Shortly after my father suddenly passed away in 1995, I found myself out to sea like a shattered boat with no paddle or anchor tossed about by the wind and the waves. My behavior became “suspect”-- so erratic that I lost my editing job, then my teaching job, then my other jobs. I was wandering about on “vision quests,” convening with Nature on long walks by day, conducting shamanic drumming circles, and not sleeping or eating regularly.
The radio would sing words directly addressed to me, not just one station but all the stations. With my eyes open I saw TV screens with different scenes in each one and I could see and hear what was going on in each screen. I couldn’t turn them off and I couldn’t get to sleep. I called fellow vision-seekers to help me—sometimes in the middle of the night. Some came over to sit with me and hold my hand, offering me the medications that their doctors had prescribed when they had similar bouts of anxiety. I finally gave in and got a spiritual practitioner to accompany me to the Emergency Room at Norwalk Hospital where after a few hours I was admitted to the inpatient psychiatric ward (CP3). There I was given a diagnosis, put in restraints, started on medication, introduced to therapy and began my long road back to Sanity.
I have much to be thankful for. I am a cancer survivor. I have been married to a loving and supportive man for more than 30 years. I have 3 wonderful grown children and 2 beautiful 4-year-old grandchildren. For a number of years now, I have been participating in and now facilitate Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) programs to learn how to be easier on myself, cut back on medications, avoid hospitalization, and in general be a better person to be around.
Since August 2014 I have been attending the Hearing Voices Network support group in Norwalk and am impressed with how much it has helped me understand the distressing aspects of my personality (nightmares, negative thoughts, excessive worries). I am beginning to learn coping strategies to become more positive, joyful and contented. The camaraderie of the group is really heart-warming and amazingly supportive. Everyone who comes seems truly relieved to have a venue where their experiences are taken seriously and their “Voices Heard.” I intend to continue meeting with the group and hope to give even more after I am trained as a facilitator in the Hearing Voices Network in November.