One image that has stuck with was from my psychiatrist at McGeachey Hall. He called my major mania and hospitalization in April, 2013 as a the equivalent of a heart attack.
I had a shorter hospitalization of about a week a year ago at Bridgeport Hospital.
Right now, I’m reading Marya Hornbacher’s “Madness: A Bipolar Life”. It’s brilliant and totally harrowing for me. Especially when she is hospitalized seven times in 2004 and 2005. Writing and finishing books and articles she doesn’t even remember. I do worry my manias may get as extreme. Although I am very happy to hear that my doctor says he has not had anyone be hospitalized with Tegretol.
Makes me feel lucky in so many ways.
I have had three hospitalizations in my life after Christmas 1997, April 2013 and March-April, 2016. And I should have had another one in July-August, 2001 while in Oxford, England.
Considering how many wonderful creative freaks, poets, and iconoclasts I know I am sure I am not the only one who has been hospitalized.
The first one in 1997 was probably a bad idea. After graduating from Rutgers, I felt I needed to go to DC. But, I wasn’t really ready for it and I have never been good at transitions.
I ended up in a grocery store or something near Fort Meade, Maryland. Was considering maybe joining the Navy. Not totally sure. I bought more than I could afford and then declined buying it. I guess the cops got involved and I ended up at Shepard-Pratt near Baltimore, Maryland. Weird few days. I remember feeling comparatively normal and that a lot of people were smokers. Was there for a few days. I ended up on Depakote briefly, although my liver didn’t like it. I think I was giving Neurotonin for a while, but I think there is a better name for that drug for bipolar patients, placebo.
And I don’t remember any good relationship with therapists or psychiatrists, they were mostly just there.
Summer, 2001 was also a time of transition. I was graduating the Drucker School with an MBA and the Oxford program was my last class.
It was honestly very strange. I feel like we could have had a much better partner than George Mason, they were more international policy, we were an MBA program. And we were trying to do a lot in a few weeks. Oxford, Geneva, and London. And site visits. The mania was increasing throughout the trip but completely blew up in the site visit. I ended up needing a ride home and didn’t make it to London and then was kicked out of Oxford to London, which was definitely a bad, bad idea for a manic.
Being in a Oxford cloister, St. George’s College I think is a pretty manageable place. It’s small, it has gates, it has food. And Oxford is a relatively small and very walkable city. I think if I got help it would have been better. But been kicked out to Imperial College, London in the middle of the city near Hyde Park and Harrod’s not so much. Although, I do now regret oddly I didn’t go to the Great British Beer Festival which was a couple tube stops away.
I did some shopping, and was very lost. Was planning to come back to America in early October, 2001 from Rome. Had a flight to Edinburgh later that week (which I missed), would have been hard to find a place to stay I am sure without reservations during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
I think I left some stuff in Imperial College, I think I had some stuff stolen in a hostel in London, eventually I flew home to New Jersey and by September 11th, I knew I was back in Claremont. It was definitely mistake for me not to have kept the place in Claremont, CA on Old Route 66 when I left for Europe. Sometimes a few hundred dollars in rent is a great deal, especially with great roommates in a beautiful place in a hundred year old vineyard house next to Harvey Mudd College and across from an experimental garden. As nice as my view is in Ansonia, it doesn’t compare to staring at the more than 10,000 foot Mt. Baldy.
I was definitely depressed for a while. Ended up in Huntington Beach for a while with a family friend, and San Dimas with an odd relationship. I wish I hung out with Clint and Victor longer.
I went back east around Thanksgiving, 2002 for my tenth anniversary from Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ. Or as I always say, near Princeton. It was interesting to go to the Tiger’s Tale on 206, which I never remember going to except for a very, very awkward lunch with one of my dad’s former employees that was propositioning me at around 12 maybe. Something I don’t talk about much. Nothing really happened but he did show me gay porn and proposition me. It was awkward and sad though and I do wonder how it affected me. And my dad trusted him to watch us when they were away, he was a good employee. But people that seem good aren’t always.
It was good to see people I knew ten years before. A bunch of us got MBAs. Although I haven’t got much from mine.
And it was fun to dance and chat, was fun ten years later when I went with Lanna.
And I stayed east for a little while although my stuff was in California though.
Then I met Lanna in January, 2003 and my stuff came back from California in about a month. I remember going back with my dad. I was lucky to have trips across the country with him and we went from South Carolina to dropping me off at the New Brunswick bus station. The Turnpike Tower I could see in front of the World Trade Center from Grandview Boulevard over Johnson and Johnson doing cross country indians up the steep slope. And I went to see her and watch Elderberry Jam in a little club I think called Tobacco Road literally under the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. 41st and 9th maybe.
A year and half later we were married on July 3, 2004.
