Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Eat, Pray, Love Phoenix 'Mental Ward'
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t trying to kill myself, I was trying to take the edge off. I have been laying in bed in my pajamas for months. The shit hits the fan if I’m running around trying to fix everything or if I’m laying in bed. I had already enjoyed everything that Netflix had to offer, take a pill, I hate myself, take a pill, look at my ass? When the fuck did this happen? Take a handful. There are clear indications that you have lost the will to live, other than hating the sound of every breath you take. I have run out of words. I have nothing, not one thing to say about anything. The worst thing to say to a person that is depressed is remind them that they ’have so much’. Or ’so many people love you’. It doesn’t matter how many people love you, if YOU don’t love you. I’m in the middle of season two on ‘Lost’. Take another pill. Everyone is a ’social drinker’? Can I watch the small children so you can have some ‘me’ time? Fuck yes. Drop off some small children with my insane exhausted ass. I can’t even get out of this bed so should we tether the child to a pole of some kind? After the first month of not getting out of my bed, crying, then crying more, my husband John or one of my daughters, Jennifer, April or Carly, would just crack my bedroom door and say, “You okay? Need anything?” The older girls would bring their sons in my room and drag them to my bed by their collars. “Give your grandmother a kiss.” I’m there, haven’t done my roots for who knows how long, black on top, blond on the bottom, and I think at this point I may have cultured some dreadlocks. “Kiss grandma damn it!” The sweet kid gives me a kiss. “Now tell her you love her. TELL HER YOU LOVE HER GOD DAMN IT!” And here’s the part. One of those little boys would give me the forced kiss, but every time, they would look right in my eyes and smile. You know why? They like me. They want me back in the kitchen making them chocolate milk. They want me to pick them up, so for a second my heart would soften. That would only last a minute or so because then I would remember that small children, let’s face it, they don’t know that much. They also like Dora and Spongebob Squarepants. Take another pill. Depression rolls over you like someone dumped water on your head and it rolls all the way down to your feet. Sometimes, we get depressed because of what they call ’Situational Depression’. That means something is going on or has happened and now you can’t stop your heart from breaking. Then there is ’Chronic Depressive Disorder’, where there is no actual reason, one day you climb in bed and don’t get out until you have dreadlocks. So, I’m trying to take the edge off and I take some pills, very small pills. My daughter Carly, who has been sober and in recovery for almost three years takes me to the emergency room. Just now I write that and it breaks my heart in to a billion pieces. It fucking makes me sick. How could I do that to my daughter? Not just Carly but all of them. Huge, huge, huge regret that I put her and all my family through that. It makes me sick to my stomach. That evening fills me with overwhelming regret, even though most of it I can’t remember. God, I would do anything to never have caused hurt to my beautiful girls. I love them so, so much. The other side of the coin is that I hate the weakness in an act like that. Am I weak? All I have ever wanted my daughters to see when they look at me is strength. I want them to think I can overcome anything and now I ruined it. I am rubble, a heap, nothing left. Except for my Jamaican heritage. The following morning I wake up and from previous experience I know exactly where I am. The very first word out of my mouth is, “Fuuuuck.” I stare at the roof, look to my left, nothing, look to my right, nothing. Rooms in the mental hospital are empty because people will try and kill themselves with the craziest things. I roll out of the bed, still under the influence of god knows what and stumble to the door. I walk out in the hallway, holding the wall, and I see a woman at the end of the hall that I later find out is my ‘case worker’. That’s what poor people have. Case workers. The people with good insurance get Physiologists with nice offices and picture frames with degrees from Yale or Harvard. I got a case worker with a big stain on the front of her shirt. She sees me coming and she bends down like you would if you saw a groggy toddler walking down the hall with pajamas with feet in them. “Look who’s awake! Look at you! Good for you!” Then under my breath I said, “Fuuuuck.” We get to her cubicle and we’re sitting across from one another and she begins to talk to me like I’m a giant baby. Why do people talk to crazy people in a baby voice? “Why is Dina sad? Huh? Why are you feeling so sad? Who’s sad! Who is sad! I’m going to bite your tummy! I am!” All of the sudden, the wind blew in my fucking direction. Finally a break! For an insane drug addicted alcoholic it was like winning the Powerball. This case worker looks at me, of course not realizing who she dealing with and