Ok it's 4:30 a.m. here in Taipei. I have been up all night because I took a 4 hour nap yesterday. Ah well. It will take time to adjust. I am now 12 hours ahead of eastern time.
I am finally in a good place after feeling suicidal and ending up in a psych ward! I thought it would be a place where I could get HELP or SOMETHING. Well I did get something, but let me tell you, the mental health care in the U.S. in abysmal. I don't think things have changed much since One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest . I need to read the book now. Truly it was similar to the movie, EXCEPT, I must say there were NO Nurse Cratchetts - the counselors were fantastic - one was even coaching me on how to get out. Even the nurse who checked me in thought I'd be out in no time (she knew I didn't "belong" there). Well, I was sent 75 miles from my cousin's house on a Saturday, after spending all day Friday in the ER. Things do not start moving until Monday. They do not let the patients out for supervised walks (unless you ask for "level one" as I learned and had to wait forever to ask the psychiatrist for it). Only 3 of us were given permission out of um, maybe 20 people?
The patients do NOTHING all day. They MAYBE have one half hour "group" session per day but they were pretty lame. The place was FREEZING - I didn't have any warm clothes and had to beg for a jacket (they have a room of donated clothing - mostly men's) from my roommate who hoarded all the warm clothes. She was elderly and very ill - not able to keep weight on, but don't worry she had a thick sweatshirt and wasn't using the jacket.
Our room was an ICEBERG so I slept (when I slept) with three blankets. My roomie was an absolute angel - and I am praying for her. She has dementia (a bit) and is an alcoholic.
She doesn't really remember how she got there (she did call 911). She told me she arrived without pants and that someone took her clogs. I don't think she was wearing them when she arrived, but I just listened to her. Poor lady was diabetic and incontinent.
She told me: "You have to tell me how you pull the toilet paper so evenly." So Sue, being a bit of a brat said, "Oh yeah - it's a real art!" OK that wasn't nice. I did in fact SHOW her my techinque though! Ok I know this is weird! Funny though.
I briefly saw the psychiatrist on Sunday. He said, "I read your note." WHAT NOTE???? (Later I figured out that the crisis counselor in Plymouth "fibbed" a bit to get insurance coverage because you have to be legitamately suicidal to get coverage! Which, when you think of it, makes sense). He told me, "ok, no more talk about THAT," since he probably realized that I hadn't written a note. He gave me the feeling that I would be dischargesd soon and that he would work on it "100%."
On Monday, my social worker told me that the plan was to discharge me on Wednesday.
I was told I would meet with the shrink (it's easier to spell that!) later that day. I was a BIT anxious to say the LEAST. I kept hounding the poor man and all the counselors that morning and afternoon. I was bugging out - even though friends told me to be cool and I would be released quicker. When the shrink finally saw me, he told me I was being irrational and that he would consider my case on a "day to day basis." !!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh man. I was just beside myself at that point. I didn't think God was listening to me, even though I prayed like a maniac.
BUT! Prayers were answered when my wonderful friends Prakash and Asha came to visit.
Prakash went to university with my husband in India. We haven't really been in touch for a long time though, but Sujoy had been in contact w/him when he learned I was in trouble.
Sujoy has the BEST friends (and they are mine now also, thank goodness). They are always there for us.
I was SO tired that night from not sleeping at all the night before, so I actually called Prakash and told him that I was going to sleep. So, I was in bed when a nurse told me that a beautiful Indian couple were there to visit - and asked if I wanted to see them. I jumped out of bed of course!
They were my only visitors during the whole stay (but I got a million phone calls).
I was ELATED and can't go into details, but I had been feeling EXTREMELY anxious/ guilt ridden for a "good" reason.
They stayed for an hour talking to me about Jesus. As a Catholic, I never really understood Jesus. They really enlightened me, and we prayed and I knew I would be forgiven. I finally had peace and faith that I WOULD get out of that place on Wednesday. Even though I told Prakash not to bother coming, he did, because "something" told him to come anyway. Yes, their visit really was an answer to my prayers.
