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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Memoir about psychiatric wards

As soon as he woke up he tried to get off the bed, but couldn’t because he was tied to the bed, why was he tied to the bed?, He wasn’t in his room, all around him there were people talking , screaming in the whole corridor, because he wasn’t in a room , the corridor was milling about of people wearing pijamas others had white t-shirst and trousers, from time to time he could see someone wearing a white coat but under it he had a tie and normal trousers.
A male nurse was passing by and told him , in a not very polite way
“you stay tied and calm , as soon as the doctor tell us we can untied you.”
“Bugger off” he thought .
Then he realized there he was, in a psychiatric ward, at the beginning he was a bit confused, but remembered his attempted suicide. He had planning so carefully for an entire week. He wanted to die non in a violent way, no drowning, no hanged, he thought the better way was to be suffocated.
It can be strange, but it is not easy to find a safe place where to park and die peaceful. For obvious reasons you can’t stay in your garage , too high the risk someone arrives and save you, it would be the worst situation, You tried and failed, everybody would think that your try had been a fake.
Nowadays it is not that simple to find a place where there is no one. He explored a wood, there was not a road, but if someone had wanted enter it, what he have to do was passing over a some brushes, then there was a little clearing. The spot was perfect , he couldn’t have been seen, neither from the road nor from the houses. He was ready, he had his sleep pills and some alchoolic to brace the pills effect. He swallowed the pills and waited for a few minutes, the risk was to fall asleep too early, or start the engine too early and his survival instinct would have prevailed on his desire to kill himself.
He thought that anyway the interior of a car would not be filled with smoke in a few minutes, he thought that the most reasonable thing would be to wait seven or eight minutes, so he did and woke up in the hospital without remembering anything, since he had started the engine, until he found himself tied to a bed in an another psychiatric ward.
The doctors gave instructions that he could be released, so he got off the bed and saw the usual fauna around in the aisle, that's because when all the bars. services and other things, are closed, the only light that could help you it is the first aid light. Often even the homeless came asking to be hospitalized, all this in order to have a bed for the night and breakfast in the morning, then the doctors dismissed them, very often the homeless invented various ailments to be hospitalized, but generally the doctors not even gave them an answer.
He didn't understand what had happened, what could have gone wrong. Around eleven his brother arrived, who was a doctor at the hospital, the first thing he told him was, I don't want to be here, I want to go out, his brother replied to be patient, that he had made a gesture that ... then he asked him what had happened, because he did not remember anything, his brother told him that the engine had overheated some dried leaves, they had caught fire and had also set the car on fire, some people saw smoke coming out of the woods and they went to see if it were a fire and in this case call for the fire brigade, they had seen him in the car and someone had pulled him out.
His mother came to see him three days later. Hi how are you doing? He couldn’t believe she had actually spoke these words, how are you doing? You said this to a friend of yours, not at her son who had tried to kill himself, he expected from her sometimes a bit more maternal, who knows sometinhg, oh why did you tried to kill yourself, don’t’you know everithing can be worked up? Of course nothing would be changed but at last hear something maternal.
He didn't even remember how many times he had been hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. Because he had gotten to that point, diagnosed with bipolar spectrum. After a few days of hospitalization, however, he did not feel so bad,
After a few days his mind turned in balance and he no longer felt that fear of the future that had prompted him to make that so desperate gesture.
His wife came to see him during the lunch break The environment was quiet, in the afternoon, in the morning instead there was a coming and going of doctors and nurses the only four hours in which they worked, they made the beds, gave therapies and other things, then in the afternoon there were no doctors, except one on duty, who, however, was always locked in his room. The nurses were always in the kitchen, talking or reading magazines, if someone needed something or had request to make, the answer was always the same "wait five minutes for us to arrive", the five minutes passed and they had not arrived, ten minutes of them not even the shadow, after fifteen and for the most stubborn twenty minutes, we left without a nurse having shown up.
In the morning he always asked for a disposable razor, inevitably, the nurse who gave it to him always said "I recommend you have to return it to me personally" invariably, at the time of return "the nurse said," not now no I don't have time " , first attempt, second and third attempt same answer, so he threw it away directly, and on the third day he didn't even try to return it to the nurse who had gave it to him.
