Trigger Warning: Psych unit (positive), Hulk rage, car accidents, sound triggers, rape
I recently spent nine days in the psych ward (voluntarily and for the first time) with no access to my phone or the internet, and endless access to my brain using new and improved skills (and some medication adjustments). I hadn't heard much positive information about such a stay until I experienced one myself. I know not all facilities are created equal, but to say I wish I'd have done that sooner/multiple times is an understatement. This episode was by far not the worst I've experienced, and I'm so glad to have had a safe place available to land that particular "Forty Acre Fit". (Thank you forever for that phrase, new kindred spirit friend). Reintegration is going slowly, but positively.
I didn't realize until I had been discharged from the unit that it was my under-treated PTSD that had triggered the reaction that led me to the hospital.
You see, a car squealed its tires somewhere and my Hulk rage immediately consumed me from the ground up.
I spazzed out of the passenger seat of a not-all-the-way-stopped car and immediately beat the sidewalk with my aluminum walking cane until it split in half. (Where's that kind of energy when I NEED it?) I followed that up by dumping the contents of my purse in the road and "speed" walking in no particular direction (sans cane = terrible idea). Eventually, I stopped and said to my companion, "Take me to the hospital!" And he did. Fortunately, I had previously received a referral from my psychiatrist for a hospital to go to should such an occasion arise. After waiting 18 hours in the ER and psych triage, I was finally admitted. (Part II of this series will focus on the therapeutic methods of the hospital program.)
Having unsealed some mental compartments in the past few weeks, I realized why the tire squeal was such a trigger for me. I've been in a few fender benders over time, but I was driving home about ten years ago after a terrifying night of being raped, when my car was t-boned by another vehicle (100% the other party's fault in each case). It wasn't the worst accident, but it was intense and shook my body and mind up pretty badly. I was recently a passenger in an accident that was also not my fault, so I think that woke up the dormant memories (and my old whiplash injuries where they live part time). I'd already been having trouble managing my bipolar, anxiety, and PTSD (obviously) symptoms since my marriage unraveled for good and I hadn't noticed the ramp-up.
I'm pleased to say that I now have more tools with which to notice when something like this episode might be approaching and how to deal with it accordingly.