One Week in the Psych Ward

January 28, 2012
By Smalltownlibrarian SILVER, West Warren, Massachusetts
Smalltownlibrarian SILVER, West Warren, Massachusetts
6 articles 6 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague."~Eleanor Crumblehulme

Sitting on your bed.
The little red pills in your hand.
You count them again.
Ten more than a qualified over-dose.

Your phone rings.
You look from the pills to your phone.
You finally answer the phone.
It's your friend.
Asking what's wrong.
You put the pills back and start sobbing as you explain everything.

"Caitlyn, did you take any pills?"
You look around.
You're in a bed.
A nurse is next to you.
You feel dazed and are confused.

The nurse repeats the question.
"Did you take anything?"
You hear two people crying.
"No" you answer.
You see your parents sobbing in the corner.

"I have to pee" you say.
The nurse hands you a little jar.
You comeback and a phlebotomist is waiting.
Another nurse comes with a tetanus shot.
She asks why you're here and what happened.

You sit in the bed.
Eat some food.
And attempt to explain everything.
Without crying.

It's 8 o'clock when you're finally told something.
You've been sitting on this bed for 5 hours.
Your butt has fallen asleep.
Both your arms hurt from giving blood and the tetanus shot.
You're just about to fall asleep when Brad comes in.

"I've talked to Dr. Hope and we think you should be hospitalized"
You, in a mental hospital.
You start sobbing, thinking of how many people you're letting down.

Brad leaves to call Tufts and to try to find you a bed.
"I—I---I need my pillow pet, and call Suzann to let her know I can't work."
You stammer, in between the sobs, a list of stuff you need and people that need to know.
You still can't believe that you're going to be hospitalized.

Brad comes back in with a nurse named Dana.
Dana explains what's going on and how you'll be a patient in Arlington North.
You only nod your head, because you can't even begin to think about words.
Your parents are sobbing as they follow you up to Arlington North.

Dana shows you your room and your roommates.
You have three roommates.
They're all sweet and female.
You talk to Brad with your parents about what's going to happen from here.

You sign and initial several pieces of paper.
A nurse takes your blood pressure.
It's a little high.
You walk your parents to the door.
You're crying, Mom's crying, and Dad's trying not to cry.
You hug your parents.
And say I love you to both of them.
Mom waves at you and you wave back.

You walk to hallway.
Confused, upset, and disoriented.
You finally decide to sleep.
You take a Benadryl and lay down.

The door opens and you rub your eyes.
A nurse walks in and sees you're awake.
"Good morning, I'm Wendy; you must be the new patient."
"Hi Wendy! I'm Caitlyn, and it's way too early to be this peppy."

You wake up slowly, after learning its 6:30
You feel well rested and safe.
You sit on your bed and start meditating.

You're still scared and afraid.
But when Wendy comes in, she explains what the day will be like.
You feel a little bit less afraid.
You grab your pieces of paperwork and start filling it out for the nurses.

You eat your breakfast.
It was French toast, cereal, and tea.
You attend a group for the first time and enjoy it.
You meet with your social worker, pediatrician, psychologist, staff, and give two more vials of blood.

You see your mom.
Dropping off your clothes, some toiletries, and your Bible.
You rush over to her and give her a huge hug, but tell her you have to attend another group.
This one is lead by Father Dominick.

Father Dominick was talking about loss.
And what everyone's story is.
He talked about how we feel and how that affects us.
The group with him was nice, and it helped your healing process.

You fall asleep after dinner.
You wake up to the Red Sox vs. Oakland, bottom of the 8th, 5 – 2 Red Sox on top.
You see a nurse in the doorway telling you it's your mom.
You almost run to see her.
Finally, Something exciting!

You and mom talk for an hour.
About everything.
Including your new meds.
You're happy that your trying to get better.
Mom's happy, because you're working on getting better.

You hug your mom goodbye a little before the last group
You didn't cry and neither did your mom.
You walk back down the hallway into the group room.
Only to be moved to the caf for group.
You noticed your mom left her sweater.
You hold onto it until the nurse in eeyore scrubs saus your mom is at the door waiting for it.

