Daily Archives: January 29, 2018

All In

Poker is a fascinating game for one reason only: the cards you are dealt are only part of the strategy to winning. It is true that in all card games, a good player can make a hand play better than it is. However, in poker, you can win with absolutely nothing in your hand, and […]

What to Expect at a Psychiatric Ward

hostpI have been to many psychiatric hospitals and most of them have been total nightmares, but if you are reading this and thinking about going to the hospital, please do not let that deter you.  I just have been unlucky and I think for the most part hospitals are good and can work.

I am using my blog as a journal now and just wrote two blogs about how I am going back into the hospital.  In the second blog I mentioned I was going to write this blog so here it goes.

When you get there, they will take everything from you and eventually go through it. Some they will lock up in the safe, some they will put your name on and  some they will let you have.   Many things are not allowed on a psychiatric ward because they could be used for suicide or self harm. Even if you are not a self-harmer or suicidal, someone on the unit might be and you don’t want them to get ahold of them.

Some of the things not allowed are any food from home, shampoo, deodorant, etc that has alcohol in it are not allowed.  You are not allowed pens, shoe laces, and the list goes on.  They usually allow you to have three outfits and I would bring something comfy.  I also would not bring anything valuable with you or clothes that you would really miss if they got lost.  As far as the clothes, they will do your laundry for you, you just have to learn their schedule and how they go about it.

After taking everything from you, they will ask you a lot of questions.  You will need to get medically cleared so you will see a nurse or doctor to make sure that you don’t have medical problems that would prohibit you from getting the help you need if the hospital is not equipped especially.

The questions range from what is going on recently to specific thoughts to giving meds you are on to who your doctor is to who you want to know you are there.  That is one important thing to know.  When you are in a psychiatric ward and someone tries to call you, they won’t be able to unless they have your code.  That is because of privacy.  If someone were to call and ask if you were there, they would just say no.

Make sure you get your code and let the people know that you want to call you know the code and the phone hours.

The phones are off a lot. THey are off usually between 10 pm and 8 am.  Then, they are also off for groups.  You are expected to go to all the groups. That’s why you can’t use the phone during that time.  You are also limited to usually 10 minutes on phone call because there are only two phones that all the patients share.

I am kinda rambling and maybe will come back and clean this up another time, but for now….

After you have been medically cleared, all the questions have been asked, your stuff is taken away, you have gotten your code, chances are this is when the person who brought you will have to leave and this is the hard part.  Remember, it is hard for them too.

You will brought to your floor and if it is a good hospital, they will go over the rules with you.   They will give you a folder of things to read. The last hospital I was at had a worksheet to work on in addition to a journal. You will be shown where your room is and meet your roommate.  Yes-chances are you will have a room mate.  Don’t get me going on that one…. (My mental health advocate side of me boils in regards to this.) My insurance pays for private room when I am in a regular hospital, but when I go to a psych ward, I am not only given a roommate, but the bed is so less comfortable. I know that it probably has to do with the way to keep people safe, but still, I feel like the mentally ill are cast aside….okay…enough of my advocacy talking…

Depending on what time you get there, you will talk to your doctor, and/or a therapist usually (they are the ones who organizes family meetings, talks to you about going home, makes appts when you leave, etc.).  I think the law states that you have to see a  doctor within 24 hours of you being admitted.

You might get there at meal time.  You usually all go together to the dining room. Sometimes hospitals have you eat right on the unit.  One thing you will not see on your plate is a knife for obvious reasons so eating with etiquitte is challenging.

Groups are usually about 45 minutes long and are on all different topics. Usually there is a group in the morning where you set your goal for the day and then one at night that reviews if you have achieved your goals.  There are art therapy, sometimes meditation, yoga, exercise, talk therapy.  Good hospitals have therapists with degrees teach you different ways to cope and what to do about stress and a wide range of topics.  Some of them are really interesting.  Of course, when I am in the hospital, I am usuallly manic and unable to concentrate.

The best part of being on a psychiatric ward in my opinion are the other patients. Sometimes, it is essential that you have some other people to talk to because there is not enough staff.  A lot of the time spend talking to other patients is to complain about staff at many of the places I have been.

