Pass #2.

I tried going out today and it was pretty much a disaster. I’d parked my car at a friend’s (acquaintance?) condo because I can’t afford to park at the hospital. So I walked to where I thought she lived, which took ages and there wasn’t a proper sidewalk because I was walking by a main road.

So I turn off the main road to the residential area, which has all curved roads and cul-de-sacs, and I’m using Google Maps on my phone to try to find her address, and I reach the set of condos and my car isn’t there. So I follow Google Maps some more and it takes me in a giant circle. The wind is ass-biting cold and I was only in a hoodie. So then I start wondering what the fuck I am going to do if I can’t find this, or if my car got stolen, or if I’m just going to have to Uber back to the hospital or what. As it turns out there is an identical set of condos (the right ones) a couple of blocks away but because they weren’t “straight” blocks I didn’t find them until I’d been walking for an hour and a half. With only a cup of milk for breakfast mind you. (I’m not a breakfast person, I left my tray untouched on purpose, but I didn’t have the energy to walk that far.)

So, finally at the car, I couldn’t find my GPS and there was Pepsi spots everywhere from when I had packed a can to take to work for lunch, circa January 11, and it froze overnight and exploded.

I headed to work to cancel my parking pass for February as they had said on the phone if I brought in the dash card before the end of the month they wouldn’t charge me for the next. So when I got there, that turned into how I needed to cancel 6 working days before the end of the month and so the payment was going to be automatically withdrawn with no way to stop it. (It will… eventually… be refunded. Weeks, the gal said it would take.)

So I didn’t have the heart to go home — I thought for sure if I did I wouldn’t have the energy to get back. So I just came right on back to the hospital, covered in failure after 3 hours.

My “regular” psychiatrist was back today and saw me with a resident. Of course he wanted to know how I was and I said that I was totally losing perspective. He discussed a bunch of med changes and I was like yeah, I dunno… and then went off a bit on him and he explained to the resident how I got angry with him because I thought my life being hopeless was a fact, and he thought it was the depression talking. Then we talked about life in the hospital and I said that if I stayed in bed the nurses bugged me, but if I went to groups I cried. So he gave me day passes for all of the non-treatment days. 

I’m going to have to move my car from where I abandoned it, and I would be happy to spend the time at home, but getting there and back is such a pain that I don’t know what to do.  Everyone else gets rides from someone but I don’t really have anyone to get a ride from, and I can’t afford to Uber or taxi. I could take the bus but that’s an hour-long trip with a transfer, and I don’t know the route well since I never take the bus out here, so it stresses me out. I don’t know.

I’m farther away from the ledge than I was three weeks ago, in that I don’t think I would have the stone-cold balls to just put my sober neck in a noose right this minute. On the other hand, I think I will regret it if I don’t, and despise myself for lacking a few seconds of courage to to prevent weeks/months/years of suffering. 

The nurses all like to point out exceptions to the rule, or be all hopeful and possible, but even if what they are pointing out was true, it’s not enough to build a life on.


First pass.

I got a day pass today, the first time they’ve allowed me to leave the hospital all by myself.  At first I promised that I wouldn’t try to kill myself today and then they upped it to “come back without harming myself in any way.” I don’t want to go back; I still have four hours left. They made it really plain that they would absolutely get the police to come pick me up if I didn’t show up on time. 

I was tempted to watch The Hours but chose The Fountain instead; it’s kind of nonlinear so it doesn’t really matter that I am not paying steady attention. I don’t know what else to say; “I don’t want to go back” is the only thing I can think of.

I’ve found the worst nurse ever.

I’m not going to be a nice person in this post, so brace yourself. I’m going to talk about some things I fucking hate.

