Tag Archives: hospital

Leave Me Alone

My case manager keeps calling me.  I’ve been avoiding her for the last few weeks because I just can’t fake it anymore, and I’m afraid if she sees how bad things are, I’ll get hospitalized.  That whole agency is really enthusiastic about hospitalizing people, and I feel like I can’t trust any of them.

I mean, they haven’t exactly done anything that would inspire trust.  This case manager’s not quite as bad as the last one, but she’s still pretty much useless.  The sum total of what she’s done for me in the months I’ve been seeing her is that she brought me one housing application and took me grocery shopping once.  Pretty fucking impressive case management, huh?  I still have no therapist.  I’m still constantly broke, behind on all my bills, with no hope of ever catching up.  I’m still effectively housebound.  But hey, she took me grocery shopping once, so clearly they’re rendering highly effective mental health services.

I want to pick up the phone the next time she calls and scream, “Stop fucking calling me!  You’re not going to help me, so just leave me the fuck alone!”  I want to lash out.  I want to make her hurt because I hurt worse, and instead of helping like she’s supposed to, she just leaves me to suffer alone.  I mean, she’s never once asked about my symptoms or how I’m coping.  Nothing beyond the rote, “Hey, how’s it going?” when I first see her.

Eventually I’m going to have to answer the phone or she’ll send the cops after me.  That would trigger the hell out of me, and I’d probably end up in the hospital.  Of course, if I try to terminate, she could use that as “proof” that I’m refusing necessary treatment (hah, what fucking treatment?) and get the cops to drag me off to the hospital.  It feels like I’m screwed no matter what I do.  I just can’t keep seeing her and acting like everything’s okay, knowing that if I said things weren’t okay, the only additional services I’d get would be hospitalization.  I can’t see her because I just want to scream at her.

I don’t know why I’m so angry at her.  I don’t like the person it turns me into: it makes me want to hurt her, to make her cry.  I don’t like the part of me that makes me want to take out my pain on other people.  There’s no reason for me to be this angry at her.  I mean, I don’t even want to hurt my father like this anymore, and the things he did to me were far worse.  I want to destroy this nice but useless woman, and I don’t even understand why I hate her this much.

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please save me

What am I supposed to fill all these hours with, except dying?  There’s so much empty time and nothing else I want to do, nothing that holds my attention.

Would it really be so bad if I killed myself?

That’s a shitty question and you should know better.  If you’re going to kill yourself, take responsibility for it yourself.  Don’t try to make other people give you permission.  That’s a shitty thing to do to people.

I don’t even really want to die.  I just want a way to survive.  But without that…what?  I stay alive out of guilt, knowing that everything’s going to come crashing down around me soon?  Is that really better than being dead?  I mean, I hardly leave my apartment, so who would even notice my absence?  It would only be noticed when someone wanted something from me, something I can’t give because I have nothing left, nothing.

I need somebody to save me, but no one can–or will–I’m not even sure which is more accurate anymore.

I could take some more pills.  Sleep some more.  Supposed to be going grocery shopping with C tomorrow but I could email and say I’m not feeling well enough.  I don’t want to hide this anymore, but I feel like I have to.  I mean, the only “help” left to me now is the hospital, and that would make things worse instead of better.

Dying is the only solution that makes any sense to me right now.

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Full of Shit

So I spent most of today in the ER.

If you recall, I’ve been on a course of Augmentin to treat The Sinus Infection That Would Not Die.  Generally, if people have GI side effects from it, what they get is diarrhea.  Given that I have ulcerative colitis, you’d think I’d be more prone to getting that particular side effect.

But you would be wrong.  Instead of pooping more, I stopped pooping altogether.  I went from six to eight bowel movements a day to no bowel movements for seven days (and counting).  When it was just constipation, I thought I could wait it out for the rest of the 12-day course.  Being constipated was actually a relief after a year and a half of excessive diarrhea.  But then the pain started, and it got progressively worse.  This morning, it got beyond what I could manage.  The combination of not pooping and worsening pain also made me worry about a bowel obstruction.

