Day eight dawned like the previous seven, waking up early and drinking non-caffeinated coffee for an hour or two while trying to focus and read an Adrian McKinty book I had received from my paperbackswap membership before going into the hospital. The novel’s “hero” is a heroin addict so it wasn’t the best reading material at the time.
You can read the beginning of this psych ward odyssey by reading this post on my initial involuntary commitment and a few following that one.
But time moves slowly in the psych ward, a) because your doped up on medicine and b) because there really isn’t much to do when they’re not holding group therapy sessions. Oh there was always the TV to slither down and soak in for a while but I mostly abstained because I detested regular TV and kept my viewing to movies and mostly animated series I’d watch on the computer.
Once group started, you had to be awake and present and PARTICIPATE. This was the golden rule for leaving the psych ward in a timely fashion. Show up and participate.
After my first few days of not attending groups and refusing my food, I had settled in to the hospital routine of attending all groups and eating ravenously when breakfast, lunch and dinner came. The appetite was due to the antipsychotics (risperdal) they were administering to me. The other meds: lithium and lamictal were targeted at mood swings and the main side effects I got from those drugs were annoying hand tremors and a general feeling of sluggishness.
Days eight, nine and ten basically run together because it was the same old thing each day. My parents were cautiously visiting me and continued to express their (obvious) concern about me returning home and returning to my “bad ways.” A legitimate caution and one I could do little to allay them of.
Noticeable by her absence, of course, was K. Not that I expected to see her–she didn’t even know I was in the hospital. My last attempts at communicating with her were horrible, nightmarish emails about her cheating on me when I was so out of mind I believed it. These emails dogged me though these days of my hospital stay and were a constant reminder that I had most likely lost her for good.
But I kept remembering K walking through the hospital doors to visit me when I was a patient some six years ago. The look of terror on her face when she saw how depressed I was, and me throwing myself onto my bed, refusing to ultimately see her. What I would do now for just a call, or a text…
But K had changed her number after the horrible exchange between us the night my mother had her mini-stroke, another nightmare I revisited over and over in my hours awake and asleep. I couldn’t call or text her even if I wanted to (or could at this point). I was beginning to try thinking about life without her because I couldn’t be certain the harm I had wreaked this time during a manic episode was beyond repair.
All I knew is that I wanted to get home and try to right the wrongs I had done. My parents had told me they found the remaining Adderall I had been taking and of course there wasn’t enough to have lasted me until my next prescription was due. It was obvious I had been abusing my medicine. But why?
Well, because it made me feel good and all addicts like myself above all just want that warm, fuzzy feeling ALL THE TIME. I couldn’t possibly take a medicine with the potential for addiction because I was a full-blown addict for nearly 20 years. But I had done alright on the stimulant for a while several times before falling into a spiraling hole of overuse several times. When would I learn?
It was day seven that the doctor on the ward decided my discharge date would be in three days. I would just have to get through one more boring weekend and several group sessions (that were at least somewhat helpful) and then I would be sprung. This would all happen on Monday when a family meeting was to be held with my parents, my case worker, and the hospital social worker.
I should have realized when the social worker approached me Monday morning to give me some bad news that this was an augur of things to come.
The social worker told me my therapist had declined the opportunity to see me out of the hospital because I had missed too many previous appointments. When I looked back on my manic ways it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but now I was losing one of the people who seemed to truly understand how I was feeling.
The therapist’s recommendation was for me to enter a partial hospitalization program upon being discharged from the hospital. I was immediately up in arms, remembering the last time I had attended such a program and what a monotonous, time suck it had been. I didn’t remember if it had helped me any at the time, all I wanted to remember was that it sucked. And I didn’t want to do it again.