While you may never expect to find yourself locked down in a mental institution, nobody can prepare you for what happens next. I spent most of my time at Gateway thinking about getting home, about the cats & how worried & confused they had to be, my computer, my bed, my shower, my clothes, where I was gonna get my rent money from, etc. Yet, when it was time to get out of the cab that brought me home, I was once again filled with all the worry I left in this place….money, work, when I’d be able to eat again. Nothing went away, except a few days of my life. Somehow I had thought that this would be a cleansing of sorts for me, that I would walk out of the hospital healthier & stronger than when I walked in.
When I got into the apartment, I must admit that it was awesome to see the cats. They were as happy as dogs would be to see me. I’m sure it was just so I would give them the wet food they’d gone without for the past few days. Whatever the reason, they made me smile & cry at the same time, the innocent victims of my meltdown. Within 5 minutes, everything was normal & fine for them, but not so much for me. I was sure the first thing I would want to do was take a shower, but in all actuality, it took another few days to bring myself to do that. I did at least change my clothes. I had to make a plan to pick up my car in Culver City, which involved 2 buses & a two hour total trip there & back. Even my car felt weird, different. Maybe it was just me. I’m sure it was me, because everything looked & felt weird to me that first day home.
I came home Friday & fought my way through the weekend, hiding for those three days from the world, isolating once again. Starting Monday I did make it a point to go out & do something with a friend every day. It was difficult, but in the end I’m glad I did it. I went to lunch & hiking in the canyons while talking about my fears with a good friend. I went to see a live show & a jazz lounge with another friend & didn’t really talk about my experience at all. I prefer it that way with her. Then on the third day, a sweet, dear friend came over, we went out to lunch, came back here, got baked & watched a movie, laughing the whole time. That was great, very healing! Later in the evening, after a nice nap, we went to see a friend of mines band play at the Viper Room. Amazingly, when we got there, Prince was there. That was an amazing moment & one that made me glad I forced myself to leave the apartment that night. Unfortunately, we left before my friends band came on. We were both so tired, it just wasn’t in us. I even went on a job interview Thursday morning & feel pretty confident about how it went, but learned a long time ago to be optimistic without expectation. I know I’m qualified, but it’s okay if they go with someone else. I’ll keep searching for what fits me.
At the same time I began going to Hollywood Mental Health, which is a lot like Team Mental Health in Detroit, only on a larger scale. It could just be me & my personality that brings the good out in the staff, but I found myself comfortable there, not afraid as I normally would be. I really like my case worker & my psychiatrist, even if I don’t agree with her treatment plan. I trust them.
On Tuesday, I ended up having to spend 5 hours there. It always takes that long for an intake. The only bummer was that I didn’t eat before I went in at 8am, so I was starving most of the time. It could have been worse. I could have been one of the old dudes passed out on the sofa’s in the waiting area. I could have been the screaming girl in tears insisting on seeing a supervisor, because “everybody here treats us like shit”, I could have been any one of these people, but luckily, I’m me, the good & the bad. I’ll take that any day over what I see in these environments.
I have asked myself what have I gained from this experience & it’s pretty hard to nail one specific thing down. I think I learned that having a mental disorder/illness isn’t the taboo that it is in my mind. Knowing this about myself makes me feel broken, tarnished, damaged. Then again, who of us isn’t damaged in one way or another? Mainly, I have taken from this experience that it’s time to get off all these drugs that cloud my mind, see if they are really helping me, or if they are altering me the wrong way & being healthy & active is the right choice. This is the direction I am heading in. It’s not gonna be easy, nothing for me that is worth having ever is, but I know in my soul it will be worth it. I can make it!
Everything is different to me know. The world outside feels & looks different. My belief in myself is different, stronger. I realize that I’m not as crazy as I thought I was, which was a HUGE relief! I am putting my energy into my creativity. I realize now that I need a creative outlet to not only survive, but to thrive. That is my goal. I will say yes to every creative impulse I have, within reason, of course. This is my time, my shot….