Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 7 Of "The Badger Goes Mental" My Brain is Kinda Broken"

suicide proof steel mirror

Happy Anniversary to Me!!! I have now been in the mental bed & breakfast for a week now, if you substitute breakfast with Lithium and powdered eggs, meh. My day today was better than yesterday not because I am feeling better but I was able to go out and wander for a few hours. In the ward things were more like you would expect for a psych ward. Some patients went off the rails and had to be put in the quiet room. One gentleman was released this morning only for me to see him being brought back to Emerg buy the RCMP. That is the difficult thing for me to see as I knew he was not ready to leave but they did and now he had to humiliated by being brought back in again by the police. It makes me question the doctors when they rush someone out who needs the bed and the care, yet keep someone in who is ready to go home or really is not a threat to themselves or others.

 Some Highlights and Lowlights from my week in Bulleted form;

  • Still no signs of Jello appearing but I am always vigilant as I fear they may put some on my bedside table while I am out.
  • I hate my shrink he is a beardo control freak and if he says that I need to loose weight one more time I will bite off his nose to spite his face, and tap dance on his apparently small genitalia.
  • My Friends Derek (@penmachine) & Airdrie (@airdrie) have been fantastic friends showing me such kindness and support that I thought was impossible not so long ago. Also their girls have made me laugh when I thought I could not laugh.
  • I am still waiting for a date for E.C.T. I guess it is busy maybe they are having a sale buy one ECT get the next one for half price.
  • I am making "Crazy People Art" in arts & crafts, I will take requests maybe sell some on estsy.
  • The nursing staff here as always are caring, sympathetic and quiet funny.
  • I have avoided the seclusion room so far, last time I was here I was locked in the rubber less rubber room 3 times.
  I cannot say that I am looking forward to another week here but I do know that I am in the right place for me at the moment and that there is nothing to be ashamed about having a Mental Illness. I just feel sad for people who know something is wrong or suffer from deep depression and do not seek help. There is a way out from this shroud of darkness, this sucker of all joy. All you have to do is talk to someone. 

I drew a map of my ward so you can all see the Badger's Enclosure! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 6 of "The Badger Goes Mental" " Ode to Paper Shoes & Piss Proof Pillows"

 On Tonight's Episode of The Badger Goes Mental, Day 6 "Paper Shoes & Piss Proof Pillow"
In the Nut Hatchery status among patients is not social economic. Sure we have a couple of "lord of Flies"moments which vanish as quickly as Lindsy Lohan's adult career. This is due in part to fear of the isolation room. A jail type room with a pissproof mattress on the floor and stainless steel sink / toilet just like in prison.

 If you stand up for yourself  or self advocate some drs. and nurses see you as out of control and have you locked up. Yes the isolation room has it's benefits for when someone is out of control, but iot can be abused when used to just give a nurse or doc some peace from an annoying patient. Back to the theme of the day.

The social status in the ward starts with, who has there own clothes and who is wearing hospital gowns. I notice this at meals where the gowned eat with the  gowned and the clothes eat with the clothes. Even in here people are lumped into some kind of caste. Then it breaks down even more those who can go outside and those who can't and at the top of pecking order those that can leave hospital grounds. Some move quickly like me others languish in paper shoes for weeks with the only fresh air they get is in the caged garden in the back. My friend Airdre commented it was like a zoo for crazy folks and she is right it has that feel to it.

 I have had a hard day today, depression mixed with chronic and acute pain do not mix well and my arrogant beardo Doctor who says I do not need pain meds. Also even if I am allowed out of the hospital I am still an inpaitent I still sleep with a piss proof pillow and being awoke every hour by the safety checks by the nurse.  I am also fighting with balancing this blog with humor and seriousness as I fear I am being too silly and not serious enough. For this I would appreciate some feedback. i am off to bed thank you all again for reading my rants of a crazy man and offering me such great personal support

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 5 of The Badger Go9es Mental, " The Badger Bites His Handlers & Other Weirdness"

As Day 5 tumbles to it's finish like some tortoise and hare race except the Hare is wearing a straitjacket and the poor tortoise stopped to hoard apple juice and crackers.  Today was an odd day for me as I went postal on my doctor and laid the line down to my roommie.

