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.