I was unmedicated, I was writing, I was reading. Eventually I found poetry through Port Veritas in Portland, Maine. Psychologically things were good.
Although I didn’t see a therapist or a psychiatrist. Although I didn’t really find more than a few temp jobs in New York, and retailing, temping and substitute teaching in Maine before my current position. I never did find the MBA job. Pro tip: If you go for an MBA make sure there career services is excellent, otherwise a lot of it is common knowledge.
Then came my dad’s illness which I have said more about in the past that I can now but does take a lot of you. His eventual death on April 1, 2013 hit me strangely. I felt sad but also relived. And then the sleep didn’t come. And the sleep didn’t come, and the sleep still wouldn’t come.
The writing it came, the social media it flowed out, the paranoia it increased. And then a couple days in jail around Patriot’s Day, 2013. Instead of going to the hospital I went to jail while fully manic. I posted about this in December 23, 2013 as well. It happens all the time. It happens all the time. People die. People have major health conditions. The sheriffs aren’t trained well with intake. I wasn’t even really held there if I had my wallet. I ran outside paranoid when my wife called the crisis line. I wasn’t ready to go. I wish I didn’t take her phone and bury it. I wish I didn’t push he away. I wish I wasn’t so paranoid.
So instead of maybe going to the emergency room which I needed, although mental health emergency rooms are terrible, terrible places. More there to prevent suicide than to help patients calm down in crisis.
I asked to sit in a cell to lay down, I was locked in.
I talked to the nurse who said I was free to go, I was tackled down by three evil men the sheriffs in that jail on that Saturday before Patriots Day at the Cumberland County Jail.
Oddly empty that day.
And I couldn’t seem to reach anyone to get bail and I wasn’t allowed to call my wife.
The collect phones kept disconnecting. When I was manic I saying not to pay taxes. I thought I was being watched.
It still seems so crazy to me that cops were driving at high speed on the Prescumpcot River Path in April, 2013. A lot of people walk and bike on that road.
And being in a suicidal cell with two blankets and pure mania is madness. I think I pushed a lot of my creativity and performance out in a crazy 36 hour show I thought the NSA was watching.
Eventually I was so grateful on I think the Tuesday after Patriot’s Day to be released from the evil horrors of the Cumberland County Jail and the bizarre Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department to the Maine Medical Center ER where I hoped someone would hear my story and help me calm down.
But, I just sat there being ignored. And I wanted to go and was pushed back. Then I got loud and attacked on many sides by needles. 24 hours later I was at Spring Harbor Hospital. I though I was going to be killed. I never paid my Maine Medical Center bill, I couldn’t deal with the trauma. When I was in Griffin Hospital while manic in March, 2015 even though it was the main ER I have been to before I was having flashbacks. When I was in the very contained Bridgeport Hospital ER I was very, very afraid even though Lanna was only a few doors away. She was with me in Griffin too. And I still owe a couple thousand to MMC. I don’t think I will ever pay it. I’m sure there are other horror stories.
When I got to Spring Harbor I was mad at my wife. She did nothing wrong. I just wasn’t ready to get help. I think that is extremely common with mania. Extraordinarily common, often with bad results. And I did call asking for help at the local psychiatric center in Westbrook and never got a call back. So it goes.
Eventually after a couple weeks I did get calmer at Spring Harbor. It was so nice to have a nurse that listed to you. Psychiatric nurses are amazing people. I had an excellent maine nurse at Spring Harbor in Maine and so many great nurses at Bridgeport Hospital, 2 years later.
I needed Lithium, I needed to slow my brain down. A few months later, I hated Lithium it slowed my brain down. And risperidone is very helpful for me when I am elevated. Glad to have it in the drug closet now.
Maybe the lamictal was the wrong choice, I guess it isn’t as good for the highs and mania as the Carbamazepine/Tegretol I am taking now.
And moving is extremely stressful as was anniversaries of death.
I do know that it took me a long time to recover from my mania in 2013. It literally wears out the body as Ms. Hornbacher says in her book “Madness: A Bipolar Life.”
I still don’t really know why the mania happened in 2015. I am worried it will happen again.
I do fear change. I do fear getting too excited.
And it wasn’t as bad, I was in a much more grounded place. I do have a good psychiatrist now. Although I would love to find an excellent therapist in the New Haven, Connecticut area. I really can’t afford many sessions at $50/each though. It all got free after hospitalizations before.
I am doing okay now. Marya Hornbacher’s book is utterly fantastic but it is most definitely jogging my memories. It makes me thankful for my relatively sanity and hoping it continues.
Thanks for listening and reading.
April 7, 2006
Ms. Hornbacher mentions journaling after a hospitalization and wanting to know the date and time, so I thought I would add it too. And say four more words so it’s a 2000 word post.