    As you know I have a really fucked back, I am in chronic pain always and sometime this pain get worse and becomes acute. Last night I entered a acute horrific stage of pain, unable to walk ten metres without feeling like Oprah is dancing on my spine, whilst Nancy Grace is gnawing on it. The pain I blame on the beds in the Six Flags of Crazy. They are like building a bridge on Pancakes, except you cannot eat the mattresses, and if you did your diagnosis would probably change and that I do not need.

 A little recent History for  you. When I was in the Emerg getting admitted the shrink said, "yes we will get you pain meds once you are on the ward". That was 5 days ago and my pain free future looks bleak.
 My Dr, whom has a beard and probably likes Jello and kicks Kitties said "NO PAIN MEDS" i could just take Tylenol. Fuck You bearded shrink!! I have a history with this Putz he was my shrink for couple of days last time I was hear and I dumped him then for being a insensitive, arrogant ass. But I was willing to give him another chance til today. See he is a dr who prefers his patients to be soft and submissive, unaware of their rights and easily pushed around. I am not that patient, Not even close, So I went Badger on him and anyone who would listen.  I also called my outside dr and told him about how I was treated.

 I have talked before about the 2 tier Medical System we have. If I was in hospital for lets say some kind of infection, or maybe gout and My back was in the shape it is in I would be getting to see another doc and getting pain management asap. But if you are crazy it is different story. And being depressed sucks being depressed and in pain is a horror show. You would think DR. Beardo would want to make me pain free in order to get me healthy faster. So that was my day, I am lucky my Nurse today is one of the top 3 psych nurses I have ever had. Today I am a Bitter Badger I hope tomorrow goes more gentle. Again Thank you all for your continued support and for reading my rants and drivel.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 4 of "The Badger Goes Mental" "The Badger is Bored by The Sabbath"

 It is day four of my voyage to wellness and It is also Sunday the Sabbath if you are not Jewish or a Seventh Day Adventist. What does this mean, you ask? Major Boredom, they are no activities, doctors, groups, underwater basket weaving on Sundays. There is lots of pacing, 6 year old magazines and more gruel for dinner. So I went out for a Japadog and coffee with internet. As much fun as this seems I am still unable to really get pleasure from much these days, a symptom of depression, meh with a capital MEH.

 Tonight's topic of this post is "Booby Hatchery Staff the good the bad and the sometimes ugly". Most of use are familiar with Mental Health professional by what we see on TV, the Nurse Ratchet from Cookoo's Nest or the stereotypical shrink who is a mix of a weirdo with a beard and a Sadist who gets pleasure from making us crazy folk suffer. These are myths , are there nurse ratchets, kinda some nurses do not like their jobs or their paitents. Some others keep the Stigma going by creating a tiered level of care based on your diagnosis, they like depressed people but not manics, and so on. It is sad that some still operate this way. But there are the ones who are compassionate, kind, helpful and caring. These are at least at Burnaby General the rule rather than the exception.

 Then we have the Docs, mine happens to have a beard which in psychiatry seems to run as epidemic as beards on men in Orthodox Jewish community or in beardos on  the hipster ghetto of Main Street. Some doctors will not only judge you on your diagnosis but will also judge you on your education and socio-economic status. If you are rich educated and bat shit crazy you get a pass, if you are from the DTES or Surrey well that is a different story. But they are NOT sadists they actually want you to get better there is no reward for keeping your sick. A lot of patients do not trust the doctors and think they are cruel or cold. They see thousands of ill people a year, and they tend to have a low threshold for BS.

 It is great when you are with staff that include you actively in your treatment plan who treat you as a human and that is what I mostly experience.