1. The fucking old bitch in the bed across from me

This fucking old bitch was admitted to take the bed across from me for ECT, which she’s never had before. Fine, whatever. She seems totally oblivious to the fact that she shares a room with 3 other people. We all have curtains that close in the shape of an L (with two walls forming the other two sides) and all have fluorescent light panels above our beds. She had her husband sitting at her bedside holding her hand until visiting hours were over. At like 10:00 last night all of us had our lights off and she kept hers on for another hour and a half. Try sleeping in a room with a fluorescent light panel in one corner; it lights up the whole place. Then this morning her husband and some other woman were back for like a solid two hours (for before and after her ECT I guess.). Meanwhile, I’m trying to sleep and later trying to get ready with this old geezer man sitting right there. If he is here again in the morning tomorrow I’m going to complain. Nothing personal, but Jesus, I don’t sleep in a bra and don’t really want any old man hanging out in essentially what is my bedroom.

2. The fucking bitch Nurse Ratched who is a complete and utter cunt.

So I didn’t get a great sleep last night; they come and shine a flashlight on you every half hour to be sure you are alive (and it’s not just a one-second oh yes, she’s in bed all right; they want to see you breathe. Then the people who are having ECT (which are the other three women in my room) get nurses coming in to take their vital signs and shit at 6 am.  Then at 8 or whatever they open the door to the TV room across the hall so there is noise from there, plus the noise of people in here being taken to or brought back from their ECT treatments. And sure enough, the chick in the bed next to me was sobbing as soon as she came back, for like 40 minutes, so I had to put on some music to drown her out – and Linkin Park ended up being the only thing on my iPad that I couldn’t hear her through.

So there I am with my eye mask on and headphones in, trying to get some more damn sleep, when Bitch Nurse comes in with my dexedrine.  I knew there would be some flak if I just said I didn’t want to take it, so I asked if I could take it later, and she wanted to know how much later and I said I just wanted to finish sleeping.

I don’t know how much later it was, after 10 I guess, but she came and poked me (because the headphones were working) and said I had to take my meds, and she wanted to see me in group at 11:00, that I couldn’t stay in bed all day, and blah blah blah.  So I had to take all my clothes into the bathroom (with Creepy Old Guy still directly across from me) to try to clean up and I grabbed my milk from my breakfast tray as usual and then got ready to go to this “wellness group.” Honestly, this nurse comes across as a nagging mom and is definitely the one I have the worst match with out of anyone here. I am sure we would hate each other if we met in the outside world but I’m sure it would be no use to ask not to be matched with her.

So I get myself to the group room at 11, and the nurse who did my first ketamine was leading it, and she is really nice. I took a seat by the window, which was farthest from the door (bad move) to try to avoid the fluorescent lights. A few more people file in (apparently there are 25 of us on the unit but only 5 showed up) and she explains that the topic for the day is going to be Self-Concept

She starts talking about how our self-concept and self-esteem are formed, and what these things mean, and she’s asking us to fill in the blanks but in that teacher-y way where it’s not like you are really participating, it’s like you have to offer up the right answer for her to go on to the next point (“When do you think we form our views of ourselves? When is the most important time for us to learn about ourselves?” “When we’re little?” “Exactly, Johnny! When we are children!”)

She was writing shit on the whiteboard and making points about how this all related to what our parents taught us we were worth, and God help me I started tearing up. This was only 10 minutes into the hour-long group. I don’t tend toward group shit in general – I’m an introvert – it took me weeks to work up to going to an Emotions Anonymous meeting even thought I was really familiar with that. Anyway, I couldn’t stop thinking about how my dad had decided I was worth $5 an hour when he told me to shut up and take it with my grope-y boss when I was 18. I was like “Fuck – keep it together, only 49 minutes left, come on” but you know how when you are really upset you just keep getting more upset until you hit some sort of peak?

So by quarter after the first tears start to fell, and I leaped up and said “I’m just going to grab a Kleenex!” And the nurse leading the group was like “Oh, I have one here!” And I was like “Oh, that’s OK! I’ll be right back!” And ran out of there leaving my water and folder and pen.

So I came back to my room, where I did cry, because what’s the point of me getting up and going to a group that makes me feel worse? And it brought back all the shitty feelings I have about how much (how little, ha) I’m worth, and today is payday, my last one, so I don’t know how I am going to manage the end of the month or whatever, and it’s Bell’s “Let’s Talk” day where we are supposed to be against stigma about mental illness, and I’m not doing that personally at all with trying to keep my depression a secret.

