Posted on October 4, 2018
BP 110/80 – It seems to be pretty steady. I think it’s all the water I’m drinking.
They have asked to have a one on one with me so I’m waiting in the common area. I think I might be in trouble because I have been taking photos in my room of all the ways you can’t kill yourself so I think maybe they’ve found out and want to tell me off. Isn’t that like at work. They call you into the office unannounced because you said something wrong to someone. I’ve also been downloading a lot of TV, but I have my VPN on so they shouldn’t know.
TRIGGER ALERT: Here are some of the ways you cannot possibly hang yourself here – for those who prefer pictures to words.
There was a tonne of drama last night and I didn’t end up taking my meds until around midnight. But that was hardly the drama (but it didn’t help the tapping).
Anyway. Something set off an alarm. Well, I say “something”, but I reckon it was someone smoking in their room. I can’t be sure. But the nurses said it was someone having a hot shower. Anyway. A few people lost their shit and I wanted to just yell at them:
It’s just a fucking alarm. Nothing’s actually happening.
They say that one of the signs of being a sociopath is lacking empathy. In Suskind’s book Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (a book I loved until I hated it), another sign is when a baby does not have that scent. Maybe that’s why I like young puppies at 8 weeks. They still have that baby smell, of mother’s milk. But that’s got nothing to do with this, at least I don’t think so.
So back to the drama of the sirens. One of the things they tell you in therapy is that holding down your emotions is part of the problem (although they never say the word problem, naturally). So what about all the other things I hold down like:
Shut the fuck up you stupid cunt.
I want to say that to everyone who is having a *panic attack* during the sirens. Anyway.
By holding that down, am I also creating a “problem” (but not that word, nauturally)?
The guy next door who likes to sit at his desk in the dark with his door open, well he ends up having a major panic attack during the sirens, but it ends up being something a lot more major because the ambulance comes and takes him away. He’s holding his arm. Fuck, maybe he’s having a heart attack?
So I’m waiting for my one on one, maybe they’re going to tell me that I’m not fucked up enough and don’t deserve to take the place of someone with real problems. I often think about how I’m making it all up, that I’m a drama queen and a liar. Everyone tells me I’m a drama queen and a liar. Actually, I didn’t get enough attention as a child, so here I am.
Should I be honest with my feelings in my one-on-one or will they send me somewhere else, where the real crazies are? See, that’s the actual problem (yes, problem, *that* word). You’re told that you should allow some feelings, because they’re natural, but others have to be controlled. I mean, I can tell the difference between “are you alright there, mate?” and “fuck the fuck off you fucking prick”, but what about the in between? That grey area is hard to navigate. That’s the area where we live, but I feel like I live at the dark grey area.
So I start off today super mad. Madder. Not because I’m here. I love it here. There’s a lot more certainty here than I’ve had anywhere in a long time. I know when to wake up (they knock), when to take my meds (before 9am), what times the group sessions are (10:30, 12.30, 2pm), meals (8-9, 12-12.30, 5.30-6.30). It’s like being a baby, I suppose. They say you should give kids a routine. I never had one, but I do now, and I get it.
I go to my one on one. I shouldn’t have been worried. It was just routine blah. But I see a hula hoopin the room and get a little excited. I wonder if Marawa the Great is going to come to teach us to hula like she did that time at Lonely Planet.
The nurses – you get a day nurse, an afternoon nurse (I think) and a night nurse) – comes to see you several times during their shift to see if you want a chat. I do and it seems to make me madder. She asks so many questions. She especially wants to know if I feel safe or like I will self-harm. Seriously, how the fuck would I do that anyway? You’ve seen the photos.
I decide I’m not going to any group sessions today. Four days in and I’m already negative and my usual belligerent self about everything. I’m like the Macadonian – nothing’s going to work, it’s all bullshit.
But I’m in the common room and see that a lot of people are going and I change my mind. Maybe I’ll hear lots of voices (not in my head, real ones) and it might resonate.
The session is Understanding Emotions.
I understand I have three major emotions, AND THEY FUCKING RHYME!
Except my favourite emotions actually don’t rhyme because they are guilt and joy. I think I’ve only felt real joy when I’ve been high. Jeff will try to convince me otherwise, that I have had many moments of real, unadulterated joy, and his saying that will make me MAD, then I will feel GUILT. You see, emotions in action!
