I wrote about my first hospitalization earlier, so I will try not to repeat things
I was at home and I could not stop screaming as I ran around the house. “They’re coming for us! They’re coming for us!” My parents had no idea what to do with me. So they drove me to the nearest fire station and started banging on the door. It took them a little while because the station was so big, but when the firemen opened the door, got there they saw me convulsing.
They took me in the ambulance to the hospital and I was temporarily put in the emergency room. They did a basic intake and put me in the psych ward to be further interviewed. I sat there for hours waiting for the next interview.
Of all the places this nurse could be, this nurse should not be in the psych ward. She scared the patients, enough for some to hide in the bathroom. Even this private space wasn’t a safe haven because she would bang on the door demanding them to come out. I was feeling terrible and having someone yell wasn’t making it any better.
She came up to me as my mom tried to hush her and screamed. “Do you know what you are?! You are schizophrenic!” What did I do to deserve this proclamation? I don’t even remember talking much, but apparently there was something strange about me.
The interviewer came and I answered all of her questions truthfully and it was this honesty that got me landed in the psychiatric hospital for the second time. I was being controlled and was afraid that I would hurt someone. The interviewer told me that if I did not go willingly she would petition me legally to go. I went willingly.
Even though it was just on the other side of the road the ambulance had to take me to make sure that I got there and didn’t run off. My parents followed them to say goodbye and the paramedic said they couldn’t come any closer as I was in a blanket walking around and acting like a homeless person.
There were two units, the normal unit and a unit for higher functioning patients. I started on the normal unit. I went straight to bed, and my nightmare began tomorrow.
My shoes were stolen during the night and I was left to walking with the hospital trademark socks. The man who stole them had a crazed look in his eyes and long unkempt hair.
I went to talk to someone my age and he was violent and full of rage towards his wife.
The next person was an old schizophrenic man with OCD. I never saw his file or official diagnosis, but anyone could tell as he was a textbook case. He came over to my table mumbling to himself, scrubbing the table over and over again, and having random fits of rage.
He carried a Bible and I thumbed through it. I read some verses and suddenly his fits stopped as he proclaimed “Praise the Lord”.
He held me hostage because most people were afraid of him. I understood him.
The last time I saw him was when I was about to meet my new psychiatrist. The psychiatrist moved me to a different unit so that I would not have the old man holding me hostage anymore.
Otherwise my psychiatrist asked me about my symptoms, especially hallucinations and delusions. I told him that white rats were there in the room. I knew they were a hallucination, because I saw them everywhere. I also told him that the voices were nonstop. The doctor prescribed me on an antipsychotic medication, and it was a couple of days before checking in again.
In the meantime, my family visited me during visitation. They said I was so disoriented and I was at the worst they ever saw me. My cousin came and asked why I was in there. I was too ashamed to answer.
The new unit was less frightening and we all encouraged each other. I was reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and some people joined me. This book was encouraging and gave us a reason to live for God and each other. We read the book together and had prayers. We started to have a Bible study as we went through the book. We found comfort in each other and in God.
I was with other patients when my tongue started moving uncontrollably. I fumbled out the words asking the nurse for help. Within seconds my neck was locked. At first, when I tried to move my neck it would snap back into a sideways position. After a little while, I could not move at all because I was locked. The pain was extreme and they called the doctor in for an emergency. I was asked to go to my bed for treatment, but I was too disoriented to find my bed, and I went to the wrong bed out of confusion. When the doctor came in he felt my face and said I was in complete shock. They changed the antipsychotic medicine immediately to another.
The next time I met the doctor was the first official diagnosis I was given. The doctor asked
“Do you know anything about schizophrenia?
“Some of my extended family has it. Do I have it? How?” I replied
He mentioned my lack of eye contact and I told him that people were trying to control me with eye contact. With this, he nodded in confirmation of my schizophrenic isolation.
I asked if there was a test to confirm. And he said there was a test that was very painful and very expensive. I think I imagined him saying this, because later when I looked into it I discovered was no such thing.
After the diagnosis, I saw the nurse on the phone looking at me and describing me as schizophrenic. I felt a sense of judgment even from the staff. I asked about my prognosis and they did not see it in a positive way.
The hospital would not release me until they perceived that I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. I was there for a week, before they let me out. My parents saw that I was in such a bad condition and they decided to never send me back.