Saturday, February 2, 2013

Inside The Psychiatric Hospital

"...But they just keep bugging me, they just keep bugging me, and it builds up inside."
Institutionalized, Suicidal Tendencies

Tuesday morning I was brought to the ER of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. After having slept for seventeen hours straight, Wednesday afternoon I was transferred by ambulance (which I found unnecessary) to the mood and anxiety unit. I'm back to where I was this fall, but kept in a different austerely white bastille. Yesterday I looked out of my/a window for the fist time since I left LA. I kept my eyes tightly shut on my way to LAX and insisted my mother keep the tiny blind of my passenger window closed as we flew across the continent. I covered my face in the car on the way from YYZ and all transit thereafter. I could sense Toronto- there was no reason to see it. I could feel the dull, cold air in my bones and I didn't need to eyeball the sky to know that it was probably grey. I was right. I have a room with a view of the Forensic Unit and  The Intergenerational Wellness Centre that houses CAMH’s children. I could stare at the wintery brume. I find it disturbingly comfortable however to stare at the criminally insane on the blockade basketball court or youth experiencing psychosis in the unpretentious, secured playground.
I am not allowed to have a belt, phone, computer, scarf, earphones, shoelaces, tweezers, etc…  My bed is nailed to the floor and there are no hooks or beam in the (locked unless supervised) closet to hang my clothes. I don't have a mirror and for one of the world's vainest women I couldn't care less. I had to promise not to try and harm myself with the computer cord (that has been lent) while I type in a fishbowl of a workroom directly across from the nurses' station. I am being checked on for safety every hour beyond being stared at through the windows.  I haven't smoked a cigarette since I was admitted. People have said I should take this opportunity to quit. I don't bother to ask them what the point of that would be- if I'm not interested in living, why would I be interested in healthy living? I asked to go to an AA meeting that's held WITHIN THE HOSPITAL tonight, wishing this proaction would make it seem that I'm hopeful for recovery. In reality I wanted a chance to escape and smoke. I do not have the privilege of leaving this locked ward, even for a meeting designed to help addicts.
 I eat alone and leave my room only when necessary. None of my psychiatric nurses or doctors are surprised to see me back here. To me it feels like I never left, and the past 2.5 months in LA have been a syrupy, sad dream.
I sometimes feel as though I am being punished and sent to my room to think about what I've done. I also feel relief, knowing I belong here. It's as if an innate part of me has always known this is where my life would lead. I can't remember what I imagined for myself when I was a child conceptualizing my future. I'll assume others knowing me had not pictured me legally confined to an asylum (unless they did).
There is a strange sense of peace that overcomes me knowing I'm expected of nothing but to stay alive.
I can live with that for now.  


Anonymous said...

Beautifully fucked up and wonderfully written. Pls dont stop. I feel like i can read this for hours.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about your blog. Part of me thinks you're a very strong woman to put your whole crazy life out there, while another part thinks you're focusing too much on the writing and not enough on your healing. Initially I thought that the blog was therapeutic and an integral part of the healing process. But as time progresses, I feel that you thrive on the shock value and attention that it awards you. I feel sorry for what your family is having to endure with your illness, and it must pain them greatly to read your entries; they clearly express the seriousness and depth of your affliction. I can't help but think the blog stems from selfish desires without considering the impact it has on others around you. I realize that we can't go through life giving a flying fuck about what others think about us, however, our actions and words have an impact and they should never be a source of pain for our loved ones.

whatididwassecret said...

Hey commenter above. It seems thoughtless of you to make that kind of claim. First of all, writers write. That's what they do. Claire's a writer. Why wouldn't she write about what's happening to her? Second of all, people who know Claire know that she's a writer and we're glad that she's doing what she feels compelled to do: expressing herself. I'd be even more concerned if she stopped writing. Don't try to silence her, just don't read it if you don't like it. Claire, I'm in your corner, as ever. Xo -Sarah Steinberg.

Anonymous said...

I think you misunderstood my post. I wish nothing more than for Claire to heal. Her writing is very raw and extremely articulate. No one anywhere should have to live in such pain. All I'm saying is that it's not just Claire involved here. I can only imagine how upside down her family's lives have become in recent months and I'm not so sure if the blog is helping or deterring her from the healing process. I wish her only the best.