Group starts and you were given the job to write on the whiteboard.
You peep in once and a while about your coping methods, but not too much.
By the time group is over there are about 25 different coping methods.
Each one a coping method for someone in the group.

You take your new nighttime med.
You walk into your room to get ready for bed.
The second you lay down you notice that Lucy is snoring.
You smile, realizing that Lucky is finally sleeping.
Soon, you are too.

You wake up.
It's day two in this place.
You look at your fresh cuts on your wrist.
You look at your hospital wrist band.
You start wondering what got you to this point.
You still can't answer that.

You take a warm, quick, shower.
It calms you down.
And you feel better now that you're clean.
You open up your Bible to Psalm 20
And start reading it.

You go through the motions in the morning.
Meds & vitals.
You feel alright, actually, you feel really good.
You are happy you're still alive.
You truly do want to get better.

You attend group before lunch.
It's all about emotions.
You immediately wished you fell asleep.
You look at the four categories.
Anger, Glad, Sad, and Scared.
Bill asks you what you fit into.
You look down and go.
"All of them. I'm angry at myself for doing this to myself. I'm happy I'm getting help.
I feel guilt for how my parents feel. I'm scared for what's to come."

When you finish explaining you can feel the tears in your eyes.
You try so hard to repress them.
"Don't cry" you tell yourself.
You feel two tears fall.
You try to repress more as Bill and everyone gives you support.
When group ends, you start walking to lunch.
Bill catches you before you can leave the room and says that you did very well.
You just nod and laugh, but deep down.
You hate yourself for not being able to repress the tears better.

You eat lunch.
It's a veggie burger.
You go back into your room and study your SAT book.
You wait for Dr. Hope to see you.

You grab your book and read it in the group room.
Ron calls you over and says you have a call from a Cindy.
You run to the phone and talk to Cindy.
When you hang up, Cindy is planning on stopping by!

You attend another group with a smile on.
The doctor calls you out of the group.
You talk to the doctor.
You feel alright.
And knowing that Cindy is visiting you, your day has gotten better.

You ask Julianna if you can use the phone to call your father.
You fial the phone.
Your father picks up and you tell him that Cindy is coming.
And if he can call Mom to let her know and if she can bring my food.
You start counting down the time until visiting hours.
Three more hours.
You re-start reading Onward.

You attend the last group of the day, before wrap ip.
It's about preventing relapses.
You listen in and speak up when necessary.
You establish that to help with your recovery, you need to get rid of the razor blades.
You, yourself, need to get rid of the blades.
No one other than yourself can do that.
It's a step that you need to do.
To help you through recovery.

You go into the caf.
Wait for Sean to take your vitals.
Sean takes your vitals.
You're still alive and are in good standings.
You go into your room and wait for dinner.

You read your Bible and when you finish Psalm 68, you realize it's past 4.
You call Suzann and it's so nice to hear her voice.
You explain everything and apologize.
You didn't want to say goodbye, but you had to.

You sit in the caf and talk to John, Addie, and Robert.
The second you see the dinner cart, you're up and ready to eat.
You eat your dinner and then look at the clock.
One hour until visiting hours.
You eagerly, anticipate, Cindy coming.

The minutes slowly go by.
Every time you look at the clock it's only been five minutes.
You try distracting yourself by reading the Bible.
But you still look at the clock.
Waiting for it to be 6 o'clock.
The times seems to slow down when there's nothing to do.
You still can't wait until Cindy comes.
You hope that your dad relayed the message correctly to Mom.
You're craving for some Smartfood and Reese's' Peanut Butter Cup.
You lay down on your bed and gland at the clock.
It's still 5:40.

"Who are you here for?" you hear the nurse ask into the microphone.
"Caitlyn, we're her parents."
You hop out of bed and get your flip flips on.
Dana comes in to get you, but you're already half way out of the door.
You eat the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup immediately and label the Smartfood, so no one else will eat it.
You talk to your parents and Dana stands in the doorway and saying I have another visitor.
You run down the hall to Cindy and give her a hug.
Cindy hugs you back and states how happy she is to see you.

