Post traumatic stress? Yep!

Posted: September 18, 2010 in After the Dust Settled

I walked in there on my own two feet, and signed myself in voluntarily.  Lisa was wheeled in on a stretcher at about the same time, with bandages on both of her wrists where she had cut herself in an effort to end her life.

I didn’t see her for two days.  When I finally did, she said they had medicated her and put her in bed and she’d been knocked out ever since.  But, we both agreed we weren’t getting any help, and by Tuesday we decided we wanted to leave.  Lisa called her husband, and she was gone in a few hours.  I called my ex-husband who had our son, and my boyfriend, and told them I’d be leaving, too.  I filled out my request to leave.  It was quickly denied.

You cannot imagine what it feels like to be held somewhere you don’t want to be, especially if you’re 39 years old and never been arrested or otherwise made to stay anywhere you didn’t want to be.  But for several days, I was trapped in a place that I had voluntarily gone into, of my own free will, and was then told I was being “committed.”

I did not understand how someone who had tried to kill herself was allowed to leave and I was not.  But, thankfully, I wrote down her contact information and we stayed in touch.  I found out later that she didn’t have insurance.  So, think about it from their point of view–she had a choice whether to pay them or not, and if they held her, she might refuse to pay.  But, I was there on great health insurance, known for paying great benefits.  So, they held me.

They kept telling me I’d “probably be well Friday.”  When I raised enough hell about wanting to leave, they let me go on Thursday.  I walked into my house feeling like someone who had just been seriously violated and I wasn’t sure why.  Until I opened my mail and found the letter from the insurance company noting that my benefits for inpatient care were “approved through Friday.”

It may not sound traumatic to you, but to know that you’re locked away and cannot leave–and that it’s your word against a doctor’s word–is frightening . Especially when that doctor only spends 5 minutes a day with you and doesn’t really know who you are!   For months I showed signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Not as serious as someone who has been in battle or been violently attacked, but, I was indeed stressed out, panicky, incapable of making decisions, having nightmares, and generally scared of enclosed spaces.

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  1. […] Post traumatic stress? Yep! September 2010 2 comments 3 […]

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