Anyway, I managed to cut myself (reopen the old zip-tie cut on my right arm, actually) with some cardboard from the end of a box of Kleenex!  I know, right? You wouldn’t think paperboard would be strong enough to cut. But anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself!!

so I cut until actual drops of blood came out, and then I pressed those onto a piece of paper and made inkblots out of them, and I felt soooo much better. Like a radiator that was about to boil over except I let off some steam. I know – I know it’s a shitty way of coping but things were too intense.

Anyway, I went and grabbed my water and my folder (that they give you to put their precious handouts) after the break was done and went back to my room and waited for Nurse Bitch to come and give me grief.  Which she did, without delay. She asked what happened, I explained that I’d started to cry, she said that was fine and I should have stayed, and I said I don’t LIKE crying in front of people.

Then she basically read me the riot act. How did I think I was benefiting from being in hospital? All I’ve done is stay in bed all day and hide in my four walls, and that wasn’t going to help me feel better. So she wanted me to make a schedule for the whole next week, (God forbid I’m here next week), she wanted me to shower and eat and do stuff every day all day.

So I started crying harder and was like “all right already!” And she kept going on the exact same tangent. So I cried even harder and said “Yes! I hear you! You want me to get up and do stuff. I DID get up this morning when I didn’t want to, and tried going to group even though I didn’t want to, and so I’m sorry that wasn’t good enough. I’ll try again tomorrow!”

Then she basically started her spiel from the top. So I said “Yes! I get it! You’ve said that already! What do I need to say to you to make you not say the exact same thing for the 5th and 6th and 7th time?”  

She finally seemed to get that she was coming across like a fucking cunt and started to ask what the nurses could do to help me, that if I had an issue that was triggering and stayed there crying for the whole fucking group that they could get some materials and go through them with me later, so I wouldn’t miss the magnificent benefits of the fucking group topic, and all I could think was the best way to help me is to have you never be my nurse again, and I didn’t ASK to fucking be here so where do you get off telling me I’m not benefiting enough.

Then she said “So what would make you feel better? What would it take?” And I said “Being at home” and she snapped back “But that wouldn’t work, would it, because you said you can’t go home because you’re suicidal!” Actually I didn’t say just that, I said that I thought it would be difficult to go home because everything was right there and it would be hard to see. I mean Jesus, you can’t say I have to be honest with you people and then shit on me because I confessed to feeling vulnerable. Fuck’s sakes!

So I went to the groups for the rest of the day.. Fucking Nutrition group, with a perky little dietitian, fucking Relaxation Group which was just listening to a shitty relaxation exercise off a CD, and then fucking Activities Group which is actually basket-weaving. Or colouring, or origami, or whatever, with a perky relaxation therapist.  

It’s so fucking pointless though, wanting me to do things I’d never do in real life (like to eat in the lunchroom with a bunch of men I don’t know dressed in their pyjamas.) Or wanting me to do things I don’t feel like doing like going to bullshit groups. If I can do whatever I don’t feel like doing I could fucking go to work and have a “routine” of showering and all that shit and at least getting paid for it.

What it comes down to, that I didn’t realize before that bitch nurse today, is that they don’t give two shits how I feel. The world doesn’t give two shits either, so not much is different. They just care about what I do.  So if I am tired and stay in bed and sleep, they’ll shit on me but if I go to a bullshit group and sit there being tired, then that’s real progress, la-do-dah.  

Fucking cunt. I mean, I pushed myself beyond endurance at Christmas and then went right back to pushing myself at work and doing all that stuff didn’t make me feel any better, any more than going to Mamma Mia made me feel better in the fall.  The problem is in my BRAIN and with the CHEMICALS in it which is what the KETAMINE is supposed to be for. Depression isn’t curable by magic willpower and bitching at me that I’m not doing enough is totally the wrong tack to take with me.  I’ve done stuff for some of the other nurses and felt way better about it, because they acknowledged that depression was making it hard to get started, or making me tired, or whatever, not just snapping at me as if I was lazy.  Honestly!