ClaireElyse Brosseau said...

in reply to Anonymous February 2, 2013 at 9:24 PM:
If you read my blog on the regular, you know that rarely to never do I respond to comments. I felt the need to answer this specific statement of opinion.
You are entitled to your reaction, though it baffles me. I can only assume you have recently become a reader (of the blog). Several times I have stated (as well as its' obviousness by my lifework and in my writing) that I thrive on attention and shock value. Generally I speak the truth and though I personally don't find it particularly shocking, I'm expressly aware what others deem atypically anoetic. That's how I (used to) make my living. To clear up any confusion, this blog stems 100% from selfishness. If it's helped others to cope, understand or be entertained (which judging by the number of emails, messages, comments, etc that I receive on a daily basis) be sure that these are bi-products I didn't expect but certainly hoped/am glad for. As I have stated several times, I don't expect everyone to like it/me, thus making it more artful… in my insolence.
As it's been over two decades since my diagnosis, my family is familiar with my suffering and expression thereof. As a competent aggregation it's futile to point out that if it makes one uncomfortable to read my words, the solution is to not read them. Make no mistake the non-lector won't make my problems disappear to me, only so for them. This is the best we can hope for in this instance.
I must tell you your comment says much more about you than it does about my writing and "actions". These posts make YOU uncomfortable. Do not assume what they make my family/loved ones feel. If/when my familial/social-circle feel the need to address my behavior, I'm always open to their reasoning. That said, though I'm not always overjoyed with decisions they've made, I learn to live with what makes them happy & love them as they are.
I suffer from Manic Depression & that's no secret. This is my life. I do not reveal the secrets or private feelings of others. Nobody is happy about the fact that I'm crazy and locked away in a nut-house, that I've undergone every type of (Western) therapy from hypnosis to electrocution. No one wanted this. No one that knows me is proud of it. I don't expect them to be ashamed of it but if they are that's beyond my control.
I am acutely aware of how my disease has affected and infected those close to me. That is the saddest part of this illness. If there's any part of you that wonders how much consideration I've taken regarding the feelings of my loved-ones, know that their love is my lifeblood.
I want to kill myself. I am at peace with that.
If I thought my life belonged to me alone I would have been dead a long time ago.

Tom said...

Please take magic mushrooms sometime. It would help you greatly.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to kill yourself, let me tag that cooch real quick before. I come in under 5 minutes. You won't even know I was there. I'm almost 40, fat and balding. If that doesn't sell you, I also have a small penis.

Adam Molino said...

In addition to Tom's response, I would suggest a dose of (Eastern)therapy Ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca (ayawaska pronounced [aja╦łwaska] in the Quechua language) is a brew of various psychoactive infusions or decoctions prepared with the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. It is usually mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing species of shrubs from the genus Psychotria. The brew, first described academically in the early 1950s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru, is known by a number of different names (see below). It has been reported that some effects can be had from consuming the caapi vine alone, but that DMT-containing plants (such as Psychotria) remain inactive when drunk as a brew without a source of monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as B. caapi. How indigenous peoples discovered the synergistic properties of the plants used in the ayahuasca brew remains unclear. While many indigenous Amazonian people say they received the instructions directly from plants and plant spirits, researchers have devised a number of alternative theories to explain its discovery.[1]

People who have consumed ayahuasca report having massive spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight as how to be the best person they possibly can.[2] This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening and what's often described as a rebirth.[3] In addition it is often reported that individuals can gain access to higher spiritual dimensions and make contact with various spiritual or extra dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers.[4] It's nearly always said that people experience profound positive changes in their life subsequent to consuming ayahuasca[5] and it is often viewed as one of the most effective tools of enlightenment.[6] However, during an ayahuasca experience, people sometimes report nausea, diarrhea, and cold flashes. Additionally, vomiting often follows ayahuasca ingestion; this purging is considered by many shamans and experienced users of ayahuasca to be an essential part of the experience as it represents the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one's life. [7] Further, it should be noted that the ingestion of ayahuasca can cause significant (but temporary) emotional and psychological distress. There are many reports of miraculous physical as well as emotional and spiritual healing resulting from the use of ayahuasca.[8]

Dongle said...

I haven't done Ayahuasca yet, but I once took a synthetic form of mescaline that was synthesized by Ph. D chemistry students I met at Burning Man. I tripped like you wouldn't believe.

The valuable insight from any intense psychedelic experience, of which Ayahuasca definitely qualifies, is to experience ego death. V.S. Ramachandran has a fascinating take on the neurobiology of self:

Basically, there are physical structures in your brain that correspond to aspects of the self. They all need to be working for a proper sense of self to emerge. If one of these parts is damaged, you can see exactly how that part of the mind worked in it's absence.

When you do a potent psychedelic drug, your brain begins firing in such an abnormal way that it is possible for the coherence necessary to comprise the "self" is so disrupted that you actually do "die", in a sense. It's like blacking out, but on a more fundamental level. And sometimes you can remember aspects of your self, even though other parts are shut down.

I have experienced this. As my ego began slipping away, I immediately realized what was important to me -- i.e. the things I knew I'd miss or regret. It's like a coin-toss. The moment the coin is flipping through the air, you know suddenly KNOW which side you wish would come up, heads or tails. I've heard that people who jump off bridges and survive universally regret the decision as they're falling and can't undo it.

You can replicate this experience by doing enough mushrooms, ayahuasca, mescaline, LSD, 2C-I, DMT, etc.

If you want to end your life for sure, why not give it a test run? The good news is that everyone who has these experiences are grateful for them.

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