Sunday, February 23, 2014


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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That is terrifying. I am so sorry that happened to you.

So many of your experiences make me so thankful for the stability that has been Dr. Brain. She isn't perfect but she has never, ever hurt me.

Once I did have to let her know that the psych unit may want to get rid of a book. I saw it there and wrote down the title b/c I liked the author. Months later when I was well enough to read it I found out that it was about someone experiencing PTSD, drug dependency and having those things destroy their lives. Not the best choice for that unit.....But that is much better than your hallucination.

HOpe today was better.