Worth Living Ambassador Alex Campeau
Hi, my name is Alex, I’m 23 years old and am still going through a bumpy ride. I’m diagnosed with schizoaffective- depressed subtype, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a lot to swallow, but don’t think of them as disorders, think of them as personality traits. I have had three hospital stays and hope to have a smoother recovery than the one I am having now.
Caution: Alex mentions Suicide
When I was eighteen, I was a part of a program called The On Track Program which is for people who experience psychosis. They assign you a nurse and doctor to monitor how your symptoms and whether you were a danger to yourself or others. My nurse thought that I was suicidal and needed to be hospitalized. I had suicidal ideation, but I wasn’t quite ready to pull the plug. Anyway, my dad came home from work early to take me to the hospital because my nurse had called him telling him to do so. The hospital staff in the ER thought I was a danger to myself and that l was psychotic, so they admitted me.
My first hospital visit was strange to me because it was a new place for me. I couldn’t believe I was actually in a psych ward. l was mystified as to what went wrong. When I was in that state of mind nothing made sense, nothing was real. I remember one of the nurses asked if I knew why I was there, to which I replied, “No”. I had no idea because nothing was making sense to me. I remember pacing aimlessly, paranoid, anxious and depressed. The first thing my nurse did was give me a medication to calm me down. She did not even speak to me first, she chose the easy route by silencing me artificially. My parents had returned with my belongings such as pyjamas, toothbrush, all the necessities. l was introduced to my assigned doctor after. I met him before at the On Track Program. I’ll backtrack a bit. She and a nurse at On Track interviewed me to see if I can benefit from the program. So I was pleased to see a familiar face.
The following day, l was woken up to take more medication, Seroquel, which was used to treat my psychosis. I thought everything was a test and that I had to outsmart my nurses and doctors. I knew when to say the right things. Anyway, I was scared out of my mind one morning so my doctor gave me another medication. Next thing I know it’s three days later. I had apparently been seen by my On Track nurse, my parents, and I remember none of it. I was completely zombified. Things lasted like that for a few days until I had had enough. No more pacing the halls, no more meds, no more labels, and most of all, this isn’t the psychosis talking, no more brainwashing. I ended up checking myself out after ten days, a very short stay, I had just had enough of it. The hospital is not fun and I did not think I’d go back until a couple months later. I’ll make that my next post, my second stay that is.
NOTE: If you , a family member, friend, or colleague is experiencing thoughts of suicide or distress, call 911 now.
Other resources :
Canada- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention www.suicideprevention.ca
USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom www.nhs.uk