Due to my lack of recovery in the time between my first stay in the hospital, I made the somewhat conscious decision to check myself back into the mental hospital. My paranoia about the cars and the church bells had fully encompassed my mind set and I couldn’t function being outside of my house. It was like I had become a hermit invalid. I couldn’t go to the grocery store, run simple errands, or do anything other than pace around the apartment trying to get out of my head. I was manic and depressed and everything else that goes along with the aftermath of having a full on psychotic break. This is why I decided to go back in – nothing was making me better.
My psychiatrist had finally come to the emergency room to see me and offered me a bed in his mental hospital, starting that night. So, my husband and I came back home, I packed a minimal bag of clothing, ate a quick bite of dinner and drove to the hospital. Upon check-in, I was told to kiss my husband goodbye and I was sent up to the same floor where I had stayed previously. I didn’t sign any papers – not that I can remember, at least. I don’t think my husband signed anything either. I don’t know how they handle that situation. I was always under the impression that you had to sign yourself in and you could sign yourself out, but that was not my experience.
I did the typical check in ritual where they weighed you, asked you what medications you were taking, took your picture and assigned you your room. I was initially put in a completely private room where they handed me a set of sheets because I volunteered to make my own bed. I started to make the bed and was then told I couldn’t stay in that room. They moved me back to the same exact room that I was staying in before, only this time I was to have a roommate.
Her name was June. I don’t know exactly why she was in the hospital, she never talked about it, but I had known a June from my childhood and I found a connection to this person being my roommate. She had a child and a husband and was from a couple cities away, I’m not sure how she ended up in New Orleans seeking treatment. Not my business, anyway. She might have attempted suicide or had a big fight with her husband, but I don’t think they put you in a mental hospital for fighting with your husband. I digress…the point is that I had a roommate and her name was June and I was reading into the reasons for her being my roommate.
I was in the hospital with an entirely different group of people this go round. They were more like me. They all seemed sane, sort of. I was trying to appear sane, but was having a hard go of it. Luckily, I was away from cars and church bells. I also wasn’t as manic, so I didn’t have the attitude that I was God’s gift to the Universe. It felt like people were more on the same playing field this time around. It made me uncomfortable.
The previous time, I had bought my protection with granola bars and the rest of my meals. That sort of situation wasn’t going to fly this time around. I remember that another girl named Sarah showed up a couple days into my stay. I had also known a Sarah during my childhood, so I focused on her being there in the hospital as well. I bring her and June up because I actually asked one of the aides if they put people together in the same hospital on purpose. Like somehow, the hospital staff knew that I knew a June and a Sarah when I was little. It all felt very connected and weird and like they were trying to tell me something with the addition of these people. The aides answer? “I can’t tell you that information.” Now if that doesn’t make a paranoid conspirators bells and whistles go off, I don’t know what will! His answer did not provide me with any solace.
I didn’t try as hard this stay. I skipped therapy meetings in order to sleep and wasn’t as focused on my release. I guess I felt safe among the insane. They must have changed my medication half a dozen times during my stay, but I was still not seeing any improvement to my condition. Of course, those meds take weeks for them to establish themselves in your system, but some relief would have been nice.
My husband still came to visit me religiously. I was still a little angry at him, but most of the extreme rage had passed. I still had a few times where I asked him to leave before visiting hour was over. The staff always respected my decision and would escort him to the elevators, where I would hug him and kiss him good bye. I don’t know how he put up with me asking him to leave. It had to have hurt…but, he did what I asked.
At this point I had developed a new delusion in my thinking. I thought the government was out to get me. I met this one guy in the hospital who was ex military and I told him my delusions. Big mistake. He believed me, probably because he was just as vulnerable as I was. Somehow, I ended up giving him my phone number to call me once we were both out of the hospital. He actually called, I think in an effort to “save” me, but my husband put the kabosh on that budding friendship. Looking back, I am glad he did. I made a big mistake revealing my delusions to him and an even bigger mistake giving him my phone number. If I ever end up back in the mental hospital, I will definitely be keeping my cards hidden.
The best part of the stay at the hospital were two aides that worked the night shift, Glenda and Lyndon. Glenda was no-nonsense but I liked her name and associated her with The Wizard of Oz. She was a good witch! There was something very kind about her and I appreciated that. Lyndon was my absolute favorite, though. He would check on me at night time and make sure I was okay. After the times when I asked my husband to leave, I was always very weepy and he would talk to me privately. (As privately as you can get in that type of place!) He told me, “Kel, you are going to be okay. You are going to get better and this is just going to be a bump in the road.” I needed someone kind to tell me that. My psychiatrist never said anything like that, my therapist never said anything like that, my husband tried but he was too close to the source, and everyone else was freaking out because I was sick and not getting better. I owe Lyndon a lot. He motivated me to start working toward getting out of the hospital, when all I wanted to do was stay and hide.
So, I got my shit together. I started going to every meeting and eating my meals. I would participate in group therapy and would ask my psychiatrist every day when I was being released. Finally, after two weeks, I was released. I didn’t have the same kind of relief that I had the first time being let out of the hospital. Mainly, I had fear. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to function, because I hadn’t been functioning up to that point anyway. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was too sick to get a job, so that just left me at home alone and by myself. That was not a good situation for me.
So, it was decided for me that I would move back to Texas. I went back into the mental hospital on October 22, 2011 and my dad flew in to drive me back to live with them at the beginning of November. It was time to do some serious work and be around people who could watch me 24/7. I wasn’t very pleased with the fact that I was being sent away, but what would come out of that sabbatical would change the course of my recovery for the better. I had yet to realize it would turn out that way…