Around the seven week mark I came down with a little cabin fever. One morning when the familiar bell sounded for meditation, I literally groaned out loud. I had been there so long I knew every single meditation tape off by heart. Plus, my baby had just gone down for a nap. I didn’t want to spend my baby’s precious nap time meditating!
So I hid. And believe me, hiding in a psychiatric ward is a remarkably difficult thing to achieve. I heard the nurses calling for me and looking for me but I stayed hidden until the coast was clear. Later on, a nurse found me in the art room and asked what I was doing. “writing.” I told her nonchalantly. She wasn’t impressed. I found out later that the nursing staff got into trouble over my antics that day. Something I still feel bad about!
That evening in the living room I whispered to Hubster; “you have got to get me out of here! I can’t stand this anymore! This whole place is bullshit!”
“You know I can’t do that,” he told me.
“Yes you can! Just sign me out. I’m better and I just can’t stand this!”
“No. I can’t do that. You will be discharged when you are ready.” He told me again. I pouted.
“I could run away, you know.”
“Oh yeah. And how would you do that?”
“I could jump the fence. Go for a walk and just …. not come back?”
Hubster snorted. “You? Jump a fence? Besides, you know what will happen if you try anything stupid.”
Boy, did I. After prowling the perimeter, searching for any weak points and coming to the disappointing conclusion that the unit was unequivocally escape-proof, I had asked a nurse what would happen should I try to run away. Her face grew very grave and she assured me that police would be sent to find me, and that I would be transferred to a more secure facility without my baby. As much as I wanted to be back in the outside world I knew an escape would be stupid. I have never felt so trapped in all my life.
Hubster tried another tactic. “What is it exactly that you don’t like?” he asked.
“The food! The beds! Night checks! Stupid meditation. How I can’t go out for a walk without signing a million documents. My room, God, I hate my room. The fact that every time I want to shave my legs, or charge my phone, or dry my hair, or wear my shoes I have to go and collect them from the nurses station. It’s ridiculous!”
“Why don’t you just ask for that stuff back?” Hubster suggested. I was stunned, that thought hadn’t even occurred to me. So I marched to the nurses station and asked. To my amazement, after a quick call to my doctor, my possessions were returned to me. I squealed, it felt like Christmas.
The next day I decided to ask my doctor if I could move rooms.
“What is it about the room you don’t like?” She asked.
“Just everything. This is a ‘special’ room and I’m not on ‘special’ anymore. It just has horrible memories.” I replied. My doctor looked thoughtful.
“You’re right. You’ve been in here a while and I think a change would do you good. How about we leave this room for another ‘special’ person?” She said with a wink.
And so I was moved to room number five. The medical team interpreted my restlessness and eagerness as a positive sign that I was on the mend. As such, after another week of tentative home visits and discharge planning I was finally released. Ironically I only spent 5 nights in my new room before I fell asleep in my own bed. Ready for the next chapter in my life. 🙂