#2 Class – What to do with emotions
It’s with the same counseller – he’s good. I like him. He swears a little, wears skinny chinos and nice suede shoes.
However, I’m feeling like I should have taken some Valium today, especially before this class. I’m agitated and my legs are shaking like a 15 year-old boy. I’ve become that annoying person who shakes and taps in agitation. Was that always me? Or is this the new me? I remember Marty used to do this and it annoyed the fuck out of me.
I have been getting lovely messages on Facebook but I haven’t been responding. I don’t know what to say. This is my bulk response to you all (wait for it – if it doesn’t move, then click on it).
Tonight is the second night that I’ve asked Jeff not to visit. When I’ve been in hospital before, for sane stuff like getting my gall bladder removed, broken leg, I hated visitors because you have nothing to say. I have nothing good to say right now. Poor Jeff hates my negativity, and that’s pretty much all I have right now. So I’m saving him, actually. Others want to visit too, but I don’t want to pretend to be happy.
I spend most of the day listening to sad bastard music and working on my new website. It’s all about distraction, but I’m not sure this is what they have in mind when they talk about distraction – but I don’t do mindfulness. Anyway, I’m happily listening to sad bastard music in my little headphones surrounded by sad bastards.
Here’s my soundtrack today:
I don’t take Valium until 3.30pm today and that’s a big mistake.
I have no apetite but I’m drinking plenty of water.
I have some Savoy crackers for dinner with Jeff’s homemade feta. YUM. Also some birthday cake.
Have I said thank you, Jeff? For everything?
I don’t think I will hang out with the Sad Bastards in the common area tonight. I’m too agitated.
There’s something that made me totally laugh tonight. While we’re all worried about single use plastics, in here we’re using NOTHING BUT single use plastics (except our cups and plates). Single use plastics every time we take our meds in those little cups and those disposable plastic cups for our meds water because they don’t trust us to take them otherwise. Like, we can’t just walk away with our meds. We don’t need to open our mouths to prove we’ve taken them but we have to take them at the nurse’s window. Although, for some reason, they asked me to yesterday to open my mouth to show I’d swallowed my Valium.
Anyway, it feels good to laugh for a bit, even if it was a little schadenfreude.
Posted on October 2, 2018
I accidentally took Seroquel at 3pm today.
Let me explain:
I had Valium at, let’s say say 2pm.
I then spend some time sobbing in public. I then spend more time sobbing in private.
So at, let’s say 3pm, I ask for more Valium but they say no, how about Quetiapine. I don’t know what Quetiapine is because everything has a million names and all that. I just say:
Just give me anything.
I sleep until 7 when Jeff arrives. He sits patiently while I sleep. We have dinner together, mum’s brodo (her mini meatball soup), and he even brought me some jasmine from mum’s garden. It’s the most positive thing about that house. I should have PTSD because of that house. Maybe I do. I go there every day. I hate that house. I FUCKING HATE THAT HOUSE BUT I GO THERE EVERYDAY.
Jeff and I watch half of Survivor together until it’s time for him to leave. Guests have to leave at 8pm.
After Survivor I hang out with “the group” in the common room (I must give them a name). We order pizza at 10pm. It feels naughty.
I go to sleep listening to Cold Chisel and it makes me want to go back to that time of play and danger. I want danger.
Posted on October 2, 2018
People who don’t know what bi-polar means, or even bi-polar 2, for that matter, and just think of it as anxiety or a bit of OCD or being “on the spectrum”, which seems the latest catch phrase if assholes, say things like “doesn’rt crying just make you feel better? Don’t you get it our of your system?”
No, crying just makes your make your mascara run.
And I have nothing to get out of my system.
I spilled coffee on myself and on my bed this morning.
Last night, late, I sat with a group of patients. Even in one day I could tell h=they were the interesting ones.
There was the youngish Syrian who assures us he suffered not a bit getting our of Syria.
The Macedonian who doesn’t trust the doctors. He’s a doctor, philosopher.
A Mauritian who I talk to about Creole and languages.
The drug fucked one – he’s like the big Indian in Cuckoo’s Nest. He could barely eat his jelly. But he seemed much better than earlier.
