24 October 2009

Involuntary Commitment—Day 3, Monday 12 October

(...continued from previous post)
Morning vitals still showed my BP to be very elevated, so they started me on yet another medication. Actually, in this case, they added an additional med (lisinopril) along with a prn order for Tylenol for my headache (like that’s gonna do me any good—no, not drug seeking behaviour attitude, but give me a break…Tylenol??? At least Excedrin has the caffeine in it like those old APC compounds you used to be able to get which worked great for headaches…aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine). I was actually more concerned about the dizziness.

Monday morning…I’d finally get to see what kind of shrink they lined up for me. That’s when I was told the “good” news. My court-ordered 72-hour hold had now been stretched into a minimum five to seven days starting with today (get this….weekends don’t count!). While I was pissed off as shit, I mustered my best façade from the get-go, determined to get the fuck out of Dodge ASAP. I could play their games. Been there, done that. I was required to attend all group therapy sessions as a condition of my release along with participating in their outpatient treatment center after release (not a long-term thing, perhaps two to three weeks tops). So I looked appropriately cheerful and eager to understand all about my labeled diagnoses (no surprise here…Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder). Read all the handouts they gave me so I could spit it out effectively in group to also include being able to identify what my triggers were and the supposed corresponding effective coping skills (this place was steeped in DBT…don’t even get me started with that subject). Now, granted, coping skills can work IF you choose to use them. Personally, I just no longer give a damn. But they didn’t need to know that. I now began marking off my time to discharge (picture the prison wall with hash marks on it…LOL).

The other patients were a pain in the neck. I made myself as unapproachable as possible. There was one exception, however. There was an Army vet with PTSD that was in the same boat I was. Neither of us wanted to be there (well, I get that no one WANTED to be there). Neither of us wanted to interact with anyone else, and soon we ended up isolating ourselves together against the herd. He was doing the same as me…The Master Façade. During our limited, brief conversations we both realized that we actually “got it” about each other. No, we didn’t hang together, but when forced into a group of people, we could isolate together. Nothing ever had to be said, and no one ever bothered us for the most part. We took great pains to dare anyone to even come up to us and start a conversation (this whole attitude was, of course, after all the official therapists and shrinks left for the day. During the day, all of us were always being observed, so I had to tow the party line for at least some part of the day).

The schedule was quite structured. My only freedom was the frequent smoke breaks and choosing not to eat the meals. Having to sit with everyone in the cafeteria listening to their chirpy, Xanax-driven banter was more than I could handle. And I got so fucking tired of the other patients who actually dared approach me asking me how I felt (like the response, “How the fuck to you THINK I feel?” wouldn’t be so far out of line), why didn’t I smile more, why didn’t I socialize with the group, etc., etc., etc. A simple reply of “fuck you” usually did the trick (again, after hours).

I survived the various group therapy sessions. Thankfully, the current census of 17 patients was split into two smaller groups, so that made it palliative. Yes I participated and spoke (I considered it the ultimate audition), and yes, I offered what appeared to be constructive feedback when others spoke (oh how I had to censor what came out of my mouth). I did what I had to just to make it through the day. And God, what a long day it was. (the hardest one to endure was the rec therapy where they forced us to have “fun.” If I was going to lose any points it was gonna be with this session.) I could actually breathe a sigh of relief once dinnertime came around and all the psych staff left for the day. I felt like I could let my guard down somewhat. Yeah, I couldn’t be blatant about my “fuck you” attitude as a nurse could always write something in my chart for my therapist to see the next day, but they weren’t around in our faces all the time, so I could pretty much get away with it And the thing about skipping the meals was no big deal. Evidently, the dietary folks kept the two huge refrigerators we had access to loaded with fresh fruits, veggies and juices. The only thing missing was caffeine. All the coffee and teas were decaffeinated. The ironic part was that we had access to vending machines with drinks. I found Mountain Dew to be highly effective in combating caffeine withdrawal today. I don’t particularly like carbonated beverages, but one does what one must—necessity is the mother of invention. Luckily, I actually had a bunch of singles in my wallet that I could get access to upon request.

So, the day finally winded down, I took my evening meds (my BP was finally getting under better control), disappeared to my room, sacked out on the bed and just stared at the ceiling (I didn’t really envision getting any better sleep here than I did when I was at home) until the tech would roll around at 0530 to start taking morning vitals. Oh goodie, yet another day to endure. (To be continued…)©2009

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