Last published on Feb 5, 2008

Hello. I seem to start every sporadic post with "I'm sorry I haven't been writing" but it gets on my nerves so I can only imagine what someone reading would think. though I think all of my readership, meager as it was, has dropped off.

in 3 days, it will be the 1 year anniversary of what I've come to refer to as "the incident" but has been categorized by my doctors as a mental breakdown. june 28th, I came home from work and began crying uncontrollably. brett and trent were there and brett was alarmed enough to call my family doctor and then take me over there. my family doctor, who had already prescribed lexapro and xanax in the lowest dose, told brett to take me home, stay with me for the night, and make sure I take 4 of the xanax every 6 hours. the next 24 hours were a blur. I know that brett called jarrett, jarrett stayed the night, and then brett took off work the next day to stay with me. in that time, in what my current psychologist has told me was a dissociative state, I burned myself with a cigarette lighter on my left wrist about 40 times. brett took me back to my family doctor after seeing what I'd done (and me having cried all day without stopping didn't help) and jarrett came, and between the 3 of them, they decided I should go to a local inpatient center called Horsham Clinic, whose website is a bunch of lies. "Take a walk on our 55-acre campus where mature trees, gardens, fountains, and an abundance of greenery provide a safe, tranquil environment to promote healing." by the way, you're locked in your building and you can only go out with the nurse and only about 4 feet away from the door. no one walks around the grounds, no one is allowed. you have to earn "priviledges" just to get to eat at the world class cafeteria in the main house.

maybe one day I will blog about my time at horsham. all I'll say here is that it was the worst 5 days of my life. overmedicated, stolen from, stripped of my shoelaces, my belt, and anything that could be used as a weapon, on "suicide watch" for no reason, and to top it off - gross food. the rest could be forgivable if I had a decent hamburger and maybe a brownie.

anyway. I tried very hard to get released from horsham and my mom was instrumental in getting me out by barraging my doctor with calls (and the fact that my insurance was about to give out helped) and when I got out, I felt lost. everything seemed different. and my whole life became about fixing myself as quickly as possible. it was all medication, therapy, people checking on me, bandages on my arm, it was my whole world for a while there. there are still some songs that I hear that make me instantly panicky because they were on during that time. I really think that the time after the incident was much worse than the time before it. maybe even during it.

and as hard as it is to say it, I didn't even find enough joy in my children to make things seem better. though it helped, it really helped. nothing was enough.

I am so glad that those days are behind me. I've ripped through all of my allotted outpatient sessions covered by insurance and it's been presented to me that I can either trade in some of my inpatient days for outpatient appts (1 inpatient = 4 outpatient) or I can use my official diagnosis to earn 50 outpatient appts but run the risk of it becoming a pre-existing condition and therefore not eligible for benefits in future policies. the natural choice is the inpatient/outpatient switch, but there's that little voice in the back of my head that says "what if it happens again??" I really don't think it will but I guess anything is possible.

anyway, I'd been pretty open about my meds and therapy but not about what got me there. by the way, I'm on 300 mg of lithium now and 300 mg of lamictal and nothing else. and it's great, and has been for about 2 months now. I have a fantastic new therapist who I see faithfully every week, and feel like things are definitely moving in the right direction now.

here's to a much better year.

6 validations:

MC said...

YAY, Patrice! I am happy to see you back here in the Blogosphere...I have thought of you often since you last blogged, and I have wondered how you were. I am glad that you are doing well, and I am glad that you have people in your life who care enough about you to get you help when you need it. And I am glad that you have found a really great therapist that you trust and that things are moving in the right direction...you deserve nothing less.

Kathryn said...

Jesus woman, you've been through the trenches. I've thought/worried about you often. I'm honored that you trusted us with this piece of your life, and I'm DOING FUCKING BACK FLIPS that you're feeling better.

Missuz J said...

Sounds like a total fucking nightmare. What can even be said, especially by a long-distance/cyber friend, other than I'm so glad you're doing better, and I hope, if it helps, that you'll share more of this process with us as you're able.

Missed you.

lonna said...

Welcome back Patrice. What an experience. No one ever tells people that mental hospitals take away all of your rights until you "earn" them back. I hate the cookie-cutterness of that. I was in an adolescent unit in a general hospital. So we were all locked up on one part of one floor. The staff were amazed that I followed directions. I was the only kid without some sort of conduct disorder, and they didn't know how to handle me. I was depressed and that was it. They aren't prepared for that. It was probably the same where you were. Obviously you were no longer in control of yourself and so they needed to be. Well that just may not have been true.

In a completely, selfish, psychologist note - dissociative disorders fascinate me. The fact that your brain just checks out because things aren't "safe" fascinates me.

I am so very happy that you have people to take care of you and that you have finally, after much struggling, found a better place. I'm just sorry that it took so long and gave you so much pain.

Jen said...

Your readership is still here- and you have been missed. We understand when you can't always post.

I am glad that you are moving in the right direction. I am sorry that you had to go through so much to get there. I am here for you as a friend whenever you need one.

NME said...

I hope you continually feel ever farther from those dark days.
You haven't shared too much about your hospital stay and I've always been interested in hearing more but always felt it was too intrusive to ask.
Love you.