Reality…

I woke up. The single bulb above my bed was off. The window still had bars, paint chipped. The opaque gray glass had two darker gray blobs…again…what were they?…my head hurt so I really didn’t care. The walls; still the color of vomit and scuff-marked. I did notice the faint outline on the wall; for a wall-mounted television…now gone. There wasn’t much noise coming from outside the room. It was almost eerily quiet. I slipped in and out of sleep, marking time by the light above my bed and the grayness of the window.

Strange dreams of strangers in white lab coats interviewing me, full moons and high tides, Goddess Kali, skinny, brown Santa’s and beach shacks, airports and cloud cities, red and blue flashing lights. The interviewers came and went always asking questions when I wanted to sleep but never answering my questions…except with questions. They annoyed me. Always slipping into my dreams to ask me stupid questions. The headaches are back, vacation wasn’t long enough. Why am I here? “Why do you think you are here? ”

“what?”

“Why do you think you are here?”

Great! The interviewers are back. “my head hurts and I really want to sleep…”

“You can sleep once you have answered a few questions. Now. Tell us, What year is it?”

“two-thousand….fiiiiiiiive?”

“Are you certain?”

“Yessss?”

“Do you know what Country you are in?”

“India”

“Hmmm.” They all scribble in their notebooks. The one asking the questions, looks up, cocks an eyebrow and asks,  “Are you certain?”

“Yes”

They scribble furiously in their notebooks…again.

This, I was to find out, was just a snippet of my three day forgotten reality. I had the transcripts of all my interviews read back to me when I was released, evidently it is standard protocol. Awkward and incredibly embarrassing as it was…I do find the humor in it…now. In short, my interview transcripts proved that I was indeed certifiably insane and yes, up to that point I was doubtful but there was no denying that I had a psychotic break. Out of all the mad-cap incidents that ensued on my vacation, trying to walk on water during a full moon induced high-tide and spending an obscene amount of money on Yak teeth because “I needed them for a necklace to match my belt for I am Goddess Kali.” Is most likely what got me an, escorted by air marshal, trip home.

When asked further, “Why Yak teeth?” I responded, ” in these modern times it would be immoral to ruthlessly slay mere mortals to symbolically represent the severed limbs and heads of the demons I have slayed.” I do believe it was these comments that warranted the use of restraints while initially in the hospital. I was also covered in purplish-blue bruises over most of my body. I am not certain how I got them but given my state of mind it is quite possible that it was an attempt to actually be blue…like goddess Kali.

Physically, not only was I severely bruised, on antibiotics for a bladder infection, incredibly dehydrated, physically exhausted, and having seizures but I had lost 90 pounds in  roughly, 8 weeks. I wasn’t drinking and I wasn’t eating I also hadn’t been sleeping. My body was literally running on manic fumes. I had been taken to an emergency room and I still do not remember which one. My pre-admittance workup showed that my blood pressure was dangerously low and I was admitted immediately for fear that I would either stroke out or my heart would stop.

All I wanted to do was sleep and I wasn’t allowed. I had a blurry, parade of people in and out of my room. I wasn’t aware of it at the time but my mental state was being assessed and arrangements were being made with a local hospital that had a mental health facility attached, which given my physical health was ideal. I am thankful that the Universe made that exact facility available. The staff was excellent and their approach isn’t exactly the norm. In addition to treating you with therapy and medication. They give you knowledge about your condition.

They provide you with a reading list of books and materials that help you to understand your diagnosis, they provide you with knowledge about alternative coping skills such as acupressure, acupuncture, meditation, art and music therapy, diet and exercise regimes, etc., they provide group therapy for you and your family members as well as support group sessions while you are in the hospital. Once released from the hospital there are out patient groups that you can attend. They essentially help your family understand what is going on; while helping you to take responsibility for your mental and physical health. It took me a year or two to start implementing the skills they taught us and a little longer to read the books…I had to learn how to read again…but I got there, eventually. I am forever indebted to Chelsea Hospital and staff. I am equally, indebted to my partner Susie who remained by my side through all my insanity. I think it would have taken me longer to recover had she not been there supporting me.

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