"Hey, neighbor," was the excited greeting.
"Hey there, neighbor," I replied.
Joyce wanted to know all about Maggie and told me what they had been concentrating on in therapy.
"Joyce, what are your main symptoms?" I asked her in a moment of seriousness after our conversation had settled down.
"I think everybody is watching me. Even the walls," she replied. "If I scream, they go away. They quit watching me."
"Well, the screaming scares people," I told her. "I know it scares me. I think something is terribly wrong with you."
"I know everybody just thinks I am crazy as shit," she replied. "I woke up last night screaming and they gave me an injection of a sedative. It knocked me out."
That didn't sound good. Joyce is going to be in the hospital for the long haul.
"Do you think I can come home?" Joyce then asked.
"Follow your doctor's advice," I replied, much to my chagrin.
I think my psychiatrist is a bumbling idiot and don't hold him in very high regard. My father loves him because he will prescribe any old medication my father asks for. That is why all the comments of advice telling me to listen to my doctor and to talk to him fell on deaf ears. I felt like a Jew going to the Gestapo for medical advice.
I finally got off the phone after talking Joyce into staying a few more days. "At least, the food is delicious," I told her, trying to put a positive spin on things. And B.I.T. (Brief Intensive Treatment) has some of the most wonderful food. I know. I have been in there three or four times.
How do I handle my mental illness when the paranoia strikes? I shut down. I can lie for hours on the couch staring at the walls as I am tormented with fear. Used to, I would drink heavily to squelch those feelings, but no longer have the money to drink.
I was thinking this morning about the most peaceful time of my life. It was when I was homeless and lived in the woods near Waverly, Alabama. No one knew where I was, or how to get me. My only companions were the birds, deer, and the squirrels. My social anxieties melted away. The cold was harsh, but it taught me a valuable lesson -- a lesson that modern life as I had been conditioned to believe in and live since childhood was just as crazy as the violent throes of turmoil when dealing with my mental illness. I would come under the delusion that the rest of the world was mentally ill, and I was the only sane one left. And the many medications they were forcing me to take made me comply with that strange, crazy world and life I was brought up to believe in and to live. There were obvious parallels to the medication, soma, freely given out to citizens in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World -- a medication used to keep the citizens blissfully placated and unaware of larger issues and of higher thinking. My soma is Risperdal, Lithium, Luvox, and Lexapro,