So I called C early this morning, and she dropped me off at the ER.  I was not very enthusiastic about going because my last several visits there were not helpful, but it’s the only hospital around.  The pain was bad enough that I didn’t think I could wait.

Luckily, this time was a good experience.  Good nurse, good doc, even a really sweet X-ray technician.  The doctor ordered Zofran and morphine without even making me ask, and there were no lectures on how I shouldn’t use the ER for pain management.  No one called me drug-seeking or implied that my problems were psychological.  It baffles me that I can have such different experiences at the same ER a few months apart.  It’s really hit or miss with this hospital.

Luckily, it turns out I don’t have a bowel obstruction.  I’m just literally full of shit, which is not my usual problem.  But I have magnesium citrate and Colace, and hopefully those will solve this problem.

But I guess I now have to list Augmentin as another drug allergy.  (No, I know it’s not technically an allergy; the only medications I know I’m truly allergic to are NSAID’s.  But I use the “drug allergies” list as a “don’t give me these meds or I’ll end up in the ER” list, so Augmentin apparently belongs there.)

I’m exhausted, so I’m going to try to sleep.  And hopefully I’ll be able to poop soon.  I don’t want to have to go back to the ER.

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Something Is Wrong

I don’t know what it is, but I know something is wrong.  Deep inside, with other parts I’m barely aware of, probably.

I thought I’d managed to calm myself down after the panic attack.  I thought I’d be able to sleep–god knows I’m exhausted.  I barely slept last night, was on my feet all day, and then had a long panic attack.  I was almost asleep, in that in-between, twilight stage where you know you’re still awake, but you’re only slightly aware of it.  And then, out of nowhere:

What if my sister invites our father to her wedding?

And suddenly I was wide awake.  I tried not to be.  Tried to put myself back in that twilight state because if I can do that, I can usually get to sleep after a while.  But my mind was already racing.  Physically, I couldn’t get comfortable.  Most of the joints on the left side of my body are hurting, and I keep flip-flopping between too hot and too cold.  I can’t regulate my body or my mind.

I’m not afraid of him.  I know he wouldn’t dare to try to hurt me.  I’m not even convinced he’d be physically able to.  And if he tried, I know I could do way more damage to him than he could ever do to me–my years of martial arts training greatly increased my confidence in my ability to use my body as a defensive weapon if I need to.

I don’t even think I’m afraid of flashbacks and memories.  Maybe a bit, but not a lot.

Strangely, what I am afraid of, so afraid of that I can’t sleep now, is what everyone else will see.  I’m afraid they’ll think I’m rude if I don’t speak to him or acknowledge him.  I’m afraid everyone will see straight through the tension and know what he did to me.  I’m afraid they will judge me.  I’m afraid that however I choose to handle it will be wrong.

I’m probably stressing myself out over nothing.  My sister hasn’t said anything about inviting him.  We haven’t spoken about him in years.  Then again, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been speaking to him or that she hasn’t or won’t invite him.  I mean, if I were getting married, I’d want my daddy to be there, and I think we both had to get really good at separating our daddy from the man who raped us and sold us and threatened to kill us.

My sister was the one who first disclosed the abuse.  I was 19 and in a state psychiatric hospital.  My mother and grandparents had gotten tired of my problems and sent me off to live with my father, and after a few months, he had me committed.  I remember my mother calling me at the hospital and telling me, “He’ll never hurt you again.”  I was so dissociated and so deep in denial that I honestly had no idea what she meant.  I had to ask who “he” was.  I think she must’ve gotten me released from the hospital, and then I was back living with her, 500 miles away from him.  I don’t have any memory of how that happened–there was a lot of trauma and dissociation happening during that hospitalization.

