My Take

Enough Hospitals for a Lifetime

I’m exhausted. Right now I’m at the Verdun hospital. It was great to be able to be able to stay 2 nights at my godparent’s. Then this morning my godmother gave me sandwiches and snacks for the likely long wait which was super kind. Then I left to meet my new boyfriend and we took our time because it was a beautiful day and honestly I didn’t want to go to the hospital right away. Surprisingly, we ended up getting tattooed. He got the phoenix I have on his shoulder blade. What a commitment – but the Phoenix represents what he’s been going through too. I got a butterfly for my mom and to symbolize the butterfly project. I have to keep the butterfly alive so I can’t cut myself. That’s the idea anyway. Then we went to the emergency room and the clusterf*ck began when he left. I was allowed in with Mia’s card but all the sudden I wasn’t. She would have to go. I kept saying that if she had to leave, I would, and asked them to fill in the Refusal of Access form. I was led higher up until that person finally understood Mia being an assistance animal. I don’t understand what took so long.

They aren’t equipped for psychiatry here so they want to transfer me to the Douglas tonight. It’s that or, see if whoever’s in charge tomorrow will agree to sending me to Ste-Agathe hospital. I’m frustrated beyond belief. The door is locked (with the handle AND two added sliding locks) and they were going to make me pee in my room on this wheelchair thing with a hole. Locked in. No smoking outside. No dignity. I miss the crisis centre so much. Thank the Universe, my parents are coming down to try to get me out. I don’t even know if anything will work at this point. You’re screwed once you’re on preventive guard.

Day 2:

I woke up in a hospital which is always fun. I’m so tired it’s crazy. At least last night it felt really great to see my parents. I miss them! As expected, nothing was going to change the fact that I’m in preventative holding. Can you believe that they’ve been opening the door 5 inches as if I were Hannibal Lector? That part is pretty funny actually. On top of that you know what else asserted their competence? Locking me in the room WITH my razor, meds and charging cables. My stuff wasn’t searched. I could’ve cut myself really badly despite there being a guard. I guess they’re right about not being equipped for psych patients. Anyway, after my parents left I got my meds finally which allowed me to sleep. This morning the doctor was understanding and offered for me to go outside with Mia and my guardian nurse. so we got to do that and I was able to smoke one cigarette which felt good. Now I’m waiting for a taxi who is going to take me to the Douglas because it’s within zone. It’s also arranged that I’m going to meet my crisis worker three times next week and I have group therapy on Thursday.

I simply can’t believe what I have to write to you. I’m offended and angry. It’s a long story but I’ll try to shorten it. I was accompanied by a nurse to the Douglas and she stayed until I was in with the psychiatric nurse. Partway through that meeting my boyfriend arrived with food and coffee. That encounter went well. Next we waited a while to speak to the resident psychiatrist. Thankfully I was allowed to take Mia out as long as my boyfriend was there.

Then I started to feel a high coming on which honestly felt really good. I speeded through explaining everything but that went well too. Next we had to wait for this psychiatric student to brief the lead psychiatrist. He did, and though I wouldn’t be going to CPC 2 since it’s full, I could stay in emergency until my Godparents or another crisis centre could take me during next weeks’ intensive therapy m sessions. With Mia’s card everything was fine… up until I was literally about to enter the ward. How messed up is that?!

The resident said he’d find out the protocol for Mia from the nurses but instead came back saying they needed a longer discussion about her. After waiting longer we had to meet 3 people who refused Mia after asking her purpose.

They claimed it was because of allergies and fear of dogs for others. We offered the compromise of her staying in my room. (I had originally been told I’d get my own room because of Mia) They said it was still a no- even after I explained that Mia has hair instead of fur which greatly reduces shedding AND I apply H2Zoo, an anti-allergen that keeps dander from becoming airborne. So I said that I would need them to sign the refusal form I have for Mia and said that I wouldn’t be able to stay. This posed a problem considering the preventative hold despite me going to Verdun hospital voluntarily.