What you understand when you are hospitalized for depression is that for psychiatrists of depression is little more than a cold for a general practitioner, but perhaps they don’t really care about patients, they do their diagnosis then prescribe some pills and wait for the chemistry to work.
One of the biggest tortures, for him that happen in a psychiatric ward, is when the doctors do the so-called tour, head physician in the lead followed by the aids, plus the head nurse, in case they decide to change therapy. In psychiatric wards, doctors wear white gown, but underneath they dress very formally, shirt and tie.
He saw them coming, he was there, he had been awake for hours now, but since he was a patient he was in pajamas, and this already made him intimidated, how should I stay? Lie down on the bed? Standing by the side of the bed? Cross-legged with your back against the wall? He had long ago chosen this position. But it was the questions that hirked him, sometimes he thought of hiding in the bathroom for not always to have to answer the usual questions. "Then" began the head physician "how do you feel today", damn the same question as yesterday, in his naivety he thought he had to say something different, instead his answer was always, "well, I would say well" even if inside he thought “And how do you want me to feel? I'm in a psychiatric ward after a suicide attempt, how do I feel? I feel like I felt yesterday.
Among the doctors he knew that there was also a psychologist who later turned out to be a female psychologist, and he expected to be summoned for a consultation, but the days went by and nothing happened. Then one day she showed up in his room, the usual questions, how are you doing, how are you, how you feel, questions that he kept repeating well, because in fact, apart from the uncertainty of his job, he felt fine. The psychologist pointed out that he, however, doesn’t group with the other patients, he replied that for him it was normal, it was part of his character not to bond much with other people, and that then he felt that they always made the same speeches, about sport or else, things that didn't interest him, life in a hospital is a long wait, they wake you up, they give you breakfast and then you wait for them to bring you lunch and then you wait for them to bring you dinner and after the lights go out. The psychologist listened to these answers and said nothing at all, and this has been the psychological support he had had. No one ever asked him why he made that gesture, maybe they asked to his parents or his brother, but they never asked him about it.
Another prerogative of psychiatrists is the absolute lack of privacy, that is, they ask personal questions, even if there are other patients in the room, who obviously have ears. He remembered that in another hospital, he was in a two bedroom, a psychiatrist walks in and starts asking his roommate, a series of personal questions between him and his wife, about their relationship both sentimental and sexual, he who in those days had a very bad depression, one of those he could not sit still, used to clutch his belly with both arms, and had an anxiety and anguish that was almost physically, however , his upbringing forced him to leave the room.
He did not remember the first time he was hospitalized, he was empty of energy, both his parents and a psychotherapist agreed that he was better for him to spend a few weeks in a private psychiatric clinic. He was essentially depressed but in a melancholy mood, he still didn't have those terrible blows of bipolar depression, where he couldn't do anything, not even hang a picture on the wall, his wife asked once to do it, he had the nail in his left hand and the hammer in his right, and the picture leaning against the wall, but the effort was too great, his anxiety, anguish literally ate his internal organs, and he gave up.
Other times in the office he would have had to do a sum with a calculator, but he kept staring at the figures and to the calculator , and he didn’t manage to do such a simple task, the anxiety, anguish overcame him.
In the clinic, there were no more than fifteen people, but he was always with Barbara and Paolo, they approached him, he remained silent as usual, but they didn't seem to care, they always came to look for him, To go to the clinic park or staying in the refectory, from time to time they even came out of the gates of the clinic to go to a nearby bar, he wasn't sure it could be done, but they seemed so determined.
It was from Barbara and Paola that for the first time he heard the word lithium, he thought it was the name of some medicine they were taking. At that time, it was still far away for him to learn what the term bipolar referred to.
One thing amazed him, Paolo was very good at painting, every now and then he went out with his canvases, colors and his easel and painted a bush of flowers, Barbara was very good at writing, sometimes she wrote about her thoughts or similar things, sometimes short poems. One thing he didn't understand, why they have been admitted to the clinic, they seemed so sure of themselves, so smart and so good in their art forms.
