Tag Archives: inpatient

The Number You Have Dialed Has Been Disconnected

I don’t know if you have ever spoken and felt like nobody could hear you, but for me this feeling can potentially trump symptoms like delusions and hallucinations for the most maddening feeling I’ve ever experienced. Even when I am experiencing hallucinations or delusions (and maybe even don’t recognize it) I can talk to someone about it; but the times when my mouth and body do not convey what I want them to (or they do but in such a way that nobody can understand them) have left me (the innermost me) feeling like a phantom limb.

Last weekend, in a matter of days, I became engulfed by that feeling. Everything I was trying to say, the jokes I was making, the observations I attempted to casually convey, became hostile. It seemed no matter how I spoke or stood or gestured, people were genuinely afraid of me. Those desperate sorts of pleas hoping to convey my intense sorrow came out, instead, angry.

My manic episode from the week previous had turned dark, and as the depression I was experiencing became more and more intense, so did my apparent rage. The rage left me incapable of conveying the depression, and being unable to express myself left me feeling so isolated and alone that I could feel the depression feeding on it and growing exponentially.

When Monday rolled around I tried everything I could think of to crawl out of the disconnected, suicidal funk I was in. I emailed my psychiatrist only to find out he was on vacation. I called the intake coordinator for the new clinic I’m trying to access therapy through but she did not have time to talk. I called the crisis line (as I’ve been calling them a lot lately) but all the phones were busy! This, if nothing else, seemed like a sign, so I grabbed my purse and a book and went straight to the emergency room.

It can be very confusing to watch yourself begin to destroy your own life (your job, your relationships, maybe even yourself through impulsive drug or alcohol use) and feel like you are a passenger during the whole experience. Unfortunately, this is a feeling I am familiar with so I knew that the only real card I had left to play was hospitalization.

What I didn’t know was that I would be spending all day and all night in the emergency room before reaching that inpatient bed. I was awake for 36 hours and extremely alert and energetic (as I said, mixed episode) fueling those depressive and hostile waves that kept coming until I was (somehow now in an inpatient room) crying uncontrollably for hours, and periodically ripping up anything in my room I could find to rip up.

My goal was to outlast the episode until it switched into depression or stability (whichever came first), a fairly easy goal I figured, since my episodes cycle so rapidly and I was already 12 days into the mixed episode. Though it wasn’t fun (but hospitalizations never are) I seem to have outlasted the hostility and was expelled through the other end of the hospital Friday experiencing severe depression instead.

So I am home now, and though my decision-maker seems to be broken and I had a panic attack trying to go into the grocery store I am, seemingly, a free woman again.

My mind has still been trying to whisper all manner of horrible things to me, but I can eat food that wasn’t produced in a hospital now… so it makes all that a bit easier to live with.

Needless to say, my posts may be somewhat spotty for a bit. I’ve been very overwhelmed by a lot of the things that have happened this year, and several more big things are scheduled to go down this month.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves! I’ll be doing the same.

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Psychiatric Warehousing

Last night I watched two and a half hours of news (something unheard of for me) just to see one story they kept dangling in front of my face about psychiatric warehousing.

Seattle local channel Komo 4 News ran a story about how there aren’t enough psychiatric inpatient hospital beds in the city for all of the patients that need them, with the result being that psychiatric patients are being housed on regular floors of hospitals (and thus are “warehoused”).

The story called this a “public health crisis”.

I was concerned for a minute when the story suddenly turned and nurses began speaking out about having been attacked by psychotic patients in the hospital who weren’t in the proper psychiatric facilities, but the story seemed to make a point that this warehousing of patients is not only unsafe for hospital staff and patients, but also means that people aren’t receiving the psychiatric care that they need.

Last year, they claimed 3000 people were committed in the state, and of those 2000 (2/3) had to wait for a bed in a psychiatric facility.

Personally, I’m beginning to feel very lucky. Around this time in 2011 I had a psychiatric inpatient hospitalization, and I managed to get a bed the same day (which was something like a miracle). I did, however, have the receptionist at the hospital on the phone for four hours for me in order to lock down a bed.

A quick tip? I’ve been told you are much more likely to get a bed for a psychiatric inpatient hospitalization if you are looking for one on a Friday. Apparently that is when the most discharges happen -right before the weekend.

Anyway, the story was extremely sensationalized but I feel glad that someone is trying to bring attention to how wretched it is in Seattle to try and receive psychiatric treatment.

For the whole story and a video, check it out here.