You get everything ready for Easter Egg stuffing.
Your mom and dad help with the Easter Eggs for a while.
Once mom and dad leave you and Cindy sit down.
And talk.

You talk about everything with Cindy.
How you're feeling.
How the day is and what you do.
How sorry you are for worrying her.
When it was ten of 8, you didn't want Cindy to leave.
You walk Cindy to the door and give her a hug.

You walk into the group room, waiting for the last group.

It was going good.
Until you thought about Attie and your OD plan.
When group was over, you take your night meds.
You get dressed for bed and look at the freshest cuts on your leg.
Over 100 fresh & healed cuts on your body.
You feel a guilty for doing it.
And you feel upset that you couldn't reach out to anyone in your support group.
You talk to Lucy and eventually the two of you fall asleep laughing.
About the fountain of youth in the psych ward.

You toss and turn during the wee hours on the morning.
You hear trucks on the Mass Pike, but you don't hear the birds.
You calculate the time to be roughly four in the morning.
You try to look out the window to see, but notice that the shade are closed.
You eventually fall back asleep.

You wake up about an hour later.
The sun is leaking through the window shades,
You make your bed and find some clothes to wear.
You sit on your bed and wait for the breakfast call.
You look at how dirty your nails are.
And how naked they feel without nail polish on.
You see the A & T on your thumbs and smile.
Your mom's supposed to bring Attie's phone number tonight.
You can't wait until you can call Attie.
You've been worried about her, but you really miss her voice.

You grab her Bible and read a couple passages.
You stop and start to think why you're here.
You have about 3 -4 days left here, if everything goes well.
But why did you let yourself get to this point?
Why didn't you reach out to someone?
Why didn't/couldn't you fully open up to Peg about how you felt?
Why are you this way in general?
You can't answer any of them or maybe you don't want to.
But the one thing you do want to do it get healthy and happy.

You hear the call for breakfast.
You stop reading, thinking really, and get ready for breakfast.
You eat breakfast and two new boys are eating.
You slightly explain everything and how the day goes.

You attend group and introduce yourselves.
You listen to everything the nurse says.
You look out of the window and realize how much you miss the outside.
Then you wait for the next group to start in a couple minutes.

You watch the clock in the kitchen.
Watch it tick down until you have a revelation.
You ask for the phone to ask your mother for Attie's phone number.
You plan to call Attie around 3 o'clock.
That way you know that she'll be out of school.
You can't wait to talk to your girlfriend.
You miss her voice, so much.

You attend a goals group.
It was also a positive affirmation.
There were two questions that you knew immediately.
"_________ Loves me"
You write down "My girlfriend, Attie, loves me!"
"My favorite place is _______"
You write down church & the library.
You can't wait until Ian comes tomorrow with Communion.

You play a couple games of checkers with John.
You wait for the doctor to see you.
You start to fall into this routine of doing nothing.
You hate it, but at the same time you like it.

The next group you attend is a recreational group.
You play Wii bowling with the guys.
You win the first game and come in second on the second game.
You call Attie, but there's a calling restriction on her phone.
You plan to call her right after nighttime meds.

You're sitting on your bed, waiting for dinner when Dana comes in with someone.
"Caitlyn, this is Janelle," Dana tells you that she'll be your new roommate.
You greet Janelle and introduce yourself.
You also let her know that if she needs any help with a routine that you're here.

You hear the pay phone ring and start to run.
Your other roommate answers it and tells you that it's for you.
It's your grandfather.
You talk to your grandfather for a while, until you have to hang up.

Your parents show up, just as the pay phone rings.
It's for you, again.
It's your Suzann making sure you're doing okay.
And wishing you a happy Easter.
You wish her the same and hang up.

You spent all two hours with your parents.
Talking about everything.
You even explained how you broke down in group the other day.
You hugged your parents goodbye and said you would see them tomorrow.

Instead of having group after visiting hours
The unit threw a part for Dan.
You enjoyed it and laughed.
And the strawberry shortcake was really good.
You go to bed, smiling.
Hoping that Attie will get the text to call you
Hoping that tomorrow will be as good as today was.
Anticipating Ian coming
And wishing that the day will keep you occupied.

