I debated writing this because it makes me vulnerable, but it’s worth talking about.
One of the facets of having bipolar illness is the random trip to the psych ward.
It reminds me of a trip I took with the kids, Noah and Dana, to Michigan to visit their grandparents in some ways.
Noah was 3, and Dana was 1.
We spent a week in Michigan, and were flying home. I had drinks snacks, blanket, toys, and just enough diapers to get us home after a 2 hour flight. We got seated, and to my delight, the kids both fell asleep. I breathed a sigh of relief.
During our visit, we had taken a couple of trips to urgent care
So I sat there and we didn’t’ t take off. On and on we sat. No go. No explanation, no estimate on takeoff. We were on the tarmac, and we weren’t’ t moving, nothing was happening.
Inevitably, the kids woke up. They played with their toys and ate their snacks. I asked for drinks, and was told they could not serve us. This plane sat on the tarmac. There was no getting off.
The kids became restless and began running up and down the aisle, and I was given the tasks of trying to corral them. So I did the best I could. They weren’t’ t horrible, but it was work.
After 2 hours on the tarmac, the plane had burned enough fuel to need to fill again.
Back to the gate we went. We exited, and were given the direction to go to the ticket counter, and get on another flight.
It was disheartening to see the length of the line. 2 hours we stood to get another flight. I was holding Dana in my right arm, my bag in my right hand, and held Noah ‘s hand with my,left.
It was nothing short of miraculous that the children did not become restless. I got up to the ticket counter, and asked for my flight, and was told I couldn’t get one until the next day. I started to cry and said I needed help. She gave me a phone number and told me if I called I might get a room in a hotel.
So, that’s a heart, but what does it have to do with the psych ward? It has to do with control and your voice.
See, the psych ward has a structure where your voice doesn’t’ t matter. There are no special requests, and there is no opting out. You are not believed. You cannot leave of your own volition. There is an ocean sized lack of autonomy.
It is not like treatment at all. I do not want to go back.
Having been there, I have to say that what is worse is the lack of support I have gotten. Not that anybody is obligated, but it would have helped me to not be so isolated in my illness. I know it is hard to know what to do. But anything is better than nothing.