The other Jo who talks too much is just chirpy. I guess I’m a little envious.
Another woman who brought out a bunch of Orthodox icons for us to admire. I tell her I’m an atheist but by the end we decide I’m just agnostic. Feels like I climbed a run or two up from hell.
PS. The smoking pregnant woman turns out to not be pregnant. I asked her when she was due and she laughed and told me it’s the meds; she gets it all the time.
I’m drinking lots of fluids because they’ve warned me.
I also suspect this is higher than usual because of the morning’s activities.
Jeff visited last night and it was some of the nicest time we’ve spent together in ages. We talk about work a bit, about the Jen Cloher show on Friday night that I might get to go to if I’m allowed leave. We talk in the room, he gave me some lollies that someone brought back from the Melbourne show – some Bertie Beetles.
One of the symptoms of bipolar disorders is making rash decisions, like leaving your husband. But I don’t think it was rash.
We shared a plate of sticky date pudding in the meals room and I had fridge sandwich for dinner again. I don’t want to sit with strangers at dinner. Feels weird.
I made a third coffee and take it to the communal table upstairs. Nobody is there so I figure they must be smoking or at breakfast. It pays to eat breakfast and smoke, I guess.
I wan to cry again but I’ll only do it in my room. Too bad I do it several times at the communal table today, luckily not facing the nurse’s fishbowl.
Today there is hopelessness that I can’t chart, not even on the line chart whiteboard chart at group. my meds have been halved and c=doubled. That could explain ir.
I’m alone inside my own head. My nurse just came to chat, I tell her rubbish I know she wants to hear because telling them about the hopelessness achieves nothing.
I should be able to do things other than be in my own head.
Today my first session is group problem solving and I’m going to attend au-naturelle, diazepam free!
Good Luck Suckers!
Posted on October 1, 2018
Blood Pressure 92/68
She takes my blood pressure four times. I don’t want to tell my nurse not to be to worried, that my blood pressure is always low, but I don’t want to give her a hard time. She knows what she’s doing and I don’t want to make her feel like I know better.
But I am the person who brought her own Nespresso machine to a psychiatric hospital.
I get to use it in the common room area right now because of the long cord and the potential for self harm but let me tell you that if I am going to off myself, wrapping a Nespresso cord around my neck won’t be my go to. Imagine the epitaph: “She was alright. Died by coffee machine cord.” That reminds me, I must look up how many people died by phone charger or coffee machine cord.
We don’t look at each other walking down the corridors. It’s my first day. I don’t want to stand out. I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t want to upset anyone. I apologise for asking anything like “could I grab some moisturiser” (it’s in a glass container so I can’t have it in my room. Not ever. I think death by glass is more common than death by Nespresso cord. I don’t need Google to tell me that.
I’ve missed breakfast because who has breakfast? How hungry can you be after sleeping, after doing nothing.
I don’t want to look crazy so I got some nice “leisure wear” from Cotton On Body and shoes from Target – they look like vans but without laces. I mean, if they won’t let me have a phone charger, what are the chance of laces? I got some nice rose gold Fakenstocks from Big W. They are very uncrazy looking.
I’m having my second coffee sooner than I would normally because I fear they’ll take the machine away and I don’t want to bother them to have it back later.
I’ve signed up for group at 10.30 “Coping with uncertainty”. But first I’m reading about “Little known punctuation marks you should be using”, and trying to work out how to add the interrobang into my keyboard. Jeff tells me he’s worked it out and will show me. Huzzuh!
It’s nearly 11am and I’ve had to miss group because I had to see my new shrink. I honestly don’t think psychiatrists know anything about psychiatric patients. She talks the same shit they all do – download this app, think of all the good things in your life, learn mindfulness. Honestly, if anything is going to make me want to coffee machine cord myself, it’s that shit.
ALL I WANT TO KNOW IS HOW MANY VALIUM WILL YOU GIVE ME AT ONCE.’
It’s seems 1, or 2 if I beg. I’m a begger.
I’m typing down in the meal room. What do I eat? Do I eat? Do I have the fries? Do I think about keto in here? Who do I sit with? Do I sit alone or with others? The younger people, the older ones? Do I wait for people to come to me?
It’s okay, I’ve waited long enough that the room’s clearing out anyway.
