Sunday, May 11, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Home Again

Leaving the security of the hallway was traumatic. I wanted to go home, but I was afraid to. Yet I didn’t want to spend any more of my life living in a hallway and going to group sessions. I knew in my heart that if I were going to get better, I had to help myself. The nurses and doctors had done as much as they could for me on this hall. But I was terrified.

I thanked the nurses and joked that I didn’t want to ever see them again – the usual comments. But when I got to the locking doors, I turned and looked down the long hallway. It was a place of safety for me and I knew that no harm could come to me here. Then I shuddered, and that shudder got me through the door and on my way home.

I almost tore my hands off on that drive home and my mother kept patting my arm and reassuring me. When we reached the barn, we hauled my bags inside and left them at the front door. I headed for the couch where I trembled and cried and pulled at my hands, while my mother fussed about and chatted about whatever came into her mind. She sat beside me and grasped my hands to keep them still until my fears wore me out and I slept. She stayed watching over me until D came home from work and then he took over. Once Mom could see I was in safe hands again and that I was less frantic nestled up against D, she told me she loved me and then headed on home to her farm.

I settled into a routine of sleeping all day on the couch to avoid dealing with the real world. Mom would come and sort out my medications for me and make sure I had something to eat and then leave me to D in the evenings. I only got off the couch to go to the sessions in the psychiatrists office three times a week. The rest of the time I slept. At first Mom took me to my doctor’s appointments as I couldn’t concentrate enough to drive. I was on so many antipsychotics and antidepressants that I probably would have killed someone or myself if I had been behind the wheel.

When I started seeing creatures with long legs scurrying around the barn, the doctor increased my medication. I started seeing faces in the wood grain on the doors and in the wallpaper in the bathroom. These faces wanted to talk to me – and the doctor tweaked one of the meds because of them. Then one day, I woman unfolded in front of me as I stared into a room. She slowly materialized from her head to her knees before I scurried to the couch and wrapped myself in a blanket and forced myself into sleep. Another adjustment to my medication was made after that.

My illness had affected me in such a way that I was no longer able to do any cooking. When I looked into the fridge, all I saw was a white light and I couldn’t make out food to prepare. D prepared my breakfast and lunch meals for me and left them in the same place everyday with a label on them so I knew what I was to eat and when. Then after a long day at work, he would come home and cook our evening meal and do the laundry and housecleaning. He never once complained. Instead he encouraged me to do what I felt I had to and if that was sleeping all day, I was to do just that. When I fell back into the pattern of not bathing for a week or more, he never said a word. He never complained when the drugs killed off any sexual desires I had before I got sick, instead he wrapped me in his arms and held me tight. When I developed a screaming fear of the streetlights that reflected off the ceiling over our bed, he explained them away every single night. And when I couldn’t sleep because of the voices in my head, he turned the radio on so I would be distracted by the music and fall off to sleep.

Even though I was out of the hospital, my mind was still fractured and fragile. I just couldn’t cope with every day life.

20 comments:

The Lehners in France said...

Hi Aims, it's only 3 days since your last post! Please go slowly and don't let it take too much out of you. Keep the hand cream handy. I met Deborah the other day, I told her I was a "rocker," more common I think, rocking backwards and forwards. I think you were so blessed to have these close friends and family there for you. Love and hugs. Debs x

John-Michael said...

"my mind was still fractured and fragile" gives me an image of a puzzle with its pieces made of thin glass wafers. I can sense the delicacy and immense effort that was ever-present in slowly putting it together.

The assembly of your soul is something of another matter. I can rest on it and trust its supportive comfort. I love You.

Daryl said...

Ah aims .. you were/are so brave .. looking back and dealing with it all over again.. cant be easy ... my continued admiration and a hug!

:-Daryl

Leatherdykeuk said...

I am astounded that you survived.

Maggie May said...

I can feel the improvement in you though. You seem to have reached a turning point. What a lot to go through, though.

bichonpawz said...

I admire you each and every day, Aims! Hope you had a great day today!!

I Beatrice said...

Life must have been grim for you then - but D was a perfect angel wasn't he? And so, it has to be said, was your mother!

Did she ever explain to you how her great turn-around came about? It seems almost as if she must have gone through some crisis of self-awareness too.

Noortje said...

