My second trip to Mayo in May 2013 was a bit more dire. Jesse had just had surgery to correct a deviated septum and I was back in a deep depression. I cried non-stop. I’ve never cried so much in my life. I simply could not get a hold of myself.
So Jesse found all the information from my first visit to Mayo and went about getting me admitted for a second time. He talked with my psychiatrist and she worked with him to get me back in.
The way it works is that you make an appointment with a psychiatrist at Mayo. They see you and, if they determine you are a danger to yourself, you are admitted. So there was no guarantee I would be admitted, but I was pretty damn sure that they would take one look at what a basket case I was and send me to the Mood Disorders Unit on the second floor.
I felt exceptionally guilty that I was having a breakdown while Jesse was trying to recover from surgery. He was in a lot of pain, but he drove all the way to Minnesota and back. His mom stayed at our house with him to help with our son.
There was a tv in the common area and two computers with internet access, as I mentioned in my first post about Mayo (https://www.mentallyinteresting.com/staying-at-the-nut-hut:-my-first-trip-to-mayo).
Most of the patients liked to watch “I Love Raymond”. I’d never seen it before, but, by god, I know all about it now.
The best time of the day was after dinner when we would all sit and watch tv. We would talk and laugh and, for a little while, we weren’t patients in a mental hospital…we were just people watching some tv. At around 8, one of the nurses would open up the little kitchen crammed with goodies and we’d all excitedly line up for some ice cream or fresh fruit.
Evening also meant medication time. The nurses would wheel their mobile blood pressure cuffs/computers around the common area, calling one patient at a time to get their meds. I was taking meds four times a day in the hospital so I saw a lot of the nurses.
Around 10, people started turning in and there was always a good deal of affection thrown around when telling other patients “Good Night”. I would ask the nurse to unlock the cabinet where my CPAP was stored (it has a long tube that could be used to hurt yourself if you were so inclined). The nurses were always so kind, telling us to have a good night. Many patients on the Unit struggle with insomnia and nighttime is a particularly trying time for them.
I’m lucky…it doesn’t usually take me long to fall asleep, but I was often still awake when the first bed checks began. I slept with the door to my room open to make it easy for the staff to look in and check on me.
Staying at the Nut Hut isn’t frightening or intimidating. I actually felt very safe and secure there.
Let’s Get Down to Business
My second trip to Mayo was a bit more business-like in that I was fucking determined to get on a medication that would stop the rapid-cycling. I was given the choice of taking Zyprexa (probable weight gain) or Latuda (not so much weight gain but not as well-studied or proven). I chose Zyprexa and I was excited to take my first dose.
I studied almost constantly on my second trip. I watched videos on self-care and affirmations. I read books on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The nurses were wonderful, giving me additional materials.
Although I was doing well on my second stay, I was still quite depressed. I also had a tremendous amount of guilt about what my mental illness was doing to my family. Jesse had been through so much with me that he was now a bit depressed himself.
My hopes were met when Zyprexa started to work and I began to feel better. Zyprexa is often given in combination with Prozac to augment its effects. So I was back to taking Prozac, the first psych med I ever took.
Staying at a mental hospital is much different than I imagined it would be. That is partially why I wrote these three posts; to reassure you that being hospitalized can be a positive step. After ten years of rapid cycling and three hospitalizations, I am finally stable. It is a beautiful feeling.
Have you had experience in a mental hospital? I want to hear about it in the Comments below.
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