A young pregnant woman goes outside to smoke in the courtyard. Does it matter? I mean she’s in a psych hospital on a mound of meds. She’s some sort of crazy. Could smoking be worse?
I forgot how just 2 valium can actually affect you when you’ve been weaned off 6.
So here goes. Lunch.
I sit on my own and a young guy sits near me. I pull out my phone, my kindle app, and read instead. It looks like if you smoke outside you get to make friends. So I think I’ll be alone a lot.
There’s a blonde woman on a couch opposite me who’s crying and I don’t know what to do. I mean, do we do something. The others aren’t doing anything but 2 nurses run towards her and give her a tablet out of one of those tiny meds cups. She’s being looked after but I feel I should have asked her if she needed anything. Is this what I am now? Have I become the person who stops asking?
There’s a lot of crying tonight, and people dressed in their jammies, which is forboten, I thought.
So because my blood pressure is so low, i get it measured twice a day.
PM BP 90/60 – shit.
I’ve come to my room to possibly do some crying. Alone. Not like those others.
10mg of Diazepam is not enough to stop me from crying.
Patti Smith wrote Horses when she was 29.
Posted on September 30, 2018
Only parts of my mother’s house are still a shrine. Mostly I find little school photos, smaller than passport photos, tucked into the corners of photo frames around the house. A photo of the grandmother I didn’t like much, it’s one of these re-colourised photos with rose red cheeks and lips.
My old bedroom isn’t much of a shrine anymore. There’s a double bed now and my desk’s been removed but the corner bookshelf’s still there with my first and only Encyclopedia – not the Britannica – we didn’t value that sort of quality, that was for the rich kids who didn’t make it to uni anyway. I don’t even know what mine are called, but before Google, before Altavista, Before Hotbot, Before Asking Jeeves, the Encyclopedia is how dad and I settled arguments. Oh, and every year’s edition of the Guinness Book of Records.
“Look it up in the books, you’ll see.” Between those books, we settled a lot of arguments.
I’m being checked into the psych hospital.
Standing BP 100/60
The nurse tells me to be careful when I stand up, to hold onto the arms of my chairs. It certainly explains why I fall, I say and laugh.
We tell mum and dad about it after the BBQ (my last meal) and during coffee and cannoli. On reflection, I should have waited until I’d finished my cannoli, because I don’t get to enjoy it this time but I tell mum it’s beautiful before we start getting into it. I finished the cannoli after the talk, after the tears.
I tell them I’m going to hospital for three weeks. We were going to tell them it was just for a meds change. But I break down and cry and tell them I’m depressed and need help.
“Pensa cosi buoni,” mum says, sounding like every shrink ever.
“Speak in English,” I warn her, because I want Jeff to know, I want him to experience what I experience. I want him to know the shit they’re saying to me, have been saying to me forever. Dad just rests his head in his hands and I don’t know if he feels bad or sad.
They mean well, of course.
“What did we did wrong?” dad asks, finally, genuinely burdened, because he knows what he did.
“Nothing,” I assure him, because I’m just about to be admitted into a psychiatric hospital and don’t want to get into it. “It’s not about you or mum. Some of us are diabetic, some of us have depression and want to kill ourselves.”
“Great, brava, well done.” He’s ashamed at me for trying to kill myself.
So am I, I guess. This is why I don’t tell them things. This is why I want them to speak in English, so Jeff can hear the shame my father feels.
“Say it in English,” I say, a hint of a sneer.
I guess I want my father to feel some shame.
“Have you self-harmed?” the nurse says during admission after we leave the BBQ. Except that’s not wha he says. He says something I don’t understand, something that I have to repeat, like I do when I need to understand something. “Hav you participated in non-accidental body injury.”
What the fuck does that even mean?
Jeff explains it to me. I say no.
It’s awkward having Jeff there while I talk to the nurse. There are things he doesn’t know, like the secret packets of Valium, the number of Valium I take a day (he said 6, I tell the truth). I ask if he wants to leave and he asks if I want him to leave and I say no, because I’ve hurt him enough.
The nurse asks if I participate in any other body harm.
“Like tattoos and piercings?” I wonder aloud, because I honestly don’t know.
“Yes,” I laugh because I just realised. Of course I fucking have.