You wake up.
Take a shower.
Have your vitals taken.
Eat breakfast.
Every day is the same routine.
You just hangout and it seems to just be boring.

You think of when mom was visiting you last night.
She told you that Jake went through your room.
Looking for a suicide note.
He found them.
You told your mother to burn them.
All of them.
You didn't want to deal with them when you get home.
You hope and pray that mom and dad will burn them.

You can't wait until your minister comes.
You've told some of the nurses that Ian will be coming and that anyone can join you.
You wait for the nurse practitioner to see you.
While waiting for the practitioner, you attend a group.

The nurse practitioner calls you in.
She seems alright.
You answer all of her questions truthfully.
She tells you that you should be discharged on Monday.
You are so happy, you're going to start counting down the hours.

You have lunch, nothing too amazing.
It's a veggie burger, again.
You eat it all and go to your room.
You are overcome with the nauseous feeling.
The one you would get after starving yourself
It's like your body is telling you to purge.
It's telling you that you don't need the nutrients.
You ignore the urge to purge and read a book
Away from the bathroom.

You attend the next group.
It's supposed to be about life skills, but turned out to be about leisure.
You get handed a list with 124 items on it.
You circle the one's you've done and square the ones you want to do.
You end up not marking eleven and adding 17 more.
Janelle was adding more, and you started to try to get more than her.
It became a full fledged competition between the two of you.

After group, you, Janelle, and Addie went into the caf.
The three of you talked about everything.
It was nice until the rest of the unit came in.
Then you all just talked about meds and bad side effects, until dinner came.

By the time that dinner came 90% of the unit was sitting in the caf.
When the cart with the food arrive everyone was out of their chairs waiting for their trays.
Dinner was a little overcrowded, but it was going good.
Until Jim says something to Addie.
The two of them started yelling.
You just sit there and look at your food.
Within seconds two nurses come into the room trying to calm everyone down.
You just sit, try to eat, and wait out the "storm".

You look at the lock to see what time it was and decided to call mom to see if Ian was on his way.
You turn your tray in and ask for the phone.
You leave a message on your Dad's phone asking if he knows if Ian was on his way.
The nurse talked to you about just being careful and if you need anything to find him.
You thank the nurse and walk into a verbal right between Janelle, Jim, and Lucky.
You sit down, but you can't deal with all of the stress.
You look at Janelle and apologize and go to your room.

You grab your Bible.
Sit on your bed.
You attempt to read Psalm 107, but you can feel the tears in your eyes.
You can't handle all the fighting today.
You focus on each work.
Every single one of them.

You hear the pay phone ring.
You slip into your flip flops, wondering if it's your dad.
The phone is for you, but it turns out to be Cindy.
It's so nice to hear Cindy's voice.
You talk to her, until Ian comes in.

You tell Cindy that you'll see her soon.
You thank Ian for coming and let him know that we have a couple people wanting to join in.
You tell the nurses that Addie and Dan wanted to participate.
Shortly after you told the nurse, Addie and Dan came in and Ian started talking.
Five people took Communion.

You talk to Ian a little.
Thanking him for coming and how you're doing.
Trying to get better.
Your parents come around 6:30

You let Ian out and thank him again.
You walk back into the caf and talk to your parents.
They brought you some Easter candy.
And some Chocolate milk.
Janelle walks in and you give her the milk.
You explain to your parents why you really wanted the milk.
Janelle thanks you and your parents.
The rest of your parents visit to you was talking about the day.
You listened to how the Easter Egg hunt was at the church.
It was quickly 8 and you walked your parents to the door and gave them a hug.

You went to wrap up group, really tired.
Wrap-up group was a game of bingo.
Well four games of bingo.
It was really fun and got really competitive.
By the end of group, you were laughing and enjoying life.
You take your meds and go into your room.

You sit down on your bed and immediately Lucky starts complaining.
You are getting so stressed with Lucy as your roommate.
Luckily Janelle came in and the three of you talked.
Lucy left the room, so you and Janelle talked for a couple more minutes.
Well, until your meds knocked you out.

