“Notes from the Asylum” is what I wrote on the top of the first page of the composition notebook they gave me when I entered the mental facility last Friday. And while “asylum” is an uncharitable and inappropriate word for the facility I was in, it’s the one I chose to use as a label for my time there.
When I entered the facility, they took away my iPhone and handed me a notebook. Nothing fancy — a cheap school kid’s composition book. But when you take away a blogger’s iPhone and hand her a pen, guess what happens? Lots and lots of writing. There are 109 separate entries in the notebook, each one numbered as I went along [I like a little organization]. I thought I’d share some with you, since I spent so much time writing them.
Below are some of my first entries in the journal. You’ll notice some skipped numbers; that’s because some of the entries were silly, or wouldn’t make sense out of context, or were occasionally sketches. My goal isn’t to transcribe my whole journal here; just curate the entries into a few interesting blog entries that highlight some of the experiences I had.
I miss my phone! They took away my phone and gave me notebook. Blogging old-school style. Yeah!
Just talked to my parents on the phone. Worst phone call of my life. I didn’t even get through “Hello” before welling up. They said everything you’d expect them to say: they thought I seemed unhappy before, they would always love me, I could tell them anything, etc. Robin told them I had depression, a mental breakdown. I don’t know yet if she told them I had suicidal thoughts. She did reveal to them that we plan to separate, which my parents seemed to think would mean I would need a place to stay. I wish people would stop assuming we are splitting up! I still love her, and she loves me, and there’s still the kids to care for. When we split, it will be a slow, planned split.
Of my transgender issues, I didn’t say a thing. They are coming north to see me; that is a conversation I will have with them face-to-face. Once we’re face-to-face it will all come out.
After the phone call, I went to my room and cried for the first time since the police picked me up., My mother can do that to me,
Now I am sitting here journaling, or blogging, or whatever. I came in late enough in the day to be past the “schedule of activities” that I’ll be forced to endure the next few days — enforced socialization, an attempt to prevent unhealthy isolation, whatever. Switch on the professional charm, own the room, or sit back and be quiet? We’ll see where the mood takes me.
Ugh! I have a roommate!
When I went to my first dinner as an inmate, my room was solo occupancy. After dinner, there was a second name on the roster board — “Mario G” — and an hour later, a silent stranger was in the other bed, either sleeping or pretending to be.
Let him sleep. I don’t like roommates, especially ones I don’t know. That’s why sharing rooms at cons always sucks so bad. I suppose I will get to know him tomorrow, begrudgingly. “Splendid Isolation” is not a song on the soundtrack of this facility.
A couple of notes: (1) I have decided to stop the pretense of false names. Every name in here (except my own, for now) is the actual name of the person involved. For example, my ex’s name actually is Robin. (2) I am fighting every writer’s instinct to revise these. I want to keep them authentic. Everything was written in pen, in one go, with little scratching out.
Okay, so these first few entries aren’t too interesting. I promise I have more interesting things coming.