After I was released from the mental hospital, my life became a complete blur. I started seeing Dr. Teeth at his private practice, where his red-headed assistant was ever present at each of our meetings. It was frightening because he was treating other patients that I had been with in the hospital. I was trying to distance myself from the people and memory of my week and a half stay, but their presence at my appointments was a constant reminder.
My paranoia about the cars and church bells was slowly edging its way into my psyche, making me a shell of the person that I used to be. I was taking handfuls of medications which only made me a zombie. I didn’t feel like I was improving, just drugged. I had been a voracious blogger prior to my break and I tried to continue writing, but my posts came out angry and delusional. I was trying to hold things together but I was failing miserably.
I remember one particular appointment with Dr. Teeth. His assistant was there, of course, and I had broken down crying. He announced to her, “She needs a hug. Give her a hug.” She started to hug me and I backed away, claiming that I was okay. It was such an odd experience having someone be ordered to hug me and provide comfort. He was so clinical and didn’t offer any supportive words, only pills. Saying he was not the right fit for me is an understatement.
The care of our home completely fell on my husband. I didn’t have the wherewithal to do dishes, cook, or clean. Here he was working his butt off and having to come home and work even harder to take care of me. We were still hanging out with our “friends”. They tried to cheer me up and be there for me, but I was so paranoid that something so simple as watching T.V. brought out the paranoia demons in me and I had to walk away and go into the other room. I think it was frustrating for everyone involved.
I tried finding a new job, but that was not going well. I had no business looking for another job. There was no way that I would have been a productive employee if I couldn’t do something so simple as washing the dirty dishes at home. My friends tried to put business connections together for me, but when I would meet with those people in a social setting, I would talk about religion – specifically about how the Catholic church was hypocritical and oppressive to women. Not something you talk about ever, let alone when trying to get hired for a job.
Another paranoia that had arisen was the radio. I thought the DJ’s were talking about me and to me. I read into all popular songs that were on the radio, thinking they were written about me. I thought all the rappers in New Orleans were gunning for my head. I didn’t know any rappers in New Orleans. I just thought they were after me because of a few interactions I had with those type people long before my break.
During my increasing paranoia, even my house wasn’t safe. We had this old security system that had been installed prior to our moving in. In our bedroom, there was a motion detector above one of the closets that would flash a red light when you walked down the hallway or into the bedroom. I fixated on this and thought that someone was taking pictures of my movements in the house through this device. It got so bad that I ended up hanging a scarf over this small motion detector so they couldn’t take pictures of me. My husband tried to reassure me that it was nothing, but I wasn’t convinced.
I remember one night in particular. My husband had gone out to get us some food for dinner and I was left in the apartment alone with the cats. I paced up and down our hallway calling his name and one of our other friend’s names. I don’t know why I did this – I knew that I was alone. But I was lost.
My mother-in-law came to stay with us at one point. She stayed for about a week. I slept a whole lot and talked about the church bells. I don’t remember much from her stay with us, all I know is that she was my babysitter because my husband couldn’t watch me 24/7. He was desperate to make me better and I think he kept on waiting for me to show signs of improvement. But, improvement never came. She was here to help both of us, except no amount of help could calm the demons in my head.
I actually felt like I was getting worse. Of course, I wasn’t conscious enough to really assess that situation, but nothing was making sense and my stay in the hospital hadn’t helped any. I was a shell of a person and everyone surrounding me was very frustrated. Dr. Teeth had promised me that if I went to his hospital, I would spend a little time and be better. He lied. I came out of there with more problems than what I went in with. I’m not saying I didn’t need to go, it’s just that my medications weren’t working…weren’t healing my brain fast enough.
I was so paranoid and stuck that I didn’t really know which end was up. My insecure feelings had lifted a bit, but then they got worse. I had had my mental break and subsequent hospital stays in August. I made it until the end of October and I’d had enough. So, it was on my husband’s and my wedding anniversary that I said we needed to go back to the hospital.
We called one of our friends that is a health care professional and she came over and talked to me. It didn’t take much convincing, but she said that maybe it was time to go back into the mental hospital.
So, we got in the car and went back to the emergency room and waited for Dr. Teeth to be paged and come assess me. We were there for hours, maybe 5? It didn’t feel like that long to me, but for my husband it was excruciating. He finally showed up. I said I wasn’t better and he offered me another a bed in his mental hospital. I was going back in, a little wiser as to what was going to happen. I didn’t know what was going to happen moving forward, I just knew that I couldn’t keep dealing with the demons in my head. I was exhausted and something had to change.