Tag Archives: hope

North 7

***Trigger warning: Content contains description of inpatient psychiatric stay***

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Image:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

So after grandpa dumped me.  Yes you heard right.  I caught the 70 year old man hiding his ex-girlfriend’s name under a man’s name (one of the oldest tricks in the book by the way, for philandering men)  I called him out on it, he did not like being confronted with anything.  He was some kind of “alpha male” allegedly, so he asked me to leave.   That, and too many months of me asking too many questions.  Some men, like a stepford type of woman.  That was it.   Curtain closed.  It was a blessing.  No more knee-humping for me….thank God.  The Battle of Wounded Knee Admittedly, my mom was freaked out that I had been dating someone her exact age.

Since grandpa and his butterscotch pudding was all I had for a year and I was pretty isolated from my family since they live in other states,  I fell into a deep depression. I had never really processed the trauma from the sexual sadist narcopath,  Of Mice and Monsters and that whole mess. Then after getting dumped by grandpa I felt like I had hit bottom; so I had some heavy duty grieving to do.  I mean if you think about it what’s a girl like me still young and vibrant doing with Father Time,  it doesn’t get much worse than that.  I dunno.   But it all hit me like a ton of bricks, which is why felt like hanging myself with my belt on my bedroom closet door.

Now, I’m no Hugh Hefner bunny by any stretch but I still think I could’ve done better than Rip Van Winkle.  But that’s the story of my life. “Train wreck”, “issues”are two catch phrases that come to mind.  Here is a photo of me at the time I was with grandpa:

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It all hit me at once. I started having really strong intense thoughts of suicide.  I didn’t want to act on them because I had my son and being a single mom I did the only thing I thought I should do which was to call my mom, ask her to care of him, and check myself in to nut-ward aka, a psychiatric hospital.

It was called North 7, a wing of a regular medical hospital.   The plan was to get me started on an anti-depressant fast and hopefully decrease the suicidal ideations I was having.

Tbey slapped me on Prozac faster than you can say “serotonin” and it made me felt pretty jittery each time I took a dose but Dr. I don’t-give-a-shit did just as her name implied.   She only came in once a week, asked me how I was doing and then left.  The whole visit couldn’t have lasted more than three minutes tops.

Well into this warehouse,  walks a familiar face. I had met him in AA over a year ago and his name was Calvin.  He was married then but this time he did not have a ring on .     He asked me if I remembered him and I said,  “of course your name is Calvin from the 10 PM meeting in downtown Springfield.”

We exchanged some pleasantries and then got down and dirty with why each other was there.    He said his wife had filed for divorce after 22 years of marriage.   I told him that I was feeling suicidal after a one year relationship with old man river that ended.  I felt ashamed.   Why couldn’t I get my shit together I thought?Calvin denied feeling suicidal but said that his wife had “framed” him saying that he was.

Over the course of the next three weeks, there was nothing to do in this shit hole but talk.    If you’ve never been a nut ward then you wouldn’t know that.  There are pretty much two camps of people: some mentally ill people who are in an acute part of their illness that are less stable upon admission and there are mentally ill people who are acutely ill but are more stable upon admission.     The less ill people try to stick together and pass the time in between the groups that are forced on you.

Groups like EFT which stands for “someone let me out of this fucking place now!!!” This was one bat-shit crazy class for an hour we had to do.  You tap on your face and tell yourself you can get through your problems.  I remember whispering to Calvin and an Indian man, “do either of you feel like this is doing anything or is it just me that think this teacher should be a patient?” They both laughed and said “exactly.”

 

Anyhow , there are always the general meetings where you have to sit in a big circle and say your first name and why you are there.  For example: for depression, PTSD, anxiety, seeing things/ hearing voices, that sort of thing and what your goal is for the day.  Pffft….which is ridiculous because there is nothing to do there except color on pieces of paper in your bedroom or find someone who is relatively sane and talk with them.   If you choose the latter you’re reprimamded by staff and told to  “focus on yourself.”   So it’s a catch 22.

There is definite trauma bonding which occurs in the Nut Ward because the less stabilized patients the ones that are floridly psychotic and are either refusing to take their medications or their medications have not reached a therapeutic level yet. These poor souls are “going off” or are just wandering off and cannot take care of themselves.   They are responding to stimuli which are not there having audio and visual hallucinations and also delusions which are cognitive beliefs and thoughts that are untrue coming from a chemical imbalance in their brain.  Violent outbursts are very rare in psychotic people but can happen.  The bain of these people are isolative and mostly have difficulty with socializing because the voices are so intrusive.  When someone does become suddenly explosive or angry whether they are depressed or anxious or psychotic it is not predictable which make the stay more scary for those patients who are more stable.