Beware that there are some patients you will want to stay away from and you will learn who they are soon.  Some people are in there who are quite violent. Don’t be scared as the hospital staff have a great plan set in place for when someone starts to lose it.   It might be scary the first time you see it, but just go into your room or wherever they tell you to go and you will be fine.  I have seen people throw chairs, hit staff members, yell and scream and threaten everything.  The last time I was in the hospital, a guy ran the length of the hall and pulled down all the lights and tiles from the ceiling.  While they were repairing them, we had to walk thru it all and there was blood and everything.  ANother time, I did not see it, but a guy ran through window and escaped.  They got him and the next morning he was full of stitches.  I am not saying it is crazy like this all the tiem, just warning you.


Try and keep to yourself as much as you can.  FInd a few “friends” you can hang out with and open up to about things.  However, I have learned that it can be like middle school and people get petty over thigns and y ou can find yourself in the middle of a problem thru no fault of your own.

There is so much more to talk about, but I am going to be leaving soon.  I will try and come back and finish this later. Just know…if you are going to the hospital….YOU WILL BE OKAY!!!!!





In Real Time: Going into the hospital

class_journals_iStock_000021675732XSmallNote: This is a new thing for me to use my blog as a journal and this is the second one.  My first one can be found here. 

I heard from my new psychiatrist and she assured me that they would admit me if I go to the hospital.   I have been to many hospitals before when I am full blown manic and have never found a hospital that treats me humanely.  I was recently at the hospital I am going to in a few hours and they treated me with respect and was the best psychiatric hospital I have been to since I was younger.  Therefore, I am not scared about going.

It is helpful to know what to expect so I am not nervous or anxious.  I actually am hopeful because I have a new doctor and am off all my old meds and on two new meds.  I really am hoping and praying that these will be the right ones as this constant roller coaster ride is getting too overwhelming.

Could I finally be getting off the roller coaster ride? I have some hope.  I have been living this life for over 30 years.  Yes- I worked and lead a “normal” life, but every day was a struggle.  I finally, about twelve years ago went on disability.  This was because I was in the hospital 16 times in one year (medical and psychiatric).  I thought I would be back to work right now and it is quite depressing that all I do is sit around and watch television trying to get out of my depression and then cycle into I can do it all mode only to crash back into severe depression.

There has to be an end.  I really want to lead the life that I had started out to lead and had decided on back in my teens before I was diagnosed.

I have my bags packed and am going to go write another blog on what to expect when you go to the hospital as it might help someone who is battling with going or not and not knowing what to expect.

It is only two hours until my husband gets home, but it has been a long day waiting. I will be glad when I finally get onto the floor at the psychiatric floor.

I will keep you posted. I will write when I am in there and then type it up when I get out so people have an idea of what it is like to go to a psych hospital.


Bipolar Bytes – Take Your Medicine

Today I want to talk about the cycles and circles and stuff of bipolar disorder, being bipolar, having bipolar and the importance of continuing to manage when it feels like the need to is gone.


Had my first one-on-one with my professor today–we talked about the story we workshopped last week and that was good.  WE talked about some things that didn’t come up in workshop and that helped a lot.  I’ll see what I can do revising it a bit.

Bob has a colonoscopy tomorrow and is coming home this afternoon to do the prep for it.  I’m not looking forward to this at all–he’s on a liquid diet and is not happy about that.  But it has to be done.  So that is the way it is.

I should be getting the schedule for the conference I am reading at in March soon so I know when I need to schedule getting there and whatnot.  I know it’s out because another girl in the program mentioned her getting the schedule on Facebook so I should be getting it as well and if not, I’ve asked her to forward it to me on Facebook.  Hopefully she will see my message and send it along.  I’m looking forward to it!

Waiting on Bob to get home.  I’m going to work on laundry today and see if I can get things sorted out for this week.  Tomorrow is going to pretty much be taken up with taking care  of him so that will keep me from getting anything done. 😉

My mood seems to be holding up pretty well.  Wish I wasn’t getting rejected but I’ve come to terms with that as far as it affecting me goes.  It’s just what happens when you’re brave enough to submit stuff.  Some people in the program are too scared to even submit anything.  But you can’t get anywhere that way.

Hope everyone has a good start to their week.  Have a great day!

In Real Time: Thinking about going back into the hospital

smoking-journalThis is the first time I have used my blog as a journal rather than to make a point or educate about something.

I have been having a rough few weeks. It started when I got a cold and I was not sleeping right.  I soon started seeing the “red flags”  (signs that I am getting manic).

