After group I lingered around the common area, chatted with a few of my peers and forced myself to eat. Soon everyone lined up at the nurse's station so I followed suit. The line became a ritual every morning, noon, and night. It was during this time that we received our prescribed cocktail of meds. I was hoping they would knock me out for the night and put me out of my misery but I wouldn't be so lucky. At the time of my admission I was on Ambien 5mg so that's what was given to me. I told the nurse that it hadn't worked the last couple of nights. It didn't matter, I'd have to wait until tomorrow to see the doctor to be prescribed anything more. I was terrified. I had to wait at least another twelve hours for my psychiatric evaluation to be done. That night, after the line diminished, most made their way to their room. So again, I followed suit. One more night of hell was about to ensue.
Once in my room, the isolation immediately set off an increased amount of anxiety, panic, and fear which meant the racing thoughts raced even faster. I felt claustrophobic, my heart pounded and it was hard to breathe. My eyes were red and bloodshot. They burned from the lack of sleep but I couldn't physically close them no matter how hard I tried. They twitched and fluttered like they had so many nights before. My mind and its thoughts went in a million different directions. At times, I'd quietly sing a song hoping to derail the nasty tricks it was playing on me.
When I couldn't take another minute alone, I'd wrap myself up in the bed sheet and find the couch in the common area. When I got real desperate, I'd track down the nighttime care providers on duty while they were in the midst of head count. I pleaded with each of them to do something more for me, something that would wake me from this horrible nightmare. They recommended I stay in my room and try some different relaxation techniques: deep breathing, a hot shower, listen to music, try to read or have a snack. Really? What was I doing here? If it were that easy I would be at home with Riley and the support of John and my mom. This vicious cycle continued ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
I stood by the phone and at 7am, when they were turned on, I immediately called John. He was horrified and furious that I hadn't received any serious care since my arrival. He was going to see what he could do to have me discharged as soon as possible.
The next thing I knew I was standing in yet another line to have my vitals taken. It was morning protocol before meds were dispensed. I sat, trying to hide my breastmilk soaked shirt, while being weighed and my blood pressure taken (142/89). I wandered around the unit as the day shift crew filtered in begging any fresh face for help. It didn't get me anywhere. I felt ignored, rejected and extremely alone. I needed someone to listen. Someone that cared enough to get me the help I so badly needed. I was truly at the end of my rope.
Disappointed and drained, I headed back to my room. I decided to take a shower, perhaps I could wash this all away. Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom I literally slid even further into my own personal hell. It turns out, this would be the worst shower of my life. I felt imprisoned, not by the four walls around me, but by my very own body, my brain. They were betraying me and turning one of the happiest times in my life to one of dread and darkness. I had hit the lowest point in life. My weak body slid down the shower wall and there I sat on the wet floor humiliated, scared and broken. My world had been shattered into so many pieces, there was no way I was ever going to be able to put it back together. My hope, my strength, and my energy were depleted. Something had to give, I could no longer stand the torture, the monsters in my head. I sat there bewildered for what felt like hours wondering if I'd ever be me again.
Thanks again for the wonderful feedback and support, it means the world to me. Please continue to follow my story as I document my fight to get well, my road to recovery and the journey that inspired The Village Doula.
Your Village Doula,