Since I’ve been writing this post in between all their bullshit groups I don’t even remember everything she said but it included stuff like how I was wasting her time if I didn’t do my part, and she wasn’t there to tell me that it was all daisies and lollipops, and saying in 99 different ways that I had to do stuff and if I didn’t like crying in public when there is a roomful of people who are also supposed to be depressed but seem rather composed, then fuck me.

Rate your mood.

So they ask you to do two questionnaires every day you get treatment; before you get treatment and then again two hours later.  My answers are pretty much identical I think. I worry that if I wasn’t depressed, I wouldn’t be able to tell.  How do I KNOW I’m depressed? Maybe I am not-depressed and just don’t know it!  My nurse this morning said “Oh no, you’re depressed all right!”  just as a friend did on the phone last week

And I guess that’s true, since I’m still racking up a one-hour sobbing episode every other day or so. Today it was because my nurse asked me how my cat was (as I had seen him on the visit home yesterday.)

Fifteen minutes later I was wailing on the bed because the old cat loved me but the new cat doesn’t even love me and that going home was just confirming for me – “See?  See the life that isn’t worth living? Yep. Here it is, right here. Still not worth living.”

So she talked to me about how I feel this way because I’m depressed, and I’ve been depressed for a long time, and depression does all these things to my mood and my energy and my thoughts, and that’s why I’m here, and why I should stay here until I’m well.  And I don’t think I would still be making it to work, to be honest. I still cringe when I think the only reason I had comfy clothes to wear in the hospital – jeans, a hoodie, and sneakers – was because that was what I’d managed to get on for work. Work is “business casual” but really, that is stretching it.

Goddamn bad-timing cunt.

The nurse, when she came by, commented that she thought I looked a little better, and that often friends and family notice it first. I don’t want to be medicated into thinking my life is okay! I don’t want to go back!

so, with shaky hands and damming my impulse to turn in the noose I made a few days ago out of fabric, I assessed what was available to me. The strap! Off my duffel! Could I connect the ends to each other to make a loop? Yes! But on the first try I put a twist in it by mistake. 

Okay, second try! A nice loop! If I put this around the bed rail, is there enough room for my head? And just as I lifted it off my lap to test for size the lady in the fucking bed next to me came in.

I mean, can you believe it? She basically checks in three nights a week to get her ECT and then leaves at noon the next day. And she has to fucking come here at 6:45 at night?? So now she has turned the lights on and is settling right in. Bitch.

Went home on pass – director’s cut.

I have my Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad now, so can type in comfort finally and then go downstairs to upload and download stuff. In between my shitty memory at the moment and the fact that I can’t view my old blog posts when I’m up here on the ward writing new ones, I might repeat myself. So if you get.a feeling of deja vu, it may be legit.

I got an “accompanied pass” yesterday until suppertime. Tomorrow it will be two full weeks since I was admitted, so I’ve been getting pretty anxious about whether things are disintegrating at home. I called a girl that I probably blogged  about already – she worked in my department for like a week, quit, we both said “We should totally get together to go for coffee sometime!” And then a year later, in November I think, I actually took her up on it.  So we went for coffee once, then went to a Christmas craft fair, then she brought me some Coke and headphones in the hospital, and then she took me out for yesterday’s pass. So it seems kind of like an accelerated friendship and I’m a little worried about that. I just don’t want it to get intense fast and then have a friendship breakup. 

Anyway, she had to come upstairs to sign me out, have a nurse explain to her that she had to stay with me the whole time (I mean, I could go pee alone but she couldn’t just drop me off somewhere) and then come back to sign me back in at 5:30.

