5 pm 9-1-2013 Falmouth Hospital ER
I feel after 6 days of being confined to a room in the ER I must advocate for myself. I have never been “Section 12’d” and have no idea what that means. I do know that it means that door might be open, but I cannot walk through it.
“You can check out any time you’d like,
But you can NEVER leave.”
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Since my first meeting with the Department of Mental Health workers not one has clearly defined my rights, why I am being Sectioned, or of any plan other than: find a locked ward somewhere. If you have grown up or lived in Massachusetts for long enough then you have heard of Bridgewater. I will leave it at that, and my heart goes out to those who have been to Bridgewater for the 30 day program…
It is a trauma factory.
Back to the hospital bed I stayed in for 6 days. I got four different answers on a plan for my future. So nice and comforting when you wake up to someone in your room at 1 am and answer painful questions as well as have to think of questions to ask. Of course I get a lie and a half-hearted reply for them, but at least the food and nurses were good. I have to say, that angels do exist.
By the way, thank you so much to my girl Gale and the other nurses and aids that helped me laugh and smile and get through a hard time in my life. God works through people and he found a beautiful soul in each one of you.
I love you for that forever.
The first DMH worker I barely remember due to the ativan injected into me so that my heart rate would go down from 160 bpm…a heart rate that I could raise to a gallop with just one thought that would send millions of neurons and neutrons and electrons whirring around until I hallucinated little men running around…not fun but at the same time, can be at least interesting.’
At that time I had no idea what was going on, so any information given to the DMH worker was false, or at least not accountable or responsible.
The second DMH worker was a nice gentleman who gave me some good advice as well as related to me being an addict. He was clean and sober for a number of years, and when he disclosed himself fully to me, I trusted him. Just like the Book said it would work, because when he related to me I felt a connection. A strong enough connection that allowed me to have an actual conversation with. Yes this man had more power to communicate than did the other three, and should be promoted. But we both agreed on one thing: the system is bleeped.
The third DMH worker told me I would be held another night, this was on a Thursday. I had been there now for about three days. It had been a full day without passing out from lack of nutrients and energy. The nurses were nurturing me back to life by giving me extra trays and these boxed lunches that had these cookies that were delicious. God bless your souls, they saved a life and some day soon I hope to come back and hug you.
The next day came and nothing happened. I sat in the hospital watching Shrek and Milo & Otis, which is by the far the best movies narrated by the silliest voice ever. I prayed a lot, and I talked to God like you talk to your father or mother or someone you love. I needed Him, Him being God being a convenient name for a power none of us humans can explain or put into words…moving on from the athiest/agnostic/zealot tangent…
I decided to contact my old sponsor from AA. His name is Mike, and one of the greatest men I have ever met and is a close friend. Know what he did? He stopped his life and came to rescue mine, which had collapsed and crumbled once again. Every day he came to the hospital to visit me, bring me chocolate frappes, and even books to read. God bless you Mike and I owe you my life. The life I have is giving the love you gave me to others, thank you, and I hope to see you soon my friend.
We, my friend and I, formed a plan, that included a psychiatrist, a sober house, and a continuing of my recovery.
The fourth worker woke me up at 1 am and all I recall is she telling me to let the DMH people know of this plan. I saw this lady on Saturday at 1 am, by Sunday evening I was getting scared that maybe I was going to be shipped off to some institution that deals with”my kind”, which to all those who judge I would like you to watch the families and the victims of this ILLNESS of the MIND, and then talk to me. I had not seen anyone since this lady who appeared in my room in the middle of the night like a ghost, a mental health ghost ha! Naturally my anxiety started to run wild and it threatened to make me angry and start screaming, or doing something that expresses the fear and anger that is deep inside of me.
What did I do?
I meditated. I did what I did when I was a spiritual warrior at Barnstable County Corrections Center in Bourne, MA in the air force base. When one is locked away in a super-max facility and the only ones an inmate needs to worry about is the Corrections Officers who run the joint, it will behoove you to work on your mind during the isolation hours.
I found deep peace and relaxation while in a cell all to myself in the military unit/Recovery program that was offered as a way to earn good time while doing groups and marching. Every day I would stand out in formation at parade rest and wait for the count. I was the last one so I reported the count to the Officer In Charge.
Sometimes the OIC was someone who enjoyed the power he had over us. I walked out there after just reading some Emmet Fox, or Paramahansa Yoginanda, or Harry Potter, and boom I am sending love and positive energy like thinking thoughts that were good and directed towards others in the unit. They had no idea, and maybe never will, but the point is I had meditated and prayed to the point where I felt enough love in my heart to give to others and still remain TOUGH and GANGSTA haha.
I meditated on the chair with my eyes closed and my mind focused on the breath. I want everyone to try this right now! Get so you are sitting on the edge of your seat, and your legs are in a comfortable position. Place your hands on the tops of your knees, palms facing up like you will be holding hangs with Elton John, and close your eyes. But not before you finish getting instructions.
With your back straight, head centered, breathe in through your nose counting to 20 in your head. Hold that breath for a count of 20. Release through your mouth for the count of 20. I realize not everyone can get the count to 20 without passing out. So count until your lungs are full, hold it for another same count, and let it out slowly.
Now close your eyes and do this once or twice…
I got to the count of 17, my lungs are not what they were in jail apparently, I hope you are feeling a little bit more relaxed than you were when reading this!
Back to the Progress Notes, which is what I had for paper and I borrowed a red pen from one of the nurses. Rebecca was the one who probably saved me from that institutional fate. She came in and took my vitals, then took the time and care to ask questions about my release date as well as what the DMH was doing. I told her I did not know and was confused and a little afraid of the my future. I showed her myself in all of it’s naked glory, no lies no pretentiousness no facade no manipulation no nothing, only word that lived truth and love. I asked for her help, and she gladly got on the phone with these DMH people, and got me a chance to meet with another DMH worker.
By this time I called an old friend of mine from a year before when I had moved into his sober house in Cotuit. This man has the biggest heart, and is nearly worn down from all of the abuse it gets from overdoses, alcoholic madness, and all the pitfalls of this insidious illness that the public and the medical field do not truly understand. Why? Because you can never understand it! The sooner you realize there is no answer to the riddle of why an addict or alcoholic takes that first one? The more powerful you will be because now you can work on the solution with a true mind.
I called him and told him where I was, what happened, and what it was like to be on a section 12. He knew. He related. I could talk to him like anyone else because he wasn’t a perfect human like the rest of society thought they were, no this man was humble from the pain he endured, and recognized my suffering in the voice.
I had a plan, and it was to move back in to the sober house. I was hesitant as the last time I was there I did not follow the rules that well. I had a tendency to do things on my own, and staying out all night without telling him ended up in heated arguments and painful words. I left there in the beginning of the summer after being there for my second time.
By Monday I was out and about like Jimminy Glick!
I did not follow the plan, and I did what I always did which was do it on my own by renting a place with the money I had left over from work. I was out of work, but determined to work through anything that came down the road. There it is, the road, which one was I on?
The road to success and nice car and multiple homes and flights to the islands?
The road to poverty, health problems, and mental issues, and a new form of therapy that not only saves my life every time I tap into it, but is also working in other people’s lives as well?