How Psych Meds and Hospitals Messed Me Up

About a year and a half ago, I was placed on an involuntary hold for being suicidally distraught. A friend had called 911. I was “released” to my house once hospital authorities deemed me “safe.”

A few weeks later, however, I chose to go to partial hospitalization at the same institution. Though my depression was circumstantial, I had no strength left with which to heal myself. It seemed the only option was to try again a scary proposal — psychotropic meds and hospitals.

Psychiatric meds and hosptials damaged me

Psychiatric meds and hosptials damaged me

I’d had nightmarish experiences on two common anti-depressants at different times. I’d been carelessly — and dangerously — misdiagnosed twice; then, destroyed by two wrong medications (also at separate times).  A bitterly experienced friend even insisted meds and hosptials had induced my second breakdown.  In retrospect, I agreed.  It fatigued me into a sick caffeine addiction of ten Mountain Dews a day. Sometimes I also drank coffee and tea.

Meds and Hospitals and Rotten Teeth

Now, at age 36, I have false teeth. The first dentist I’d seen — prior to undergoing a series of surgeries — asked if I used a toothbrush. Dental surgery was also a very expensive, inconvenient  process.

One medicine had slowed me physically and mentally in ways I can’t describe. This feeling differed from the “drugged” experience I’d had on the other.

Still, several months into “therapy” (and infrequent visits with a not-so-great private psychiatrist), first responders banged on my door. I hadn’t paid the mortgage in two months. My mortgage holder knew something must be wrong. When the cops came in, they told me that whatever I was doing wasn’t working; I was living in “filth and squalor.”  My cute — once polished — condo had been a source of pride and joy.

Involuntarily trip for more meds and hospitals

Involuntary trip for more meds and hospitals

Hauled Back to the Hospital

They escorted me into an ambulance outside. The police report given to hospital intake noted I was “sad” and had [unbeknownst to me] two stains on my robe. Their ominous knock had startled the cat and me out of bed at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.

The well-meaning cops suggested in their report that my case was a “possible bipolar personality.” That best fit their minimally educated paradigm, considering what they’d seen:  my extreme change in functioning and recent history of accidentally bouncing checks.

They had a warrant for my arrest I did not know about, for forgetting a court hearing regarding my suspended drivers’ license.

I had been honest with the police regarding circumstances leading to my depressive breakdown months before, and attempts to recover.  But I don’t think they could understand what it was like to be a socially isolated twenty-six year old woman in Denver, trying to find her place in the world after a long list of traumatic experiences and episodes.

A bit later, I sat bemused in a wheelchair while being involuntarily escorted to inpatient.  I was too weak and hazy to protest. A few days later, I angrily left.  Pajama clad, I hiked three miles to the safety of my condo, where — now that the cops were gone — no one could misunderstand or label me.

How could Liza have avoided meds and hospitals?

 

 

Wordworks Blog Author: Liza Faith Casey

Liza is creating a volunteer replication of The Chocolate Fairy project in North Dakota. She is working to bring honest mental health information to indigenous people in her community. She volunteers with a Mental Health America affiliate and helps spread social messaging for Wellness Wordworks.

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