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Falling Apart

flipped over mental_illness_by_jonerath-da2cll9

This piece is about mental illness, specifically the illness of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is an illness that plagues people, that plagues me, with hallucinations and delusions among other symptoms.

The word “schizophrenia” literally means “split-mind” but according to Ely Saks “The schizophrenic mind is not so much split as shattered. I like to say schizophrenia is like a waking nightmare.”

This piece is very much based on this quote. The brain is splitting and starting to shatter. The pieces are falling upwards to symbolize the lack of sense, the disorganized mind, I experience. I feel that my mind is about to explode and I tried to show this through intense contrasts and bright colors.

This page is an exploration into my exploding mind, a very unusual mind.  Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Psychiatric Hospital Stay 2

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.

 

Psychiatric Hospital Stay 1

For my first hospitalization I had no idea what to expect.  My therapist’s office was just across from the hospital and they recommended for me to go in.  In hindsight I don’t think that I needed go to the hospital.  I have had chronic depression almost as long as I can remember.  The therapist thought that the break-up I went through was enough to push me over the edge.  The intake personnel that interviewed me agreed that I should be admitted.

After being admitted, they conducted a full physical, which involves taking all your clothes off and being searched.  Your clothes were replaced by scrubs and socks that make someone automatically stick out as a psych patient.  They are blue and have no-slip grips on the bottom.

Among the clothes, other things are taken.  The most severe is no phones, computer, or any electronic devices.  I don’t understand why they cut off connections to others.  I can see that they may want people to focus on getting better, but I am unsure if this is the best way to do it.

I don’t feel that I fit in with the other patients. I was under 18 so I was in the adolescent ward. When I first got there, one of the staff asked me if I had a drug addiction, I told him no, but I don’t think he believed me.  Most of the patients had an addiction and this ruined their lives.

The psych hospital was set up on a system of integrity.  Actions throughout the day would place you in different levels.  These levels changed your level of privilege.  Lower levels may have some restrictions, extreme ones such as being strapped down or easier ones like earlier bedtimes.  Higher levels lead to more freedom and leadership roles.  I was not combatant and was seen as a leader through the hospital.

Most patients had mental problems and drug issues.  The first night I was there, my roommate questioned me and I felt embarrassed to answer them.  I was there because I had extreme depression and I didn’t want to explain myself.

I was there for a week.  Here is the basic structure.  The purpose of the hospital is to stabilize on medication, coping skills, and self-protection.  Even with this purpose, I only saw the therapist and doctor once.  What was upsetting was that they focused on suicidal cases, as if you had to be suicidal to deserve help.  This was frustrating because I felt desperate for help, but there were so many patients.

In the morning, the first thing to do was get ready for the day.  Toiletries were only able to use for a few minutes each day.  We had to ask the nurses for access.  These were restricted because they don’t want people hurting themselves with them.  I don’t know what can be done with a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a comb, but they must have had a past experience that warranted it.

The mornings started with breakfast.  Breakfast was for the people who were awake enough to go.  Some people were too sedated by powerful medication to go.  The journey to breakfast was always in a straight line.  It was like a cafeteria setting.  We got out trays and the lunch ladies gave us our food.  The food wasn’t bad, as it should be for the price the insurance is paying.  As we sat down, the max number per table was 3 patients.  I expect this was so that people didn’t get isolated.

Everybody was friendly towards me, except for a Satanist that I was hospitalized with.  At first, I had no idea he was a Satanist.  He even had a clean sense of humor.  The heavy medication he was son made him shake.  So he would say “I’m shaking like a vending machine.”  I didn’t realize he was a Satanist until I saw what he was drawing.  It was just a circle at first but turned into the Satanist symbol.  I asked him what it was and after that he knew I was a Christian and he treated me differently.  He would tell me things like nobody liked me.  This was mean, but the real problem was I always felt like he cursed me and this stuck with me for years.  I am unsure if it happened and I am unsure of what he said, but to this day I am not sure if I am over it.  At different times in my life I thought his curse was the start of my schizophrenia years later.

Even though hospitalized, I did not get a break from school.  I remember carrying my math book along.  There wasn’t much else to do in the hospital but a favorite pastime was Monopoly.  We would make up rules, and team up with each other to split profits.  I’m pretty sure that is illegal, but we did it anyways

Lunch and dinner ran the same, but there was still something to look forward to. Visitation time was special.  This came twice a week, if I recall correctly.  Two visitors were allowed at a time.  It was so good to see them as I felt isolated and alone.

In the meantime, I enjoyed art therapy.  I made things that nobody would recognize except for me.  Scribbles in crayon, all I could see was “A’s”, representing the perfection that I required of myself.

Another thing that was encouraged was exercise.  We would go outside and play basketball.  The walls were like a castle, probably 20 feet high, so that we would not escape.  It was like a prison.

I was there for a week and fellow patients and I had shared a lot in such a short time.  We had grown to see that we are not alone.

 

 

 

Psych Hospital Stay 1

 

,For my first hospitalization I had no idea what to expect.  My therapist’s office was just across from the hospital and recommended me to go in.  With hindsight I don’t think that I needed go to the hospital.  I have had chronic depression almost as long as I can remember.  The therapist thought that the break up I went through was enough to push me over the edge.  The intake personnel that interviewed me agreed that I should be admitted.

