Monday, December 12, 2011

One year since the loony bin

My husband turned into Santa Claus. My sister turned into an angel. I thought Oprah was building an underwater city and that my landlord was one of the engineers. It was 2012 and the world was ending and Mayans were talking to me. I had an idea for a non profit website called I thought I would be a paid idea editor with my own company, Day By Day Productions. I told one of my best friends to quit her job because I would employ her.

Now, I also told her Mayans were talking to me, so of course she did not fulfill my demands.

We were flying from Honolulu to Nevada City to visit family, and I had already gone four nights without sleep. My husband managed to control me enough so that I did not get arrested. It truly is a miracle I am safe (my psychiatrist later told me about a man with bipolar who said he had a bomb in an airport and was gunned down). I ran screaming through the airport because I thought I was on a TV show, I thought every camera was watching me. On the flight, a flight attendant asked me if I needed anything and I replied "Your babies."

I thought the cookies they gave us on the flight were my idea. I thought I was on a mission to sell these cookies and that if I could sell enough they would let me live in the underwater world that would protect humankind from destruction.

My brother-in-law picked us up from the airport and I told him all about those cookies that would change the world. And something about reading out loud to children. My husband and I drove up to Nevada City. We made it.

My in laws tried to give me sleeping pills. I thought they were trying to kill me. I thought my husband and I were soul mates that would meet again in the afterworld.

36 hours later (I thought Michael Jackson was going to invite me to his house, I thought my friend was turning into Beyonce, I thought I was part jaguar) they took me to the hospital.

I thought I was at a Disney hospital and that they were going to turn my eyes blue and turn me into a Dalmatian and that I would have to search for the blue eyes of my husband because I would be a dog and wouldn't remember anything but his eyes. I thought my aunt was Mother Mary. I thought that I was being punished for the actual experiments that my great grandfather did on salamanders.

I was experiencing stigmata.

The only person I trusted in the hospital was a gay guy in purple scrubs. He looked like a fish to me. He calmed me down.

In the hour long ambulance ride down to the loony bin I thought I was going to Hogwarts. The EMT asked me who wrote the lime in the coconut song and I replied "Harry Nilson." I was smiling and laughing the whole ride. The frowny faces on the laminated paper that have a rank of frowns from 1-10 (levels of pain) kept smiling at me and turning into cyclopses.

Then things got scary. People turned into spiders. I thought I was in a church that was judging people and I thought I was going to hell.

I stayed in the loony bin for five days. I made enemies. I made friends. I refused to eat certain things and had the rest of the people in there offering me the things I liked as if I were their queen.

That was almost a year ago. I'm about a week away from the anniversary. And I feel really effing good. I'm grateful for the people who have kept me safe, who have helped me pay attention to the cracked eggshell pieces as much as the beautiful baby bird.

I know how to deal. Before the big breakthrough, I spent months having minor episodes: not being able to sleep, being out of touch with reality, being super inspired and talking to my muses. I don't have inspiration like that anymore. I am like a mule now: slow and steady. But I have something so much more important:

My health.


  1. Must have been a terrifying experience. I've known a number of folks who have experienced mania like this and I'm glad you got treatment for it. Thank you for sharing this sensitive experience.