Last week I glanced in the mirror and saw a legitimate crazy person. My face was bizarre and twitchy, I was rubbing my hands together, and my hair was completely disheveled.
Erwann asked me repeatedly if I had taken drugs. He promised to help me, and I laughed. He couldn’t help me. I wouldn’t get better. I broke. I knew the guilt would prevent me from killing myself even though I wanted to die more than anything, and part of me hated Erwann for keeping me here. All I could do was surrender to the pain.
We ended up in the ER. I hadn’t slept in two days and desperately needed help to relax. The doctor asked me if I had had thoughts of hurting anyone. I said yes, I wanted to punch my husband earlier when he was trying to calm me down. He ordered me a Valium and left. A social worker named Jennifer then came in and conducted a brief evaluation, concluding that I needed to be admitted to the behavioral health unit at LDS hospital. At first, that didn’t sound so bad.
Jennifer left, the Valium finally kicked in, and I decided I wanted to go home and go to sleep. Jennifer came back and informed us that transfer to the psych ward was not optional; I had been “blue sheeted,” a federal law that allows social workers to forcefully admit anyone who is a danger to themselves or others. Erwann and I both protested, as I had no intention of hurting myself or anyone else. Jennifer said it was too late, that I was “clearly failing at home,” and that I was homicidal. Erwann became agitated, and I was clearly in distress, so Jennifer threatened to call child services if we didn’t calm down and cooperate.
Erwann was not allowed to take me to LDS hospital, so two men came to the emergency room, strapped me to a stretcher, took me away from my family, and handed me over to a nurse named Gina. Gina took all my possessions and strip-searched me, squat and cough included. Once clear, I got in bed while Gina asked me all the intake questions, although she had to wake me twice before finishing. She finally left me to sleep around 1:00 am.
I woke up at 7:00 with full, sore breasts. I wasn’t allowed my own breast pump and had to ask the nurses to borrow one. They brought me a medieval-looking contraption that had no speed setting. It didn’t work well, and I quickly got a clogged milk duct.
I called Erwann and told him that I had ruined everything. I called my mom and told her the same. I slept most of that day, but I was interrupted by the psychiatrist and the social worker. The doctor was patient and kind, but the social worker was annoyingly optimistic and took a phone call from her car insurance in the middle of our conversation.
Erwann was able to see me with the baby at 6:00 pm. Léon began to fuss toward the end of the visit, and my anxiety peaked as they left. At 7:00 pm I asked for an ibuprofen (I had also developed a cold in the middle of all this) and something for my anxiety. I waited and didn’t get anything. I asked again and didn’t get anything. At 9:00 pm I finally pushed the call button in my room and asked again. I was anxious and feverish in bed for two hours before my nurse brought me any medication.
I slept well and was getting bored, so I went to the cafeteria for breakfast. I ate cold French toast and listened to a patient talk about how badly he wanted to be the victim of a mass shooting. I got stuck in a conversation with him about an “Amish whore” he’d shared a cocaine straw with a few months ago.
After breakfast I went to the medication counter to ask for more ibuprofen. There were two nurses behind the counter. I knocked on the window. They looked at me as if I were an interesting animal at the zoo and returned to their conversation. I waited for them to finish and help me, but they didn’t. I waved to try and get their attention. Again, they looked at me and returned to their conversation. I gave up and went to the nurse’s station. There were several nurses chatting in the back. I stood patiently waiting for someone to ask me what I needed. No one did. I waved at the chatting nurses, and no one came. A passing tech finally asked what I needed and helped me get some ibuprofen.
Also waiting for medication at the nurse’s station was another blonde girl about my age. She began to tell me in all seriousness about a crazy jealous woman who had hired international hitmen to have her killed.
“I guess I spent all that time overseas for nothing,” she said.
“You were overseas?” I asked.
“Apparently!” she replied.
I mumbled something about having to call my dad and sneaked away, but I kept an eye on her the rest of the day. She became angry with another patient she thought was trying to kill her and spent a lot of time pacing and chanting in a strange language in her room. I felt sorry for her and the reality she lives in.
I saw the social worker and the doctor again and got cleared for discharge. The doctor asked me if I would come back if I needed help. I lied and said yes. I spent the rest of the day learning nothing in group therapy and watching “Say Yes to the Dress.” I shouted out my commentary for the other patients, although they didn’t seem to enjoy it.
Erwann picked me up that evening, and I’ve been home since. I have had several more crazy episodes and feel complete hopelessness.
I’m just surviving.