My husband and daughter came to fetch me tonight and I was happy to see them but I started to feel the weight on me instantly. I walked down the hall, it got heavier on my shoulders and chest with every step. I collected my “sharps” – glass items, my good razor – from the nurses and one of them patted my shoulder and said “We’ll be praying for you, kiddo” as the elevator door closed.
Walking through the tunnels downstairs I felt numb. I realized there were offices all down the brick-sided hallways, and I looked for the names of my doctor or my social worker, but I didn’t see any names I recognized. There was nothing about being off the unit that felt liberating, I didn’t feel lighter as I usually had after inpatient stays. By the time we reached the car I had tears in my eyes. I felt WORSE.
How could that be? OK, maybe the medication shouldn’t be performing miracles after only 3 weeks. But I have been treatment resistant for so many years that I don’t expect for the Celexa or the lithium to make much of an impact. The lithium is actually supposed to work within 5 days of reaching therapeutic levels, which happened 10 days ago, according to my bloodwork, so actually that SHOULD be working. It’s only job: curbing suicidal thoughts. But 30 minutes into the traffic-laden ride home and the Cenobites were there, making suggestions, bearing gifts. What did they bring? The gifts of Worthlessness, Uselessness, Hopelessness and ultimately promises of peace, if only I would take the poison with some citron vodka. With a blanket and a book, on a warm day, under my tree at the Arboretum.
It appeared that they strategically had impartial, uninterested “check-in” people assigned to me on every shift since Thursday – none of the nurses or staff I was usually assigned to, who might write a note for the file saying “SHE IS NOT READY FOR DISCHARGE.” That had happened twice already. By that point I just wanted to go home anyway, I didn’t care.
When we met Monday, the team carefully declined to ask me if I would be safe at home, just saying that they were concerned. Not concerned enough to keep me. I had wanted to go into the Women’s Program, a program designed around PTSD, Borderline and Anxiety – 3 of my 4 Cenobites. I wanted intensive, tailored therapy. It was on the table for the past 2 weeks & then last Friday it was “you need a long-standing relationship with a therapist and to be less suicidal, we were being a little lax in our heads on the rules.” Yeah, except that I was assigned to the program 2 years ago by the woman who is now RUNNING the program and I was no less suicidal, nor did I have a therapist.
They had presented me with a 6-day program – Fri – Wed, so therapy split with 2 empty days in between. I declined when the intake coordinator told me it was probably “not for” me if I felt I needed more than 6 days. My team was furious, Dr. G snapping at me that the social working had “busted her ass” getting me into that program. “That untherapeutic program, you mean? The one the intake coordinator told me is probably not for me? That program?” That conversation was Friday. We made our apologies for losing our tempers during our meeting Monday.
They’ve also been talking up a McLean-based Psychologist for me over the past couple of weeks, having me sign off on sending her my file. She had accepted me as a patient – I was told so on 3 separate occasions and had confirmed that driving distance was not an issue if it was for the right clinician – a clinician who could actually help me.
By Monday she had declined to meet with me as well. Why? I lived an hour away, have kids, and a part time job (I telecommute for Christ’s sake!). I thought those were MY logistics to worry about, not hers. But it was one more NO. M, my case manager/social worker came in the afternoon with the news and it made me cry, just a bit while she was there. I told her I felt like every time I asked for help I was told no.
Me: Could you please help me?
Everyone else: No.
Everyone else: NO.
Me: Pretty please?
Everyone else: FUCK YOU!
Me: But I really need-SPADE TO THE THE BACK OF THE SKULL AND NOW I CAN’T THINK OR BREATH AND I JUST WANT TO STAY DOWN ON THE GROUND BECAUSE THERE ARE JUST ANTS AND SPIDERS HERE, WORMS, AND THEY DON’T SAY “NO” OR TELL YOU TO FUCK OFF. AT LEAST NOT THE ONES IN MASSACHUSETTS.
Before, during our talk, Dr. G asked me how I felt about going home. I said for once the idea of discharge wasn’t sending me into a paroxysm of terror. She said she was really encouraged to hear that – that I wasn’t afraid to go home. But what I meant was that am through resisting and am not afraid to die.