“Committing” to an Egregious Error

I was hospitalized when I was 22 years old for Danger To Self.  Losing The Boyfriend was the last straw to a series of events too hard for me to deal with all at once.  Boyfriends always are the last straw, aren’t they?

I had the idea that I would get some rest and recover from my despondency and sleep after five days of insomnia.  But it was one of the hardest experiences I have undergone, at least mentally.

My suicide plan was perfect, at least to my mind.  Get up early.  Clean out the garage and drive my car into it.  Soak towels and put them under the doors to prevent smoke from getting into the house.  Get a large bag to cover myself and a vomit bag to puke into.  (I didn’t want my parents to have to look at me or clean up any mess once they found me.)  Turn on the car and breathe in deep.  Again and again.  And slip away to a place where my heart wouldn’t be constantly beating furiously inside my chest, where I wasn’t feeling in a state of full panic every second of the day.  To finally sleep……

I went to a psychiatrist for an evaluation of my insomnia and feelings of panic.  She was so kind.  She said I needed rest right now and she was going to give me something to sleep, but I needed to go there right away.  I was so tired.  Imagining white soft covers and fluffy pillows, I said that I would go and get admitted.

My mom drove me to Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia.  A big place. I was in a daze, a dream world.  Sleep and rest awaited me. I couldn’t wait to get some peace.

But the door wouldn’t open.

It was locked from the inside.  I was getting admitted to a locked unit.  My pleasant dream came crashing down into a harsh reality. I was duped into coming here and it was All Wrong. I don’t belong on a locked unit.  Where are the fluffy covers and sleeping pill to help me?

I began to sob and look around frantically for a way out.  I kept repeating, ” I can’t stay here, it’s locked.  It isn’t supposed to be locked.  I need to leave.”

Somehow the nurses managed to get me into the unit.  To this day I don’t remember, other than a pill getting shoved into my mouth and blissful sleep.

Eighteen hours later I woke up.  A shadow was standing over me.  A big man.  He sat down without asking for permission and stated his name and purpose with mechanical authority.

“I am Dr Stone and I am your psychiatrist.  If you make any trouble in here I am going to commit you.”

Just like that and my freedom was gone…..

Written for Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger


24 comments on ““Committing” to an Egregious Error

  1. [from The Boyfriend]

    I’ve been told I can really hurt people. It is so foreign to me that my words and decisions could hurt others. It’s only taken me 20 years later to see how that works – not that I “get it” but so many people have explained it to me, it must be true.

    Some (all?) would call the way I am “cold” or “harsh” but I would call it “sticks and stones” and “me”.

    Let me ‘splain… This is something I think I figured out… I have a terrible last name (might as well be “Gay”), I was poked and prodded my whole childhood to the point of tears – daily. I developed a thick skin and in my mind, I figure, to this day, that everyone has that shield with them. Not that I notice it or anything. It is just me. It is who I am. Until typing this paragraph, I don’t think I was fully aware of it really.

    People reading this (you have a lot of loving fans Lori!) are probably saying “I don’t give a crap about your issues – you don’t have the right… ” or whatever. Sure, sounds great – it is how I am. It is me (maybe I need to start my own blog – non-repressed-expressions).

    Recently I had an employee who made a stupid mistake – and a super minor one (she clogged the vacuum). I cracked a few light-hearted jokes (or so I thought)… minutes later, she was crying UNCONTROLLABLY. I mean sobbing like a baby and almost screaming over and over again: “I’m not stupid! I’m not!”… I was soooo taken aback.

    Our manager yelled at me and I kept saying to everyone around me “what did I say?” – most claimed I didn’t say anything and she was just having a bad day… I’m sure I can chalk that up to another person I hurt. Naturally I hugged her and apologized about 100 times. She said it was her…

    It is things like that that just make me want to react like my dad does – just shut up and never talk to anyone again – after all, no good can come of it and no harm from my silence.

    After reading this post, Lori, again, I feel like crawling under a rock. I guess the only good, if it is good, is you are a very strong person – I tend to callous everyone around me that way. Nice eh? What a creep I am…

    Above, I said, it is “how I am”… I have a saying, I think I invented, that goes something like this: “EVERYONE thinks they are right 100% of the time.” If I didn’t think I was right, I wouldn’t say it. If I didn’t think what I did was the right thing to do, I wouldn’t have done it. Judas thought he was doing the right thing… we all do.

    I think the point in life is knowing what the “right thing” is vs. what the “right thing for you” is – then choosing wisely.

    Man, life is tough!