The first hypomanic episode occurred a few years later from the first hospitalization, he had started psychotherapy, but after a few weeks, he felt tired, drained of all energy. In agreement with his psychotherapist they decided that he would spend a short time in a psychiatric clinic, where he could feel calm and without straining to think.
But things did not go like this, when he went to talk to the director of the clinic, suddenly he started to talk freely, without being able to follow a logical thread but he spoke by association of ideas, that is, he wanted to talk about a topic, he started it but then another thought appeared to him, taking the place of the previous one and he was unable to finish a sentence that immediately began another speech.
He was put in a single room, he tried to rest, but he couldn't concentrate on a book or anything, his head was always full of thoughts, and he went round and round in the room.
However, there were moments of socialization, essentially lunch and dinner, because they brought breakfast to their room.
At the table they put him next to a girl named Sara, more than beautiful she had something you could’t say what.Short blonde hair and spettacle. She talked a lot and he immediately he felt at ease with her, so much that they spent whole afternoons and evenings chatting on the veranda.
After a couple of days, however, he noticed something, every time he answered Sara's eyes narrowed slightly and her gaze became more intense, it was something just a hint, there was only one answer, Sara was not a patient, but a doctor who acted in disguise, by order of his psychotherapy, to keep him under control and understand if he was reliable or not, at what point he was with his mental recovery. Everyone thought that he was out of his mind, that his thoughts were going too fast, that he had too many plans in mind and every day he came up with one and forgot ten, but how did they understand the others, that for the first time in his life he felt good, he felt confident in his actions, and they had put an undercover doctor by his side. He decided he would play their game, he pondered more before asking Sara something and he too began to weigh Sara's answers. Their conversations continued as before, but now more than a conversation it was a game of chess, he answered Sara but only to ask her a question that would have put her in difficulty.
When they discharged him. Naturally he had a terrifying endogenous depressive crisis, he could no longer do anything. But even this time, with a lot of psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs, he managed to get out of it. Not knowing that the hardest part was waiting for him.
In an other ward that was a small ward, he was in the room with a man, small in stature and very thin. He didn't know why he was there, and he didn't even care. Then the usual ex-junkies, ex but with most of their brain burned and there was a guy who was always dressed, in half-shin boots, black jacket who did nothing but shout sigh heil sigh heil, and then, still shouting, it's the mafia who commands in Italy, I know, it seems to me that he is a godfather. I could hear it from my room, and it made me feel a bit anxious. In the evening a doctor came to talk to me, he asked me how I was if I had settled down well in my room and what I thought of my roommate, nothing particular, only I made him aware of my fears about that boy who was shouting all the time, about at the fact that it could be dangerous, he smiled at me and tried to reassure me, telling me, no, don't worry, there is no one dangerous here.
They gave me an antidepressant, usually antidepressants take about a fortnight before they feel effective, usual days in hospitals, long waits, they wake you up and have breakfast, then you wait for lunch, then you wait for dinner, then you wait for the lights to go out. But in my case it was different, I did not expect anything, I did not care about anything, I only waited for the evening, when they gave me a tranquilizer to make me sleep, to stem the pain that I physically felt all night long and I craved the tranquilizer that I turned off the brain a little.
One evening at dinner, while he was eating yet another soup, he noticed that the boy who shouted Nazi slogans and proclamations in favor of the Mafi, was watching him intently. His heart skipped a beat, from time to time, with the excuse of taking a look at the room, he checked if the boy still had his gaze on him, nothing to do kept looking at him intently. He was a bit intimidated by this, no, he was definitely intimidated by this, he didn't understand what he could want from him, bossing him a little maybe? It seemed to him the most probable hypothesis. When we were already at the fruit, he got up and came towards him, took a chair and sat down. He did not know where to look, from time to time he glanced at him, always wondering what he wanted. Suddenly, without even asking what his name was, he said, you're one who doesn't speak very much, he shrugged his shoulders a little in agreement, the boy continued, this means that you think a lot, I like you. He got up from his chair and left. Depression or non-depression her heart widened and he had a moment of relief.
