This blog post is the second in a series of three posts. If you missed the previous post, Confusion, you should read it first…
Mother came into the main visiting area where I sat with dad. In her hand she held papers. She was tight-lipped, clearly uncomfortable. She shoved the pen in my face and said, “Just sign em.”
I waved her off and tried to read what I was signing. I vaguely recalled the lease I signed earlier and felt my stomach drop. I didn’t want to make any more hasty decisions. I didn’t want to sign anything that could keep me here. Later, I will learn that I had been in the hospital for three weeks, not the three days I felt sure of.
She became more verbally aggressive trying to force me to sign it. The previous night auntie called and said she thought it was safe to sign the papers. This conversation sits in my mind briefly before it floats away with all the other spinning thoughts. I give in. I sign. I could tell mother was on the verge of throwing a fit but was holding herself stiff because people, she would be sure, would think this and that of her.
I will later find out that my mother mostly complained about the inconvenience my breakdown was to her life. The first day I asked her to come over to take me to the hospital, she told people that because of this she had to miss the party they would be having for her at work that day. My husband would later learn that my mother told people that she was going to get into my house one way or another whether she had to break in.
My husband innocently lets her look at my Mary Kay stuff and she takes it to sell at a yard sell. I didn’t care about the stuff, but I did care that she took something from me and sold it. Throughout our childhood, we had to search for our toys she’d try to sell at a yard sale. At some point, she told a disturbed gun-fanatic alcoholic down the street I was in the hospital. He is also one of the more gossipy intrusive individuals on our street.
The psych center sent me home in a cab. As I stepped out of the car, my legs felt wobbly. The warm air felt surreal as it tickled my arm. The sky was a splash of blinding yellow. I blinked a few times, took the mail from the mailbox, and started to open the front door. In my still Haldol heavy mind, it took a few minutes to process why I didn’t have keys. My mom. Someone else maybe. Someone had my key. Paranoia creeps in.
The gun-fanatic down the street asks if I can get in the house. I tell him I can’t. I do this because I’m desperate. I remember that the back kitchen window is open. He follows me around to the backyard. I push open the small kitchen window. He holds me up as I climb through the window.
Despite my state of mind, the absurdity of the situation struck me as I climbed down from the sink onto the kitchen floor, told him thank you. Quickly, I slammed the window shut with shaky clammy hands and locked the window. Once inside, I sat down on the couch, relieved to be home, to be released from captivity. My husband had cleaned the entire house for me, removed the painful reminders of the blurry, freighting days spent inside before I entered treatment.
It would take me weeks to recover. Paranoia hung on through the early weeks of summer break. I spent time on my Yoga mat, reading everything I could touch which spoke of spirituality and Buddhism. I glared holes through my computer screen, pounded my fingers into the keys. The school year started again. I bring my boss a flower, a thank you for the grace she gave me at the end of the preceding school year. I apologize for breaking down in tears in her office and saying some things I don’t fully remember. She looks at me. I hold my breath.
“BDL, it is no different than if you had cancer.”