You hear the door open.
Your eyes open just a crack.
You assume it's just a 15 minute check.
But you notice that she's carrying something.
The nurse walks over to your nightstand.
You act like a child pretending to sleep.
She leaves a little cup of candy and a chocolate bunny.
You smile as she leaves.
The Easter Bunny visited you.
In the psych ward.

You get up for breakfast.
You an Janelle both caught the Easter Bunny.
The two of you laugh over it.
You realize that this week, you're laughed and smiled the most you have in the past couple months.

You hang out in your room.
Reading the Bible, but then Lucy comes in.
Lucy is looking for a tank top.
The next thing you know, someone stole Lucy's shirt.
Lucy storms out to the nurses and states that someone stole her shirt.
You are so tired of how negative Lucy is.
If you weren't planned for discharged on Monday on Tuesday
You would try to trade roommates.
Lucy is freaking out and is swearing about how the nurses stole it.
You feel like laughing at the stupidness of Lucy's rant, but bite your tongue

You hang out on your bed and listen to a patient deny his meds.
You listen to another patient complain about her roommate.
You listen to Lucy complain about everything.
It feels that everyone is agitated and hates it here.
You try to focus on reading your Bible.
You liked it much better when there was only 6 people in the unit.
There was less fighting.
Less arguments.
More personal space.
It was nice.
Now it's hard to just keep your own mind clear.
You fear that if today gets any worse you'll freak.
Or relapse when you get home.
And you don't want to do that.

You sit on your bed all morning.
There haven't been any groups this morning, so you've been reading the Bible.
Once you made it through Psalm 19, the longest Psalm, you were on the move.
You finished the Book of Psalms right before lunch, you were so happy.

You eat some lunch.
It was egg salad, surprisingly it was good.
You return your tray and go to sit back into the caf to talk, but you hear
"You broke my heart and I wanted to cut my wrists"
You turn around and walk back out of the caf and into your room.
You hate when people joke about cutting.
It's a serious problem.
You calm yourself down by writing and can't wait until you're discharged.
Only 27 more hours.

The day slowly goes by.
Lucy just adds to it by complaining.
You just chill out in your room talking to Janelle.
You have some more Easter Egg candy.
For a brief moment you have regret, but it soon passed.
You're tired of feeling like you need to purge.
You try to ignore everyone's attitude as much as possible.
It's hard and sometimes you feel like you're isolating yourself.
But you want to get better and being around people with attitude and always complaining doesn't help.
At all.

You hang out in the kitchen with a couple people
And laugh non-stop.
The nurses look at all of you weirdly.
You're happy that this has been relaxing.
With the exception of last night.

Lucy started complaining about this and that.
You're so tired of all of her negative comments.
Janelle locked eyes with you and wondered if you wanted to watch the baseball game.
You and Janelle went into the TV room to watch the game.
It was 3-0, top of the 2nd , 1 ball 2 strikes 2 outs when you have a phone call.
You go into the other room and are surprised when it's your grandfather.
You talked to him until dinner came.
And dinner was definitely more important.

Dinner was alright.
A veggie burger for Easter dinner wasn't exactly what you expected though.
Jim makes another joke about cutting.
You tense up and think about leaving
But Janelle tells Jim that those comments are offensive.
You feel so thankful that Jim knows how.
But you still don't like him.
Especially with him constantly cracking jokes about cutting.

You sit in the caf.
There isn't really anything to do.
You think about going to bed, but a nurse comes in for group.
She brings the rest of our Easter candy and says that we'll watch a movie tonight.
You decide to skip the movie and go to bed.

You wake up to the door opening and the sound of a train.
You sit in bed for a couple minutes, until you hear that there's a waiting list of the shower.
You rush out of bed, grab your clothes and shower stuff, and wait in the caf.
Janelle says that she let Jim go into the shower first.
You groan.
Jim takes long, long, LONG, showers.

When you finally get into the shower you turn the water up how.
You step in and the water feels so nice.
You take about a 15 minute shower.
Longer than usual, but it felt so amazing.