I kept hoping that I would not get manic, but the truth was I think I already was.  I saw my therapist and told him that I think I should admit myself into the hospital before I escalate anymore.  I have never been able to do this because you have to be a threat to yourself or others before you get admitted.  In the past, I will try and get help and they won’t admit me. Then, within 24 hrs I am being admitted involuntarily.  This is stupid and makes no sense, but that is the way it is.  I am not going to get off topic anymore here.

I was luckily able to get into hospital right away although my doctor did not see that I was that manic and was ready to discharge me right away.  I talked him into allowing me to stay for at least 4 days.

Unfortunately, I started getting sick medically.  I was brought to the ER and eventually returned to the psychiatric hospital. However, after about another day, they told me they had to discharge me because my medical problems were too difficult for them to deal with at their facility.

It was my understanding that after I got medically cleared, I would be able to return.  So, I had an endoscopy done, they found some things, and now I am on medications. I went back to the hospital and was told I did not meet criteria.  Let me point out now, that I am now under the care of a different psychiatrist.

Before I was discharged, it was the idea of the doctor for me to change doctors.  He referred me to another psychiatrist at the same facility.  When I tried to get readmitted, I had not seen her yet.

I did see her last week and was taken off all my medications and was put on two new ones.  Those of you who have had medications adjusted, know that can be a scary thing. I already was thinking about going off the meds I had been on (doctor was agreeing) because they were not working. I kept cycling and getting to be full blown manic.  I had to endure the side effects and the medications were not doing anything.

I really like the new psychiatrist. She told me that if I felt that I needed to be in the hospital over the weekend, to go and even though she was not on call, she would make sure that I got admitted to her floor.  That has been a relief to know that.

I got through the weekend.   However, I am a mess.  My medicines for my medical problem are not all working because I can’t get them all due to my insurance. They are fighting that and I won’t get into that topic as that just ticks me off.

So, this morning I called new doctor and am waiting to hear back. My bags are  packed. I have talked to my dad about my plans of going back.  I plan to tell my husband now.

I will keep you posted and might try doing some more of these journal type writings.



5.5 That’s how many days I went without showering. FIVE AND A HALF DAYS. I didn’t even have the legit excuse of no heat. I just have zero will to bathe. Or more appropriate, the depression has left me with zero energy to expend on such frivolity. I can wet wipe myself and use deodorant, keep the stench at bay. Try to ignore my scalp is so skanky my entire head itches. I used to relish bathing. And during the summer when marinating in my own sweat, showering isn’t that hard, usually. But during winter…Ugh. It sounds so pathetic and lazy and disgusting but it is…

I can’t figure out on what planet this pattern of not bathing would not truly concern any mental health professional. I guess psych nurse just thought being stinky and slovenly is my norm. Which it is so not. This is the anxiety and depression and it’s been going on for months. Yet she had zero concern. I presented with every visible sign of clinical depression and intense anxiety and she just…

Yeah, yeah,I need to let it go. Anyway…I finally forced myself to shower last night. It was supposed to make me feel better. Other than preferring the scent of Irish Spring to my own reek and having a non itchy scalp…it just felt like another damned chore, like washing dishes or scooping litter boxes. Seriously, depression has even robbed me of the basic pleasure of a shower. this isn’t normal, this isn’t affect.

The whole situation with our home(lessness) up in the air has me a trainwreck, and I feel so damned powerless I just want to give up. And sure, it’s enough to stress out anyone but the thing is…

Even before this complication arose…I was down the rabbit hole. I just keep thinking, I just need one good idea, I just need one break, I can pull myself out of….and then my brain goes off the reservation and the thoughts start spinning and I can’t come up with a single coherent thought. No plan of action. It’s all too jumbled. One would assume thought it as simple as putting one foot in front of the other and walking. But it’s not. My brain is in total control of walking and breathing and such-but when it comes to focus, problem solving, organization…I’ve got less than nothing and it is terrifying.

Because I can’t melt down. I don’t have that luxury. My kid says at least once a week, “Promise you won’t leave me, Mommy.” And I’ve never left her, I’ve been here every day since she was in utero, so the notion of me leaving her must stem from her sperm donor having split so she clings to the one parent she has left. And I can’t and won’t leave her, and after what my family has been through after K’s suicide this month…I’ve even abandoned my long term ‘end of the road’ plan of self destruction if I can’t get back up from the depression and anxiety. Which means I am in it for the long haul and that’s as it should be, but with no psych support and my own mind working against me…I feel like I am on a sinking ship. But I can’t feel that way because my 8 year old needs me to be an adult. There is no three day stay at the psych ward to recharge or stabilize.

