Tag Archives: medication

Today is December 18, 2017. I am alive and well.

My short memoir piece. Hospital Visit Number 19. Installment 3 of 4.

The hospital staff and Guy remind me that I have schizophrenia. It is something that does not go away. Not like the pain of a pulled rotten tooth. I cannot pull this from my mind. I am wired, attached to hallucinations. Why do they feel so real? I am the extension of the antennae on an old fashioned television set. Aluminum foil. Yes, it is rigged. I am rigged. Through medication and support of people, they are trying to make the rigged part go away. They are trying to help me stand even when I sense that I am falling. Not falling into sickness, but falling into a different me, one I can only understand with the help of medication and clean people.

I will fall asleep in the hospital once again. I wake for medication and meals and the occasional conversation with the doctor and staff. I wake for my boyfriend. Sadly, I wake to the voices, too. They are with me like loose sleeves on a jacket that is too tight across my chest. Occasionally, they drop through the wrists of the jacket. It is in these moments that I exalt. I can count ten fingers and ten toes. I can make peace with my God. And most importantly, I can feel the love from those who touch me, warm like a wet washcloth used to remove the dust from my cheek. I am loved and I do love. This slides into my thinking like a person sliding into home plate, scoring the winning run, beating out the baseball sent from the outfield.

My mind slowly gets better. A cake bakes at 400 degrees for twenty minutes. Eventually, the toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Eventually, my mind comes out clean. I am able to communicate in simple sentences not requiring a great deal of thought from the listener. My silence is no longer the result of a sickened mind hiding from the florescent bulbs of the hospital.

It is breakfast time. All of us gather in the main area and receive a tray. I am able to enter the rec room and claim a seat at one of the round tables. French toast and sausage. Cereal and a carton of milk. The voices are soft. Thy no longer berate me. Pick up the fork, they say. Eat, they say. It tastes good, they say. I’m okay with them repeating what it is I’m doing. It is much better than being told to die or told to call the fat man obese and the skinny girl anorexic. My voices can be cruel, can ask me to do cruel things.

After eating, I return the tray to the cart. John, the psych nurse, approaches me, clipboard in hand, like he does every morning.

“Good morning, Kristina.”


“Are you feeling suicidal today?”

Only in a psych hospital would a person start the conversation with this question.

“No,” I respond.

“And the voices?”

“Still there, but not bad.”

“How was breakfast?”

“Good. I’ll be going home soon, I think.”

“Are you ready?”


“Maybe so. Maybe so. The doctor should be in soon.”

John leaves me with this parting thought. It is up to the doctor as to whether or not I go home. Dr. Purewal really listens to me. When I am able to hold a conversation with him and let him know I’m ready to go home, he usually agrees. He knows me well. He has been my doctor in the hospital for years.



Today is October 30, 2017. I am alive and well.

Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.   Gertrude Stein

I don’t throw caution to the wind. I am careful in my life. And I don’t think I’ve stumbled recently. I’m not certain what stumbling looks like unless it’s to fall or stutter. I do stumble over my words often in conversation. My brain takes a quick nap and I can’t think of what I’m trying to say. I don’t know if this is because of my schizophrenia or my medications. I know I’m not stupid. But I also certainly do know I prefer writing to speaking. I’m a rather quiet person.

Do you think Gertrude means physically taking a tumble? I don’t wear high heels. I believe high heels gives one the opportunity to stumble. It’s hard to fall off of flats or boots.

How else might one stumble in life if not physically or verbally? I looked stumble up. It means to fall into sin or waywardness, to make an error (blunder), or to come to an obstacle to belief.

Do I stumble in my faith? Do I have moments when I don’t believe everything will work out? Are there moments in which I believe that God doesn’t have my back? Yes, but rarely. I spend most of my time feeling blessed. This has been a long time coming.

The reason I am careful in my life is because of my mental illness. I will do anything to not become psychotic. Psychosis is a shadow in my mind. It is a parrot with a sharp beak. It is news announcing terror. By structuring my life, I avoid pitfalls. My roommate says I’m so predictable she could set a watch by me.

At times I regret rarely being able to be spontaneous. I am in bed by eight and still wake tired after eleven hours of sleep. One of the meds I take causes this. I’m not complaining, though. My meds have given me life.

