As the age-old interview question goes, “What gets you up in the morning ?” I have to internally scream, whenever this one is asked. The truth of the matter is that I’m not entirely sure. I’ve been through a whole gamut of “traumas” in addition to suffering from mental illness, and I just keep going. Recently, my therapist brought up the point that I was probably in the 90th percentile for resilience. Presumably, I should feel some semblance of pride. I don’t. The truth is I don’t always know why I keep fighting. I find myself repeatedly getting knocked down only to get back up again. All along, I think I have things, finally, in place. Nevertheless, the cycle repeats over and over and over again. Getting back up, sometimes, is more of a compulsion than a true strength.I’m not entirely sure why. Still, a couple of obvious reasons come to mind.

And, it’s an odd compulsion. It’s not a compulsion that I expect for others to notice. It is something I have to do for me. Part of it, I’m sure is, essentially, giving the middle finger to everyone who counted me out previously. As unhealthy as it might be, I feel a rage for people who tell me that couldn’t expect to work or finish college. I get irritated with people the idea that people expect less from me just because of what I “have” or what I’ve been through. Now, I don’t generally have to worry about people like this in my life too much anymore. It’s about proving the idea wrong for myself.

Now, the rest of my reasoning is a little more peculiar. I don’t, in fact, have as much will to live as others, but if I’m going to live, then I’m going to do it on my own terms. I have one life, and I might as well try to use it to accomplish achieving a normal life, until I run out of time.

If a person is going to have a compulsion, being resilient, is probably a healthier one to have. At the same time, I worry that I don’t when to give up, especially, considering I’ve been hitting a rough patch lately. Oh well, off to pull up on those bootstraps.

Riding the Manic Lightning

I recently was released from my second hospitalization in the last two months. I feel much more stable. At the very least, my hallucinations and mania are somewhat under control, and I am no longer delusional, which was a problem my inpatient psychiatrist had to break  to me. My low income retail job decided to have my back and let me both keep job and not count my absences for the hospital stay. I can’t say enough about how I appreciate them. Nevertheless, sitting ideally by “managing,” isn’t something I’m good at doing.

For better or worse, I will be starting my second college program in January. I have bachelor’s in mathematics already. I intend on keeping my part-time job and learning to play violin. Perhaps, I am biting off more than I can chew, but I always do. I, quite literally, don’t know how else to be. I aim high, and if and when I fall, I still have some goals left to work on.

I’m not depressed, and I’m not reaching full mania. Nevertheless, for days at time, I can think of nothing to quell my energy levels besides running through the snow naked. It’s not as bad as it was, but it is extremely irritating. My head feels like it is going to explode. I have to try not get irritated. I had as needed medications for this in the hospital, and they gave me a small supply of them for at home. They did not give me a whole month’s supply. It doesn’t look like my outpatient psychiatrist is going to be willing to prescribe them.  I’ve been dealing with mental health problems my whole life. I’m growing impatient. I’m truly not depressed, but at what point does a rough patch switch to the label of just rough life?

How to Fall into an Abyss

Long ago, or maybe not so long ago, I faced what many consider a generous amount of tragedy and trauma, but at the end of the day, I was tough broad. I still am. There was no stopping to feel sorry for myself, and there was certainly, no offering up my problems for others to handle. Even if I had desired this, I didn’t have the time. All I could was put one foot in front of the other, and that is exactly what I did. Until, I lost control. I must have fallen asleep at the wheel, but in any case, my life was never quite the same again.

Gradually, time passed. My quality of life grew. I started to achieve, at least some, of my dreams. What else could someone faced with my fate ask for? Nothing, is the correct answer.

Nevertheless, my mind has always been titillated by the most basic ancient of questions. Questions of meaning. Questions of purpose. Questions of Truth. You get the idea. During the period where I was becoming more “stable,” I had focused my energy on asking and answering deeper questions about myself, but then I made a mistake. I focused my mirror to the outside. The more I looked around I found darkness and chaos. Where I expected to find meaning I found the deep void of nothingness. In attempt to reorient myself, it is as if I had absorbed part of the nothingness into my core. My humanity being as important as pretentious metaphor pointing at nothing.

I will crawl out of this. Or I will not. Those are the only two options.

Rant: Quit Using Mentally Ill People’s Lives as Tools

I find the way people like to describe the lives of the “severely” mentally ill people quite annoying. So this post, is going to be part rant and part me trying to me trying to make a point. Come, Alice, follow me down the rabbit hole.

People just love to romanticize those who were considered either highly creative or intellectual masterminds from the past who, also, ended up being severely mentally ill, by today’s standards. The tortured artists. The brilliant yet broken scientific minds. Famous examples include, Van Gogh, Isaac Newton, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on. These types of people are romanized and appreciated for their genius. Their life stories are told as, if they were some type of Shakespearean tragedy.