Yeah, I know, coming out of the hospital is when the real work starts, doesn't it? That's when you are on your own with all your doubts and fears and worries. That's when I was so neurotic and so scared, I hardly knew myself back then. It took a long time to get halfway back to normal.

Breezy said...

D is being absolutely amazing here for such a young man and I still can't get over the change in your mother

travelling, but not in love said...

You've been so lucky to have D along.

But is he the man?

Mean Mom said...

Hallucinations? How terrifying that must have been. My mother ran away, one morning, wearing only her nightclothes. Luckily, I found her, and called an ambulance. She told me, when she was fully recovered, that she had heard voices calling upon her to commit the ultimate crime. Believe it or not, her 'illness' was under control, within 2 weeks. We are so fortunate that mental illness has been better understood, in recent years. The way that people were treated, during Victorian times for example, doesn't bear thinking about.

I've been trying to find my way around The Best of Blogs site. Congratulations, on being one of the finalists. I had to call in here, just to make sure that it was you and now I'm going back to vote. Is it me, or is the site not simple to navigate? It is you, isn't it?

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Every time I think things are going to start looking up something else happens. This must be incredibly painful to relive.

Mima said...

I never knew the halls, but I did do the sofa. I can't imagine what it must have been like to see things that weren't there, did you start to doubt what was real and what wasn't, or did you just accept it all as real? It sounds as if the heavy medication was too much, if you are that drugged up, how are you supposed to cope with the real world. But I suppose on the other hand maybe without the drugs you wouldn't have even coped to the levels that you were doing at this time. The doctors walk a fine balancing act on that tightrope don't they.

Carolyn said...

Oh dear, Aims. This is all so painful and difficult. I admire your strength. Thank you, once again, for sharing your story with us all.

aims said...

Debs - Wow - you got to meet up with Dnd...how lovely for you both! And rocking - yup....saw that a lot too! Hazel has told me to put some sugar in the palm of your hand and then add cooking oil - rub all over. Makes the hands the smoothest (and quietest) they have ever been! Worth giving it a try!

JM - That's a good way of putting it - and I totally agree with you about the puzzle and wafers. Lovely JM - thank you!

Daryl - It is not easy at all. Very upsetting actually. Brings it right back into the here and now. I'm shuddering even as I write this.

Leatherdykeuk - But I did. Thankfully. It was close though.

Maggie - Going home was a huge improvement and the result of the same. A definite turning point of some kind.

Bichonpawz - Thank you! And yes - I did and am...

Dearest B - Actually she never did explain what was the turning point - and I never asked. As for D - I couldn't have made it without him.

Irene - For those of us who have gone through this - we can relate to so many things and are united forever in our pain. I'm so glad to see that you came out the other side as well.

Breezy - D was certainly a surprise - although I think he was always 'old for his age'.....

TBNIL - Nice try ..... :0)

Mean Mom - My heart just wrenched when I read about your mom. And how lucky it was resolved in 2 weeks. I'm wondering what it was all about.

As for the best of blogs - yes it is me! I'm amazed!!

RC - It is harder than I can express. However - when I look back at my writing - it is obvious to me how much it is affecting me - my writing seems disjointed on those days when I am really affected by it.

Mima - On some days I thought that the hallucinations were absolutely real. On others I knew they weren't. I don't think the doctors know - I think they just hope that what they are doling out as gospel and medication is going to help.

Carolyn - I'm grateful I'm still here to tell the tale. It was close....

Melanie said...

Hi Aims- just catching up with a week's worth of posts. Your writing is touching and exact. You've found the right words to get across the fuzzy nature of your fragility. Well done.

Tammy said...

Hang in there. Putting yourself abck together is enver easy, but slowly it will happen. Take the time you need and I am thrilled you have that wonderful soul, so patient and loving to care for you during your journey back.

Stinking Billy said...

aims, baby, Congratulations on your enormous lead in the Best Inspirational Blog poll. 86%, with the other nine finalists only polling 14% between them, is truly sensational! But to your other supporters, I would stress here that it could be a mistake to rest on your laurels. We must keep our votes going in until the very end.

dawn said...

It took such courage to leave the hall and you were so fortunate to have such support at home.

CrazyCath said...

Catching up. Not commenting on each one but felt I wanted to on this one. I just wanted to say -

Terrifying.

What strength to get through that.