Eleven days ago I called the hospital where I had my two November inpatient stays to ask about admitting myself. Ever since my psychiatrist failed to tell me that my latest suicide plan was non-fatal, I’ve been obsessed with dying. I didn’t want to die. I have so many things to live for. I just feared the 10% chance that impulsivity would overtake me and I’d wind up dead. Just as I was feeling I needed to go to the hospital, Sadie told me that Sierra suggested a therapy vacation. (As it turns out, she only meant individual therapy, not DBT group, and DBT group is what I was actually burnt out on.)
So I was in the three week time span of this “vacation” when I called and asked if I could be admitted. The hospital is in a neighboring state, and the admissions nurse was prepared to have me drive up there and come in, until she found out I have out-of-state Medicaid. She told me they absolutely would not admit anyone under those circumstances. Except…I was there twice last fall, with the same insurance situation.
I called again the next day, hoping someone else would give me a different answer. It took over two hours to receive a call back, then that nurse said she’d need to transfer me to the financial department. I left a message there, and never received a return call. Around 6 pm I had mom take me to the local ER, in hopes that the staff there could facilitate a transfer as they had in the past.
I met with an on-call therapist, Charles, who I had previously met and hated. He didn’t think a 10% chance of suicide was worth worrying about, but it’s not his call, and the on-call psychiatrist disagreed. The plan was to try getting me admitted to the hospital I’d called, and if they wouldn’t take me I’d be willing to be admitted locally.
That’s not what happened. Through a series of lack of communication and being bullied by ER staff, I ended up at an unfamiliar hospital in my state, but two-and-a-half hours from home. I had been prepared to tell the staff at my preferred hospital to keep me at least a week no matter what I said trying to convince them otherwise. I know me. I know I will try to get out. That’s exactly what I did at this new hospital. I didn’t even give it a chance. I just freaked out and in less than 24 hours had signed an AMA form (to be discharged against medical advice).
The psychiatrist who saw me the next day said that, since I actually wanted to leave Monday, I needed to fill out the form again. This made no sense to me or to any other staff, except that one nurse suggested he was using it as a loophole, because he had to choose between discharging me AMA or getting a 72-hour emergency detention from a judge and maybe he really disliked both options.
At any rate, I saw the normal weekday psychiatrist for the first time on Monday, and by 9 pm Monday night I was back home. I knew almost as soon as I left that this was a horrible mistake, and it doesn’t seem like my mom even cares. The closest she came to seeming concerned was to interrupt a sobbing meltdown yesterday to ask if she needed to call 911, to which my response was, “That would land me in jail because I would fight their asses.” I would. I adore cops, but there is no way in hell I am ever letting one take me to a hospital again.
So where does the “positivity” in the title come from? Well, to explain that I must first explain the turtle.
On Sunday we had the option of leaving the unit for art therapy. This is normally my favorite part of any inpatient stay. Not so much this time. The art room was crowded with furniture and way too many people. The tables were filthy with paint smears and plaster dust. Then, instead of announcing a project, the art therapist gave us a quick tour of what was in every drawer and cabinet, and told us to engage in free expression. I was anxious in that room and overwhelmed by the choices. I chose the fuse beads because those supplies were already sitting out, on a table away from the rest of the crowd. I had my turtle ready in record time, then asked if I could please stand in the doorway because the room made me anxious. They went so far as to let me sit on the floor in the hall.
I looked at my turtle all the time during the rest of my stay. Despite the suffering associated with him, I think he may be my favorite thing I’ve ever made in a hospital. Then I stumbled upon a book titled The Positivity Kit by Lisa Currie. It was marked on the front that we should have copies made rather than writing in the book. As with the art room, I was far too overwhelmed to choose pages, so I asked a staff member to copy four or five random pages for me. When I got home I ordered the book for myself.
I have yet to even write my name on the first page as the book instructs me to do, but I hope to make it a colorful reminder of happy memories and wishes for the future.