Where did I go……..

For those of that you that follow my blog, I’m sure my absence has become conspicuous over the last month. I’ve been debating with myself for about a week, trying to decide how to explain. The brutal truth won. I’m just going to tell you how it is.

I suffer from Bipolar Disease…Manic-Depression if you prefer. I have infrequent and oh so brief episodes of mania where I am creative and start projects. Then the bottom falls out and the depression comes. I’ve spent the majority of the past three years depressed fairly consistently if the truth be told. And lastly, I have a habit of saying the wrong thing, to the wrong person, at the wrong time.

So in December, just in time for Christmas, life became overwhelming. My skills as a functioning depressed person where failing. By early January, I could not see the top of the hole and desperately starting looking for someone to prescribe my medications. Yes…. I am one of the brain children that thinks she can go off her prescribed medications, self medicate and control her moods through routine, knowledge and shear will.

Like many times before, I failed. (Why do I set myself up for failure?) Bright and early one Friday morning, I found my self wandering into the emergency room. High as a kite from incorrectly dosing a pain medication for the entire night, I made my way to the desk. Exhausted (sleep was rarely visiting), in pain and teetering on a severe depression, I answered the nurses questions. Then the fatal mistake came……”miss, do you have any thoughts of harming yourself or others?” Before I could even think, I flipped off the answer “Ya know, I do wish I’d go to sleep and not wake up.” Bam! There it was, my statement hanging heavy in the air. I could not erase what I had said. All I’d wanted to do was get the pain to stop and “Oh by the way” get something for depression.

The examining room came to life. My personal effects were bagged, my jewelry taken and a rolling partition came down and blocked off all the drawers and cabinets in the room. A guard was posted in front of my door and I could not even make a phone call. Nurses were in and out of the room, talking softly and addressing me as if I would break. I tried to back pedal. A Doctor came in and addressed my mental medical history. I tried every trick to show I was knowledgeable about my condition and had it under control. ALL I wanted was my pain to stop and get a prescription for depression. Then I was alone for what seemed like hours. The shift changed and I got a new guard. Finally, a demure older woman entered my room with a clip board and an air of business. “Miss, would you like a couple of days for the medication to get into your system?” “That would be nice” I said, unaware of the surprise that was coming. “Miss, we would like you to voluntarily admit yourself to the behavioral health facility. It would only be for a few days. It would be quiet and your medications would be monitored.” “That does sound nice” I replied, thinking it sounded like a mini vacation with the benefit of medical science. “What do I need to do? Can you write down the directions? I’ll drive over right now.” Without even looking up from her clipboard she responded to my barrage of questions. “Since you were admitted to the ER and to get you in to the health facility, you will need to be transported.” “oh…..” the light in my mind was starting to flicker.

After a couple of gurney rides and a no siren ambulance ride, I arrived at the facility. A very pleasant woman ushered me into an interview room and started to explain what was going to happen and what I needed to sign. The more she spoke, the brighter the light in my mind flickered. Then the light turned red. She was saying that my stay would be for a minimum of 72 hours and I could not check myself out. How long I stayed would be at the control of a Doctor. “No. I do not wish to stay “ I began. “Thank you for your time. I’ll be calling a cab now.” The hammer fell. My pulse raced. I evaluated the exit routes. “Miss, if you do not voluntarily admit yourself, we will have a judge admit you. You will then be here for 21 days and will need to go to court to be released……….” I quit listening. I’d been tagged as a suicide attempt.

A few hours later I found myself sitting in a pale yellow community ward with a nurse inventorying the contents of my purse and personal items that would not be permitted on the ward. No pens, no jewelry, no shoe laces, no cell phone, they all went into a Tupperware bin with my name on it. No wallet, no phone book, no tablet, they all would not be needed. No bra, due to the underwire, and almost no glasses….. Nothing would be permitted on the ward. My 72 hour vacation at the Hotel Ritz had begun.

I survived the experience. All in all, it could have been worse. I had few phone calls and fewer visits during my stay. I made a couple of self realizations and left 7 days later, a little better for the experience and back on my medications.

I’ve been a free woman for a few weeks now. I’ve put my life back together and re established my routines. I now have friends and family who know, kinda an early warning system if they see a change in my moods and behaviors. And truthfully, I feel good. After keeping my condition to myself for so long and trying to manage it on my own, I now have help. I’m probably more optimistic than I’ve ever been regarding being successful at staying on my medications and remaining a productive individual.

Hence the change in NOL2ME. I’m still going to use it as my own personal podium. But I’m going to focus more on Bipolar and daily life. Maybe I can help someone out there miss a few of the pitfalls I’ve nearly drowned in.

 

For more information on BiPolar Disease, I recommend Julie Fasts’ web site, www.BipolarHappens.com. There’s lots of information and help whether you’re in the driver’s seat or your watching a loved one swerving down the road of life.

Here’s to “staying between the lines”.  Thank you for reading.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wendy
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 19:18:31

    Your story is all to familiar.
    I was not given the chance to voluntarily commit myself….it was involuntary. However, it wasn’t a mandatory 21 day stay.

    I’m sure you know this since my recent blog post is listed as Related Articles in your post.

    I’m sorry you had to go through all of this, but happy you are not living with it alone any longer, and hopefully now realize you can’t deal with it on your own. We have a little misfire in our brains, we have to have the meds to make sure that it fires correctly. Not a big deal, I think of it as a deficient nutrient that’s causing all kinds of havoc with my moods and personality. So I take the meds, and I’m happy for them.

    Good luck to you.
    I hope you continue to feel better. It can be a long road, but you don’t have to follow it alone.

    wendy

    Reply

  2. closertothemid
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 12:43:05

    Thanks for sharing this cautionary story. I’ve never been hospitalized, but I’ve considered it. It’s helpful to know what to expect. Nicely written as well.

    Reply

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