Wednesday, July 27, 2011

72 Hour Psychiatric Hold

Okay, let's just let it all out.
"What the H-E-double hockey sticks do I have to lose?"
People say that I am unusually transparent
...I may as well live it to the fullest.

There was a time when my behavior led me through the doors of the Hospital's Emergency Room and then up to the "3rd floor" for a 72 hour hold. 

Yep, 3 days in a pink room with twin beds and bars on the window. My mirror was made of metal and there was a shared shower room with clear plastic shower curtains. Just like camp, but, completely different.

I shared my room with a dark eyed girl whose bra straps seemed to continually be trying to escape from under her shirt, landing on her upper arm. She had dirty hair and she kept all of her things in a brown paper bag and carried it with her the whole weekend. We had meals in a common room with people who were truly struggling. There was a young man in camouflage clothing who insisted on keeping one of his arms up over his head at all times. He made no attempt to talk to anyone, he just walked around looking at what the rest of us were doing.  There was another man that stood all day by the locked doors to exit. Just stood there. All day.

There were others who seemed more like me and we sat together and made paper collages for craft time. For years, my son would keep one of my collages hanging on the bulletin board in his room. I don't know what it meant to him, but it was a constant reminder to me of where I had been. There was a TV in the common room that played music videos and, ironically, one of the videos that played a couple times during my weekend stay was Matchbox Twenty's song, Unwell.

I remember knowing the whole time that I was there, that I didn't belong there and I was fully aware that that I had made many small decisions that had led me to this place.  I remember being incredibly fearful that my being there was going to cost my husband and my children greatly. I remember holding onto the guilt of those 72 hours for a long time.  Even now, I am getting tears in my brown eyes for the pain that I caused.  

My selfish thoughts and behavior led me to a place where my obsessive nature took root. I became completely overwhelmed with my environment and I had a strong, strong sense of needing to accomplish MORE. I felt failure in just being me, I had to be more in order to matter. I longed for a way out of my situation--and a way to find joy.  Peace eluded me even in my sleep.

Pretty ugly, huh?

The good news is...they didn't keep me. 
The other good news is...I don't reside in that place emotionally either. 
The bad news is...I could.

I could go back to that state of emotional crisis in a New York minute. I could become completely drawn into competition and allow that to guide me down the path of obsession. I could fixate on things of the world and not on things of the Cross and become so absorbed with how others are "seeing" me that I wouldn't be able to see anything clearly. 

Even with this outlet of blogging...

I could become driven. 
I could become desirous. 
I could become determined.

I could allow the disappointments in what I lack to dictate how I respond to what I have.

And it could happen in one quick click.

So, how do I avoid another 72 hour hold in a Psychiatric Hospital? I have to keep pulling back from certain things that I naturally am drawn to. I have to pull back on the reigns of competition and self promotion. I have to find JOY in my now. Not, joy in what might happen one day, but, joy in my today as it truly is.

Deciding to see the Beauty in Simple things...
  • when a text message, from my daughter, wakes me to say that she has created a blog
  • when the conditioner for my hair falls into my palm-- in the shape of a heart
  • when my kitten chases a lizard under the patio table {go baby lizard!}
  • when the wind walks with us down the street, as we go to buy ice cream
  • when a cup of coffee is delivered to me as I write
  • when the one delivering the coffee is a son, who has turned into a man

And Deciding to discover Joy through Disciplines...
  • with a bible verse to meditate it in my shower, read it on my mirror, engrave it on my heart.
  • with a book, written before I was born, that requires me to "think"
  • with a walk up the steep hill near my house--to the top? To the top!
  • with a friendly timer to call me away from my computer. Enough is enough.

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 
    We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; 
    perplexed, but not in despair; 
    persecuted, but not abandoned; 
    struck down, but not destroyed.
    2 Corinthians 4:7-9 

    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell.  
    I know right now you can't tell but stay awhile maybe then you'll see
    a different side of me.
    I'm not crazy I'm just a little impaired 
    I know right now you don't care
    But soon enough you're gonna think of me and how I used to
    --Unwell by Matchbox Twenty