My roommate says there is someone out there who will love me and not be bothered by all my quirks. I know my ex did and does. Maybe that’s how I will stumble. I will stumble upon someone who will lift me up, who I too could lift up. I would love to stumble over a duffel bag full of money. The most grievous thing I’ve done is not to have spent my money well.

Writing this has been like not being able to move over a lane to make a left hand turn because of traffic. Why I picked such a challenging quote to respond to I have no idea. I stumbled onto the quote and I have stumbled over the quote. So much for not stumbling!

Today is June 8, 2015. I am alive and well.

The feather of my finger drags across the dusty entertainment center. It’s time. I use a cloth to wipe the dust off the furniture. I let it get so bad so as to see a definite difference between dirty and clean. I do this with the tile floors, also. I am a down on my knees kind of woman, using my hands, sponge attached, to mop the floor minus the mop.

There’s always something other to do the clean the house. There’s always something to do then go to coffee with friends. I covet time alone, wishing there were more hours in the day, wishing that my nighttime medication wouldn’t make it so hard to wake up. I try to sleep ten hours. Even this is hard. Left with no place to go, I would sleep sixteen hours. My pillow is always wet in the morning because my meds make me drool. I can’t believe I just told you I drool. Sometimes, I wake briefly and think I am drowning in my own saliva. I am a corpse who dreams through the night. Still. Silent. The bedroom places her hands on me. I am safe.

I make a mental note to schedule coffee with friends. Once at the coffee house, I am ecstatic to see them. They are an arm to reality for me. They help me to actively love. Love becomes a word of action. Love is not static.

I sat to type this with no idea in mind. Might as well begin with a dirty house that I pressured into becoming clean. Do I think blankets have life? Are they glad when I shake them out? Does the toilet breath a sigh of relief? These things are fun to think about. This type of thinking allows me to appreciate and respect  the things I have. My bedroom does breath, this I believe. My sanctuary is complete with cats, books, a dresser, a bed, and a desk.


Today is May 25, 2014. I am alive and well.

Michael Greenberg writes in Hurry Down Sunshine “It’s a terrible paradox–the mind falls in love with psychosis.” When I’m psychotic, I don’t understand that I’m psychotic. My psychosis doesn’t bother me. It is the people around me who are alarmed. I sometimes think I am a better writer when psychotic. My spiritual mentor has to remind me that I don’t write things that are lucid when psychotic. I have my own special language. I am paranoid that my medication robs me of some of my creative instinct, but then again without medication my mind does get sick. My prescribing physicians have done their best to not numb my mind, burying it in a haze of pills. Burying me in a cocktail so powerful that the best I can do is stare at the television with no sight, drooling. Seriously, I have been over medicated at times, unable to bend my arm and turn right. I may have to struggle a bit more on some days to stay in the common reality, but stay I do. Most of the time.

Today is July 21, 2013. I am alive and well.

Would I really tell you I wasn’t well if I wasn’t. Yes. Guaranteed. So, let’s talk about breakfast. I once had a friend tell me that he treated himself with a Frappacino every morning, and doing this helped get him out of bed in the morning. Well, I have a plain bagel smothered in butter and sugar free orange marmalade! I love it and look forward to it. Oh, and of course there is always coffee. Always coffee.


In the psychosis of a dark mind, strong lights shouldn’t have to stay dim. This has been a challenge for my prescribing psychiatrists; they have to lessen my impaired thinking without squelching the fire within that drives me. Often times, I think medication prevents me from writing at the depth I wish to write. I have to be reminded that I can’t write at all when claimed by psychosis. I don’t envy the doctors’ positions. I’m just glad that, over the years, I have had doctors that really listen to me, who don’t want to medicate me to numbness, but seek to allow vitality to burn free, also.

Today is July 10, 2013. I am alive and well…

…and breathing. It was a challenge getting out of bed this morning. Like all mornings. My meds make me really tired, but the alternative to not taking them is worse than tired. So I take them. To help get up, I think of the bagel with butter and orange marmalade that I am going to eat. Food is a great draw!


I’m too tired to think of ink. To think of word. To think of pen, scratching its way across freeways, between cars deadened to their role in pollution and war. So much depends upon concern for the squirrel that just got flattened on Route 10.