I cut my laugh short because I don’t want him to thing I’m McMurphy crazy, you know, big, loud, sexual, dirty, and outrageous, an anarchist, a trouble-maker.
Anyway, self-harming is lame. That’s why you get artists to harm you instead. In the last month alone I have been arted 4 times. My harming is pretty.
There’s a woman here called Jo, not me, another Jo. She talks a lot and it shits me a bit. It’s not her first admission. Troppo conferenza and all that. Jeff’ll understand this.
I wonder if this admission won’t work. I wonder if I need another admission. So I ask for more Valium, but I’ve already had my allotment for the afternoon and I have to wait til later.
I also have this fear that I won’t want to leave here. It seems safe anyway. It seems that I won’t be able to disappoint anyone here.
I go for some water. We’re not allowed glass so everything is plastic. There are red ones and blue ones and I take blue because red is supposed to mean aggression, and it makes you hungry.
There’s woman next to Jo who’s crying and talking. I just want to go to my room and sleep but it’s discouraged. It’s better to be in public.
I didn’t expect it to be co-ed. Not sure why. But it’s nice and clean and private and I have my own room and my own shower and my own toilet and I got to bring my own Lush soap and Nespresso Machine that they’ll bring out in the morning when I need it and then they’ll put it away on account of the cords.
At the moment I’m not allowed any cords or cables in my room – no chargers, no headphones. But they let me keep my octopus charger because it’s so small that I probably can’t hang myself with it anyway, even if I wanted to.
I wonder if Jeff is as okay as I think he’ll be. He said he cried last night and I wonder who it was for.
Tonnes of posters on the walls in the common areas that have been coloured by patients, I assume. There’s one that’s a mindmap with the word “Mindfulness” in the middle, surrounded by a bunch of words I can’t read from this distance.. And this pretty one that says “Take a moment to Breathe” and I realise that I regularly forget to breathe and I gasp
Ritz crackers, Waterthins, Anzac cookies, a bock of Cadbury chocolate. I avoid them all and want to go to my room and read or watch a movie tonight.
I want to ask for my Valium again but it’s only been 45 minutes since I asked last and I’m ashamed like they’ll tell me off “tutt, tutt, try some mindfulness instead.”
I want to yell out that they have no idea, that two 5mg diazepam is hardly enough and that some of us need more and to just fucking give it to me. I think they’re wrong about addiction and that’s it’s my business. “What do YOU care if I take too many? I’m the one paying for it anyway.”
Now I’m angry because I can’t control my own delivery of fucking Valium and I wonder if being here is worth all of the angst. When I could take Valium when I wanted to, things were better.
Should I go and ask. I had asked at 5.45pm and it’ 6.45pm. Maybe I’ll ask again at 7pm.
But they’ll only give me 10mg. I want to fade away to nothing.
The man in the room next door is sitting at his desk IN THE DARK with his door open. I don’t know what to make of this.
Posted on September 29, 2018
I’m at the nail place, the crappy one I swear I’ll never go to again but here I am.
I tell her I don’t want any colour, that I’m going to hospital. I just want her to get rid of the SNS and cut the nails short enough so I have nothing to chew. Not even a loose cuticle.
She’s little; a little Vietnamese nail girl who probably has a science degree. I expect her to ask me why I’m going to hospital. They have no filters mostly. But I think it’s the married ones with kids who ask the most. Instead she asks, “when you go to hospital?”
“Tomorrow,” I say, and give some sort of benign smile.
She’s wearing these blue and gold earrings. They look cheap, like all that yellow gold jewellery you see in Vietnamese jewellery stores in Footscray look cheap but are probably expensive. They dangle gently, the blue inside the gold circle, like Saturn surrounded by a ring.
She’s dremelling my nails. But I’m lulled by the smell of nail lacquer, all the glues, and I close my eyes while she scrapes and shapes. I’m getting a pedi too. Because I don’t want to be barefoot in the hospital with crappy dry feet that look like I work on a farm,
I don’t think of anything. No, that’s not true. I think about how I’m going to hospital tomorrow, abandoning everything. Everyone. I think about how I can’t believe it’s come to this.
I open my eyes and she’s watching me, massaging my hands with cheap pink moisturiser.
“Tomorrow,” she repeats, not like it’s a question, and rubs my hands as though she’s saying, “you can count on me to make you pretty.”
