Saturday, March 30, 2013

pt #713

*inpatient from march 22, 2013 - march 25, 2013*

the window unlocks and lifts open.

yes, may i help you?

ya, i'm rachel. i'm here to check in. my doctor called earlier.

ok, just one minute. - pause, break, back - yes rachel we have you here. we have some paper work for you to fill out. are you coming here voluntarily? (a word i would here again and again.)


great. ok ....

and on she went. sign here this gives us permission for this , we can take your picture so the staff recognizes you , dad's beside me - he wants to know how much this is going to cost so we pause, break again and figure that out <breath, i tell myself, breathe, this is what dr queenan said to do, this is what he said to do> we have great benefits back upstairs to sign the papers again ...

hug your dad goodbye, he can come back during visiting hours tonight at 6.

what about my notebook?

no, you can't keep it cause it has wire on it.

oh ...

wrist band on.

bye dad. i love you.

bye honey. i'll see you later.

two nurses walk me in. strip me down. take my bra and my clothes. i am given a tour of the facility.

this is your room and your roommate t.



this is where you'll get your meds each morning and night. this is where we take vitals twice a day. here's the common room where you can get snacks and eat your meals and get drinks. all therapy is held in this room over here. if you have any questions the techs are always around and your nurse is around to help you. are you ok? i know this can be overwhelming. would you like some water?

water. yes. that would be good.

i sit. holding the water in my trembling hands. observing. i am now checked in to inpatient psych. and this will be my home for the next four days.

my reason for coming : suicidal thinking. not an occasional thought. but deep, thought out plans, it's the only option left, life as i have come to know it has become too much and the only rational 'out' i can think of is to end my life. i will be asked over the next four days many times how i feel, if i'm feeling suicidal, when the thoughts started, what triggered them.

it is a scary and vulnerable place to be. a helpless and hopeless place to be. but, i took the right step. i followed my doctor's orders and went for help.

i like my roommate. she is a god send. we soon discover that we suck at puzzles and that there are only so many rounds of jenga we can play in one day without going crazier than we already are. we get along and one crazy patient named us the bobbsey twins cause really, we never left each other's side. (and on a side note now that i have googled that and know who the bobbsey twins are that patient must have needed glasses cause um - we were both girls!)

it was a one unit floor and there was a wide variety of people there from schizophrenia to cutters, depression, court order, major depression/suicidal (me), homicidal, those who heard voices and saw visions, anger and rage issues, and others who were detoxing.

the stories. oh the stories. i could go on for days. like the lady who asked at every meal if anyone was going to eat all or part of their meal and if not could she have it and would then sit by the return tray area to collect what she wanted. or the few tiffs that broke out. or the lady who would whine at the top of her lungs about her oxygen tank and meds and shower and having someone wipe her ass - like this was a care facility. i named her ursula cause they moved her bed to the door and she would just sit and watch the nurses all day long when she wasn't whining. or the girl who was literally on the phone i have no idea how she had that many phone numbers memorized and had that much to say to people. it was quite literally shocking. whenever t and i would walk by she would be on the phone with someone.

i had visitors. a came. mom and dad came. my brother came. my sister s came. and my counselor shane came. most people didn't have visitors and i had at least two every night. #blessing. in order for visitors to come see me they had to know my patient number which was 713.

there were some good parts. group therapy was decent. i learned some things that will make it onto my blog. i did painting and played apples to apples and wii bowling in rec therapy, all of which were fun. we got 15 min fresh air breaks which were not long enough! that was our only freedom and it was hard not to run. so hard.

i started going stir crazy on day 2 - and though in all honesty i could've used a few more days in that artificial environment - the people were driving me batty. i couldn't take it. so i had to pull it together - fake it til you make it type of stuff - and convince everyone that i was well enough to get out of there. the hardest one was my doctor. he was a cautious man. but it worked out. never have i ever been so grateful to use full sized pencils with erasers and pens!

they switched up my meds which has been good and put me in an iop (intensive outpatient program) which i hope will also be good.

i have had to make a lot of really rough decisions the last week including quitting my job to focus on me right now and moving back home. none of this is what i expected out of march. i cry, everyday, over all that has happened this past week. sometimes the pain is so great i can hardly bear it. my friends have been a huge support as has my family. i know others are praying for me when all i can do is call on god's name and start to cry.

i do not see the point of my suffering right now or my path. it is all foggy and clouded. i am confused and hurt. i thought i knew what i was doing and had life figured out. but i guess looking back there were things in my life that needed to change i just didn't know how to change them and now they are being forced to change.

the good news is : i'm surrounded by my plants.

my mom bought me flowers today. a brought me flowers today.

and when all is said and done, god, won't you use this for my life's good?