They said I’d need to see the psychiatrist again but promised the form would be signed. My boyfriend helped me find someplace to stay with him last night and then arranged for an evaluation with another crisis centre. (That happened at 1p.m. today.) Thankfully the resident and main psychiatrist agreed to this plan however the head refused to sign the refusal form. He claimed that was because I had come in voluntarily and was leaving which entirely misses the point that I wasn’t staying because of their denial of Mia. Oh and another argument against Mia was that they could fulfil her usual purpose so I wouldn’t need her support. It’s not a terrible argument until you consider how she helps with adapting to new people and situations-regardless of how good they may be. So we finally left after another day wasted. I won’t be letting this go though. Not this one, not this time!

Crisis Centre #2

After a one night stay with a friend, I went to the crisis centre I’m now at. I arrived last night. (It’s my first time at this one.) I slept like a rock and woke up super late! I must’ve needed it though.

Today was a good day-or afternoon, rather. John (my boyfriend) and I walked with Mia at a nearby parc and ate lunch together. I also had a good first session at the centre which made me feel better about being here honestly. Now I just had dinner.

Without Further Ado

Now that my update/rant is out of the way, I want to share some things I learned in group last week.

Anchoring Technique

This comes in handy when you’re anxious or depressed but first we need to practice it when we feel ok. That involves anchoring good memories. Here are the steps:

  • 1. Close your eyes.
  • 2. Let yourself get to the point where thoughts are coming.
  • 3. Start thinking about a positive memory.
  • 4. Bring it into vivid detail; colours, sounds, and if you can, smells.
  • 5. Re-experience the positive emotions and sensations you had in that situation.
  • 6. Let the image go and open your eyes.
  • 7. Repeat these steps with the same memory so that it gets wired into your brain. Then repeat with other memories to have a ‘happy bank’ you can call up as needed.

Participation Exercise:

The group leaders also wanted us to be more present in the group and to experience one of our collective fears; being seen and put on the spot. They called up one person to the front and asked questions like “do you feel more or less part of the group being in front?” “What’s the difference between your spot in the back and your new spot in front of everyone?” When the person was done they wanted her to choose someone to take her spot. She didn’t want to and no one was volunteering. I’m proud to say that I stood up and volunteered myself just to get out of my comfort zone. I had Mia after all and was holding her in front of me a little like a shield. They asked me to put her down which I did, and I felt 100 times more vulnerable. Still, I did it and reported that it wasn’t as bad as I expected because I felt safe within the group. The goal was to step outside of ourselves and take a risk. We won’t overcome anxiety if we remain comfortable. It was an important lesson that I’ve heard before but experiencing it was different. I’m grateful actually, despite the discomfort.

We have another group session this Thursday that I’m looking forward to. It’s helpful and the resources posted on google classroom are great. I hope to be sharing more new things with you! In my next blog one of the things I’d like to talk about is reverse anchoring which I think you’ll find quite interesting. I’ve been practicing the anchoring steps I mentioned above, building up my storage of good memories. It’s easy to dismiss the good in favour of the more obvious bad and I want to stop doing that!

One More Thing

I almost forgot…after the Douglas ordeal John and I went to a Super C to buy some food. The manager told me with attitude to pick up Mia because it’s not hygienic for her to walk on the floor. I explained that she’s an assistance animal and can walk on the floor. She’s like a big assistance dog who would of course walk. (Dogs can’t be in purses all the time! She had her harness, card and training Velcro for goodness sake! Use your eyes…) But no. He said I don’t see a medical certificate, to which I unclipped her card and showed him. The manager had so much attitude and disrespect, it makes you really wonder how he became manager! He pompously replied that it’s his job to watch the rules and notice these things and that she’s around food. To which, as usual, I replied that I have a signed contract with MAPAC through our organization and that I fulfil all my responsibilities like the H2Zoo spray. He continued being rude and argumentative so we walked away with me calling him a rude and incompetent motherf*cker. I know that’s beneath me but it was right after the Douglas fiasco and my patience was all but evaporated.

Well, take care everyone! I’ll be back soon!

Here are some photos for you of our adventures (and misadventures!).

Lakeshore Hospital
Outdoors at the West Island Crisis Centre
Verdun Hospital in the room with 3 locks.
Waiting for hours at the Douglas.
“Can this be over already?”
I hear you Mia.
Finally seeing the psychiatrist,
on a couch straight out of the movies!
Little did we know…
My room at the new crisis centre.
Mia’s overdue shower!

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