In January of 2015 I hit my all time low. I could not function. I cried all the time over anything and everything. I didn’t answer my cell phone. I locked myself in my room and stayed in bed all day. I pushed people away. All I wanted to do was lay in my bed and waste away. I wanted to die.
This behavior landed me my first time in “crazy jail.” (My son calls it that because you’re behind locked doors and because it’s for mentally ill people, crazy people.) I knew I needed help, but I did not think that I need inpatient hospitalization. I called over to Brentwood in Shreveport just to hear them tell me that I did not need to come in; that’s not what happened though. I called the admission line, spoke to some lady for a little bit, and she told me that I needed to check myself in and get some help. That evening I checked myself in. I felt ridiculous doing it because i wasn’t “crazy.” I was just feeling really really sad. I went through the admission process. All my belongings were searched through. All strings were removed from my clothing. My room had a video camera in it to watch my every move. I was behind one locked door after another.
It came time for me to let Ronny go. I’ve never experienced something so painful. The person that I loved most in this world had to leave me; I was going to be by myself. I had to deal with this on my own. There wasn’t someone I knew or felt comfortable with by my side.
I remember walking into the women’s unit, and everyone looked at me. Some came up asking why I was there. My reply was simply, “Depression.” They wanted to know what else was I there for. I simply said, “Depression.” The other women were there for reasons such as methadone addiction, newly diagnosed bipolar, pregnancy and had to come off bipolar medication, or other reasons that seemed so much more severe than my depression.
I very quickly grew close to the women that were there with me. They were some amazing women. They’d been through so much already. I quickly realized that I was not alone. We dealt with our issues together. They were fun, encouraging, helpful, and even though we each had a different diagnosis, we were there together; we weren’t alone.
We had several groups throughout the day in which we talked about coping mechanisms, triggers, and lots more. We had art therapy where we drew ourselves as two trees; one of mine being dark and dying, and the other bright green leaves that was producing fruit. We had gym time where we were required to walk around to get a little exercise. Most of all, we had a lot of time to sit around and think.
You ask, “Did it help you?” I don’t know how to answer that though. It took me out of my reality and gave me a chance to rest. It kept me safe from myself. It got me through my crisis.
It was definitely different for me. I had never been that long without seeing my children. I had never been that long away from Ronny.
I remember one of the women that had been there multiple times saying, “Make sure you eat. Take your medicines. Don’t argue with anyone. Just agree. That’s how you’re going to get out of this place faster.” I swore to myself that I was going to learn all that I could to keep from having to ever be admitted to a mental hospital again.
That was my FIRST stay.