You attempt to dry your hair, but without a hair dryer, it's not exactly easy.
You let your hair air dry while you're watching the news.
Janelle comes in and watches the news with you.
The two of you pay attention more to the time than to the actual news.

You get tired of watching the same five stories, so you grab your book.
You focus more on the book, the more you can hear Lucy complaining.
It seems that that's all she can do it be negative.
You can't stand to be around negative people.
It brings you down, and you actually do want to be happy.

You move into the caf.
Waiting for breakfast to show up.
When you see the cart you're out of your seat.
Ready to eat your food.

Don hands you your tray and you bring it over to your seat.
You were a little confused because you had a plate and you only ordered cereal.
Then you remember you ordered white toast.
You look at your cereal and it's cheerios.
You didn't want cheerios.
You want rice krispies.
But no big deal.
You took the top off of the plate and instead of toast there was pancakes.
Now you are a little frustrated.
You pick up your menu and check what you ordered.
Trust to make sure you're not crazy.
It wasn't your handwriting!
It looked like the kitchen's handwriting.
They changed your menu for breakfast!

You started wondering if you turned in your menu.
Janelle says you did.
You eat the cereal.
It's not that big of a deal.
You only have five more hours here.
You're just worried for lunch.

You sit on your bed.
Listening to Lucky complain to all of the nurses about how good she's been.
Don comes in your room to do the routine check.
You smile at him and he tells you that you'll be next to see the doctor.

You tell him that you'll be here.
You won't be going anywhere.
Don laughs and says that he's happy that you're not complaining.

You sit in your room waiting for the doctor to see you.
Don walks in and lets you know that she's ready to see you.
You slip your flip flops on and follow the doctor into her office.

You listen to the doctor and within five minutes it's been established that you'll be discharged today.
You're so happy, you're smiling ear to ear.
You asked one of the nurses what you needed to get done to help them get ready for the next patient.
The nurse said that you could strip your bed.

You strip your bed.
Throw it into the hamper in the bathroom.
Walk back to the nurse wondering if you could pack your clothes.
She said that she had to find your list of clothes and stuff.

You sit in the caf, reading Onward.
Bill comes in and says that another group will be starting.
You walk into the group room and sit.
You may be leaving in an hour, but maybe this group will help you.

Carol comes into group right at the end.
With the list of your stuff.
You walk over to the cabinet with Carol and watch her unlock it.
You grab your two bags and go into your room to start packing.

You just grab all of your clothes and shove them into your bag.
You put everything on your nightstand in your other bag.
Carol comes in to help you pack, but when she saw you're already packed she made a joke about you getting out of here.
You walked into the caf, grabbed your bag of Smartfoord and started eating.
You talked to Janelle and Joe, before the next group started.

You look at the clock.
It's a little before 11.
Bill comes in letting people know that another group is about to start.
He also hands you the material from the next group and wishes you luck.

You hear the doorbell buzz and then you hear
"We're here for Caitlyn Jones' discharge."
You get your food together and wait for one of the nurses to let them in.
You see them talking to one of the nurses about me being discharged.
They started filling paperwork out, so you walked up behind your parents.
You sign your name where it's needed.
You're so happy. You're finally being discharged.
You feel great!

Once all the papers were signed
You and your parents are escorted to the door.
Don wishes you the best.
You say thank you and walk down the long hospital hallway.

You follow your father through the automatic revolving door.
The second you hit the outside you took a deep breath of clean, fresh, air.
It was a slight drizzle.
It felt so nice.

You packed the back of the car with your stuff.
You get into the back of your car and it hit you.
You're going home.

When you get home, your dog rings the bell to go outside and you race to take him out.
The second you get outside you run through your yard.
You run down your driveway, encouraging your dog to run with you.
You feel so happy.
It feels amazing to run, to breath fresh air, to feel so happy,
To be home!
Life is absolutely amazing.
You are so happy that you're still breathing and establish that you will never try killing yourself again.

The author's comments:
After a week spent in a mental hospital for a suicide attempt, I wrote as my coping method. This is how I coped with life during that week.

Names were changed for confidentiality reasons.

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