Flood relief and recovery

Posted: September 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

The title of this post references my last post called Johnstown flood 2017. It covered a tumultuous couple years journey that ended with a frantic month of May 2017. When I wrote that post, on June 1st of last year, I was thinking all was better. It wasn’t. Far from it. Allow me to pick up where that left off.

For all of June, July, and August I got stuck in a big depression that had some panic attacks mixed in. The depression felt justified as a leveling out process from the frantic months before it. So I rode out the wave as best I could, being kind to myself the best I could. By September, I could feel my mood lifting.

Mood did lift, but physical health went down. Began having serious stomach pain and a case of pancreatitis, and it made me question the medicine I was on. I strongly suspected that lithium was hurting me. I had been on it for over 7 years at that point and it really felt and looked like it was to blame. So… I stopped taking it. Without doctor’s permission or supervision. Yuck. Not surprisingly, a manic episode was coming. Not surprising because both my dad and I have history of mania happening after stopping lithium.

By November, I was riding high. Too high. I had become increasingly belligerent aka too big for my britches. I was not afraid to butt heads with 2 important people in my life, my therapist and my landlord. I wish I could give more details, but it’s basically a blur. I remember saying I would break a window to get into my house if I was locked out and also going to a therapy appointment basically half dressed. I’m confident there was more messed up things going on. The next thing I know the cops are at my house saying I need to go with them to the hospital. I was being taking in for an involuntary inpatient mental health hospitalization, in Pennsylvania called a 302. Never before, or since, has this happened to me. After being strongly sedated in the ER, I was told to go with and cooperate with a constable. He would take me to Western Psych in Pittsburgh, a place I had never been and had heard horror stories about.

At Western Psych things did not go smoothly. Was miscommunicating with doctors and nurses and thus spinning my wheels. Then came news that I would not be welcome back at my group home when I discharged. I was instantly homeless. Taking that news in stride I focused on what would be step one, getting discharged from Western Psych. That took about 3 weeks. I was very glad to be done there. So now to the next obstacle, returning to Meadville without a home.

It was now December and I gave the homeless shelter a try. There I was treated like a second class citizen and I quickly found another option. A friend from church could give me a place to stay. Catch was it was literally a place to sleep, a bed but no running water. Ugh. But I was thankful for what I had. I spent a lot of time at the 24 hour McDonald’s, giving me a bathroom while there. My payee was ordered to not give me money because I had no adequete housing and needed to save every dollar for it. I literally had the clothes on my back and that was it. No way to wash my clothes or wash my body. Despair set in, and by the end of the month I checked myself into Meadville hospital inpatient psych. Of note, I was arrested and spent the morning of Christmas day in jail. Turns out there’s a rule against calling 911 too much in non-emergency situations and I had violated it. Things just kept getting worse.

January, February, and March were spent in that house with no water and barely any food combined with multiple hospitalizations. My meds were a mess. Dealt with side effects that affected my ability to swallow. I lost weight rapidly. A hundred pounds worth. I turned into a recluse barely leaving the house spending all day and night in bed. At the end of March my psychiatrist recommended I go to a personal care home, Quality Living Center in Saegertown. I would be around a lot of people and have staff to help me care for myself. It was my only option. Thankfully it turned out for the good.

The first month there I didn’t do much besides sleep. But as May came I started to feel better and began to participate in daily activities. By June I felt confident to reach out to my Sister and let her know I was ok. She was greatly relieved and had been very concerned for me. As June went on I reconnected with her and her husband spending time with them. July went great. Things were looking up. So much so that at the beginning of August I put in a 30 day notice to leave the care home. I had made contact with my friend from church and he had a viable housing option for me and was offering me work as well. Unfortunately a shift in my bipolar saw me dealing with depression and I regressed. I wisely decided to stay at the home.

My psychiatrist upped my medication and I slowly got stronger, with sleeping too much remaining as an issue. Through now, late September, sleep is a work in progress but my mood has stabilized. I enjoy my time at the home and the friendships I’ve built there, along with spending time with my sister and her husband. I’m not a poster boy for a personal care home but I can’t argue with how my life came together while here. I believe there has to be a better option for me but I’m waiting for it to come clear.

Through it all God was faithful to me. I would not have survived without Him. Let’s see where He leads me to next.

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