In-patient: Days 5 & 6 (Potential Triggers – not really though)

Proctor House 2 at elite New England psych hospital – my new temporary home


Today one of the women (K) was waiting for meds at the nurses station. The same nurse who had checked me in on Friday night. Some conversation ensued, I didn’t catch the whole thing – something about how everybody has problems.

K: Yes, my sister-in-law is a psychiatric nurse and she has plenty of her own mental issues.

Nurse: The only difference between you and me honey is that I have the keys and I’m going home tonight.

K just sat in the chair outside the nursing station, crying. I was too busy being hysterical about the staff trying to switch me to another room so that they could put an “emergency” patient in my room. There are 2 beds in “my” room (hereinafter ‘Room 205’). My “check-in” person (G) – assigned to check in with the patient every shift to see how we’re doing and write a report – had taken me down to the other end of the hall and presented me with a gigantic metal hospital bed, from which I quickly backed away, waving it off.

Me: Nononononononono, no hospital beds, trigger.

G: You no can do hospital beds? What’s wrong?

Me: My son, I was in-patient on bed rest at the ob ward in NYC for a month, BLOODBLOODBLOOD, he was born at 26 weeks, weighed a pound and a half, translucent squirrel, surgery at 6 days, they thought he would die for the 1st 2 months, nonononono, too traumatizing, I can’t sleep there, I spent an agonizing month in a bed like that…

G: OK, I tell them, I let you know.

Back in Room 205, K still sits outside the door in her own wreckage, but my roommate, also J, is getting a call from her mother. I sit at my desk with my head in my hands.  J’s mother (hereinafter ‘Mother-Bitch’) is harrassing her about a cell phone bill.

J: I paid the cell phone bill a couple of weeks ago. Do you realize that I am in a fucking MENTAL HOSPITAL???? You are calling me about MY cell phone bill while I am HOSPITALIZED? Oh my GOD, I am SO done with this FAMily!

MB: (screaming) You’re the only one who causes problems in this family!

I turned and stared at J. She looked up and shook her head, staring at the phone while her mother continued to shout.

J: Do you know that YOU are the reason WHY I use drugs? You make me want to chug a bottle of FUCKING VODKA. TWO!

MB: (continues to scream) “You don’t know what you do to this family, to your father-“

J: My father? My FATHER? The father that gave me BRAIN DAMAGE when he smashed my skull into the car? No, don’t remember that one, huh? There were witnesses! You fucking idiot!

MB: more screaming, all I can make out is “it’s all about you” and then something about her brother.

J: “Yeah, it’s all me, ok. You just want your PERFECT little family and your PERFECT little son, you know what? You can FUCKING HAVE IT! I DON’T FUCKING WANT IT! You people MAKE ME CRAZY! S has a REAL family. And guess what? I’m a PART of it, you dumb BITCH. So take your fantasies about your PERFECT little family and shove them up your FUCKING ASS!”


J, on the left, and her mother fighting.


She hung up. A girl after my own heart.

J: “You believe this shit? I’m the fucking hospital and she calls to bitch at me about cell phones.” 

Me: “Good thing it wasn’t in person.”

J: “She also drained my fucking bank account. Thank God for S’s family. Will they let me leave here in my own car if someone drops it off for me?”

Me: “Yeah, you should be fine.”

J: “Sweet.”

And then, just like that, she was gone and the staff was stripping down her bed for that “emergency patient” who a day later had still not emerged.

I was an hysterical mess for the first time since I was admitted, I had completely lost my composure. I ran down the hall and asked to please get a note to my Psychiatrist that I needed my PRN (Ativan) elevated. I took my 1 mg anyway but probably cried and shook for an hour. I think it was just all the concerted stimulation – hysterical patients, staff running around like headless chickens, my roommate screaming, swearing and leaving (abandoned! no, not really).  Although, when I met for the 1st time with my treatment team all we did was discuss meds and I was put on 10 mg of Celexa with an increase coming on Saturday to 20 mg.  And they said to go to groups – I have been to all these groups before – to ‘learn’ distress tolerance skills. I had spent 6 months meddling with DBT, no use. I felt discouraged and now I was realizing it. I would have to drive home the extent of my distress to them tomorrow.

Please make it go away. Fucking please.