    • Dearest I love you and I mean that in the most pure form. I wrote this for the Weekly Challenge: Cliffhanger. After all, being told my ass of a Dr was going to commit me is pretty cliffhangerish. I forgot you were reading or I would have put a disclaimer on it.
      You should blog. Just slice off an hour a day from sleep and you got it. It is very therapeutic. And there are loads of business bloggers who you could hook up with. I follow a blog of a St Louis police officer who I swear is your twin. Exact same personality. Makes me howl.
      For you have a great, compelling, funny, harsh personality. Yes, sometimes harsh but one always knows where they stand with you. No games. Refreshing. Blogging might help you tone it down by editing your raw material and making it more appealing to the masses. Or just let it hang out there, the St Louis cop does and has a huge following.
      I hope you don’t think that every now and then I drag out a “let’s slap S in the face” post to dig in your deficiencies. That was not the intention of this post at all and I hope you know that I have freely forgiven you for all offenses. MY choices got me into that mess. I CHOSE to be despondent and allow the bad to overtake my soul. These days I reach as hard as I can for gratitude, for in gratitude one can find rainbows when the monsoons of life hit one in the ass. LOL
      As to your name, I am training a guy with your last name right now. And it doesn’t bother him at all. LOL, you would have taken Brook BTW. Of course, I am stuck with PINKLEY because I asked Brent to take Brook (he’s adopted after all and my name has a long tradition in England) and he REFUSED. POINT BLANK. NO DISCUSSION. I hate Lori Pinkley. Should have kept Brook….
      You are not callous. You just don’t have great social skills. You were actually over-sensitive in college. Reading your letters once, the strongest item that hit me was your insecurity over our relationship. I think with your employee you were trying to make light of it but she didn’t take that well. But you are in a position of huge authority, so she wouldn’t. You are the big boss who could fire her. You don’t have a lateral relationship with her that allows for a lot of lighthearted razzing.
      Now me, we are in a lateral friendship. Neither has power over the other, so you can say what you want and I can tell you to piss off or laugh at it. Freedom.
      Being an educator has helped me greatly with social structure and how and what to say to people. Im not great at it but I am soooo much better than I was! Just pay attention to what type of relationship you are in when you comment, and look at their facial expression.
      So facial expression. You have a huge disability, S. Not being able to recognize faces strips you of your ability to respond in an empathetic manner to others. That isn’t your fault, its a terrible condition. But it is up to you to try and work around it as much as possible. I really think you need counseling over your social issues, or an evaluation for Aspergers (LOL, but no, really Im serious you do seem to exibit some signs). And I mean that in the very kindest way. Not easy to tell someone that, but your comment screams that you need a little guidance. No one should feel like the world would be better if they were hiding under a rock. After all, you have more potential and are smarter than anyone else I know now that my dad is gone. And that is the other problem. Your IQ is so high that you just don’t relate well to the “normal” crowd. To you, everyone really IS stupid. Tough position for you!
      I would un-post this if I thought you would feel better about it. Hopefully part two, where I get preachy and find the rainbows, will make you feel better! Luv U! And remember that I have a tough shell so anytime you need to vent Im there.

      • Thanks for the kind words Lori – I’m glad to hear I’m forgiven. That is big of you. You may think your life sucks at times but many times I feel like you got things way more figured out than I do… than most people do. In my defense, when that employee got upset, I wasn’t around here – she was outside and I was inside. I went out to check on her and found her crying. Your IQ comment does hit home – things are VERY easy for me to see the “right way” to do things and I can explain and demonstrate all day but if the other guy doesn’t see it, I’m baffled. I’m a horrible teacher because of that – I expect to show someone something and they know it and move one. I am forced to hire some really smart people and know my smart ones from my, um, normal ones and know who to have do what – I’m good at that! Oh, and I have the number of counseling service right here on my computer – been thinking about calling for a long time. Maybe it is time for a checkup. Back to my rock.

  2. Oh. My. God. What a horrible experience, and what a horrible initiation into the world of “inpatient psychiatry.” That’s enough to put you off it for the rest of your life.

    My two experiences were similar, except I got a much nicer shrink. I kept trying to do things that would get me into the isolation ward, but it never worked. Looking forward to tomorrow’s installment!

  3. That is a terrifying experience I watched a documentary on severely depressed teens who found themselves institutionalized. Being institutionalized generally speaking was more traumatic than it was beneficial. Like you I would like to think of them as safe havens for healing but it just doesn’t seem to be the reality. The reality is actually really grim and I am so sorry you had to experience it.

    • I don’t believe I will ever allow myself to go into one. Having put my son in one twice over a years’ time, I know why I did it for him, to wake him up and help him start to take charge of his problems but they were HORRIBLE experiences. Since I am not an abuser or threat to anyone, I will stay on the outside, thank you very much, and work through issues via….blogging! LOL

  4. Inspired. And in it with you. Now I remember why I’m back. 🙂

  5. Being told by your primary care giver that they won’t tolerate you being a nuisance is not the best way to start a relationship of understanding. What’s needed is a basis of understanding and a feeling of nurture towards the patient. Sounds like your psych missed a few classes on that part.I’m not sure I can follow your memories of this Lori as it brings back too many of my own but let me say now that I’m so glad you survived it and are still with us.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    • Yes David, it is a sensitive post. I decided to write it only for the Weekly Challenge, otherwise I would have kept it to myself. But I do feel that one can learn from another’s mistakes (!) and this certainly was a big mistake. I get a little preachy in section two, just FYI, but experiences build skyscrapers of memories and foundational learning.

  6. I’m ready for the next chapter, Lori. Now, you owe it to yourself and us. Be bold, be brave, be a witness to the truth.

  7. Lori, I was able to fix the links on my funny posts- come back, I have laughs for you. Hope you are having a freeze-free night.

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