There was one lady who had to have been around 350 pounds and was lucid one moment and the next she’d  just start screaming at the top of her lungs hysterically.  Lifting  up the metal commercial grade cafeteria lunch tables and overturning them,  ripping phones out of the wall,  throwing artwork off the wall until it shattered. A small group of us ran like hell and huddled into one of the smaller group rooms in hopes that she wouldnt get to us.  We barricaded the door with furniture.  We could hear the staff trying to figure out how to sedate her since she refused to swallow medication orally and ran away.  We theorized they would need to tranquilize her with some kind of poison blow dart gun.   The kind one would find in the deep uncivilized jungle.  She refused any meds again and punched the staff who were trying to dispense them.   We watched in horror through a small window in the door as we were holed up in there,  until hospital security arrived to restrain her to the floor so they could inject her with a needle full of Thorazine.

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Images:  Girl Interrupted

There was another patient named Cheryl who was in her mid 60s who every morning at around 4 AM would wake up out of her bed, walk into the hall screaming, “I want my fucking ginger ale!!”  And on and on it would go.  She couldn’t have ginger ale because she was diabetic.  That didn’t stop Cheryl from screaming that she wanted her ginger ale.   And mind you this was after staff had shined their flash light in the doorway,  every 15 minutes to do their “checks” to see if everyone was alive all night long.

Lucky  for me Cheryl would always stand right outside of my room.   What a treat. Calvin’s room was down the other L-shaped hallway so I think he got more sleep than I did; plus he had better meds.    His doctor was not Dr. I don’t give-a-shit, he had a different one.   His doctor was Dr. Dreary,  she looked like she just woke up out of bed and was about ready to go for some ECT therapy herself.    She was more free with a prescription pad and didn’t have a problem prescribing her patients sedatives to help them sleep at night whereas Dr I-don’t-give-a-shit well….you get the idea.

There was the yoga class where this pervy guy told me he liked my white lace bra as I bent over.  Like WTF? I told the staff and she said,” he’s leaving tomorrow we have had this issue with him before.  Try to ignore him if you can. “ Yeah okay…

Ome of the other psychotic patients used to  stand next to my tray at lunch telling me that his lunch was contaminated with blood or it was poisoned by one of the staff,  but that my lunch looked OK.  Totally out of feeling uncomfortable,  and because I genuinely felt bad for him that he was suffering I would just give him most of my lunch because I  do not want him to become too agitated.  He did go off quite a bit.  His going off was limited to yelling and telling the staff that the government had a conspiracy to overthrow the insurance company he worked for.  When he wasn’t going off I had to listen to hid schizophrenic word salad which made no sense.    Each individual line made sense but when put together with other sentences it was like listening to a backwards message on the Beatles White album.  I always smiled and nodded  in agreement and would say “oh that’s interesting“ or “wow”or  “that’s nice. “   This of course was an attempt to placate him and keep a congenial relationship going so he didn’t keep harassing me for my lunch every day.   It seemed to work.

It was here the Calvin and I forged a friendship and learned a few facts about each other.   He was discharged first and I was stuck in that snake pit with Cheryl still screaming but he did call me when he left on the patient Payphone and when I picked up he yelled ,”freedom!” Lol

I think it’s a broken system because I think I gained more trauma by being there.   But it did… save my life.  I have to say, I would not ever want to go back to a nut ward again.  I’ll just take my chances.

#mentalhealth #itsoknottobeok #suicideprevention #endthestigma #suicideawareness

 


The God Sessions

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When I was a little girl, I used to say my prayers every night before I went to bed.  I was raised Catholic and so I started my prayers by making the sign of the cross, “ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.“

I would then recite the Lord’s Prayer also known as an “Our Father” then move to a “Hail Mary.”  It was more to help me understand each word as well as to remember the prayers.  When through with those,  I would start asking God to bless my mom and dad,  brothers and sisters, and grandparents.  Then I would start going up our street mentally and ask for blessings for all my friends and their moms and dads, their brothers and sisters  (all by names) until I went down the whole block.  Then I got to my teachers at school, pets that lived in our neighborhood, special intentions for anyone I knew that was ill.  I included the children that were starving in Africa. Every night when Mom had to scrape our dinner plate into the trash she reminded us how there were kids starving in Africa and how they gladly would eat all this food that she was scraping off.  Then I always asked God to please help the person who needed it the most.    I wanted God to help that person first as I knew someone always has it worse than another.

During the day I had an abundant prayer life as well but it was a bit more quirky.  It was magical-thinking meets superstition meets magic 8-ball.

I would stand in my driveway by myself with my basketball and talk to God. In these God sessions I’d ask him important stuff as well as the very mundane.  No question was too big or too small.   Like,”are my parents going to let me sleep over Cindy’s house?” Then I’d hurl the basketball up into the net.  Mind you my little body and hands were so small I had to throw underhand.  If the ball went in the answer was yes.  If it missed that meant God was saying no.

