On October 27, 2014, I was committed to a mental hospital. I believe people thought I was suicidal. I wasn’t really. Sure, I had ideations—but ideations are not generally personal calls to action. Regardless, my life was a mess and I needed out in some way. I’d lost pretty much everything in the span of a year—my only source of income, the ability to handle a job, someone I was in a long-term relationship with (though that turned out to be a good thing, and is well outside the scope of this site for now), my house, my car, and I also found out that most of the people I surrounded myself around were there for the money. And at this point there was none. While I technically did not go willingly, I did not put up a fight. It was time to rip the band-aid off and move on to a scary new life.
I remember a lot about being institutionalized. I don’t really dwell much on whether any of these things were beneficial or superfluous. I sort of assume the latter—but it was a break. A complete cocoon from the rest of the ugly world for fifteen days or so.
I remember comfort, that nothing could hurt me. I remember listing the things that were hurting me, knowing I was never going back to them.
I remember breaking free of the need for sleep. I’d been sleeping so many hours a day I didn’t know what month it was until I was committed. While there was nothing to activate anything substantial in my creative mind at the hospital, I found myself waking up at four or five in the morning, just excited to live. That continues to this day except when I am overwhelmed. My sleep tracks my mood in an almost scary way—as it is frightening to see your physical body react so viciously to the external.
I remember knowing I could do things with my own mind to fix things. I knew I didn’t have complete control, but I could see compartments forming. Compartmentalization has always been a skill lacking in my brain. Still is, but the foundation for compartmentalization was being built.
I do remember poorly prescribed medication, but I also knew no one there really cared to heal me. I believe they called me bipolar. They gave me standard antipsychotic medication and a host of other pills every morning and night. I didn’t keep track, I knew that it would be a long road ahead of me to find out what was really wrong with me. For now, I was at least protected from whatever mental illness I would later discover I had. That, of course, would take a few years and turn out to be OCD. Which is why this site exists.
I remember only making friends with one person. Everyone there was a mess, and I certainly was not above any of them—but I knew enough not to get involved in other peoples’ similar situations. It was not a community that supported each other. It was a community of people in their own cocoons. I remember my new friend—he was homeless and used the hospital every few weeks for a place to stay, every time entering under a different made up name. This time it was… Jim Beam. No, seriously, they accepted him under that name.
Jim and I controlled the TV, I remember. We watched a lot of Family Feud. We were both smart. Different types of smart, but those smarts somehow coalesced in Family Feud.
I remember almost being attacked by a roommate. He went away. Lots of people came and went. No one talked about that. I think the key was to get people in, medicate them, and get them out.
I remember being so perfectly ok away from all electronics, the internet, everything that was ruling my life to that point. I knew I’d pick it all up again, but as with everything in my life at that point—I’d clearly been doing it wrong. I may not have had the answers as to how to do it right, but I certainly now had plenty of time to take notes. Handwritten, that is.
I remember finding out that my family cared for me. I did not know that previously. That’s all I feel like saying on that subject.
I remember realizing that at this moment I owned nothing. I would get some things back, but it was time to move on and drop dead weight—which was 90%1 of my life. At least.
I remember being monitored by staff every 30 minutes—wondering how they could possibly know everything going on in my head. What were they looking for? What could they tell me? Apparently, I came off as moody. I suppose relativity is a strange animal.
I remember being treated like a child and not minding.
I remember reviewing my whole life up until that point and realizing only I could right the ship, no one else was really on my side enough to do that much for my mental state. And that was ok.
I remember this was all right.
I remember I was all right.
I remember me, and I will never forget that—me.
1 we’re beyond the 80/20 rule here! [BACK]