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.
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.
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?