I started some new medications recently—something to rid me of these anxious thoughts and my inability to sleep. I would love to state that I am doing better, but I am not. Those who are privy to medication know that it takes some time for the true effects to be known. But this made me think of something that I may have spoken about before.
Rather, hospitals with a psych ward that keep patients between 3 to 5 days on average. All depending on what their insurance is willing to cover, of course.
I have been to many of them in my years and can remember how each visit ended in a lie.
Yes! I am fine.
The funny thing is that this lie was encouraged. They were cultivated by doctors and nurses who wanted to send you on your merry way. I am sure it wasn’t their true intention to make liars of us all, but they did. I remember one hospital stay. I had an episode because they would not let me see my child during visitations. Said that I had not yet earned to privilege of such a treasure. Of course, I was livid and reacted in a way one with a mental disorder would. I cried. I screamed; I tore up pieces of paper as a way to prevent myself from assaulting a nurse. I did all of the things because I was in pain and needed an outlet.
Rightly so, this did not give me what I wanted. But I remember my doctor coming up to me later that evening. He warned me that due to my outburst, they were thinking of keeping me an extra day. He acted as though me staying till I was better was this terrible thing. I felt so confused when he said this because I did not see it as such. Yet his cautious words stuck with me as he went on to say, “Pretend that everything is fine, don’t let them see you react. Tell them that you are fine.”
So I did. I perfected the art of smiling while crying as a child and as an adult; I learned to hide my fears with sarcasm and anger. So I combined these skills in such a way that I came off as Ok. I was Ok, to the nurses at least. And instead of being made to stay an extra day, I was released a day earlier with none the wiser that I was dying inside. And that medication? It magically started working after only three days of taking it. A mental ward miracle, as we all learned to describe it.
And that doctor…
I hate him.
Not because of the advice he had given me but from the sheer fact that he proved that this whole system is flawed when I needed so much for it to work. I was done with lying, but he reminded me that a liar’s talents are always in use.
And the medication? It ended up not working for me. But of course, I did not know this till a month later. Luckily by that one, I had a psychiatrist who helped me figure out meds that did work. On top of that, I also saw a therapist regularly. I eventually stopped it, and for a few years, I did fine. But now I am back on them because I am no longer Fine.
So I sit here remembering that doctor and wondering to myself if he is doing ok.