Archive for » August, 2013 «

Back To The Future

When you go into a psychiatric hospital, life seems to pause.  The hospital presents a whole new reality.  The day is more structured: wake up, eat breakfast, take your meds, go to group therapy, see your psychiatrist, etc.  Distractions are also removed.  There are no cell phones or computers, no iPods or Netflix.  Instead there might be books in a small library, a television in the day room, some playing cards, or a coloring book.  The social opportunities also become very small.  Outside of visitors or people that call during phone hours, the only people to talk to are nurses, therapists, doctors, and other patients.  The world inside the hospital is a complete break away from the outside world that is bustling along at a high speed with all the sensory overload and stresses of everyday life.

I spent the first 5 days of July in the hospital.  I didn’t necessarily have a psychotic episode this time, rather I was losing the ability to cope.  Problems concerning my relationship with my mom festered into intense stress that led to suicidal thoughts.  One afternoon everything reached a breaking point and I found myself struggling to think of anything but killing myself.  I got that knot in my stomach that tells me, it is time to go to the hospital.  However I was hallucinating for the first time since December 2012.  I had surgery in June and as soon as I woke up in recovery I was hallucinating.

While in the hospital, my medications were changed some.  At first they increased my Thorazine to 400mgs.  However, I experienced extrapyramidal side effects (stiffening of muscles, dystonia) that caused my doctor to put me back on 300mgs.  I was also placed on an antidepressant with the hope that this would increase my ability to handle stress.

Because the relationship problems with my mom were a central part of the stress that brought me to the hospital, this was a frequently discussed topic between my therapist and I.  She suggested a family session and I naively agreed.  Naively because no family session with my mom has ever gone well…but I suppose that time I thought would be different.

It was not.

My mom decided to tell me that she no longer wanted me to live at home.  I was not meeting her expectations and this was causing her stress.  I had to admit, she was also not meeting my expectations which also caused me stress.  We mutually agreed that it was time for me to move on in life.

Getting out of the hospital is a jolt to reality.  It feels like going “back to the future” because life was on pause in the hospital and suddenly you are thrown back into the outside world…which never stopped its fast paced chaos while you were gone.  I often try to change my environment when returning home.  I would go to Memphis and eat out with friends or watch a really long movie in the theater.  Something that was not quite the normal routine in an attempt to jump start my acclimation into the outside world.

Leaving home was and was not the jump start that I planned.

For a few months prior to the hospitalization, I had been applying to jobs in Memphis and Little Rock.  I felt the need to get some extra independence away from my parents but I was hesitant to just jump into the world.  I’d never done it before.  Now, I had no choice but to find another place to live.

I began calling a friend that I knew was looking for a roommate, but her plans had changed.  She suggested another friend…my best friend to be exact.  I hadn’t considered this friend because she is married but I was running out of options.  I called her and by the end of the day it was decided that I would come live with her.

Two weeks ago, I moved to Kentucky.  Already, life has gotten easier.  My relationship with my mom is no longer a source of stress.  I only talk to her a couple times a week.  I am happier here.  The scenery is beautiful since I am up in the Appalachian Foothills.  I have close friends to support me.  I’m enjoying the opportunity of learning more about myself, my expectations of myself, and my potential for growth.  I’ve learned how to make bread.  I’m taking pictures of barns and waterfalls.  Today I even got a new pet: a crested gecko named Noah (anyone remember the significance I personally place on the name Noah?).

I really have gone back to the future…my future.  I am presented with opportunities that make it likely that I will live in Kentucky for a long time.  The doors of the future are open to me and only I can place limits on what I accomplish.  I look forwards to providing you guys with stories of life in Kentucky.

Oh, in case you were concerned, I still have Sheriff and he is enjoying exploring the nearby towns with me.