I never thought there would come a time when I would write a second part to my original piece African and Mental Health. But given the way things have gone lately, I thought it would be appropriate to let interested parties know how things went with me and all those medications Psychiatrists prescribed for me. Well, I’m sure it is no surprise if I tell you I stopped taking them. Let me explain.
So like I previously mentioned, I was on Zoloft, Trazodone, Lamictal and Ativan. You know what they say – hindsight is fifty-fifty. I should have known that all those mind-altering medications would short-circuit my brain and put me on some kind of parallel universe where another me would take sharp objects and proceed to carve intricate designs on my skin, and (scarier still) peel the skin from the sole of me feet until I had none to walk on. I am even surprised at my honesty as this is not something a person would admit to.
Anyway, somehow or the other, my nurse practitioner decided to get me committed against my will. So there I was with several pills and two bottles of wine and a six-pack Heineken in my system when the cops showed up at my door and told me it was either I came willingly or they would drag me off to the hospital. I dressed up and followed them. I was taken to the ER where my feet were bandaged and blood was drawn. My alcohol level was at .38 (death can occur at .5 level). Not that I let them touch me without a fight. I was the crazy chic throwing stuff around the ER. They called restraint personnel but I calmed down when whatever they gave me started to work. (I swear this is stuff TV movies are made of but this shit really happened).
The remainder of the evening was told to me as I suffered a blackout and could not recollect anything. According to the story, I kept hollering and crying and asking to go home as they wheeled me to the Mental Health Unit. They put me in isolation and tucked me in (how nice), but I kept crying. I asked a nurse, “can I go home?” She said, “No.” I turned over and went out like a light. Hmm. Strange wouldn’t you think?
Needless to say my uncle and sister (the only two I called the next day) were not happy. They called up a lawyer to get me out of the place. My sister wanted to sue the Psychiatrists who prescribed all those meds. If there was anything that made me sad, it was hearing the helplessness of my sister’s voice on the phone. For her sake, I knew I had to take better care of myself.
I spent an entire week in the unit. I refused to go to any therapy sessions; I refused to do anything I was asked to. I threw things at the nurses if they tried to wake me up earlier than noon; I was the patient from hell. I just wanted to go home. When they found I would not cooperate, they involved the justice system and I got a court order to go to an alcohol and drug treatment facility for 30 days. I told my lawyer to tell the judge if he made me go, I would come back and binge drink just to piss him off. (Yes, I did.) So they asked me if I would go to an outpatient treatment place near where I live for 90 days. I said yes, if it meant I would go home. So I signed the papers and I was let out with orders to attend the treatment program.
The day I was discharged, I dressed up in the clothes I was admitted with. That was when I noticed the t-shirt I was wearing said: Got Beer? Yep, I sh*t you not. The nurses were horrified and told me to wear it inside out. I refused. On my way out I waved to my fellow patients and gave the unit staff my middle finger. The first thing I did when I got home? I flushed all my pills down the toilet. Except Ativan which I still take once in a while for anxiety. I was done with Psychiatry.
I changed doctors and my new physician who was a Catholic Charismatic member told me (at the risk losing her license) that my battle was spiritual rather than mental and advised me to see a Priest. I went to church, talked to a priest and got right with God. Everything else took care of itself. By the time most of you read this I would have completed my alcohol treatment (July 24 – freedom day!). I will be celebrating with Heineken.