If I was really disappointed with God’s answer, as the case sometimes was, I would say, ”let’s do this three times and 2 our of three times will decide.”  After doing  best out of three,  I would finally have acceptance at that point.

The thing was, I truly believed that God was speaking to my 8-year-old self through that basketball net. It wasn’t hocus pocus. Only now in retrospect do I feel a bit silly.  But only for a moment.  The larger part of me feels wistful and wishes I could go back in time and recapture that time again.   My faith was strong then.  I had such a deep connection to God.

I’ve had prayer life and deep faith for most of my life.  Now,  I feel so lost and don’t know how to get that back.  I’m scared.  What if I can’t? Maybe its the evil one whispering that to me?  But if I can get my prayer life back, how do I?  how?

 

 

 


spērō

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Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.


Flashback

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3…..2…..1….. 

 

heart races

stomach drops

blood runs cold

it’s happening again!

eyes shut tight

paralyzed with terror.

please not here, not now.

 

I’m teetering

400 miles up

on this tight rope

I’m walking.

no one

can hear me scream

but me. 

 

1…..2…..3……

 

don’t say a word

just breathe

in and out.

act normally

open your eyes

touch the ground

it’s not happening.

 

Ghosts look so very real.

Hard to discern

no imminent harm

in pursuit of me.

After all these years,

they still besiege me,

unexpextedly.

 

 


In plain sight

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I stand there before You,
aching for Your
love.

Your affection.

Your approval.

i can’t believe after all this time,
You’ve
never looked at me.

in my pig tails and patent leather
shoes
,
standing in the doorway
wistful and willing.

but You cannot see me.

for i am hiding behind the wallpaper
where all
little girls hide,
the ones who survived.

layers upon layers cover me
redecorated as
years pass,
yet i remain forever unchanged.

frozen in time
beneath this woman
veneer.
waiting and hoping,
will you take me home?


Compass Rose

It’s still the same I suppose. Every spring as Easter approaches. I drive past the various Churches, with their steeples acting like beacons, sending their Celestial signal up towards the heavens. I pass there aching to go inside.

The ache rises in my chest as I pass, and then my heart sinks as I sit glued in my seat. My blood runs cold as I nervously think that ‘maybe I am unforgivable’.  How dirty I feel. Less than. Not quite good enough to stand next to any of the people donning their Sunday best.

I ache for closeness with Him like I once had. The only One who ever deserved my whole heart, who ever deserved my obedience and love.   He was the only One who would never betray me.

I can’t remember when I had stopped talking to Him.   Some call it praying.  But it was more than that to me.  It wasn’t rattling off a bunch of rote prayers, though that was how I had begun.  We were close back then.  It was like a friend that was sitting at the foot of my bed, just as real as you are reading this now.  I’d talk about everything.  Then listen.   Oh yes, He would answer.   He spoke through my intuition, I believe.  Sometimes I would ask for a sign.  Sometimes He would give me one:  a gentle cool breeze on a hot night or a small butterfly dancing at my window just as I would ask.

I had stopped going to church.  No one particular reason really and not in anger either.  Then a few years later I had stopped praying.   Other things had seemed to take precedence.  It was like one day He was just gone.  You see, it wasn’t an event, rather it was more of a process. Like most good things in life that slip away.

When I tried praying again?  it felt empty and perfunctory like I was running through mathematical computations.  Something was severed.   And I knew it hadn’t been severed by Him.   That pain of knowing what I lost has been unbearable.  The emptiness, nothing thus far can fill.

A thousand miles I have strayed off that chosen path on which I should have tread, maybe more.  It is easy to get lost out there in the darkness. Still easier to stay lost.

I don’t know how I will get back to Him.   I’m so far off course and a compass rose made only of hope in my grip.   I hope that He finds it in His heart, to forgive me.   Hope that this prodigal daughter can come home.   Hope that lost Faith will be found.

 

 


Of Mice and Monsters VII

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One evening he was sitting in bed and I was on his computer. He said to me, “hey why don’t you do me a favor, go look up on the State Police website the unsolved homicides between 1993 and 1996.”

So I went to that site and I looked and I found 19 to 25 decedents.   They varied  in ages, ethnicities, and gender. Their manners of death, disposal sites, were all different.

I told him my findings and  then told him there appeared  to be no connection between any of these victims.  To which he replied,” that’s right.

I asked him, “why did you want me to go here and look for a connection during  these random years?

To which he answered, “no reason.”

It freaked me out enough that I ended up calling the State Police after our relationship ended and I told them what he had said. The officer laughed at me but it was a joke and probably hung up the phone they thought I was a wingnut. No one would ever believe anything I said.

