Safe in Sing Sing

Some people spend their whole lives searching for a soulmate. I have been spending mine looking for the perfect Dr. Mario and Luigi (or Therapist Luigi in this case).

I never thought these words would come out of my mouth… but there is something really comforting about being on the mental health unit in my hospital. Old and ugly? Yes. But the nurses and doctors aren’t so shabby. The funny thing is that I haven’t been in there since 2014, but I hoped that I would have been there lately. I thought I’d be mentally safer in there than out in the world during my on and off episodes of rapid cycling in the recent 5 months.

In hindsight, there were many moments I should’ve knocked on their locked hospital door but I didn’t.

Being in Sing Sing by choice is like a crucial and life saving Kit Kat bar – sometimes you just need to take a break. I would’ve felt untouchable because the unit was locked. I would’ve unplugged most of the time because it’s tedious to get my electronic cables from the nursing station (all glass items and cables are kept there). More importantly, this meant that I I wouldn’t have read everyone’s progress in life, and how everyone’s life was moving on, except for mine. After all, misery loves company – not happy people with giddy leprechauns and rainbows.

The nurses would’ve also witnessed all my rapid cycling, and I could rely on them to tell me whether my experience was real or not.

I didn’t know if I was crazy or not, and that unknown killed me. I didn’t know if my time off work was valid. I didn’t even know if I was a valid human being that deserved to live.

The nurses would’ve also taken care of me in a way that no one else could. They would’ve forced food down my throat or given me Ensure when I only ate a meal a day. They would’ve been there for me every step of the way when I was alone at home half the time (for obvious reasons that everyone has other obligations like going to work). They would’ve given me my medications on time. And they would’ve controlled how many pills I took so I didn’t have the opportunity to overdose.

I wasn’t hospitalized this time but I wish I was. Reflecting on my previous experience in my hospital has made me appreciate the nurses and doctors so much more. There are downsides, like not having anyone in their 20s around, or being bored to death in CBT classes. But I would’ve felt a hell of a lot safer than I did at home. I know there will be a next time for me… so I will knock on the locked door when I need it.

So thank you to all the nurses and doctors who have the patience and compassion to care for the bipolar in us during our moments of sobbing, and also our halfway hilarious hallucinations and delusions.


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