Friday, March 29, 2013

my aunts

i have some of the most amazing aunts in the world. really and truly. three of my aunts in particular have been a huge blessing to me these past few weeks. they are my guardian angels.

my aunt e sends me notes weekly just to tell me how much she loves me and thinks about me. she and my grandma, mamaw, were close and so it always feels like a hug from mamaw when i get aunt e's cards.

my aunt l is very cool and will quote psych lines with me over facebook :) too much fun! she just became a grandma for the first time to baby t!

and my aunt m is a kind and gentle soul who has amazing talents that she shares with the whole family. she sent me an email the other day containing her favorite poem.

i loved it so much i wanted to share it here and write my thoughts about it 

Perplexed Music
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Experience, like a pale musician, holds
A dulcimer of patience in his hand, 

Whence harmonies, we cannot understand,
Of God; will in his worlds, the strain unfolds
In sad-perplexed minors: deathly colds
Fall on us while we hear, and countermand
Our sanguine heart back from the fancyland
With nightingales in visionary wolds.
We murmur ' Where is any certain tune
Or measured music in such notes as these ? '
But angels, leaning from the golden seat,
Are not so minded their fine ear hath won
The issue of completed cadences,
And, smiling down the stars, they whisper—

my thoughts :::

patience must be learned, earned, and experienced. a musician will understand complex harmonies that we the listener will not understand partially because we have not spent as much time with the music, practicing it, listening to it, being with it. god is the master musician. in his world all the melodies of this world will unfold. to us the music may sound sad and we may not understand the complexities or depth of the music because we have not experienced it like god has. but angels who have had years more of experience will lean from their seats with their tuned ears and understand the complicated melodies of sadness, anxiety, and adversity. to them, from their seat in the stars, they will hear the hope these songs can bring and it will be sweet.

i have recently gone through a very hard and moderately traumatic experience with my mental health that required a stay in the hospital. i will be writing about it. i understand this poem on a deeper level - there are some things words will never be able to convey - only music - and that sometimes the level of my sadness can only be measured by the one who is playing the music, someone who has been there before, someone who understands with perfect clarity : god.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

here's what i learned today

* i have never before shared a personal journal entry on my blog but i have learned so much from this 'parable' in my life that i felt the desire to share it with my readers. i hope it helps you. *


the need to write is flowing from my fingertips.

for the first time in weeks i feel inspired by my life events and the urge to write is too strong to resist.

i went over to the b's house today. c is really sick with bronchitis and a virus. k was telling me about their night last night. c was sick around midnight and needed a shower after. k couldn't sleep and so did some house cleaning then felt like she needed to go check on c again. it was about 3 am now. she nudged c "honey, are you ok?" a sad "mommy" was the reply and c needed to be helped again with a change of clothes and a shower. there c sat, on the toilet, tired, sick, a bit miserable, and she did not want to get in the shower. k said to c "come on c time to get in the shower" "no!" *deep breath* in k's words : "what i know is inspiration now, i went and got a blanket and said here c you must be so cold sitting on the toilet. i wrapped her up and rubbed her back for a few minutes then said you just wrap up in this blanket and i'm going to go lay on the bed and you just let me know when you're ready. well not even five minutes later i hear "i'm ready for my shower!" and we got her cleaned up and in fresh clean pjs and in bed and then i rubbed her feet. not because i had to but because i wanted to."

in that moment it hit me. i'm so much like c. here i am. naked. cold. unsure. shivering. sitting on the toilet seat. *of life* not sure why god  is letting me go through trial after trail and allowing me to be faced with adversity. and what does he do? he doesn't try to force me to move. he makes me as comfortable as possible where i am willing to be - where i am - he wraps me in a blanket - in his love - and rubs my back - and says - i'm going to give you some time (i'm going to let you use your agency) to think about and choose what you want to do. i'll just be right over here whenever you're ready to move or go somewhere. and when i'm in a better frame of mind and ready for my "shower" ready to trust him with all of the unknowns of life and jump in with both feet and have faith in him he brings me out clean and fresh and not only that but he has more for me waiting - a foot rub! he has more in store for me. more planned. more than i could ever imagine. he has more he wants to give me.

right now i am learning to be patient with myself and patient with the lord. i'm learning to trust that he really is on my side. that i'm not forgotten of him. that he has not abandon me and that in his timing all will be made whole. i am learning to be patient with this 'holding' time of my life if that's how i choose to see it. and that's kind of how i want to see it right now. it's not what i want . life feels so temporary. so changeable and unsure and so i feel like i'm just treading water. mom pointed out to me that maybe i'll look back on this time in my life and realize i was swimming and not just treading water. and that may be. but for now i feel like i'm just keeping my head above water and doggie paddling in time to just keep my nose up to breathe. and that's ok. if that's how i want to see my life right now i can see it that way, i just have to be patient and trust that god sees my efforts, he sees my paddling, and he will ultimately be the one to get me swimming again and bring me from where i am to where i want to be.

