it was three days, more or less, that i laid on my bed, holding the blue sweater and howling. if a tray was brought to me i ate. if i noticed that a meal had come up i politely went to get my try myself. there was no clock in my room, so i had no idea of the passage of time. if meds were to be administered, i took them cooperatively if a med nurse appeared at my door.
i remember going to the center of the unit to look at the white board; it is well known to nearly every veteran of psychiatric units tat the schedule of groups is posted on the white board in a common area, and that the key to the raising of privilege is in group attendance even if one does not wish to socialize in common areas.
this white board was baffling to me. it listed the time of breakfast, but the group schedule read something like this:
9:30 community meeting
11:45 lunch in caf -or-
12:00 lunch on unit
1:00 groups resume
so while i'm amenable to going to groups, i can't figure this stuff out and just going to look at the board has used up all of my available energy and i just go back to my room to cry. a lovely mental health worker named yvonne comes to my room at some point and invites me to a group she's doing and i happily (for the circumstances) go. then, since there's another group happening right after that, i go to that. then it's back to my room because i can't figure out what else is going on. i am able to communicate that i would like to go to groups i am invited to, but i'm largely uninvited. i keep asking for a black pen, but i keep being told i'm not allowed to have one.
one of the reasons i don't want to hang out in the common areas is that it's a very dense area and, well, i'm still crying. i don't suffer from the common delusion that i'm too good for the psych unit, or that i don't fit in (actually, i don't fit in, but not because i'm not crazy enough or too good for it, but we'll talk about that later) but i'm socially awkward on a good day and i'm also very sensitive to other people's emotional stuff; i pick up what other people are feeling and when i feel really crappy and i'm having my own mood swings what i really don't need is other people's mood problems coming on in here and messing me up.
but the staff is all up in my face for isolation and not going to groups and it's like four days before anyone bothers to tell me that the schedule that tells you what groups you're supposed to go to is posted each day ON PAPER you go get at the nurse's station each day at 9:20 and it gives you your assignments and times and if anyone had mentioned that to me it would have been a big help and later on i found out that yvonne had written on my chart that i was willing to go to any group i was invited to but they were preferring to let me take initiative but man, i was too disoriented and crying plus my strategy for dealing with unfamiliar mental hospitals is usually to take a black pen and my book of crossword puzzles and just sit in whatever room it looks like they're going to have group in and use that as my anxiety reduction strategy and entry to the room but they wouldn't let me have a pen and in my state i could only go so far and finally after four days when twitching i managed to get to one of those goddamn groups and declared that my goal for the day was going to be to get a black ball point pen and i KNOW my mom had been talking to the doctors about why i couldn't have one after four days and some bastard handed me one after four days of me asking as if it was no big deal and he says "we let people have pens here" and i had the sense not to make a fuss over why i hadn't been given one before and all of a sudden i have have the tools i need to get to work now.
meet me halfway, you know?
anyway, in real time it's a long time farther down the road and i am back from christmas break and it's almost dinnertime. a guy got bounced from the house last night for coming home with booze, and it was a hell of a day in therapy. i feel kind of beat up and i've been working hard. it's time for some dinner and then maybe some stupid tv and then in the morning my last full day in the program before i step down to half days because that's what my insurance pays for.
soon i guess, i'll be coming home.