My mother pushed and pushed for a police investigation.  Nobody wanted it because my father was a cop, and they kept saying it was someone else’s jurisdiction because the abuse happened across at least 3 different states.  She never asked if I wanted the investigation.  I never considered whether I wanted it, honestly.  I was too dissociated after the trauma of the state hospital, and I let my mother do what she wanted because it was one of her rare Good Mother periods.  (Probably because she got to play the martyr, her favorite role: that poor woman who had no idea what terrible things her husband was doing to her daughters for 16 years.  But that’s a different post.)  The investigation was pretty much a joke; nothing ever came of it.

Several months later, my sister recanted her story.  That was hard for me because it was her disclosure that had let me begin to remember and acknowledge what he’d done to me, the reason I’d suffered so long, the reason I was never quite right.  I felt hurt, but I never got angry at her.  One day, she asked if I could drive her to the bank to make a deposit.  I caught a glimpse of the check: several hundred dollars from our father.  I don’t know if it was a one-time thing, although I suspect it was not.  I don’t know if she extorted him or if he offered to pay her off.  Really, I don’t even know that the money was at all connected to her recanting the abuse allegations.  I never even told her I’d seen the check.

It sounds unbelievable, but I don’t remember feeling anything about it then.  All I remember was curiosity about the arrangement–intellectual, but not emotional.  In the two years after the state hospital, I don’t remember feeling anything, so I blame dissociation.  Several years later, when I was discussing this with my therapist, she used the word “betrayal,” and I remember feeling surprised for a moment.  Until she said it, it had never occurred to me that someone in that situation might feel betrayed, although it made sense after she said it.  But I don’t think I ever felt that.  I remember telling my therapist that I hoped my sister had extorted him and that I hoped she still was.  I said she deserved as much money as she could get out of him–he could never pay off what he’d done to us, but she might as well get something useful out of the whole thing.  I even remember feeling a little envious that she’d thought of it and had the guts to go through with it.  Even if I’d thought if it, I would never have had the guts to actually do it.  Even now, I struggle to trust my memories, and extorting my father for what he did would require complete trust that my memories are real.  I’d also have to be unashamed enough to be willing to out him publicly if he didn’t pay, which I couldn’t do.  I know the shame belongs to him, but it’s so deep in me I don’t think I can ever root it out.  And I envy my sister a little because she could do what I wouldn’t have the balls to do.  She got her own piece of sideways justice, and I never will because I’m not brave enough.

I don’t even know how I got from the beginning of this post to here.  I think I’m half-dissociated.  I’m fighting urges to cut, to OD, even to go out and get drunk.  (And I’ve never been a drinker.)  I just feel like I can’t stand to be me right now, any of me, all of me.  I want out, and all the distractions in the world aren’t helping.  Seriously, I’ve read two entire novels tonight and watched 5 episodes of “Supernatural.”  Still can’t get away from this…this…I don’t even know.  This SELF.  I need an altered state of consciousness.  I can’t even name what it is I’m feeling right now, but I know it feels intolerable.  The physical pain is really not helping either.  Every time I move, my body screams at me.  Only the left side, though, for some weird reason.  My neck and shoulder, my lower back, my wrist, my hip, my ankle.  I don’t know what the hell that’s about.  Tylenol isn’t helping, and I’m out of opiates since the assholes at respite stole my last two oxycodone.  I keep considering buying pot, except I don’t know who to buy it from or have any money to pay for it.  I guess if I take enough Benadryl and gabapentin, I’ll get some sleep eventually.  I don’t know, though.  I’m feeling kind of out of control, and I’m worried that if I start, things could spiral.  I’m not suicidal, but sometimes that’s actually more dangerous for me because I do more and more damage to try to numb out and end up doing way more harm than I intended.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how I feel.  I want somebody to save me but nobody can.

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Purpose, Agency, Hospital

I should go back to Sheppard Pratt.  I realize that at this point.  But I’m fighting it.

See, I went to a caucus today.  Not my town’s–I was just helping out at this one, compiling slates, getting petition signatures, bossing volunteers around (erm, organizing volunteers).  For six hours, I was important and competent.  I was NEEDED.  I was meeting delegates and calling in numbers and making important decisions that actually affect this campaign.  I felt good.  (Admittedly, the oxycodone probably helped with that.  I’m much happier when I’m on opiates, although somewhat stupider.)

