I'm having a bad day. And I'm remembering an experience that I remember from time to time- usually when things are not going well- now I think because I am considering going back on a stimulant- which was part of what set all of this off.
I was very manic. My psychiatrist put me on 500mg of Seroquel and 10mg of Klonopin. For about a month, I think I just basked in the relief. But I was sleeping 20 hours a day, and couldn't talk in complete sentences when I was awake. I told my doctor this was not acceptable. He decided to put me on dextroamphetamine to counteract the sedation. First a little- then a lot. I complained it was making me agitated- he decided it meant I was still depressed and needed more. He basically told me to stop being a baby and to keep taking it. It turns out he was in the midst of a psychotic break. (He told me at the first appointment that I reminded him of his wife- and it turns out he was in the midst of a nasty divorce).
At times it was so bad I wandered the streets all night, looking for places where I wouldn't be disturbed. I drove my car all night and screamed and cursed and got speeding tickets. I then took my Seroquel and crashed into sleep- only to wake up and have it all start again.. And then I decided, enough is enough, it can't be any worse off of meds.
Within 24 hours of stopping them I had trashed my apartment. The neighbors called the police. The police took me to the hospital. I spent hours in the ED, answering the same questions, trying my best to hold it together and not yell at anyone or throw anything. And then- when I was admitted to the floor and shown my room, I thought I could finally be alone and stop fighting to keep it together. And a nurse walked in and started asking me the same damn questions. I threw a pillow at her.
That is all I did, throw a pillow at a nurse. And not even at her face. But it didn't matter. Security called, four point restrains, and me fighting all the way. Once it started, I was so mad I couldn't help but to fight, even though the outcome was never in doubt. They wound up retraining my too arms too far apart- it injured my shoulder- but I was too mad to say anything. They wheeled me to the quiet room and injected me with ativan. I don't know how long I spent there- but eventually they let me out of the restraints and I spent the rest of the night in the quiet room, hallucinating. It was my 2nd night without Seroquel.
But I didn't just hallucinate. I also thought I was reading a book I found there- an old philosophy text book on the ambiguity of language. And as a result, the next morning I couldn't talk, because I didn't know what words meant. I did manage to say "I don't know" quite a bit, because I knew that I had to tell these people something- but I knew deep down that I shouldn't even be using these words. I was copping out.
They gave me haldol. I agreed to take it because it was a new experience. But it turns out, not an experience that I liked, so that after two days I refused it. But by then I was talking.
The funny thing is how real the experience of the book is to me still. For a couple of years I found myself wondering, why would they have such a book on a psychiatric unit? People are in such a vulnerable state already, they don't need to read that book. And I wondered if I should write or call the hospital to tell them to get rid of it.
And then one day it hit me- there was no book. I spent the night in the quiet room with nothing- there was no book. It would have been pretty funny if I had sent my letter. But I guess psych units are used to strange letters from former patients.