In the days to come, the boy explained to him that he was the son of a very powerful Godfather of the mafia, so he was so powerful, but at the same time he also had many enemies. His father got rumours that they wanted to kidnap his son, that is, this boy, so he had him locked up there to keep him safe. He nodded but said nothing.
There was also a man in the ward, in his sixties who never spoke, not even to doctors or nurses. One late afternoon, we were sitting in the corridor, and a doctor approached him, always giving a damn about privacy, because psychiatrists are like that, he asked him, tell me a sentence, and shortly after, a word, I just need a word, a name of an object, but he kept looking at him without saying anything. It had not always been like this, because a few evenings later a relative came to visit him, his brother he thought given the strong resemblance, he was sitting next to him and cried profusely, asking several times, but what happened to you, what happened to you, why not you want to talk more and he was always shut up.
How powerful can the human mind be, during another hospitalization, in another hospital, it was in the room with a boy who spent his days in bed. Once he told him, once I was so happy, I was a proofreader, and I liked that job a lot, then I don't know what happened. A few days later he stopped eating, no breakfast, no lunch, no dinner, and he gave no sign of life, in practice he was starving, the doctors immediately took action, made a hole in his throat in order to fed him. He didn't know anything more about that boy, because he was discharged.
Another roommate of his, small and skinny, did not know why he was there, he was always nervous, he was angry with everyone, nurses, doctors and especially his wife. One day he told him that he had had a big quarrel with his son, at one point his son started to throw himself at him, but luckily there was a big kitchen knife on the table, he took it and stabbed it in the stomach of the boy, what else could I do, he asked him looking at him, my son is over six feet and weighs almost ninety kilos, what else could I do, he looked at him nodded in approval, then turned around and he stared at the ceiling.
He went back to work with his father, he couldn't do much differently, his psyche was too much of a hindrance in pursuing studies or a self-employed career.
The work was not going very well, in fact it was going badly and they were on the verge of selling the factory.
One day he had an idea, to create a new product, the machinery to do it was very expensive, certainly beyond their reach. But the company that had designed it had made it available so that factories could try it out.
He threw himself body and soul into this project, studied the packaging, had special cartons made to transport it, studied an elegant line combined with a grinder to be able to sell it to shops specializing in luxury products, and studied for a long time the two designs he wanted to adopt. What he didn't realize was that the project was too ambitious for the size of the firm. Worse, he didn't realize that he was losing control of his mind, he began to think that this factory wanted to use him, as a sort of picklock to create a market. He was convinced that he was being followed, he was convinced that in his home and office there were cameras and microphones. Once he went to a customer, in the rearview mirror he saw a blue car pass by, this dispelled all doubts in him, as he was convinced he had seen the same car two hours before, he walked into a bar and if he crossed his gaze with someone he thought, do you think I didn't recognize you? You are one of them. Every problem at work was not accidental, but it was this company that wanted to test him, wanted to see how smart he was as an entrepreneur, they wanted to see if it was worth betting on him.
This went on for a couple of months, no one noticed anything, not his wife, dependent parents, this was because he was aware that he shouldn't let anything show, the factory didn't have to notice that he knew.
Then came the big day, the representative of the company brought the two model samples, they were all very happy, they were beautiful. An employee said for the moment we put them here, she went to a cupboard and opened it, placed the samples on a shelf and closed the doors. He thought, but this is a ritual and the employee is a maid, the wardrobe a sort of tabernacle. His head literally exploded, he began to hear a voice that sounded like that of an African shaman, and in the distance he heard drums as if men were beating an empty bark of a tree with sticks.
The voice told him that he had to go home and walk back to the factory without being seen. Without saying anything to anyone, he left the office, got into the car and parked it, luckily he lived outside the town. In front of his house there were the railway tracks, he climbed over the wall that separated them from the road and crossed the tracks. At that point on the right there was a large fraction of the town, but there was also a refinery, he knew that behind the refinery there was a small road, almost always deserted, so he decided to go right around the refinery , but to reach the refinery it was necessary to cross a river, he without hesitation forded it, with the water sometimes reaching his chest.