Posted on September 28, 2018
I fixed things
I redecorated (still do a bit)
I watched foreign movies – at the cinema!
I made the bed every day (still do)
I had friends
I showered every day
I listened to music (I would rather die than stop learning about new music)
I walked the dogs
I looked for new projects and did them
I read (more)
I wrote (more)
I went to work
I wanted to have brutal conversations with interesting people
I made cool embroidered toys and shit
I didn’t want to sleep ever – I still want to stay up all night and be manic.
I thought that weed and smack and valium users were such dicks because who would want to sit back and be mellow and not talk alot and fix things, and write, and walk, and fuck, and talk about new music, and cook (not eat) and think, and have friends ?
I get it now.
All I want to do it be mellow.
Talk to nobody, just my dogs, not even my cats cos they be bitches.
I hope I write lots again.
Posted on September 26, 2018
I want to post on Facebook:
Hey who wants to go out tonight?
One last drink?
Maybe 3 or 5?
For old time’s sake.
We’ll talk shit.
I promise not to talk about my feelings.
I promise not to talk about how I’m going to a psych hospital.
I promise not to talk about how most of the people I know haven’t said anything to me but that I really appreciate the ones who have.
I promise to talk about, I don’t know, books.
Oh wait, who reads these days anyways?
Maybe we could talk about the sunshiny day today, because it really is.
Or how my dad’s broad beans are yummy green reminders of Spring and early summer and the bees that never sting anyway.
I promise not to talk about how I worry about who will do my eyebrows in the psych ward.
I definitely won’t talk about how I probably won’t be able to follow keto (“erm, hi, Nurse Ratched, so, I’m not coeliac or anything, but I can only eat meat, fat and *some* veggies, no sugar, I’ll bring my own”).
If you come drinking with me tonight, I promise not to mention how I’m worried that nothing will change.
I *definitely* won’t tell you about how I’m worried that everything will change, then I’ll come out and nothing will have changed – like when you go on a holiday, or a retreat, how YOU change but everything else stays still. I won’t talk about that for sure.
I won’t talk about how, despite everything, his worry, sadness, all that, that Jeff is going to be really really relieved to have me gone, just for some respite. That’s something we will never talk about.
I’ll tell you about this pretty honeyeater, or maybe it was just a finch, it had a yellow and black check, snag me a most beautiful tune and as soon as I grabbed my phone to take a photo, it went away.
I might ask you if I should go to Peter Aexander to get proper PJs, because I’ve just got Jeff’s cast off tees for home and some of dad’s undies (pre-worn, don’t be a weirdo).
But I will get a little drunk and sloppy. Who’s in? Maybe the Rev for fish tacos?
Posted on September 25, 2018
I lie in bed and work. I work harder alone. I can focus. Sometimes there are no other thoughts when I focus. Then you come home – for lunch, for checks – you’re smiley. It’s not fake smiley, but I can’t help thinking that it is a little. Like your smiles might rub off on me (they do until you leave the room). So I say HI real bright so you believe me. I don’t know that you do. It’s like when I was crying and I say I’m fine and you say okay. It’s so much easier to say okay, than it is to ask what’s wrong. Because I don’t know what’s wrong, actually. I fell and I cried. Not because I fell, but because it reminded me I was sad and lonely, and a bit pathetic. You came out when I didn’t come back inside for a while to check up on me and you were genuinely upset. I didn’t want you to console me, to touch me. I wanted to cry alone. Cry ugly. Let the dog lick my tears and snot.
Someone told me I should go volunteer. Volunteering takes us out of ourselves (I’ve done it; it doesn’t). It’s like what Madonna said when she had Lourdes – how she had to stop worrying about her own shit. But like Madonna and the volunteering, you come home, you have alone time, and you don’t stop thinking.
Some friends ask if there’s anything they can do. But there isn’t. They want to spend time. But I don’t. I don’t want to talk. So I feel guilt when they’re around and I can’t answer, or it takes SO MUCH EFFORT to respond. Guilt is another one of the things you think about after the volunteering, after Lourdes.
I became an atheist recently because I realised it was all bullshit made up to control our ethics, so we’d stop killing each other. It hasn’t changed anything for me. I feel just as much in hell as I did before, thanks.