The Long Dark Contemplation of My Soul Part 1

Contemplation Statue

In ”Hestia at Work and Home”, I wrote about my new job. Unfortunately it lasted only two and a half months before I had a breakdown. A couple of cooks quit and my hours increased to almost full time. Because of my PTSD and epilepsy I can only handle part time work, which isn’t easy to find.

It’s scary when you aren’t yourself. When this demented feeling takes over, filling you with pain and sorrow. Something in your mind fights the feeling that you aren’t safe and you’re going to die. At times I was still the young girl getting raped at others I was the adult woman looking around confused at how she felt. I wanted to cut out those dual feelings. I knew it wasn’t rational but that was the solution my mind came up with. Luckily I was at home with my case worker and husband at the time. I had to confess I had thought of suicide but put the razor back. I didn’t want Mike to find me in the bathroom like that.

They decided to call the mental health hotline. My worker and I spoke with them, and the hotline operator said we needed to call 911 and have me admitted into the ER. From there I would be admitted to a stress unit for the second time in my life. The other time was about two years before when I was also working full time. Basically stress unit is a politically correct word for the mental ward. A place where they keep people from hurting themselves and others.

The ambulance arrived and said since there was another resident having a seizure they couldn’t take me all the way to West Plains. My husband would need to transport me. So for two hours I had to sit in the car. Luckily I had my anxiety medication with me. I also knew what was and wasn’t allowed in the unit. I couldn’t wear anything with straps. So I made sure to pack regulation clothing and something to read along with my puzzle book.

When you are having a panic attack you crave quiet. In the ER registration, there was a lady having a worse breakdown then me screaming. There were also so many buzzers going off. I found myself gripping my hair, yelling, and running for the door. My husband had to physically restrain me and put me in a seat. The receptionist apologized profusely, saying she would help me as soon as she could.

Finally, after being checked in I thought I would be able to sleep in a room. When high levels of adrenalin crash, it leaves your mind, body, and soul drained. But the room had a malfunctioning vital monitor. It kept beeping and beeping. I finally got up from the room and started shuffling toward the exit.

“Mam. Mam. Where are you going? You can’t leave,” said the gruff security guard. His voice scared me and I began to sob. “I just … I just want out of here. I can’t stand the noise.”

My husband quickly steered me back into the room. He unplugged the monitor, and I had no choice but wait for the doctor. Once he looked me over, he said yes, I did need to be admitted. I was taken to the stress unit. Here I was stripped of all of my belongings until after they were checked for drugs or other items I could harm myself or others with. Eventually things like my clothes, tooth and hairbrush, and books were returned.

Before I went behind the units locked door, I kissed Michael goodbye. From previous experience I knew I would be admitted for at least four days. I would miss him and I hoped I was doing the right thing.

Four days to think about what had happened to me in my life and how I wanted to move forward.

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  • T Thorn Coyle

    Thank you for writing about this experience.

    I wish you ease and strength.

  • Cat lover

    Thank you for being open about your struggles. While I haven’t been where you are, I’ve been very close. And I can’t handle a full-time job, either. Bless you.