If you are ever in my shoes, or know someone who is, give the staff a break they also are human and many of them also have a mental illness because "Nuts Has No Boundaries"  Again thank you all for your continued support the comments you leave help me thru my days of bad tv, gruel and other weirdness that you can only find where I am.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 3 O'Badger Goes Mental "The Great Escape & Nut House Socializing How To"

 Day 3 of my madness odyssey brings "The Great Escape of  The Badger" brought to you by Derrek and Airdrie  Miller. I received a day pass today and thanks to the Millers I actually had good food not gruel meant to be eaten by octogenarians with bad dental work. We went for Pho which is right in my comfort zone food wise it is the Vietnamese version of Jewish Matzo Ball Soup if you added tripe, beef tendons and beef. The Crazy ass Badger was kinda happy and rejoiced after with some supervised retail therapy. A ill Bipolar should never shop alone. Need proof I once bought two Mercedes S class cars at one time and on another fruit loop adventure when my wife was away on a work assignment sold all our furniture and bought new furniture dropping 60K ion one afternoon. Today I got a new pair of Keen Sandals and some Old Navy disposable clothing. I also bought flip flops for our Troops in Afghan for 6 bucks.
 My friend Airdrie was worried about my impending ECT treatments and watched a educational dvd on it at the hospital. It shows how bad film and media portray ECT compared to the actual treatment itself.

  On now to make friends and socialize on the ward. It is can be an odd experience for many reason of which  I will now list in convenient bulleted points ;

  • Stigma: yup stigma fighting off your own personal stigma of others illness is not easy sometime especially when you are locked up with other ill people, some of which are douche bags and or white trash. But I  try to remember that they are ill too and suffering no matter how many Ed Hardy shirts you  wear. I can have compassion for another's illness but have a hard time with their trashiness.
  • Manics Vs Depressives: pick your social poison but I prefer the depressives to socialize with they are less likely to annoy me. Even when I am full on manic I prefer the depressed and the other manics compete for my crazy limelight.
  • Cigarettes: You will be asked for smokes all the time. Some people are too poor or have no family and hanging with other puffer fish is a shared bond. But do not keep giving smokes or you will develop a extra conjoined twin in the form of a mentally ill person and it is bad enough living with just yours.
These are just the basics and I will add to them as my trip here continues. As for my mood it is up and down I am fighting both mania and depression which sucks. and speaking of sucking have I mentioned the plastic piss proof pillows and my fruit hoarding roomie who is also afraid of the dark and keeps his night on all night? I am truly hit the roomie lottery. Tomorrow is Sunday and I do not think I will have any visitors. My plan is to avoid all Jello or Jello products, finish reading a book, bark at some squirrels, expound on the art of Tin Foil Hat making and possibly lick the door knob in my room because my roomie is afraid of germs. Again thank you all for your support and for reading may daily posts. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do writing them. Now to sign off from S.S. Nut Bar and will say ado! 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 2 of Badger Gone Mental, "Dance That Crazy Ass Dance"

 As Day 2 comes to a close, yes I am still bat shit nuts but there is some idea of the itinerary on my trip to madnessville. First stop I am no longer committed I am now Volunteer, which in crazy speak means that I am allowed to wander around outside when I want and if I do not return the police will not seek to speak with me.

 Here at Burnaby General there are Levels of freedom given to patients based on the risk of self harm. they are;

  • Level 1 : You are dressed head to toe in the classic fashion of the Bonkers, a gown in a lovely shade of light blue ( assless if you are daring and you double up if you are shy), hospital socks and you cannot leave the ward for nothing, not even if you are talking to Jesus which I think a couple of folks are, so I asked them to put in a good word for me. I can use all the help I can get.
  • Level 2 : no more sexy blue robes you can wear your own clothes but you still cannot go out and wander the grounds.
  • Level 3: You are free to wander the grounds for a hour, go for a smoke buy Tim bits at the Tim Hortons in the cafe.
  • Level 4: You can go out all day anywhere you wish but you have to return at night for dreams on your piss proof pillow.
  • Level 5:  Over night passes, which can be lots of trouble or fun depending on how sick you are and creative as well.
I have gone right from Level 2 to Level 4 I way always a over achiever now I can go to metrotown and wander around like a octogenarian if I like.