After they left Sujoy (hubby) called and calmed me down. I went back to my room and wrote a 2 page "plan" which I showed to the shrink the next day. "Good," he said in his Russian accent, "I see you have a plan - I like that." He agreed to discharge me on Wednesday.
I was free to go on by 10:30 on Wednesday, but I had to wait until 8:00 pm for Prakash to pick me up on his way back from a business trip in Maine. That was the LONGEST day of my life!
I tried to play "matchmaker" while I was there. There was a severly depressed older man there who only talked to my sweet roommate. I always ate with my roommate but one day I asked if he would like to eat with her. (She was so weak that she couldn't carry her tray from the shelves where the food was delivered, so I always got her tray for her). He was so happy and smiled when I brought her tray over to his table. He told her that she was the only one who wasn't "role playing" which was probably true. I hope she's ok.
I learned so much from my stay - I am SOOOO grateful that I AM sane and my brain is now functioning fully. I pray for those poor patients every day. It was SO depressing seeing people in that state (I could relate to some of them though). I was anxious/irrational at my cousin's for a number of reasons- a huge one being coming off of presrcibed drugs such as steroids, painkillers and 12 hours worth of anesthesia. Imagine the toxins floating around my body. The OTHER reason is my own - I was so restless. I don't have lovely crafty hobbies - I don't have any hobbies really! I love to read, but was too depressed and anxious to read. I don't watch tv
(except for a few choice shows). I cannot be a couch potato because...I can't! I used to be a long time ago though! I could only walk so much...it was hard being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do...but I am DO appreciate that my cousin TRIED to take care of me. She did her best and she's a great cook, but I needed more emotional support. I really needed my husband, but he couldn't stay any longer (he wouldn't get paid!) and Anjoli needed to start school.
Hubby and Anjoli had to leave for Taiwan on my birthday, on August 17th. We said goodbye, I put on my brave face....then his flight to NY got cancelled and they couldn't leave until August 19th. Talk about torture - having to say goodbye twice!
Anyway, this is very long I know and probably boring. I had such a nice, peaceful stay with Prakash and Asha. I ate YUMMY (mostly vegetarian) Indian food. Asha is a total health freak so she coached me with lots of remedies for depression and fatigue. We prayed every night - even their 11 year old son prayed for me every night. I left feeling spiritually, physically and mentally refreshed and renewed.
I had three good visits with my old friends who live in the same area as Prakash and Asha. Ursula was a doll and took me to a Renaissance fair in Carver, Mass. Her husband Frank is an actor in it every year. I was so out of it though and had NO energy. It's a wonderful fair. The HUGE favor she did was help me collect all my stuff from my cousin's house which was nearby (and very far from where I was staying with my friends).
My friend Miriam met me in Boston and took me back to her house in Newton so I got to see her husband, Frank who is a hoot. He is a (jazz and blues) music critic/writer and always has fun stories to tell. He gave me a cd of a famous folk singer (her writing was on the cd even) which hasn't been released yet. I better not say who it is - I don't want to get Frank in trouble! I like this singer alot, even though I only have one of her cds. Now I have two! I also spent a day with my friends Ashwin and Sonia and had a blast playing with their adorable 5 year old daughter. I tried to play this game with her. She is so smart - it was too logical for me (recommended age was 7-adult). I just couldn't get it at all- so I told her that I just had brain surgery - and she said "Oh I know," and she quietly put the game away. Very sensitive and sweet of her. She drew me a beautiful flower and made a "Happy Snail" tracing her thumb and part of her hand. Kids are great therapy.
[EDIT: Oh man oh man how could I forget my dear, sweet wonderful friend Laura who gave up a day of her life, risking life and limb driving around the circle of death at LAX. She was there when I got off my Delta flight at 10:30 am, and stayed with me until I boarded my China Airlines flight at 3:30 pm. What a gal, quelle pal. We had a delish lunch, of course Laura had to one up me with her "cheeseburger" sans the burger! Cute, ay? I wish her luck in her job search- I know she will land a fab job in the film biz soon. She has a cool media (music and film) blog now, check it out: LMS].
So here I am in Taipei -very happy to be here. In New England I was having mixed feelings about leaving the US. But home is where the heart is, and my heart is with my wonderful little family.