i feel like the 'theme' of this time in my life is patience. and not in a sappy way, but in a very specific gentle loving way from god :: i know you don't like this but i promise so much good is going to come from it.  i listened to an inspirational talk and in it the speaker said "in patience possess ye your souls." that has stuck with me. yes. in patience i will be able to possess or know or understand my soul or spirit or who i am. i will be able to reconnect with the strong spiritual me and i will be able to do that through patiently waiting on the lord. actively doing while patiently waiting. patiently waiting is harder than it seems because it involves an element of trust, faith, and humility that are not exactly my strengths. "i will make weaknesses become strong" says the lord. i believe that. he is trying to do that for me now in my life. 

i believe the scripture i chose for my church service mission is perhaps more applicable now than ever. it really sums up my life - what i am going through and what i want out of life right now - hebrews 10:35-36 "cast not away therefore your confidence which hath great recompence of reward. for ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of god, ye might receive the promise."

i've also been having quiet scripture reading time each night. instead of picking a specific place to read i have just been opening my book and letting my eyes fall on verses. i feel it is no coincidence that when all of this was happening i opened to james 1:2-4 "my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into many afflictions; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. but let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."god will make me whole and entire in his time through the workings of patience.

with so many experiences pointing me in the direction of patience it is impossible to deny that god knows me, is aware of me, and loves me. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013


that is how i'm feeling.

that my life, my purpose, who i am and my effect on others is all temporary.

i (finally) went grocery shopping tonight. and all that i bought was temporary. nothing to make a meal with. nothing that required planning or purpose. it was all temporary food. gold fish, snack bars, chex mix. no fruits, no veggies. nothing that would say, "a person lives here." only a ghost. a mirror image of a person. 

i am settled in my apartment but lately i have been thinking of moving. part of anxiety is learning to control the thoughts that are unnecessary. such as moving when your lease isn't up for 11 months. but i can't get it out of my head. it keeps replaying. and i don't feel settled in my own home. i feel temporary. but where do i go next? this, i cannot answer. 

work is my number one stressor during the week. it all revolves around the number of visits i do a week which is what my pay is based on. the more visits i do the more money i make. i've said it before and i'm sure i'll say it again. it is so temporary. we only have it for a moment. it is a means to an end. that's how i see it. and with changes in kids and times my visit numbers are low. this causes me increased stress and worry. i long for the day when i will be financially secure and will not need to worry.

no one at work is going to watch out for my mental health. that is not their job. it is my job. and it is hard to stand up for myself sometimes. they do not understand. and that's ok. but it doesn't make the situation any easier. i try. i guess that's all i can say. i try.

with kids coming and going they feel temporary. and so these parts of my life that are so huge to me begin to take over all the parts and suffocate me. my self esteem plummets. i feel lost and on hold.

i have been in such an odd way this week that i even made my futon up in my living room and slept on it. another temporary thing. i have kept it made up. waiting for someone to come over and be my guest.

s asked me earlier this evening how i was doing. i was holding up better but fell apart towards the end. coming home to an empty home is hard on me. i expressed my feelings of being temporary, in the lives of others, in my effect on them, and that i would be so easily replaced to many. she brilliantly wrote "you are as a snow flake, there is no other. and beyond the icy art you are not forgotten in the drift. you matter more than you know. i understand though the inability to know that you matter. Believe Me Rachel. You. Matter." everyone deserves a friend like s.

and so i promised her i would trust her tonight, as i am not in a place to trust myself.

yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of my sweet grandma's passing. her death feels so permanent. and perhaps that is why i feel so temporary. a way to escape extreme pain is to go the opposite way.

tonight i will drift. as a snow flake from the sky. i will drift.

Friday, March 8, 2013

did god make a mistake?

when he created me?

sometimes i feel so flawed. if i were to break down the ingredients god used to create me here's what i think his ingredient sheet would look like :::
"how to create a uniquely human rachel"
5% singing talent
10% love
3% honesty
3% gratitude
10% fear/worry
4% driving fast
6% expression with words
5% caring/kindness
2% avoidance
1% willingness to try
3% gardener
20% anxiety
2% ability to nap
8% humor
1% love of reading
3% decorator's eye
2% self injury
1% eyes that can't see
3% love of dogs
6% love of god's gospel
2% introvert
100% human rachel
he just grabbed the right mixtures off of the shelf, poured the right percentage of each mixture into the mold, and out came me. but there seems to have been a bump or two too much - a drizzle or sprinkle extra - and so i came out flawed.
when i look at those 'ingredients' i only see fear, worry, avoidance, anxiety, self injury, introvert. sure i can read the others but they fade against my glaring flaws.
why did god have to make me with 'challenges included?'
the outside world is a reflection of the inside world s says. well if we took that in the way that i dress, i'm tired. and i don't care. and i'm not worth it. and i'm not pretty. i haven't fixed my hair in months. makeup - what? and my clothes are older, and baggy. nice, huh? good visual. it's how i feel about my insides - old - tired- washed up - used - easy to over look.
am i a mistake to god?