Working on us, Week 7

suicid-210811_640

*** Trigger Warning ***

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.

Week #7 (Delicate Topic) – Suicide Ideation

Prompt #1 Questions

I am glad that Beckie chose “suicide” as this week’s topic. We need to talk about it instead of being silent.

  1. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts? Many, many times.
  2. Have you ever attempted suicide? A number of times.
  3. Were you ever hospitalized for a suicidal attempt and/or ideation? Several times.
  4. When you were hospitalized, what was your experience like? I’ve been hospitalized numerous times at different hospitals, so my experience is varied. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a truly frightening psych ward. All but one were bad, but at least they weren’t worse, which I’m certain some places are. And then there’s my psych unit “of choice,” in which you were allowed a number of personal freedoms. And you got your own room.
  5. Do you ever feel suicidal ideation since your release? Yes, I have, but I haven’t acted on it. Although medication is readily available to me, my husband has hidden all of  our knives and razors.

 

Working on Us, Week 6

Hands Over Face
Photo from Pixabay

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. The rules are below. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.

 

Rules:

  • Write your own post and create a pingback to the original post here.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.  Write in any format you see fit.  (Answer’s, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poem, short prose…anything).
  • You can do one or all prompts.
  • You have from July 10th. through to July 17th to submit your entries.
  • Please reblog the original post in order to spread more awareness.
  • If you the blogger have a suggestion/question you want to ask in the future weeks, please submit them in the comment section of this post.
  • Let’s see if we can get some men involved in this weeks prompts, your feelings a validated here too!
  • Plus, as an added bonus, whoever responds to the following prompts will automatically be reblogged to promote your blog site!

~ 💚 ~

Week #6 Prompts: 

Prompt #1 Questions:

1. There are so many varieties of depression out there, such as Bipolar Depression, and (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder.  What type of depression do you suffer from, or have? I’ve suffered from bipolar depression for half of my adult life, as well as from seasonal changes (SAD).

2. What do you do to fight your depression? (Meaning, therapy, medications, meditation, ECT). Medication and therapy, inpatient hospitalizations, partial hospitalizations, and finally ECT, which I no longer undergo. And to be honest, I don’t know if I would choose that treatment option in the future.

3. Does anything help you, and if so… What? ECT has helped in the past, but it isn’t a permanent solution. More recently, my psychiatrist switched my mood stabilizer from Tegretol to lithium, which has lessened my depressive symptoms. It’s working.

“My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward” by Mark Lukach

IMG_0226
Photo from HarperCollins

NOTE: This is not a book review; these are just my thoughts–which may wander.

This book’s rating is 4.08 of 5 stars on Goodreads, so I guess people really liked it. I gave it a 3. It was just okay.

While the author is a great storyteller/narrator, what really killed it for me is that so much of the story is unbelievable. Anyone who’s ever been in a psych ward would know that.

At one point Lukach describes how he and other family visitors were allowed to hang out in the wife’s hospital room during a holiday. Are you kidding me? That would never be allowed in real life.

In a real psych ward, visitors are welcome to hang out in the visiting room with the patient; nowhere else. They enforce that rule. But in all the time I’ve spent in psych wards, I’ve never seen anyone try to break it.

Who’s “they,” you might be wondering. “They” are nurses and mental health workers. The latter are, in my experience, mostly male, strong, and probably worked security in the past. But that’s just a guess.

Anyway, there were many other unbelievable scenes in the book, none of which I remember of course, thanks to ECT. Well, and it’s been a few months since I read it; I’m only now writing down my thoughts.


Have you read My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward? What are your thoughts?

The Ride

bullying-stop-violate-feelings-sad-cry-tears
Photo on Visualhunt

NOTE: This is a retrospective post.


I woke up in the psych ER at ECT Hospital. It was about 5:00 AM, and no one had talked to us, as promised. My husband was slumped in a chair, asleep. It didn’t look comfortable at all — I had a bed. I woke him up and insisted that he go home, take care of the animals, and so on; and that I would text him when  I had news.

Not one hour later, a private ambulance showed up to transfer me to the Behavioral Hospital. I texted my husband, and told him where they were taking me, and said that I should be “processed” in about an hour. The ambulance driver and his partner were professional and empathetic. They said it would take 20 minutes to get there. Of course it would! It was really early on a Saturday, so there was no rush hour.

As they pulled up to what looked like a very institutional building (cement exterior walls), identical windows on every floor, I couldn’t hold it in anymore — tortured tears rolled in rivulets down my cheek. Soon, they were dripping from my chin.

The in-take coordinator greeted us, and as the ambulance left, the driver and his partner told me, “Good luck.”


Daily Prompt: Rivulet

Being Brave

IMG_0697
Photo provided by author

This bravelet got me through my time at Behavioral Hospital. It was much worse than ECT Hospital.

BELONGINGS: What you could and couldn’t have was more strict at Behavioral Hospital. It would disrupt my way of life in a way that ECT Hospital didn’t. No underwire bras; no toothbrushes; no hoodies, even without drawstrings; no full-zip sweaters/fleeces, but quarter-zip was ok (though the head Tech on my unit allowed me to have a full-zip fleece); contact lenses were kept locked in the Medication Room and I had to ask for a new pair each day. Except for the combination shampoo/body wash and lotion, we were not allowed to keep toiletries in our rooms. All of this was a pain in the ass, especially because I had my recent stay at ECT Hospital to compare it to.

FOOD: We didn’t get menus where we could make choices; there was a set menu for the week. During mealtimes, I grew anxious because I wasn’t sure if they’d have a vegetarian meal for me. Most of the time, they did. One day, though, I ate potatoes 4 times: O’Brien potatoes for breakfast (quite good); a twice-baked potato for lunch (dry); parsley mashed potatoes for dinner (not that bad); and potato chips for our night-time snack.

They steamed everything, so the vegetables were mushy, as were the English muffins and waffles. Also, they didn’t salt anything, so the vegetables and other food were bland. Mushy and bland.

Meals were cafeteria-style, where you grab a tray and a plastic fork and spoon (no knives) at the beginning of the line, and slide the tray down the rails to go through the salad bar. I’m picky about salads, so I usually skipped to the area where the servers plop food on a styrofoam plate and hand it to you over the counter.. The only beverages were decaf coffee, (disgustingly) flavored waters, and plain old water. No iced tea or soda because they wanted to limit our caffeine and sugar intake. At ECT Hospital, we could drink whatever the hell we wanted. I remembering ordering 2 coffees each day for breakfast, and iced tea for lunch and dinner.

The one nice thing was the night-time server sometimes passed out desserts: ice cream sandwiches, Rice Krispies treats, mini-Fudge Stripe cookies. A rare treat.

ROOMS: These were okay, except you had to double up. Fortunately, I had a series of 3 very cool roommates, so it wasn’t bad. Still, the private rooms at ECT Hospital are awesome, and you could have your toiletries and your own toothbrush! At Behavioral Hospital they gave you a toothbrush with a flimsy plastic handle that you can break in half to shank someone. One roommate and I were afraid that this might happen to us overnight! (Long and confidential story.) My bathroom wasn’t even cleaned when I was admitted — the first time I went to take a shower, there was a huge clump of hair in the corner. YUCK.

THERAPY: This was definitely better than the groups at ECT Hospital. Those were more educational, while the ones at Behavioral Hospital were often about processing emotions or issues we have. The art therapist was totally awesome, and his groups were fun.

*I looked at and read my bravelet every day, several times a day: “be brave.” And I was.*

What are some situations in which you had to be brave?


Daily Prompt: Disrupt