Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It isn't what it's cracked up to be -- pun most definitely intended. Because of my unremitting melancholic depression, I finally had the psychotic episode that had been building for 40+ years and had to be institutionalized. I was so doped up the first couple of days that I have almost no memories of those days. I was admitted into a behavioral center on Saturday, and pretty much slept through the remainder of that day and all of Sunday. My first awareness of my surroundings was on Monday morning. I hate to think of what had to be done to me to make sure my body passed its waste products. [Shudders.]

Being committed is basically like being sentenced to prison, minus the gang rape and shanking episodes. OK, it's not like being sentenced to prison at all, but your freedom is limited. I was internet and phone-free for an entire week, had to share living quarters and bathrooms with occasionally filthy roommates, didn't have access to even basic needs like pens or pencils, which was particularly obnoxious when trying to do the Jumble or crossword puzzles, and was forced to eat, sleep, shower, and socialize at someone else's whimsy because we had a set schedule. As if that weren't annoying enough to a control freak like me, I was forced to eat a lot more food than I can tolerate because the nurses and attendants scored your meals. So if I only ate a piece of mystery meat that was supposedly turkey and left the revolting broccoli and cauliflower poo-poo combo on my plate, my meal was scored as 50 out of 100. In the interest of getting out of there as quickly as possible, I rammed an obscene amount of food down my throat and did more smiling and pleasant chatting over that week than I'd done over the past year or so.

Be that as it may, I have to admit I'm thankful. Yes, in spite of all my obnoxious whining and the fact that I've been diagnosed with a type of depression that reportedly doesn't respond to chemistry nor therapy but may respond to electroshock treatment (!!!), I'm thankful. Being inside a loony bin for a week exposed me to much worse ailments than the one that afflicts me. For example, a gentleman who used to be a schoolteacher had the unfortunate habit of thinking that the people in whatever television program happened to be on in the day room were talking shit to him, and so he would argue with the television while gesticulating wildly. That was, unfortunately, one of the milder cases. A girl who was committed so she could detoxify from alcohol and drugs tried to hang herself with a bath towel and was saved because her roommate happened to need the restroom at that very moment and walked in on her in the process. A particularly unfortunate passive-aggressive patient was beaten twice in the space of two days because he somehow incurred the rage of two violent patients. Another patient had neurotic crying breakdowns pretty much on a daily basis and had to be constantly restrained and sedated.

All things considered, I survived my suicidal tendencies while being institutionalized. What more fitting conclusion, then, than this glorious 80's masterpiece?