Mental, Part 1

In 1996, I invited myself to the nuthouse. Not the lengthy stay one, but the one referred to as a crisis unit. The first time I went I got in all sorts of trouble for writing down violent fantasies about others, including a woman I had made friends with.

The shrink I was matched with had already decided that I was just having thoughts, not in danger of acting on them. He told me that I didn’t need to be afraid of my thoughts, because that’s all they were. But apparently one of the chief nurses didn’t get the memo, because she made me sit down with my friend and tell her face to face about these violent thoughts, as if I was planning it all out or something. The chief nurse told me I had to stay away from her from then on.

The next day the psychiatrist told the nurse I was not a danger, and he even went as far as blocking my reentry the next time I attempted to be admitted. So I had to go to a different nuthouse, and this time I didn’t write down any violent fantasies and I stuck to my story that I had a plan to hurt a young girl. It really wasn’t true, but I had learned a little bit about how the system works and being a highly self-critical chap that I am I didn’t have to try very hard to convince myself.

I went back to that place once or twice, and the last time my insurance company made me move to a cheaper unit that was mostly for people Baker-Acted for drunk and disorderly conduct. Before I was moved I succeeded in getting into bed with one of the female clients, she wanted to fool around, but not involving her body below the belly button. I also taught a member of the staff to play chess. That was fun. When they moved me to the other unit, I was extremely anxious and my body would shake. It was difficult to eat, even harder to sleep. My roommate was having withdrawals, and it was scary to watch. I dreaded being there so much I tried to call a good friend in another city, five hundred miles away, who was a policeman, to get me out. He said he couldn’t do anything about it, so I resigned myself to sticking it out.

The last time that year, I was in occupational therapy, and the staff member confronted me about my numerous admittances there and said how I needed to make a decision to do whatever it took to rectify my situation. From then on I decided to see a psychiatrist and make sure I took my medicine. It would be five years until I would admit myself again, that time, for thoughts of suicide.

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Rewind and Undo

Divorce symbol in genogram
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In my head I paint a picture

Of some day walking free.

All my hang-ups and delusions

Laying in a pile behind me.

 

In my head I paint a picture

Of no more medication.

No more need to medicate

No more side-effects.

 

In my head I paint a picture

Of family bonds and closeness

No more driving forever to get there.

No more procrastinating that phone call.

 

In my head I paint a picture

Of what my family might have been

Had love and understanding been the rule

Instead of fear and loathing.

 

In my head I paint a picture

Of foolish decisions unmade.

Broken relationships mended.

Hurtful words unsaid.

 

In my head I paint a picture

Of all the things that I regret

Somehow never happening

And I can sleep better after that.

 

 

 

Carry on Tuesday #115

Changes

I used to be concerned with

How much I did,

Or how much I didn’t do,

 

Evaluating whether or not

I was up to snuff

With my own priorities,

 

And of course,

Whether or not

I kept my wife happy.

 

Lately, things have

Taken a different turn.

Since my body

 

Has seen fit

To rebel against me,

And my doctor

 

Doesn’t seem able

To reign things in,

My priorities have

 

Changed quite a bit.

In fact, the term

“priorities” doesn’t

 

Seem to fit anymore,

Not for how most

People think about it.

 

My biggest priority

Is my medicine.

That’s not a new one,

 

At least on the surface,

Since I’ve had bipolar

For over 15 years,

 

And been taking meds

For just as long.

But now it makes

 

An immediate,

Drastic difference.

And the long-term risk

 

Without it,

Is terrifying.

It’s like food

 

And water.

And the third need,

Common to all of us,

 

But more drastic for me,

Is sleep.  More specifically,

I have to keep my sleep

 

In order.  I have to take

A strong round of meds

Throughout the day,

 

And then really

Pulverize my mind

With meds

 

At the end of the day,

Just so I can sleep.

And I have to start

 

A methodic relaxation,

Early, despite being

A night person.

 

Otherwise,

I will not be getting up

For work in the a.m.

 

Obviously,

Things have changed

A little bit.

 

(Poetic Asides

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 133

“Priorities”)