Yet if I needed an operation and was in for three days…that’d be okay, not abandonment or weakness. But because my ailments are mental…it’s not legitimate.

I am so sick of this.

And I am sick of my gut being in knots, my nerve endings on fire, feeling so damned exhausted that even making my kid a sandwich is tiring. I have a disaster zone of a house and I should be scrubbing everything with a toothbrush in a last ditch effort to convince the new powers that be not to throw us out but instead…I am still binge watching Scandal and when not doing that…I am on my 4th novel in 3 weeks. If anything good has come out of this latest meltdown is I am so far gone I am actually able to focus on reading a book because even grisly murder mysteries seem less cumbersome than my real situation.

More than all of it…I am sick of complaining. I am sick of feeling weak and hopeless and useless and lost. I am sick of trying so hard only to get nowhere, have no support, and never gain an ounce of self confidence because my own brain is my worst enemy.

I just want to live life as contently as possible and even that has been denied.

I’d love to go all girl power and pull myself up by the bootstraps like all the self helpers preach but that’s the thing about depression. It cuts off your bootstraps, breaks all your fingers, and you have nothing to pull on or with.

Depression hobbles as well as that chick from Stephen King’s “Misery”.

Goal Reached: Master Level

Today I’m sending a finished journal to Art Journaling Magazine.  This is a goal I set for myself last year—to create a journal to their specifications, send it in, and see if my work is publishable.

It’s taken seven months to complete, which is about twice as long as it usually takes me to fill a journal.  That’s because it pushed my envelope like silly putty.

The book itself was a beautifully crafted, handmade journal with pages of mulberry paper that I bought a long time ago and never used.  Mulberry paper is handmade, wispy with lots of long fibers.  Pretty, but hard to write on.  I had to Frankenstein it to make the pages semi-workable, and then I added scraps of watercolor paper with the noble intention of doing a lot of my own drawing and sketching.  Not only did that not happen, it just added to the bulk and weirdness of the pages.

As per publishing requirements, a submitted journal must not use copyrighted material in the artwork (which means no Pretend Boyfriends, evocative National Geographic images or current advertising—basically, everything in my arting arsenal).

Sorry, Boys







I struggled with this monster for months, and then the binding broke.  Suddenly I could breathe.

I started journaling differently, using my words as design instead of Great Thoughts that needed to be preserved.  I wrote over previous entries, then wrote over them again.  I wrote on napkins and tissue paper that made the words practically disappear when glued to a painted page.  When written over and over with different pens, different colors, the background takes on a lovely Serial Killer vibe.  Mixed with the right images and some cheesecloth scrap, I found a whole new way of evoking Crazy (my favorite topic).

I’d go to antique malls and use whatever I found.  Mixed with a few scraps of my own, I could still tickle myself and make pages with hats.  Putting hats on critters just makes my day.

I found these girls and a deck of Slap Jack when I visited my sister over Christmas.  I made this spread while I was there, and it’s still one of my favorites.

I sent along a query letter with several proposals for articles—about how hard this was, about art journaling as therapy, about shifting from Writer to Artist, and the thoughts and techniques that went into some of the spreads.  I covered all my bases.  And if the good folks at Stampington and Company send my journal back with a “Thanks, but no thanks” note, I’ll still be satisfied.  I met a Big Goal.  I stretched as an artist.  It’s ALL good.


Day 3

Today has been an alright day. I’ve been antsy though, not sure if it is because of the withdrawal or I’m just tired of being home all the time. Could be a little of both. I haven’t really had any anxiety today and other than a few body aches it seems the slow removing of the rexulti is going as planned.

The puppy is having an awesome time, she loves playing with her new sister and brother. Charlie the male doesn’t usually play but he is actually smiling in that doggy way that dogs do. I have some great pics I’ll have to post them if I can get them off my phone.

I even painted my nails today. I’m not usually one to bother with it, I just grow my nails out and leave them au natural but I decided I wanted them to look pretty. Taking care of myself is a good thing, I don’t do it very well but it’s something I really need to do more of.

I can’t think of anything to write though my brain is kind of out of it. Perhaps this again is the rexulti withdrawal.  I sure hope it doesn’t last, having nothing to write is lame.


Penny Positive #53

From An Optimist’s Calendar