I’m back from my vacation at sunny PrincetonHouse. Didn’t get much of a tan; and couldn’t even find any shirts that say “My dad went to the loony bin and all I got was this stinkin shirt” for the kids. Maybe next time….

For those of you that don’t know, I was in the hospital for 8 days (read previous blog if you care to); got home Thursday night. Went in because the thoughts were getting unimaginable; thoughts of hurting myself were prevalent and couldn’t control the speed at which the 100 thoughts in my head were competing for priority. At work, my entire team noticed that I was speaking in fragments and changing topics by the moment. At home, my wife saw that I was distant, distractible, irritable, and sad. Me, I felt like Alex from A Clockwork Orange with my eyes held open watching this grotesque version of reality…. It was time. Sunday night was horrendous as I previously mentioned, and I knew that it took me twenty years to get the courage to get myself to the hospital, and if I let that experience weigh me down, I’d never go back. So, I got my arse into treatment.

 

PrincetonHouse is a fine place, I’d assume. I have never been committed (err admitted) previously so I have nothing to compare to. The staff was just fine, the patients ranged from highly functional all the way up the scale to violent and incoherent. Being voluntary, I was in a different room, but suffered from the same rules as the committed folks. Basically, the only perk of being voluntary was that I got to eat lunch in the cafeteria as opposed to on the unit. This I was fine with, I needed structure and didn’t want freedoms. They took my belt, they took my shoelaces, they took my shampoo and deodorant. Whatever, at the time they could have taken my arm and I would have complied without question.
 
Group therapy sessions at an acute treatment center are somewhat of a joke. They take aforementioned range of functioning individuals and put us in a room to discuss everything from Smoking cessation (Uh, I don’t smoke???) to drawing our emotions and group therapy. If it were not for Sally ((names changed to protect the nutty) who couldn’t stop ranting about how she was a librarian for 29yrs and suffered a trauma but the doctor cleared her); and Steven who smelled like a compost pile; I may have seen more benefit from group. Regardless, I was there to get glued back together and would comply to anything. As the groups progressed, I was able to avoid Steven and catch cat naps when Sally spoke; and I found groups actually helpful. The therapists were concerned for my drawings, as they were dark and ominous; whatever…. If I drew unicorns and rainbows I wouldn’t need inpatient therapy. WTF? I digress…. As my time went on, I found more and more benefit from group; and then I met the Dr. The Dr who interrogated me for hours on end, only thing missing was a 75watt bulb in a dark room swinging from the ceiling. 271 questions later, he asked for my wife’s phone number. Odd time to be asking for admission to the swingers party but ok. He calls the wife, and returns. He then wants my doctor’s number, this is getting intense… am I about to be ground up into Soylent Green crackers? Turns out, the concensus is that there is an undiagnosed piece to the puzzle, which explains 17 SSRIs, NSRIs, TACs and Benzos with minimal relief. Ok, so he feels that it could be bi-polar mixed in my cocktail of mental ailments. Friends immediately called bullsht because they’d been down that road and it was a total misdiagnosis. I was therefore HIGHLY skeptical. More questions, more “tests”. Then the Dr. pulls out Risperadone, the wonder drug. It’s a lovely anti-psychotic that will help with bi-polar but also has a really cool effect of boosting Luvox efficacy (which I’m also on). Studies have shown that Risperadone helps calm obsessions for OCD patients in many cases. So, my thought was that even if I weren’t bipolar I’d try it out. Granted, had he approached me with antifreeze at that point I’d chug it if it meant immediate relief.
 
Then the 2 days of sleeping 18 hours came. Wow, waking only to eat then go back to sleep is pretty cool. Funny thing is, day 3, I woke up and it was weird, 85 of the 100 folks occupying my brain and competing for neural activity had left. Were they still sleeping, on vacation or did this new combo punch of SSRI, Benzo and anti psychotic commit genocide en mi cabeza? It felt surreal, like when Neo learned kung fu in 30seconds flat and he was amazed with himself.
 
Long story short (I always say that, and it never is) this combo is working. I feel amazing. Granted, 8 days in the hospital without contact with the outside world (including not seeing my kids which saddened me to no end) has me in a position where I need to re-adjust. I get overwhelmed very easily; I get emotional over everything; and I still have moments of OCD greatness. For example, yesterday I felt like I was ok to go to the mall with my wife. Bad move, we crossed the threshold into the mall, and I lost my mind over the lack of symmetry in the floor tiles; something I’d forgotten would get me batty.
I’m by no means cured. I’m a firm believer there is no cure; I’m of the belief that we are wired differently and will always have this cross to bear. It’s a trade off for being such highly evolved intellectuals. That said, I *feel* better. I still check the stove, and I still am neurotic about everything, but I don’t get as upset over it.
 
 
One final thought, before I get yelled at by a certain friend who likes to yell at me (from a loving place, of course)…… I have two appointments with my Dr between now and Wednesday, when I go outpatient for an undetermined period of time. During which, I will be undergoing an aggressive schedule of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am on disability and will not be returing to work until I’m better, regardless of how long that takes. I’ve come too far to throw it all away by not completing the process. If I go back to work now, I’ll be back to where I was in a few weeks. You’ll all be proud (hopefully) to know that I have not even checked my work email once since I came home, and don’t really have the desire to.
 
Thank you guys for always being so supportive of me. If it were not for you, and the support of my wife and family, I would NEVER have gotten to the point where I was ready to get help. I wished we lived closer so we could laugh over a glass (bottle) of wine. If anyone lives near NJ please do reach out to me, I’d love to sync up.
 
Side note: It’s almost ironic how I was able to sit here and focus for this long; especially since my baby daughter is crawling around me and Sesame Street is on (“A” is the letter of the day for those of you who were curious).
-Bill
 
 
3 Comments
  1. ancientgeekcrone 11 years ago

    The blog is wonderful news. I am glad the crisis it in such a providential way. I too had been voluntarily committed for 3 weeks for a depressive reaction. Like you, it did me a world of good. I also take meds to this day. I was in my late 20's when it all happened. I managed to finish(retire) from my teaching career on full retirement, So I did become functional. I am still functional; but I absolutely the the support of the OCD tribe and the Depression Tribe. I belong to both. I attended the Anxiety Tribe for awhile, but felt I didn't received any support. It is interesting how are mind and body works. I no longer were about hospitalization or episodes that I cannot handle. You, I'm sure will do the same. Good luck to you.  It isn't an easy journey.

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  2. sweetie1965 11 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, not only for the humor but for the great news. I'm really happy that you're doing better and I hope that continues for you.

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  3. anxiousinohio 11 years ago

    I am so glad you got the help you needed. It sounds like you are in a much better place. Good luck and keep us posted. 🙂

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