   I will be beginning my ECT tune up on Monday so lets hope I do not forget any of you or my website passwords especially for that midget porn site.  My roommate has severe OCD but is a slob huh that is a new one for me and if you read my tweets from earlier you know  his mum looks like Cher after 6 month binge on Meth. He also bought around 20 pounds of fruit today, I hope he eats it all or our room will be like a fruit fly version of free buffet at a blogger convention.

  My mood still sucks and I still feel helpless, hopeless and crappy, I know and hope it will be changing after monday's plug into the electric grid. Still no Jello thank god lunch was a hospital version of Mac & Cheese, and was actually pretty damn good, I could have done without the turnips, fuck this place loves turnips.

 I ventured into Arts & Crafts today which is so stereo typically psych ward ironic it is almost a hipster activity. I made a plaque for some friends. If you have any requests I can make you a dream catcher or maybe colour you a picture with crayons.

 This place is not all that horrible, it is clean, we are treated with respect and if you need help it can safe or change your life. My writing these daily blurbs about my stay are to breakdown stigma. If you have any questions leave them on my blog, and I will answer them for you. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The Badger Goes Mental" or "There Will Be Jello" Day 1 in Hospital

Hello everyone, some of you already know that last night I checked myself into hospital for depression associated with my Bipolar Disorder. The choice to seek help when sick is never an easy or flipant one. it comes with a bucketful of fear, shame, anixty and my hatred of Jello or any Jello based food stuffs.

  I am a very self aware person in regards to my illness and I knew it was the right time to seek some help. I am also blessed to have friends who support me and care for me without judgement and that too makes this much easier to deal with. I really need to thank Airdrie and Derek for all their support and to Airdrie for driving me to hospital and tonight for bringing me bacon cheeseburger therapy. Good friends are to be cherished and they are greatly appreciated.

 I will try and blog every day from here in Holiday Inn for Nuts in order to share and shine light on what a mental health hospital stay is like. So here we go with day one's breakdown;

  I spent the night on a stretcher in the Emerg because there was no room in the Inn for the loopy badger, and was blessed with robes of blue cotton assless gowns and socks with rubber nubs on them. I also recived my hospital jewelery two lovely bracelets. I told my story to no less than 6 different people so much so that I was beginning to feel like "RainMan". The gave me some nice sedatives as I have not been sleeping much of late and I passed out to a family argument over laxatives in Italian.

 This morning I was moved to the IPU ( Inpatient Psych Unit) and settled in my little bed with it's delightful plastic piss proof pillow, eat your hearts out Four Seasons. The food is a kind of gruel so far and no salt or pepper |I may need to sneak in some hot sauce. I had my first visit with my Dr. who ladies and some men would find quiet attractive and went over out plans for my stay at "Spa Du Kookoo".

 Burnaby General in my opinion has the best Mental Health Care around they make you part of the conversation about your care which is so very important and here is a brief breakdown;

  • Meds will not change, but I will be taking sedatives to help me sleep and deal with anxiety.
  • I will be getting some maintenance ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) you can read about my previous ECT experience here
  • I am currently commited but still am allowed to leave the ward to wander, smoke and blog
  • My roommates mum looks like a meth head Cher.
  • It seems there was a douchebag special on beds as we have alot of young douchey ed hardy types.
  • One spot smells like pee and it is near the food, ewww
  • I will probably be here for 3 weeks or so but will get to stay at home some nights
 I am hoping to blog everyday and hope it to be insightful, funny and honest. Thank you everyone for all your suppport it makes this experience so much easier to handle. You can also visit me if you like I am at Burnaby General Hospital in the booby hatchery.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Diagnosis Bingo! and How I was eventually Bipolar"

  My journey through my own personal crazy made a lot of stops as if my brain did not want to take the psychiatric express train but instead preferred buying a Eur-Rail pass to Fruit Cake Land instead.

