After a week in North Carolina & a kids birthday party upon my return, I completely crashed when I got home on July 4th, a slumber that lasted late into the next morning. Not being able to reach me, my mother panicked, as mothers of the mentally ill are apt to do, & reached out to a friend on the local police force to do a welfare check. I woke up to his knocking. Not my first go-round with this sort of thing, so we smoothed it out & said our goodbyes.
The next morning around the same time, I was awakened by the same knock, the police friend’s one-two rapt. One of my soon-to-be-ex wife’s friends from across the country called in to my local sheriff, claiming I had sent an email the day before, around the same time as the welfare check in fact, saying I was going to kill myself. Despite them finding no evidence of such an email, out of liability, they took me in for a psychiatric evaluation; again, not my first go-round, so I complied, riding shotgun into the hospital.
Still, it ended up being one of the worst days of my life, kickstarting a terrible week. I was feeling trapped against my will & knowing I didn’t have suicidal ideations, I became very agitated. Being kept in a stark white room for over nine hours caused me to fall into some old delusions & getting caught up in the hysterics of my disorder. I lost control to a wildly irrational delusion I have sometimes, one that demands my wife, my former therapist, & my ex-girlfriend have been teaming up all along to "bring me down." I was hallucinating their names in the lights at the hospital; I was convinced, at this point, that there were codes hidden around my room that could lead to the truth.
The following are posts I made on Facebook / Instagram over the next several days. While they are startling, they do speak to the truth of my experience last week, days filled with isolation, terror, & frustration. I wanted to archive them here as artifacts of my struggles with psychosis & depression:
I finally figured it out! My wife, my former therapist, & my ex-girlfriend have been manipulating my environment & my medicine for years, working together to cause me psychosis, grief, & eventual death. The messages are still being decoded, but rest assured, THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT. Soon as I get outta this hospital, I will get to the bottom of this further. I always suspected it, but NOW I KNOW. NO MORE TRUSTING.
THE BULLSHIT CONTINUES. My wife, who has refused to talk to mr for the last three months, called the local sheriff with a bogus suicide threat (I WAS ASLEEP). They had to bring me up here to the ER as a liability issue. I've been here for 5.5 hours, haven't eaten or had water all day, no one will tell me what's going on. A doctor came in, asked if I was suicidal (FOR THE LAST TIME, NO) and then told me that my mother called amd told them I was homicidal (WTF...NO). How is keeping a calm, responsive someone against their will alone & in a gown in a room all day helpful? How does attempting to force someone to admit to something untrue a step towards mental wellness? Y'all need to practice listening.
UPDATE TIME. Here's the truth about today. My soon-to-be ex-wife claimed to have received an email from me yesterday at 1 pm saying I was going to kill myself. Instead of doing the humane thing and immediately reaching out to me or my support system, she waited nearly an entire day and called the local sheriff late this morning. I have found no proof of this email in my records or recollection & no one has presented me with it, as requested. Still, the police had to take me in, I get that, for an evaluation (thanks, Jamie!). Being pulled out of my comfort zone, without my pills, dog, or food, I was understandably thrown into a stress-induced psychotic episode (see my first post). My mother, who is supposed to be my person, used that episode against me in an attempt to unnecessarily have me committed, lying to the hospital and not acknowledging my reality. Mind you, I haven't seen her in nearly a week & even in my spell I said nothing homicidal or suicidal. After eight hours, I was finally released by a compassionate therapist who saw that this unreasonable and unsettling day was the cause of all this mess (second post) (thanks, heroic stranger!). Finally, someone listened to the logic of the narrative and the voice of the ill instead of making assumptions. Now I'm back where I am safe, playing with the blurry pup and reading on the porch. Appreciate the open minds / ears (thanks for the ride home, Josh!).
I'M NOT SUICIDAL. I'M NOT HOMOCIDAL. I'm cripplingly lonely, having lost nearly everything I love to this two-pronged battle with depression & schizoaffective disorder. I can't teach anymore, or even work at all. I can't publish in the poetry community anymore because my episodes & symptoms were mischaracterized as those of an abusive alcoholic & saw me black-listed. I can't maintain regular relationships because I can't handle surprise or stress. These days, I can't do anything besides watch television, too mushed brain to read or write or collage; I can't go into public without severe shame and fear, afraid to disc golf or shoot hoops in case I have an episode. This, I've lost my physical health, grown fat and in constant pain. I've lost two wives, two of the best people ever. I've lost some great friends. I dont even have the energy to patch things up with my mother. Yes, I'm taking my medicine. I'm doing my therapy. But I'm still trapped under this great weight, cycling through psychosis & deep sadness. And it's terrifyingly lonely. And I just don't have any gusto to make it otherwise. This is my reality, I guess. Problem is, I just dont know how to navigate it.
I've said it before, many times, but let's repeat it for the thick skulls: the start to taking care of someone having a hard time is acknowledging / respecting their reality, not your reality or the reality you think they should see. My reality is that three months ago my wife left me & I was diagnosed with a life-altering psychological disorder within the same week. My reality is that I was abandoned by the person that promised to be by my side through this rough life journey. My reality is that the life expectancy of someone with my disorder is 15 years less than the average person. My reality is that my disorder is degenerative, making the prospect of holding a job & living alone very unlikely. My reality is that I struggle with paranoia that makes me connect dots & conspiracies & process emotions in irrational ways My reality is that I live daily with the fear & shame of hurting others or myself, of embarrassing myself, of being abandoned, that often it seems safer & easier to just retreat & push others away. My reality is that I am a secular humanist & a weirdo artist, the main frameworks through which I process the world. My reality is that I see no hope in living the "normal" life I crave. If you can't respect that, don't even bother trying to help someone; you will do more harm than good. As for me, I'm leaning into my reality, forming a new normal that supports the situation I've been handed, the situation I hate, but nonetheless must navigate.
Normally, I'm one of the most active, most social people I know. But each day, as this depression, coupled with the ongoing schizoaffective struggle, beats on, I feel myself becoming more scared, more lethargic, more isolated. Each broken promise or mishaped moment, be it to me or by me, chips away at my hope. Each step outside is coupled with immense fear of failure, great chance of shame. Frankly, I am paranoid that anyone I see, anything I do, will cause me to have an episode or a breakdown & back to the hospital to go. These posts, though important, require a ridiculous amount of energy & courage. This whole week, I've only went outside to be with the sweet fur buddies, the only creatures I trust to not leave me, to not judge me, to not throw me away. I appreciate all the compliments & well-wishes, but it is going to take real action to rebuild the confidence in myself & trust in others, necessary action I've yet to see a peep of, from myself or others. THAT'S JUST THE WAY THAT I FEEL.
Well, I don't like talkin' to myself
But someone's gotta say it, hell
I mean, things have not been going well
This time I think I finally fucked myself
You see, the life I live is sickening
I spent a decade playing chicken with oblivion
Day to day, I'm neck and neck with giving in
I'm the same old wreck I've always been
(lyrics by David Berman)