Thursday, April 23, 2015
How My Cat Helped Save My Life
This fiasco with my apartment finally got to me. I became suicidal. But I have a little cat to think of. There was no way I was gonna leave the planet without having her taken care of.
I was in close touch with my wonderful case worker and doctor and Robert, my case worker, found out that the local animal shelter would take care of Pinky for up to ten days while I went to the hospital.
Robert met me at the shelter and then followed me to the doctor's office where I was going to leave my car while I went to a crisis stabilization unit. At the office I was met by my doctor and the two of them waited for the van to take me away.
It was scary. The place was an hour away and I had no idea what I was going into, just that once again I was gonna be in a mental ward.
The white van with the cage barrier behind the front seats scared me. I wasn't able to take anything with me but the bag with my medicine and the things I couldn't leave in my car, like my iPad and iPod and phone and purse.
On the ride there I was able to text friends that I was going to be without my phone for a few days. My sister had seen my desperate post for someone to take care of Pinky in a local cat lovers group and had texted me, so I let her know that I was going.
The crisis stabilization unit was a small building beside the hospital. Once I arrived I was made to shower and change into scrubs. They keep your clothes and wash them then give them back to you when you leave. I was put in the intake office and given a dinner. That was nice because I hadn't eaten all day and it was about 6:30 P.M.
They took all my medications and allowed me to quickly write down phone numbers from my phone before it was put into my purse and locked up. I was allowed to take one book, so I chose Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which I was in the middle of.
Then I was taken into the unit and showed my bed, 4b. After that I was on my own until evening group.
This was on Monday, April 13th.
The next day I teleconferenced with the Nurse Practitioner and she upped my meds and added an as needed pill for my anxiety.
And the days were groups, groups, groups led by different counselors.
A friend told me that I shouldn't just sit in the group and talk about Breaking Bad (Jesse was in a lot of groups in the series). Then when someone who had just got out of prison said he was in there for cooking meth I laughed and had to explain myself.
Up at 6:00 A.M. for meds and a self serve breakfast. There was yogurt, oatmeal, apple and orange juice, Nutri-Grain bars and coffee always available.
Lunch was at 1:00 and dinner was at 6:00, delivered from the hospital in styrofoam take-out containers. Those little picnic packs of napkin, salt and pepper and plastic utensils, but with the knives removed for our safety. The food was very good.
Lights out at 11:00. Each night I looked at my hospital bracelet and thought of Simon Pegg in the movie The World's End. "They told me when to go to bed! Me! Gary King!"
I read American Gods as if my life depended on it. I can't recommend it enough. It is weird but easy to read and keeps you enthralled. Some poked fun of me, Mary and her book they said. I finished it on Wednesday but started rereading it immediately.
I had all my phone numbers written on the paper I used for a bookmark. Talking to my friends always brought a smile to my face. The sign said two calls per day but it was not enforced.
There were tea bags for the asking, so I was able to drink a lot of calming cups of tea.
The only sweetener available was Sweet-N-Low, so I developed a taste for that and now drink it in my coffee instead of sugar.
The people working behind the scenes there were fantastic. They got me a grant that paid for two weeks at the motel where I am now. The nurses and techs in the unit were patient and understanding and very sweet.
The other people in there were a varied bunch. Some were there instead of being taken to jail, some were like me. I met a couple of ladies that I exchanged phone numbers with because we have so much in common.
On Friday the 17th I was allowed to leave. The usual stay is three days but it was deemed necessary for me to stay one day extra.
A white van took me back to my car at my doctor's office. I made my way to the hotel.
On Saturday I went and picked up Pinky at the shelter. They had taken very good care of her. It felt good to have her back. She has been sleeping with me and actually cuddled alongside me.
When I was suicidal she was the only thing I thought of. Not my sons, not my family, not my friends. I made a plan on how I would end my life. That was the scariest part.
I am glad that I was honest with my doctor and my case worker. They quickly got me the help I needed.
The hotel is nice and I have a fridge and microwave and free wifi in my room. Each morning there is a free continental breakfast so I set my alarm and go down and have a cup of coffee and some mini muffins then bring a cup of coffee to my room.
I came through it. I survived. Taking the time to get my little cat taken care of kept me from doing something rash and horrible.
There is help out there if you feel there is nowhere to turn. Talk to your doctor, be honest about how you feel.
The crisis stabilization unit lived up to its name. It worked for me.
Ah, my Pinky cat is rubbing my legs, wanting to be petted.
Unfortunately when I called a family member for help he told me to "get rid of that damned cat". I told him that 'that damned cat' just saved my life. Not everyone will understand your mental illness, ever. Sadly, it is just something that you have to deal with.
Thank you for reading. Be strong. Get help if you need it. And I am here if you have any questions about my Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety or my experience in the unit.