  For many people the path to mental health diagnosis comes after they discover they are suffering and or are so ill that there is no denying they have something going on upstairs. It may be depression, or paranoia, simple traits for a professional to see and diagnose. In some cases and in mine it was not so easy.

 I always knew that I was different from a early age, a sense of just not quite being right but how was I to know it was a harbinger of things to come. When I was young and I know this will come to shock to whoever knows me, I was painfully shy. I avoided talking to strangers or meeting new people, and would have full on panic attacks if pushed into social situations. I also acted out and was unable to focus on things at one moment and obsessed on things as well. I was unpredictable and frankly and pain in the ass for my parents, family and teachers.  Not knowing what was going on in my own head my parents sent me to child shrink when I was 12. This shrink just watched me play games, draw, and listened to me talk and here was his diagnosis which was the first square in my diagnosis bingo.
 "Steven shows an above average intelligence but also shows impulse control issues, I think in my bearded opinion he is mildly autistic"

 Ah now my folks had a label and ran with it, reading every book on autism they could find. Along with lots more money spend for me to play with lego in creepy beard kid shrink's office.

 Soon I was a teen and along with my acne, fear of girls, hours of self touching to dirty magazines came my first depression. But no one knew it was a depression and my brains bingo card was played once again this time by a team of players. I was first called into my guidance counselor's office because I was not going to school much if at all. He was concerned what a Jr. HS kid was doing when not in grade 8 typing class.  So what was I doing you ask? Shoplifting like a madman is what, I was stealing everything including a bike I stole from a store and used said bike to steal and getaway from other merchants. But to my parents, school officials and others I was a shy, clean cut preppy kid, not a urban version of a Somali pirate. They never knew how bad I really was but my new shrink said I had depression and gave me depressants, now that is really fucked up.

 A few years later in when I was 15 I really went off the mental health rails when I had my first manic episode. That year I was 78 days illegally absent from HS, ran away from home 6 times once stealing my dads Mercedes, credit card and drove from NYC to Disneyland in California. this went on for 2 years until I was given a proper diagnosis. One doc hit it on the head and said it looked like I was bipolar but was vetoed by others who said, "teens do not get bipolar" and diagnosed me with the most socially destructive diagnosis ever, I was now a borderline personality disorder.  A diagnosis that to this day hangs like some horrible scarlet letter of "Stay Clear".

  I was a BPD til in june of my 17th year I locked myself in my room and took 40 valium. I almost died and to this day a lot of people do not know that story.  Enter the professional Diagnosis Bingo Hall the psych ward. There a good doctor diagnosed me bipolar and put me on lithium and soon I knew what it was like to be healthy or should I say healthier.

 In the years since I have been downgraded to "Depressed" was told I was a "Alcoholic" ( which if you really know me is kinda funny. I may drink heavy when I drink but I do not drink that often.) Upgraded to "Bipolar 2" again then back to "depression with social anxiety disorder". This went on for years and years til I went off the reservation again when I was married, tried to off myself again , bought two 80 grand cars in one day and was generally fucking nuts. Once again into the Professional Bingo Hall of brain shrinkery and was diagnosed "Bipolar 1 with C-PTSD and general anxiety disorder". This is the one that has stuck and with it treatment that have been for the most part very successful.

 Still when you come into contact with a new shrink, who does not know you he or she may have different ideas of what you are. They may attempt to play bingo with your mind. In all forms of healthcare we are entitled to a second opinion, if you need surgery you have the right to ask another physician if said surgery is what you need. But in crazy care not so much, we are expected to take our diagnosis like a good boy or girl and never question a psychiatrist, like they are some brain deity.

 Mis diagnosis is a common fact in Mental Healthcare, as it is a subjective field there are no biological tests to say what kind of nuts we have. So we must question our doctors, if you are not sure of your diagnosis ask for and demand a second opinion, it is your mind and your life at stake, and that is too valuable for a game of bingo...................