Moving forward to today, where we have modern medicine. In this political climate, the mentally ill are seen as nothing but pawns in polarized political debate. While shootings are always truly tragic and terrible, it is sicking how obvious it is that news anchors are only paying lip service to feeling actual emotions for the victims. Instead, they are, quite simply, just happy to have yet another argument about guns vs. mental health.

My simple point is this: society cannot have it both ways. People cannot use mentally people’s lives to fulfill their personal needs for quaint stories about “tortured geniuses,” meanwhile posing the question where society would without its “misfits,” and then, turn around and turn us into the boogeyman. At the same time, they seem to forget we are all real people, facing real pain.

Imagine going into surgery. The surgeon says, “Luckily, it’s modern times we have anesthesia. It has a good chance reducing the pain of me cutting out your appendix. A minority of patients even sleep through the whole surgery! You know, you’re really lucky it’s not the 1950’s.”



My General Paranoia

As part of my Schizophrenia, I tend to have paranoia even when my mood is stable. Although, my mood certainly don’t help.I have found that this has been easier to handle as the years have gone by, but then again, I have had more time to deal with these issues. However, not only am I suffering from mood symptoms, at the present time, I just moved from a house to apartment. This is becoming a problem, even though I, clearly, have insight.

I am always worried about robbers and police coming to my homes. I often will hear knocks at the door, yelling, people walking around, etc. even when I am home alone. This is, even in a house. Well now, I am in an apartment again. It’s harder to reality test, when there are other tenants who are actually making real audible noises. Plus, now I am terrified of the ups/fedex guys actually being the office handing us eviction notices, even though I never lease violate.

Long story short, this going to be quite the adjustment. I might have to pay for a home security setup just to feel comfortable. I know my mental health team might see this as “giving in to irrationality,” but it makes me feel safe. I don’t need the added stress at this point.

The House that was Built on Sand

Matthew 7:26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” NRSV

Note: Biblical imagery is appropriate in my circumstance. No, I’m not going to using this story to interpret Jesus. I will, however, allow myself the liberty of borrowing the imagery.

I had thought I had been doing very well, as far as my mental illness was concerned. I had been hiding a creeping up of alcoholism from my mental health team, but I had been trying to seek treatment just for that through people that specialized specifically in just that treatment. Basically, I was in my last semester of college, and my drinking had gotten completely out of control. Well, I ended up in the hospital with a life threatening case of acute pancreatitis. I made it through it. I came clean to my mental health team. I finished up the rest of my semester, and I went straight to rehab. I haven’t had drop of alcohol since.

My mental health continued to be more stable than it ever had, or so, it seemed. I got an entry level job at one of dream companies. Then I started to not be able to sleep for days at a time. At first, I didn’t worry, but then, I started to notice that my personality was reversing somehow. First off, I’m not an excitable person, but even if I was just excited, why was my personality changing. Why was, I, a person who is generally extremely disorganized now almost cleaning on the excessive side et cettera? I have always been very agreeable, but now, I was above average on the assertive side. I could go one. I started to worry. I explained all of this to my mental health team. They told me I was just excited, and it would go away. The problem was it didn’t go away, in fact it got much much worse. Still, I was feeling really, really, good, but I knew I felt way too good, because even baseline me is below average on a depression screening. I just tried to push through. Then, a couple of sessions of therapy sessions later. I was complaining to my therapist that I was really having hard time concentrating lately, and that I was trying my best not to chatter through the entire session. He, then told me, I need to talk to my psychiatrist because, while it’s possible I have a really severe case of ADHD, I had appeared manicky for multiple sessions in row now. I talked to my psychiatrist. He changed my meds. I took a couple days off work. It wasn’t enough, but I had to go back to work.

Long story short, I ended up flipping out in the middle of night and my husband drove me to the ER. I was injected multiple times with antipsychotics and benzos. It was a really rough inpatient unit this time around. We had multiple violent patients. We had patients through feces. We had patients defecating in the common areas. For awhile there were only two women on the unit, one being me. Thus, we had to be roommates. She was violent as well. At least, I found out, at least, one of the psych doctors the worked there was my outpatient psych, and he told me that I did the right thing. That I made a really good decision, and he basically already knew which treatment he was going to try for. He said he couldn’t do more for me outpatient. He said I needed more medication changes and quickly, and he could only do slow minor med changes on an outpatient bases. However, at the time, he also had no reason to force me to go inpatient either. It made sense. Unfortunately, I, also, lost my job, in the process.

So as it turns out, my new found confidence in my own mental health stability was a house built on a sand. It was a house built on a mind much more broken than previously thought. Still, I’m not willing to give up on the dream quite yet. I might have to modify the plan, but I will get back up for another round. Whether it’s just due to good old fashion stubbornness or some sappy bullshit about the strength of the human spirit remains to be seen.