We left the hospital at 12:30 so it was not a lot of time, because there was half an hour of driving each way which already got us down to 4 hours. She brought me an actual espresso-based latte, my first in 13 days, and it was everything I had hoped for – fucking fantastic!  I realized once we were driving that I’d forgotten to get my wallet from the nursing station so I had to ask her to pay for everything and then I’d email her some money today.

So we stopped at Dollarama (God bless Dollarama, honestly, I wish they had been around when I was in university) and I got a notebook, because it has been driving me crazy to have to make notes of stuff on blank sheets of paper from the nurses, and a set of those empty TSA travel containers and something else – I don’t remember what else right now, but not hair ties which were what I meant to get. Oh yah! Some nail files (emery boards).
We got to my house and greeted the cat (who seemed fine), and I gathered up all the garbage and recycling to take outside, and grabbed some Partylite candles that I am exchanging because they don’t smell like anything (I’m looking at you, Marshmallow vanilla) and some pate cat food that the neighbour bought for His Highness (he only likes shredded or some Fancy Feast flavours)

I threw a load of laundry in the wash, all black of course, and we started to collect the stuff that I had written I wanted to grab. I kept losing my train of thought and forgetting what I was doing next so my friend was kind of a constant coach. “I’m in the bathroom! What did I come in here for?” “Shampoo and conditioner!” “Oh, right!” It’s really strange but they don’t have any shampoo or conditioner here. Just this milky green aloe vera stuff that says it’s for a “hospital hygiene program for long-term patient care.”

So yah, that, and I grabbed some more face wipes because my skin certainly isn’t benefiting from being here. I am sure it is partly because I’m not on the daily antibiotics I have at home (for skin-clearing from my GP; they work really well); partly  I’m not taking as good care of it, as there aren’t facecloths or towels in the bathroom, you have to go to the nursing station to get some, and partly because of the stress of it all.

In the end it was mostly a harried, too-short opportunity to tidy up a few things – clean out the fridge, restock cat food, get me the stuff I wanted for in here.

Went home on pass – short version.

It ended up being 4 hours (5 total, but there was driving time.) “Accompanied”, so someone had to pick me up, stay with me the whole time and drop me off.

The cat seems fine; I bought him more food, did a load of laundry, bought a notebook, some travel containers for shampoo and conditioner, and emery boards at Dollarama.

I managed to download some e-magazines on my iPad (faster Wi-Fi at home), check the mail, take out the garbage and recycling and so overall it was a successful trip, in terms of productivity.

When I got back a nurse had to search my things and then she decided we were going to have a Therapeutic Moment. I was so not in the right space for that, being tired and sad, and she wouldn’t let it go. It got out of control pretty quickly.

She asked me a bunch of questions, that made me teary, about what going home was like and I said “well, there is the life I don’t want to live – all of it.” So then she talked about looking at what we could change, and asking me what I wanted, and becoming the person other people would be attracted to. So I said I have done my best, and she said I was not open to the conversation because I wouldn’t tell her what I wanted.

I tried to explain it was a circular argument because I feel I’ve tried my best and my best is all I have and I just don’t want to start over again. I tried to say I was sorry, I didn’t understand what she was getting at or what she wanted from me and she didn’t like that either.

So it ended with a mini-lecture about how I should eat even though I wasn’t hungry, and feed my brain. And get into a “routine” of showering and a routine generally.

I get the feeling that if I said I wanted such-and-so she would have suggested an Action Plan of Things I Can Do to change my life…and I’m tired and sad from being home 4 hours; I don’t have the energy to try to plan a New Me to attract a New Life.

Virtually reconnected at last.

So yesterday I finally found a way to get halfway reconnected with the world. There was wi-fi in the ER, and then nothing up on the floor.

I am allowed to go off the floor for 15 minutes at a time. Really 10 if you count the elevator time. There is a free Wi-Fi spot on the main floor along with the gift shop, cafeteria, some chairs, and what not.

So I can take my iPad downstairs, download emails/upload blog posts, and then reply to the emails/write blog posts upstairs.

Technically I am allowed to go as a revolving door; as long as I sign back in and a nurse sees me, I can go right back. Progress!