With all of the commotion yesterday, no new patient had ever shown up, and they now made up J’s empty bed for a new patient and told me I would be switching to a single (YAY!) So here are some shots of my new SINGLE room:

Me, in my new room, trying to hold my head together


George, perched on the mantle, watching over me


Fireplace – detail


Fascinated by these antique, key-locked window screens, they open like a door, inward. The must be schizophrenic in their conflicting roles…


My walls are my favorite color, even if not my favorite shade

I’m happy to be in a single – I can do my workout routine in the morning without feeling like a jackass. I also have a pet spider. Nonetheless, it was a bad day, with the suicidal thoughts, general discouragement and someone making a snarky remark to something I said in group. I went on’s “find-a-therapist” thingy but wasn’t finding much in the way of trauma. Finally I found a 40clinician practice in Newburyport, it said that they offered “intensive outpatient therapy.” That sounded promising. I played phone tag with the fellow whose profile I liked best & played phone tag with him before calling it a day and taking a nap. I woke up at 6 and needed to take 1.5 mg ativan before having more turkey sandwiches and playing cards with my husband and daughter.  They left after and hour. I was exhausted. Again. And still feeling like dying.




  1. Le sigh.

    I would like to say many things but somehow they all sound kind of empty. Trying to think what would have helped me during those dark in-patient days but nothing comes to mind.

    I hope and wish that soon you find a way out of the mind trap mental illness is.

    Big virtual hug.

  2. reading this brings back memories. That conversation between J and her mother almost made me have a panic attack. I am still trying to breath right. That is the thing. When you go in the hospital, it is hard because you are surounded by eveyone elses turmoil. That was hard for me. I’ll be praying for you girl (((hugs)))

    • I’m so sorry hon, god, I thought that post was fairly tame, just goes to show you never know what might trigger someone 😦 Thanks for your support – I’m ok in here, just afraid the Grim Reaper will climb right back into my lap the minute I leave. Yuck. Big hugs!

      • oh I wasn’t upset at you for my being triggered. It’s just that my history with my mother is a big thing. I love reading your posts sweety. Yes, please stay away from the Grim Reaper dear, I’d say he’s been there before lol.

      • Oh good, I love reading your posts too! Yes, I suppose triggering mom can be an inherent part of a large percentage of us, huh? It’s very difficult to trigger me, that hospital bed & watching my roommate detox were both triggering, but the bed much more so. And who would guess a hospital bed could be triggering? I wonder why they even have them here, unless older patients or disabled patients need them. Yeah, I guess that must be it. Big hugs!

  3. Have you ever read Joanne Greenburg’s “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”? It’s potentially triggering, but it’s also absorbing and amazingly insightful. It tackles the whole “key” issue and how it’s a power symbol that divides the supposed “sane” from the supposed “insane.” Sorry — I wrote a portion of my thesis on that, so I was excited to see it in your account.

    I’m really sorry you’re having a tough time in the hospital. Nobody stops to consider that psych wards themselves can be extremely triggering environments. Sometimes they’re weirdly rejuvenating. Sometimes they’re high drama. Just depends who you’re in with. I am glad you were able to get your own room. It’s helpful to have a place to retreat for privacy and to clear your head of the chaos around you. Plus, I know you have work to do, so a single room must be a double blessing.

    Thank you for keeping us updated on your experience at the hospital. We’ve all been there, but everyone’s milage varies. I’m finding your accounts fascinating and absorbing. I just wish you were feeling better in the midst of it all. Take care. I’m still thinking of you and hoping things start looking up. *hugs*

    • No, but will add it to Amazon cart now – good last name too, same as the head of psych at Harvard Medical School – so it must be good 🙂

      And yeah, I actually had FUN during my 1st hospitalization years ago. You just never know! I propose a toast to none of us having to come back to one? A toast to our health? Yeah, that sounds better – I raise my Fiji water (because it has a pretty bottle).
      Thanks so much for your support. Love, j

  4. I’m curious about your little bunny on the shelf. I really like him…..
    At least you have got a single room now. It’s nice sharing in a way, but I always prefered a single room. It seems to make it easier in hospital when you have a place to semi-call your own.

  5. Dorothy says:

    wow…I wish I could help you. I can feel all of the turmoil in your writing. I’m glad you got the private too. Being with another patient is crazy because you feed off their energy. Is Ativan and Celexa making a difference yet? or is it too soon. They love throwing Ativan around, don’t they??
    Big hugs,

    • Hi Dorothy,
      Thanks, you’re always such a lovely support! Have been on ativan for years, benzos are the only class that continue to be effective for me, so I am protective of them. The celexa will take like a month, they bumped to 20 today, 30 sometime next week & I’m going to advocate for 40 – I was on 20 for months a few years ago, like a sugar pill. So I need a high dose. At least I’m not experiencing any NEGATIVE side effects, so that’s good.

      Will keep posting while I’m here, I’ve had questions re hospitalizations so I figured I’d post what its like here, people who haven’t been might find it interesting…

      I hope you are doing ok???

      Love, j


  1. […] first which is what I mostly do anyway. I ended up reading  a new blog I just started following Not Quite Lost. This is a woman who has recently been Hospitalized in the local psych Hospital. She went into a […]

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