If I go back to Sheppard Pratt, I lose out on that.  First, I’ll have to lie to my RFD (regional field director), probably tell him I’m going out of state to get surgery for my UC or something.  I hate lying, especially since I work for a candidate who’s strong on reducing stigma and increasing access to mental health care, but I will lie.  I’m just too afraid it’ll come back to bite me in the butt someday if I’m honest about it.

And once I’m at Sheppard Pratt, I’ll be cut off completely.  No computer, no cell phone, no radio.  There’s a TV, but you’re not allowed to watch news.  There are three phones for 22 patients, and the hours you can use them are very limited.  I won’t be able to organize caucuses or phone banks or house parties.  Hell, the last time I was there, i got “redirected” just for using Obama’s name because you’re not allowed to discuss politics.  I won’t be allowed to go outside.  I won’t even be allowed to use the bathroom without someone coming in to check.  I understand the reason for all the restrictions, but they make me feel like less than a person.  I lose almost all agency in my life.  Not forever, but it feels like forever when you’re 500 miles from home, all alone and isolated.

The two things that have kept me hanging on through these last couple weeks are my sister’s wedding and this campaign.  What if I go to Sheppard Pratt and lose the things that I’m still hanging onto?  What if it makes me more hopeless?

I’m afraid.

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save me

I called C in the middle of the night last night.  (I think it was last night; I’m not doing well keeping track of time.)  It was that or kill myself.  I had the letter all written out, down to the phone numbers of who they should contact once I was dead.  I had the pills.

Talking to her didn’t make me feel better.  I wanted it to, desperately.  Her heart is pure gold, but she said a lot of stupid things you shouldn’t say to someone who’s profoundly suicidal.  I don’t remember all of it, but guilt came into it.  She said she’d been suicidal before and how would I feel if she’d done it?  I said I wouldn’t know her if she had, and you don’t miss someone you never knew.  Someone else would’ve filled her role.  Harsh but true.  I told her I’ve had friends commit suicide, and it sucked–but no more than when I lost a friend in a car accident.  With suicide, at least it was their choice.  At least I could believe that they’re no longer hurting.

She took issue with that, too.  Religious issue.  Nothing specific or dogmatic, more just that “Well, how do you know it wouldn’t lead to more suffering after death?”  I told her I don’t believe that because there’s no rational proof of existence beyond death.  And if there is a god, I cannot believe that he would punish us for taking the only way out we had left.  She tried the “You can’t prove there’s not life beyond death” argument, and I tried to tell her that’s not where the burden of proof lies.  She didn’t listen.  I stopped arguing because it was making me too angry and I wasn’t with it enough to argue coherently.

I still want to die.  I still feel like I have to.  Like there’s no other way.  Like things are only going to get worse and there’s no one who can help me.

C wanted me to go see A today, but we’re having a snowstorm with another foot of snow.  Even if it weren’t for that, I don’t have the physical or emotional energy to get there.  I did talk to her on the phone.  I don’t really remember any of the conversation, but I do remember at least she didn’t say anything stupid that pissed me off.  We talked twice.  I remember her voice but not any of the words.

She and C both mentioned me going back to Sheppard Pratt.  Asked me if I thought I should.  I don’t know.  I probably should, but I don’t want to.  I don’t want to have to deal with any of this shit.  I don’t want to do the work.  I want somebody to just fix me because everything else hurts too much.  At this point, even uncurling my body from the tense ball it wants to be in feels excruciatingly painful.  If I can’t even tolerate the physical act of opening up, how could I survive the emotional act?

I want somebody to save me.  I don’t have the strength to do it for myself.  So where does that leave me?

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Blame

I’m so angry right now I can’t think straight.

A “friend” of mine who I was stupid enough to trust and tell how much I’m struggling has been on my case about going to the hospital.  I said being shamed and treated like I’m less than a person was not what I needed to get better, and she asked why I was so opposed to getting “help.”