When admit, they had a full physical, which involved taking all clothes off and searched.  Your clothes were replaced by scrubs and socks that make someone automatically stick out as a psych patient.  They are blue and have no-slip grips on the bottom.

Among the clothes, other things are taken.  The most severe is no phones, computer, or any electronic devices.  I don’t understand why they cut off connections to others, I see that they may want people to focus on getting better, but I am unsure if this is the best way to do it.

            I don’t feel that I fit in with the other patients. I was under 18 so I was in the adolescent ward. When I first got there, one of the staff asked me if I had a drug addiction, I told him no, but I don’t think he believed me.  Most of the patients had an addiction and this ruined their lives.

The psych hospital was set up on a system of integrity.  Actions throughout the day would place you in different levels.  These levels changed your level of privilege.  Lower levels may have restrictions, extreme as being strapped down or easier like earlier bedtimes.  Higher levels lead to more freedom and leadership roles.  I was not combatant and was seen as a leader through the hospital.

Most patients had mental problems and drug issues.  The first night I was there, my roommate questioned me and I felt embarrassed to answer them.  I was there because I had extreme depression and I didn’t want to explain myself.

I was there for a week and here is the basic structure.  The purpose of the hospital is to stabilize on medication, coping skills, and self protection.  Even with this purpose, I only saw the therapist and doctor once.  What was upsetting was that they focused on suicidal cases, as if you had to be suicidal to deserve help.  This was frustrating because I felt desperate for help, but there were so many patients.

 In the morning, the first thing to do was get ready for the day.  Toiletries were only able to use for a few minutes each day.  We had to ask the nurses for access.  These were restricted because they don’t want people hurting themselves with them.  I don’t know what can be done with a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a comb; but they must have had a past experience that warranted it.                                                                                                                                                        

The mornings started with breakfast.  Breakfast was for the people who were awake enough to go.  Some people were too sedated, by powerful medication, to go.  The journey to breakfast was always in a straight line.  It was like a cafeteria setting.  We got out trays and the lunch ladies gave us our food.  The food wasn’t bad, as it should be for the price the insurance is paying.  As we sat down, the max per table was 3 patients.  I expect this was so that people didn’t get isolated.

Everybody was friendly towards me, except for a Satanist that I was hospitalized with.  At first, I would have no idea he was a Satanist.  He even had a clean sense of humor.  The heavy medication he was son made him shake.  So he would say “I’m shaking like a vending machine.”  I didn’t realize he was a Satanist until I saw what he was drawing.  It was just a circle at first but turned into the Satanist symbol.  I asked him what it was and after that he and he knew I was a Christian he treated me differently.  He would tell me things like nobody liked me.  This was mean, but the real problem was I always felt like he cursed me and this stuck with me for years.  I am unsure if it happened and I am unsure of what he said, but to this day I am not sure if I am over it.  At different times in my life I thought his curse was the start of my schizophrenia years later.

Even though hospitalized, I did not get a break from school.  I remember carrying my math book along.  There wasn’t much else to do in the hospital but a favorite past time was Monopoly.  We would make up rules, and team up with each other to split profits.  I’m pretty sure that is illegal, but we did it anyways

            Lunch and dinner ran the same, but there was still something to look forward to. Visitation time was special.  This came 2x a week, if I recall correctly.  2 visitors were allowed at a time.  It was so good to see them as I felt isolated and alone.

In the meantime, I enjoyed art therapy.  I made things that nobody would recognize except for me.  Scribbles in crayon, all I could see was “A’s”, representing the perfection that I required of myself.

            Another thing that was encouraged was exercise.  We would go outside and play basketball.  The walls were like castle, probably 20 feet high, so that we would not escape.  It was like a prison

I was there for a week and fellow patients and I had shared a lot.  We had grown to see that we are not alone..

 

 

           

 

Schizophrenic Problem with Driving

When driving, the double lines protect me from engaging the oncoming traffic’s laser beam.  If they do try to attack the double lines are strong enough to defend me and even reflect the lasers back to their own selves. But we have a problem when it’s only dashed lines.

I’ve seen cars explode from the laser beams, explode and be engulfed in yellow and orange flames.  Sometimes the explosion is slow and other times it is instantaneous.

Along the roads are the occasional pair of large trees.  These tree trunks are really the legs of the road guardians.  Sometimes the guardians snatch up cars and dent them, throw them, or even rip them in two.

Is this frightening to everyone?  Or just me?  Should I be able to sit in the car?  Even more so, should I be able to drive?  Will I ever be able to drive?

 

Here is my facebook page for more

https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Heart-1562332773863590/

 

Reality Testing with Shadows

I see shadows.  Forms of darkness that are alive.  I have been experimenting with what may help with these shadows.  I don’t believe that they are real anymore.  And the only real way to get better is by believing that they aren’t real.

There are several ways that I reality test the shadows.  The first way is that I take my glasses off.  When I take my glasses off, the shadows are crisp and clear but the rest of my surroundings are blurry.  The way that I interpret this is by thinking that the blurry things are from the real world, while my mind is projecting the sharp objects that are not real.

Another way that I reality test is by interacting with them.  For example, I remember handing a shadow a piece of paper.  He didn’t take it, but just stood there.  With this, I reasoned that either the shadow wasn’t real or he was really rude and unresponsive.

Trusting certain people is important in reality testing and recovery.  With these people we can ask if they see it too.  If we can trust, it’s a great source in friendship and therapy.