All I know is that he is the most dangerous man the most I’ve ever met and yet if you ever met him on the street he seems like the most benign sweetest man that you could ever meet.


yEARNing

Ever since I can remember, I have had this ache in my heart.

A yearning to be loved.

It never goes away.

Like the speaker on a stereo system, sometimes the volume is more quiet and sometimes it is blaring at me.

But it never goes away.

Sometimes the ache to be loved hurts so bad it brings me to tears, it’s like I am bleeding from the inside out.

******

I was twelve when I smoked my first joint because my brother grew it and distributed it.   I took my first shot of Smirnoff at the same age.  I realized it it numbed me out, it blotted out the pain in my heart some and turned down that volume of my heartache.

Love…..love is  better than pot, better than booze, it was like popping powerful opiates but better.

It makes me feel like every thing in the world is safe and going to be okay.

Love makes me feel like I am coming home again.

******

But money can’t buy you love.

I wish I could annihilate this yearning inside me.  I wish there was a switch I could shut off, or get rid of this gaping hole in my heart.

💔


Confiteor

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti,

et vobis fratres,

quia peccavi nimis

cogitatione, verboo

pere et omissione:

mea culpa, mea culpa,

mea maxima culpa.

Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem,

omnes angelos et Sanctos,

et vobis fratres,

orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

Amen.

~*~  ~*~  ~*~

I confess to almighty God,

 and to you, my brothers and sisters,

that I have sinned, through my own fault,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

and I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

all the Angels and Saints,

and you, my brothers and sisters,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Amen.

I don’t like change.

I’ve said this for the last 30 years.  So long now I can say this in my sleep.  Next week the Church is going to fuck with this prayer and change the words to make it “new” version of the Roman Missal.  Where was the voting process? Pfffft.  Yeah right.  There wasn’t one.  I think this is bullshit.  I’m not sure what I”m going to do.  I think I’m going to still utter the old prayers and responses while everyone else babbles on with the other shit.

This particular prayer has special meaning for me right now.

I am feeling particularly large amounts of shame and failure in my life.

So this prayer just can’t be fucked with.  It needs to remain intact.

I’ve been sleeping with my Rosary Beads at night.  They were my grandmother’s.  She prayed on them every morning.   They are almost 80 years old.  She even has a relic on there of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina .  He is a canonized Saint who had suffered stigmata.  They bring me comfort.  Knowing that her hands touched them, she was the most holy person I ever knew.  Never said a swear her whole life.  Went to Mass every day.  She was a good, good person.  Always had a smile for everyone.

My soul is in great turmoil.

At a friend’s suggestion, I am going to try take a trip for a 90 days.  I need a hiatus.  A sabbatical.

I’m nervous about this trip.   I’m going to travel light.  I will bring my Bible, I need to start reading that again.  It has been years since I have read it.  My heart has become hardened.   Stubbornly refusing to go God’s way and instead going my own willful way.  Repentance is on the forefront of my mind.  To turn away from sin, change my mind, change my direction, turn towards God…..


About You

I left out the “”About You” section about me here blank.  It feels too much like a personal ad, and that triggers me too much.

The last time I put a personal ad out online it was a fucking disaster.  I ended up with a reply from one man who referred to me in the third person.  “I need me a female between the age of 19 and 25 and require it to be 5′ 5″ and 120 pounds.”

Oh I’m sorry.  Did you just say “it” you sick son-of-fa-bitch?  Because I’m going to wager that the last time you saw a ‘female’ was the storm of 78′. Yeah remember? as you dragged her dead corpse behind your oversized-duel exhaust jacked-up truck with that long metal chain after you chloroformed her and clunked her about her head with a crow bar? back to your rural farm of horrors for a night of good ol’ Square dancing and necrophilia fun.

Mmmmmm, yeah….does that ring a bell now?

Men who refer to women as “it” and “female” as if they are specimens scare me.  There is a level of objectification that is just downright frightening.

Almost as scary was the reply I got from a man living in his mom’s basement.  No, he was in his 40’s and wasn’t down on his luck, he had never left…..like ever.  Very Norman Bates-esque.  Any man who feels comfortable banging his date while his mom listens to her squeal like a pig…..well, the cogs just aren’t firing right upstairs.   Just saying.   A little too close to home I’m thinkin, in a cousins with dozens sort of way.  (shivers).

I always thought the perfect man was Fred Rogers.  He was my hero.  You know Mr. Rogers Neighborhood?  I go to an Al-anon meeting with a woman who knew him and she said he was just as nice in person as he was on the show. When I was small he was a bright spot on my otherwise sometimes dark childhood. I felt as if he truly cared, for me.

I cried for a long time when he died.

*Raises glass to Mr.Rogers*


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