Thursday, August 25th, 5 p.m.

I sign both forms. One is an “Application for Voluntary Admission.” The other a “Rights of Individuals Receiving Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Services” for the state of Illinois. I do not read either of them. I am way too out of it. Too exhausted.

After roughly 24 hours on the run, preceded by another day more or less ‘off the grid’, followed by being taken into ‘protective custody’ almost seven hours earlier and now heading towards 36 plus hours without negligible sleep, I’ve got nothing left.

On the first form, I am able to designate my wife as someone to be notified of my admission, and whenever my rights are restricted. Someone has indicated that I am a “threat to harm self” on this same form.

The ‘voluntary’ nature of the form is somewhat interesting. I was brought in by Chicago police officers. I submitted to them ‘voluntarily’ at the Amtrak station. Primarily because I was not sure where things were going if I did not. As they walked me from the train platform to their office, I wondered if I could have reached for a gun that did not exist and been put out of my pain. I wondered if I might have put up a fight and found myself face down and being handcuffed. When they opened the door for me to exit the police cruiser at the hospital I wondered if I faced the other direction and began running down the street if they would have given chase or shrugged their shoulders and said, “Eh. His call.”

They stayed with me until hospital security took over. Hospital security had me in their eyes and was never more than a few feet away until I found myself on this restricted access floor of the hospital. A floor still populated by security, and as I would later find out…with plenty more at their beck and call. Security brought me food. Security took my possessions. Security escorted me to the restroom. Security monitored my moves even as I signed this form.

In a day or two I will read the back side of this “voluntary” form. The side that indicates that I have the right to “request” discharge. In writing. After which I may be discharged. within 5 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays). I am arriving on a Thursday. The Thursday roughly 10 days before Labor Day. A holiday. The days immediately begin to count off in my head. If I am deemed to still pose a risk to myself, I must file a “petition and 2 certificates with the court.” What kind of certificate? What kind of court?

In a day or two I will read the back side of this “voluntary” form and realize that while my signature indicates that my getting in was of my own choosing…getting out, well, that is just a whole ‘nother story!

The second form gets even scarier. Talk of labor. Talk of seclusion. Talk of restraints.

None of this carries some shock factor of not realizing my behavior of the past 48 hours was not worthy of serious consequences. Rather, it carries the shock factor of realizing how far gone my behavior of the past 48 hours reflects I have gone. How far from sanity my journey has taken me. How badly I need to be here.

And the reality that whether I voluntarily wanted to be or not…this was where I was going to be.

June 24, 2017 – Musical Truths

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug that they could sell
Ah, there ain’t no drug to make me well

There ain’t no drug
It’s not enough
There ain’t no drug
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It’s hard to feed to the ones you love
Oh, when you can’t forgive yourself
Yeah, forgive yourself

There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna reverse this tragedy
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive

There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
No drug to make me well

There ain’t no drug
It’s not enough
We’re breaking up
The sickness is myself
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna reverse this tragedy
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive

Sunday, August 28th, 3 p.m.

They call it the “Meditation Room”. Or the Quiet Room. Or some were referring to it as the Comfort Room. I don’t like to be comforted.

One of the touted highlights of the room is a weighted blanket. Apparently, a blanket that when you wrap it around you, feels like you are being hugged. I don’t like hugs.

However, just three full days in and I am getting the feeling from my head nurse that they realize both of these dislikes in my life, and are not about to let me out of here until I enter the unknown that is this room.

So, being as it is Sunday. Being as our agenda today is very light. Being as I am considerably bored. And being as I do enjoy quiet which there is very little of today with the poor folks who struggle with psychotic episodes wandering the halls…I’m going to give it a shot.

Upon entering the room there are a few things that immediately catch my eye (a rather odd cliché use of the singular, don’t you think?). First, there is a massive flat screen on one of the main walls. I could really use this thing for football or hockey games! It is playing some nature scene. A quick grab and scan with the remote reveals that I have some choices of location and season. The background sound is a mix of nature white noise with a Yanni vibe of New Age composition providing an admittedly soothing effect when brought down to a subtle level. I’m a big fan of winter and it is a roasting late end to summer, so I naturally go with the winter season in some Alaskaeske (yeah, I made that up) like setting.

I also notice a couch and a few rather comfortable looking chairs. Mind you, I’m in a psych ward of a hospital. Comfortable chairs are hardly the norm. Hard plastic is more like it throughout the ward, and wooden in my room. These are padded recliners. Chairs one could actually fall asleep in (as I will soon discover!). The couch is also of a more overstuffed and out of the setting piece of furniture that looks very restful.

The lighting in the room is a bit more subtle than the rest of the hospital floor that has become my home. There are a few blankets and stuffed animals on the couch which lends at least some creepy factor to the isolation that one discovers in this room. By way of reminder, I have hardly been left alone for minutes since arriving here, including regular bed checks during the night. There are cameras in even this room, but they are of an almost hidden security nature so this feels like being alone for the first time in days. All of which means I don’t need this moment to be filled with mini-bears staring at me. I place them on one end of the couch, grab one of the blankets, and cover them up.

Now, into a recliner. But first, I grab this infamous “weighted blanket”. It is actually quite heavy and I find it very hard to imagine it having any comfort level at all. For kicks, I wrap it around myself, and wouldn’t you know it…it really does have the feel of someone wrapping their arms around you and giving you a big hug. Probably a rather soothing experience for some of the people staying here. For me…eh.

With that said, I decide to hit a recliner, pop up the foot rest, lay the blanket over the top of me, and breath deeply as I watch the nature scenes pass by on the big screen in front of me. I figure I will appease the parties that be by staying in here for 10 or 15 minutes. Then I can say I gave it the ol’ college try and be off the hook.

…an hour later there is a knock at the door which awakens me from a deep sleep.

Well…that worked.

June 17th, 2017 – Musical Truths

When I was six years old I broke my leg
I was running from my brother and his friends
And tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass I rolled down

I was younger then
Take me back to when

I found my heart and broke it here
Made friends and lost them through the years
And I’ve not seen the roaring fields in so long
I know I’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at 90 down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way
You make me feel
And it’s real
When we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill

Fifteen years old and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes
Running from the law through the backfields and getting drunk with my friends
Had my first kiss on a Friday night
I don’t reckon that I did it right

I was younger then,
Take me back to when

We found weekend jobs, when we got paid
We’d buy cheap spirits and drink them straight
Me and my friends have not thrown up in so long
Oh, how we’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at 90 down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way
You make me feel
And it’s real
When we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

One friend left to sell clothes
One works down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
One’s brother overdosed
One’s already on his second wife
One’s just barely getting by
But these people raised me
And I can’t wait to go home

And I’m on my way
I still remember these old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way
You make me feel
And it’s real
When we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

 

National Men’s Health Week 2017

Quite confident the statistics cannot have changed much in one year.

And not in to squabbling over UK vs USA numbers. A bleak picture regardless.