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Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 3, 2010 - Longest Night

The following text is a journal entry I made August 3, 2010. 

1 AM

She is heavily sedated, I think. She snores with intense, perfect rhythm. Except when she moans. I was woken up by a flashlight which was shined on me to see that I hadn't run away, and there's no way I'm falling back asleep now. I am probably up for the rest of the night. How I ever thought I could sleep without Steve and his fan - and with a stranger in the room - is beyond me! What an idiot I am. She moans like she's having sex dreams... or violent dreams. Or violent sex dreams, who knows. Whatever it is, it disturbs me.

I want to leave here before I spend another night here. I will be begging for a med dr as soon as I can speak to a staffmember and as soon as I can speak to a dr, I am walking out of here.

They wouldn't let me take any toiletries to my room. They searched my bags when I got here and locked it all in a closet. Why shampoo and lipstick is dangerous, I don't know. I was too embarrassed to ask the front desk guys for my bedroom stuff at bed time, so I slept in my contacts and my eyes are hurting me and itching like crazy. I'm not allowed to ask for them now until 6 am. It's going to be an incredibly long 5 hours.

I'm sitting on a couch in the women's wing in order to have enough light to write. I have this anxious feeling that when they find out they will be mad. There's no real light in here right now, only a green EXIT sign (which is a mockery, btw, because as far as I can tell no one here is free to leave) and the light that shines in from the front desk area.

The white-haired woman with the silver shoes (Claire*, I think, is what I read on her shoes) just came out to check the time and went back in her room. She walks with a weird grace - almost a swagger - like she was once on the stage in glitter and lights. Now, though, she's clearly gone from her mind. In this place I have to wonder how much of their insanity existed before they came here and how much came from being here.

The large woman who works at the front desk came in with her flashlight again. I wonder how often they check. She checked on Claire and asked her if she's ok. Claire's light was on and she told her "The light has to stay off." She came over and asked if I was ok. I smiled and said yes, and she nodded and moved on. She seemed fairly friendly and I'm glad she's not a man. I can see there's a new man working at the desk with her now but I haven't met him yet. She asked someone else in another room if they were ok. Apparently I have many fellow insomniacs. Again, I wonder if that's due to being here or if it has always been that way for them.

There's 2 bedrooms with heavy doors in the main hall of the women's wing. Every time someone goes to the bathroom, the heavy dor snaps shut as they walk in, and again as they walk out. This is an impossible environment to sleep in.

The new man who works at the desk is putting on rubber gloves. What purpose would he have for rubber gloves at 1:30 am? A blonde woman is at the front desk. Is she laughing or crying? Wait  - that isn't coming from her. It's Claire. She is laughing so loud. This is the scary kind of laughing - the out of control, out of her mind kind of laughing. She is counting 1 - 2 - 3 - 4  HAHAHAHA 5 - 6 - 7 - 8  HAHAHAHA 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13  - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20  HAHAHAHA  21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27.   Silence.

The blonde woman shares a room with Claire. She got her bedding and moved into the day room to sleep. This room-sharing stuff is impossible.

I'm starving. Aside from a bag of Sun Chips at 9, I haven't eaten since yesterday breakfast. I really don't want to eat with everyone else in the morning, but I don't think I'll have a choice. The man with the rubber gloves is gone. It upsets me not knowing where he went with those. Claire is quiet now. I wonder if that worker woman gave her something to sleep when she went in there.

There's a TV and VCR in here. A VCR with VHS tapes... titles I haven't heard of since I was a kid. Benji?

Claire is not asleep. She's checking the clock again. The man with the gloves is using antibacterial wipes to clean plastic pillows. He keeps staring at me down the hall. I guess that's what people do to crazy people. I'm trying not to stare at them myself, actually.

I'm scared Steve isn't waking up to Max's cries. What if Max is screaming and Steve is sleeping and I'm wide awake in this ridiculous lockdown unit with a bunch of crazies? So unfair of me. I feel so selfish right now. And Steve has a final in Geography tomorrow. After a long, worse night than he's used to, he's going to have to get all three kids up early, manage to get ready, and get them all to his mom's house before 8 am. I feel like such a bitch. I should have been stronger. I should have stayed home. Why am I always making colossal mistakes? Steve offered to send me to a day at the spa so I could feel better without coming here. It definitelly wouldn't have given me the perspective I've gained since I got here, but it would be 1000x more pleasant. Maybe he'll still let me try that in addition to this. Although... after the day I'm sure he had, he'll be needing a day away.

Claire is checking the time again. I feel so bad for her. And I'm scared of the daytime after my 2 hours of sleep. It won't be a new experience for me, I just keep hearing Drew*, my intake worker, say, "It would be a chance to see a doctor tomorrow, and to get some uninterrupted sleep." HA! Clearly Todd doesn't work the night shift.

Claire's light is on again and she is compulsively folding towels. The same 2 towels, over and over again. I can't stop wondering what brought her here. What makes a person that crazy? Did something tragic happen to her, or did she come this mentally ill? She's pacing like Joon. I really don't want them to come in and make her turn her light off - she clearly needs it to feel safe.

There's a large sign on the door by me that says PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS DOOR - FIRE ESCAPE. I wonder if it really is, or if it's just the door with the alarm to tell on the runaways. Ashley* says she ran away twice since she got here, to her boyfriend's house to have sex and check if he still likes her. She can't tell. She asked me if the fact that he had sex with her means he likes her. It's so, so sad.

I am so hungry. Breakfast isn't until 8... 6 more hours. I miss my husband and my kids and my Max and my fridge. If they tell me I can't see a doctor tomorrow, I'm busting out. I won't just be stored here.

Ashley is moaning again. How will I ever get back to sleep? The people who work here must be the most patient people in the world. Some guy patient has been talking to the front desk workers for 20 minutes now and they can't get rid of him. Must be why no one has gotten mad at Claire yet; her light is still on.

When I said material for my book would be an afterthought... I was dead wrong. Book material may even be my main purpose here. Who knows, though - maybe the groups tomorrow will be helpful. As far as I've seen, though, no one goes to the groups.

I guess I should go back in and try to sleep again. I hate lying in the dark trying to sleep, pretending I don't hear Ashley's sex dreams or Claire's counting... or incomprehensible chattering from Front Desk Guy. I'll run out of paper tomorrow if I don't shut up soon. I'll try again.
 

(to be continued)

*Name changed for privacy purposes

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