In the meantime, the voice continued to give him instructions, telling him that if he did not succeed in the enterprise he would die and he always felt even those blows given on an empty bark. The voice also told him that in order not to die he always had to be protected by a totem. This totem could be anything as long as it was tall, a lamp post, a pillar, anything. Of course she felt safe behind the refinery, there were smokestacks in abundance.
He had stopped then, to plan the way to go, trying to remember where there were also totems, but at that point the voice told him that now he had to decide what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be, the things he would like and those no, the people he preferred to hang out with and other things. He decided that he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but not a big entrepreneur, but a small entrepreneur who produced products for niche markets, who wanted to have a son or daughter, who did not want to be afraid of disease and for this he drank water from a puddle and ate mud, made dozens and dozens of decisions, then set off.
He crawled under bushes, ran as hard as he could in the stretches where there were no totem poles or where he could be seen, waded across a river with shallow but wide water., wormed under brushes. Somehow he reached the office, he was radiant in having succeeded in the enterprise. But his parents were in the office, his mother said, they told it would be terrible, because actually several people had seen him, he had wet shattered clothes and muddy all over his clothes , face and hair.He answered her, don't worry mom, it's all over now it's all right. He felt serene, peaceful, his voice and the noises of drums were gone.
He went back to his house to wash, change and eat, while he was eating some cheese the bite almost choked him, because he suddenly remembered that in all the dozens and hundreds of decisions he had made, he hadn't decided whether he liked the cheese or not, whether he could eat it or not, he thought, who knows how many things I haven't thought of. The cheese, however, was not a problem, it would mean that he would not eat anymore, he wondered what else he had forgotten to decide, but it was impossible to remember, the decisions he had made, following the voice, were dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds
At that moment the doorbell buzzed, he opened the door and outside there were his brother and a friend of his, his friend was also his family doctor, he let them in and they sat in the longue room. His family doctor told him, they told me you had had a hard day, would you have anything against it if I injected you with something in order to help you to sleep, and if you were seen by someone tomorrow? He replied that he had nothing against it and that in any case he had already heard from a hospital psychiatrist, his wife had insisted a lot.
They gave him the injection, and immediately afterwards his eyes became heavy, they went away and he went to sleep. He woke up in the middle of the night and as he passed the lounge he observed the syringe and the cotton they had used. Immediately a thought flashed through his head, they wanted to kill him, he didn't think they had used poison, in that case they would have betrayed themselves, but they probably had injected air into his vein.
He didn't know what to do, he stayed up all night thinking. How much does an air bubble take to kill. But in the morning they went to the psychiatrist, there was also his brother, who was a doctor in the same hospital,
He had decided that he would always follow the instructions of those who were more competent than him on any subject. Once out of the interview, he said to his brother, look I respect you, because you are the older brother and I will always respect you. His brother was a bit puzzled, he didn't quite understand what he meant.
Once at home, he does not remember well how, he understood that it had all been a delusion, no one had ever followed him, his project was valid, but not for a small industry like theirs.
He went into a very deep depression, his wife no longer knew what to do, four or five psychiatrists went around for two or three months, finally they met one who knew how to give drugs, and he managed to get out of that depression too.
In the meantime they had decided to sell the business, they were too small to compete with the big ones and too big to compete with the small ones.
He supervised the various transfer operations.In the meantime he had gone to knock on all the doors of the brookers he knew, as he specifically had no knowledge of anything, no skill to put in a curricla, he only knew raw material he had dealt with, but who was alone with a secretary, who were already four or five partners and they weren't looking for anyone, especially anyone who didn't already have a client base.
One day, he was in the garden and looked at his parents' house, he was not demolarizaed and not even in depression, on the contrary his mind was very clear , who could hire a person who worked one, two, maybe three months and then fell into depression so deep as to not being able to nail a picture on the wall, or make a sum with a calculator? This time it was really over, the only solution was suicide. He started planning it that day, it took him a week to prepare it, it seemed perfect, he couldn't fail, not this time.





Submitted: September 20, 2021

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