April 14, 2013

Notes From The Asylum II

I’ve got plenty to share about my own time in the mental hospital. But today I thought I’d share with you someone I met. He was without a doubt the most interesting person I met when I was there, and I wish I’d written down more of the conversations we shared. The entries are a little disjointed, but I think they paint the picture well enough.


I have made my first contact with a fellow inmate. What a doozy! Jordan, 19, habitual inmate who apparently has been bouncing back and forth between rehab centers and psych facilities since he was 16. He told me that he had come here straight from a rehab facility, and that he likely cycle straight back to that facility once they got his depression under control.

He is both tragic and interesting. He walks the halls (“I like to pace”) with a nonchalant air, and he’s always willing to share his insider’s knowledge of how these places work. “Just take your meds, that makes them happy,” he said to me, and “Don’t stay in your room all day, because then they lock you out, and if you’v got a roommate he gets locked out too, and then he’s pissed at you.” He’s too young to be so wise about this sort of place. 

Listening to him talk, he doesn’t see much of a future for himself. He’s three classes shy of his high school diploma,which he swears he will finish when he gets out and detoxes. But he didn’t seem to have much conviction. 

I need to get out of here. Being a perpetual inmate like Jordan would just suck. So glad my insanity is acute, not chronic! 


Jordan’s hands shake. I had to pour his coffee for him. Poor kid. 


As John and I talked, Jordan came into the room. He revealed to us that he has been pocketing his pills, intending to pop two days’ worth at once to “get all fucked up.” 

Poor kid. Jordan is genuinely likable, funny, and generous (he gave me a piece of candy yesterday because “You look like you need a sweet”). It’s a shame that he’s such a junkie. As age 19 no less! I hope his rehab does some good for him. 

Like I said, I wish I’d written down more. He was definitely a character, and one of the few people I met in there whose fate I’d be curious to know in the future. As a writer, I’m always collecting ideas from real life that someday might make it into a work of fiction. I’m almost sure that some version of Jordan will appear in something I write, someday.

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  • So poignant…what an incredible word picture of a young man for whom life seems so barren of hope…I almost feel like I can see him…wonderful writing…my friend and fellow traveler.


  • Sounds like me and this kid would get along well… For some people, hope is just a guaranteed path to disappointment. For some of us, the more you hope and dream, the more they have to take from you. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even imagine different paint on the wall because that takes too much dreaming and goal planning and that stuff leads to disappointments and heartbreaks.

    On a side note, he’s right. I was in a place once where if you weren’t showered, dressed and in the main room by 7am, you and all three of your roommates got locked out. Mind you an alarm clock was too much to ask for because of the suffocation risk involved with the cord, so we weren’t allowed to have one… The only time we were allowed in our rooms was if we had to go to the bathroom. Spending too much time in our room got us confined to solitaire… I had a roommate who was a junkie. That was my… third or fourth trip in. She’d be up all night and then tell me all the things I did in my sleep over breakfast… Apparently I talk and punch at this a LOT. lol

    • I hope you haven’t been back in a good long while. Mine was a mild experience; but at the far end of the hall we could sometimes hear shouts from “Mod C” where the hard cases were kept. Shudder to think about going back.

      • Been about 7 years now. I was locked down twice when I was 16 for depression and suicidal tendencies and then again, two more times, when I was 21. I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after my daughter was born. My Aspergers made bonding difficult and I put a lot of pressure on myself to feel that “magic bond” all the other moms claim to feel (which I now believe, they are full of sh*t, but that’s a whole other blog lol). As a result of not feeling it, I refused any and all help in caring for my newborn daughter, even from my husband. This brought on a severe depression, which led to paranoia and a temporary state of psychosis in which I contemplated boiling my fingers so “they” wouldn’t have my fingerprints, though to this day, I couldn’t tell you who “they” are. I was in a bad place for a long time and it nearly cost me my marriage. He told me that once, if I hadn’t gone on medications, we probably wouldn’t have made it through. He just didn’t know what to do and he wasn’t prepared for what happened. I’m sure you can understand that there are some things in life you just can’t prepare for. When I had my son, I knew what to expect of myself and how to manage the feelings (and lack of) that I would have. I didn’t have any issues after my son was born 🙂

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