Monologues of Madness :: Part 2 — A Tale from the Psych Ward

Continued from “Monologues of Madness :: Part 1 — The Events Leading Up to My Psychiatric Hospitalization.”

I hadn’t been outside in days. For some odd reason, I craved the rays of sun kissing my skin, which was weird because I purposefully avoid any and all contact with that star in the sky. But I guess the warmth of the outdoors would affirm that, yes, I’m still alive and did not get abducted by aliens.

All I saw when I pulled back the curtains was a white fence staring at me. If I looked farther down to the left, the street was bustling with cars. I didn’t know what time it was. The only clock in the whole unit was in the dining hall, which was kept pitch black except for, of course, mealtime. My guess was 4:00 p.m., maybe 5:00 p.m. Outside felt like a foreign world to me, a place where people not like me functioned well and went on with their lives as usual. I had only been there at the psych ward a few days, and the adjustment period was quick.

After bodily and luggage inspection, I was met by a tall man, James, pacing up and down the corridor, talking to himself and making swift glances at whomever crossed his path. The encounter startled me. Am I that crazy? I suddenly regretted the decision to voluntarily surrender myself. After meeting my roommate, Jasmine, I began to feel more at ease. Her pleasant demeanor and charming personality made me thankful I had at least one person to talk to. We ate lunch together, we cried together, and we confided our revelations that led us to where we both were.

The days stretched on for eternity. When group therapy wasn’t in session, we all were left to our own devices. The magazines and books stacked on the common area counters were tattered and more than a decade old. I took up coloring. A lot of what I felt mentally had to do with anxiety. Coloring was a focused effort on keeping in the lines and making sure the colors didn’t overlap. I didn’t talk to anyone, just blocked out everything else and continued on.

Cherry was another woman I met while participating in that activity. She had all the new colored pencils in their own case, not the broken and stubby ones in the cardboard box. I learned she heard voices in her head telling her to harm herself. It wasn’t her first time in there. I felt troubled that there were people in there that literally could not function in their day-to-day lives. People like James and Cherry who battled demons and could not get rid of them. Did they have normal jobs? Do they have kids? Who looks after them when they’re not here?

All of these questions started to unravel questions towards myself. I don’t hear voices. I don’t have hallucinations. I’m not manic. Why am I here? Could I have gone on with life with seemingly “normal” symptoms? Sure, I didn’t have the afflictions of a schizophrenic, but I still felt like hurting my own son. I still had a rage in me that couldn’t be dismantled. I realized it didn’t matter which of us was crazier than the next. We were all crazy — a collective bunch of madness.


My self-loathing didn’t let up much throughout my stay. I reflected on the reasons why I was there, how I got there, and what I imagined life would be like once I returned to the real world. This was rock bottom. Of course, I had hit rock bottom many times before but always seemed to feel better after a good cry. I’d always try to assure myself things would get better or to minimize whatever I was crying about. But this — this was the deepest part of the ocean where no creature had seen the light of day.

I was disappointed in myself for letting it get to this point. I was always disappointed in myself for something. I enjoyed having visitors come to see me but at the same time felt ashamed. I didn’t want to be pitied or agonized over; I just wanted to be understood. My life had slowly deteriorated from a vivid portrait full of friends, adventures, and happiness to flat-out misery. I hated socializing. I hated happy people. I thrived on my sorry attitude and joyless outlook on life.

When I became pregnant, I wished something would happen to me — drop dead mysteriously, fall down the stairs, miscarry — anything to prevent it from happening. What I wanted for my life went out the door. As much as I wanted to love my son, my blind rage and fury at things not having gone my way boiled over onto him. Of course I knew it wasn’t his fault, and he didn’t ask for any of this. My anger was misguided. I was truly mad at myself for not being more careful, for not following through on the plan I had for myself. I didn’t want to hurt him. I both loved and hated him at the same time. 

When I wasn’t in my head, I spent the rest of the time trying to figure out what coping skills I could use to mellow out. Coloring was awesome. Who knew something so simple could work wonders? I made a list: keep a journal, take baby for walks, aromatherapy, and remember to breathe. I never knew how important breathing was until I arrived at the hospital. One of the nurses printed out a beginner’s guide to meditation for me, and although it wasn’t my intention to practice meditation, taking the time to just sit in silence and breathe was soothing. Practicing these skills there was easy. I had nowhere to be, nothing to do, and no one to see. I was afraid of how different it would be to implement it in real life. It would be difficult to bust out a coloring book and pencils when the baby started to fuss.

At the end of my eight-day stay, I wished I didn’t have to leave. The people I met while in treatment were wonderful. While it was a nice break from reality, I was ready for the next step: outpatient therapy. I would stay another three weeks in an office-like environment with a therapist and two others. The drugs started to do their magic, and the therapy was healing. Although four weeks wasn’t very long to undo eight years of mental damage, it was a start. For the first time in a long time, I was optimistic for what lay ahead of me.

I pass by that hospital often on my way home. I think about the time I craned my neck at the window, seeing cars pass by, and I wonder if someone else is standing there doing the same. I get sad when I think about that. Not for myself, but for the people in there now. I know the feelings of wanting to escape and being in the deepest depths of suffering. Little do they know that it’s just the beginning of better things.

You can read the conclusion of this story in “Monologues of Madness :: Part 3 — Recovery.”

Born in El Paso, Texas, Bianca moved to Mansfield in 1994. Now, she resides in the North Arlington area with her son, Dorian. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 2016 with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science. She hopes to return to school and get a graduate degree in public administration. Her dream job is to run a local non-profit or start her own. Currently, Bianca is invested in women’s issues concerning mother’s rights in the workplace as well as reproductive justice and maternal mortality. Bianca is part of the LGBTQ community and uses the intersection of race, class, and gender in her writing. She loves trying out new restaurants and taking mini trips to Austin. Some of her favorite things include cider beer, rap and indie music, ULTA shopping sprees, SXSW, and reading more than one book at a time.



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