says, “Your doctor has prescribed you Percocet for your migraines.” On the inside I am praising baby Jesus. I look in her eyes, she looks in mine and adds, “As needed.” She writes some things on a paper and says, “How bad is your headache now?” I say, “Well. (In the most migrainey kind of way possible) It’s bad.” A half an hour later I’m on the Lido Deck learning a line dance, at least that’s what my brain is doing. Let me talk about the definition of ‘as needed’ because I did have the discussion with the pharmacist at the ‘med’ window. When you say to a normal person to take a narcotic ‘as needed’, they only take it when they need it. As needed. When I hear ‘as needed’ I think ‘I need it’. Which I know is just a twist in the words, but what a big difference it makes. I’m at the med window as often as possible. After a few days we stop the ’what level is your pain?’ routine because every time I go to the window I say, “Eleven. My pain is at eleven.” He says, “It only goes to ten.” “My pain goes to eleven.” The mentally ill can hack any line from Spinal Tap and completely get away with it. This is a part of the hospital for women only so I liked that. We had group therapy all day long and weaved in to that were activities. At first these activities made me feel humiliated. Do they think we’re idiots? But as the days passed, I, like any crafty, fun, high person, looked forward to them. One activity was music class. It’s a big box filled with drums of all kinds and one tambourine. Each morning I would ask what time music class was because I wanted that tambourine. All the other ladies would play a native Indian drumming noise in rhythm with the activity leader and I would play the tambourine like Lori on the Partridge Family. You know, the hip out, boom, hand out, boom, repeat. After a few days I really looked forward to the activities which I feel showed an indication that I was actually back sliding in to a state of permanent insanity. If we had a lazy activity leader and she would give us a piece of paper and tell us just to spend an hour writing. I would bend my head and think, “Damn. What about doing some beading? Or playing some drums? Or drawing? This is dumb.” We are sitting at a table putting sparkly little jewels on a piece of string. The women, including myself, are actually picking up tiny pieces of beads and saying, “Oh! Look at this one! It‘s so shiny! That one is gorgeous Helen!” I shit you not. There is a person that walks around the table and it’s their job is to say, “That is so pretty Dina. Really. Who you gonna give that to?” Like I’m a fucking idiot. Like I’m gonna get out of the place and show off all the things I made while I was on the brink of fucking insanity in the mental hospital. Here mom! I traced my giant adult hand print on a piece of paper and made a turkey out of it. Does anyone need an ashtray that won’t sit flat made out of brown clay? I don’t have one friend that likes me enough to be gifted a piece of paper with cotton balls glued on it and still want to go to lunch in public with me. No one will know about this. Ever. I would rather tell someone I shit my pants. Come on lady! What happens on the crazy boat, stays on the crazy boat! People sometimes get mad at me for making jokes about serious things but it’s how I pull myself out. It’s the only way I know. The other part of the truth is that the entire week I was there, I couldn’t stop crying. And the pain pills could only help my sadness ‘as needed’. I still just didn’t care one way or another. Didn’t want to die, didn’t want to live. Just didn’t give a shit. During one of my crying episodes, I was called in to an administrative office and asked how I was feeling. With tears streaming down my face, I said nothing. They said, “So you feel better?” I didn’t say a word. I was discharged. I went home and got back in bed. But soon the crying stopped and then one thing happened and I had to get dressed and another thing and I had to shower and everyday, I got better. Everyday, a little bit better. No more pain pills. (And how many times are we going to hear that from you Dina?) It wasn’t magic, it wasn’t overnight. I got my hair colored. I went to the tanning booth. I started playing with my grand boys and then one day I look back and it’s like I was never in that place. I know it’s not this easy, but, I have to protect my heart. My heart is worth protecting. If it’s not something I can embrace, I simply can’t embrace it. If it’s something I can’t change, I just can’t change it. I’m still strong, but my strength is more focused on what is good, and funny and loving. Which is most of my world. Good, funny and loving. I think that’s how I would describe my life. I’ve done some things that I’m not proud of. But I’ve done some things that I am really, really proud of. And I realized that it was only the depression that made my ass look bad. I have an amazing ass. The only real proof that I was there is a sparkly bracelet that has the name ‘Carly’ on it. And the letters are accompanied by shiny stars and beautiful gems. At least, that’s how I described it when I presented it to her.
Posted by Dina Kucera at 4:58 PM