So I told her.  I told her about how I’ve been yelled at for self-harming or being suicidal.  How a doctor refused to suture a cut that clearly needed it because he had “real patients who didn’t cause their own problems.”  How I’ve been strip-searched.  How I’ve been watched while showering and using the toilet.  How I’ve been forced to take medications that made me sicker.  How I’ve been threatened with restraints and worse “treatments” if I refused.  How my attempts to get help have been written off as “attention-seeking” and “manipulative.”

I told her about being in the state hospital.  I told her that one night, another patient came into my room, grabbed me by the throat, and hit me in the face over and over again.  Staff refused me any medical attention (I later found out the woman had broken my nose) and told me to “forget about it and move on because she didn’t know what she was doing.”  No attempt was made to protect me.  I told her that one of my roommates repeatedly sexually assaulted me, but I didn’t tell anyone because I knew they wouldn’t care and wouldn’t help me.

And this “friend” blamed me.

She said I should’ve reported any doctor who treated me poorly.  She said if I’d fought back against the woman who beat me up, she would’ve stopped.  She said I should’ve told someone I was being sexually assaulted and they would’ve stopped it.

She blamed me for all of it.

I’m trying to hang onto believing she’s wrong, believing I did the best I could to survive, believing it wasn’t my fault.  But I’m not doing very well.  Not hanging on very tight.

I want to hit her.  I want to beat the shit out of her.  But that turns almost instantly into wanting to slice myself to ribbons and then kill myself.  This is the hardest thing for me–I try so hard to stop blaming myself for all the traumas, but when someone I trust blames me, I fall apart.  I blocked her email and cell number, but her words keep replaying in my head.  I can’t stop that.

I’m really not okay right now.

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In Darkness

Today, another email from A.  She wants me to talk to her.  Reach out.  I don’t.  I can’t.  What could I possibly say?

I want to email her and say I’m quitting therapy.  But that would just prompt more concern, more attention, more attempts at conversation.  I can’t.  I can’t talk.  Not right now.  What would I say?  I don’t know what there is to say because nothing makes sense anymore.  My head is a mess.  There is nothing in my head–silence.  At the same time, there is everything in my head.  I know that doesn’t make sense.  I can’t make sense.  I can’t explain myself.  There’s nothing to make sense of.

I can’t focus on anything.  Can’t think.  I’m restless; nothing holds my attention.  All I want to do is get out of my head, but it’s impossible.  There’s no way out, short of dying.  Still too much guilt for that, but eventually I’ll get angry that all that shit is holding me here, and the anger will overcome the guilt.  That’s how it works.  That’s always how it works.  I wish someone else would kill me.  That way, no guilt.

My bipolar friend keeps telling me to go to the hospital, and I want to scream and shake her.  Why the fuck would I go to the hospital?  What could they do for me?  What would they do to me?  Lock me up, shame me, treat me like something less than a person, shove pills down my throat that don’t help, and eventually send me right back out into the same shitty situation I was in already.  Only then I’d be worse because O HAI PTSD.  I was physically and sexually assaulted in a hospital.  I’ve been dehumanized in hospitals.  All they do is compound the traumas even further.  Why the fuck would I do that?  What exactly would it change?  How the hell would it help?  There is no help.

 

Gretel in Darkness

 

This is the world we wanted.

All who would have seen us dead

are dead.  I hear the witch’s cry

break in the moonlight through a sheet

of sugar: God rewards.

Her tongue shrivels into gas….

 

     Now, far from women’s arms

and memory of women, in our father’s hut

we sleep, are never hungry.

Why do I not forget?

My father bars the door, bars harm

from this house, and it is years.

 

No one remembers.  Even you, my brother,

summer afternoons you look at me as if

you meant to leave,

as though it never happened.

But I killed for you.  I see armed firs,

the spires of that gleaming kiln–

 

Nights I turn to you to hold me

but you are not there.

Am I alone?  Spies

hiss in the stillness, Hansel,

we are there still and it is real, real,

that black forest and the fire in earnest.

 

–Louise Gluck, from The House on Marshland

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