Saturday, January 23, 2016

Rock Bottom: Part 1 (alternately entitled--My trip to the psych ward)

This is the hardest thing I've ever written, and it's even harder to share it and let you all in on this little secret.  Even most of my closest friends and family don't know the full truth about what I'm getting ready to tell you. 

So, I told a little bit of a lie in a previous post.  Well, maybe not a lie, but I definitely skewed the details a bit.  I didn't spend time in a Detox unit.  It was actually the psych ward.

I will start by saying that being completely transparent and vulnerable is a crazy scary feeling. It's like knowing you can't swim, yet jumping in the deep end with no floaties. However, being "fake" and living a double life were killing me.  There's zero chance this could be any worse.

There is so much to this story that I will eventually piece all together for you, but I believe telling the worst part now will make the rest seem easy.  I have actually given that advice before:   Do what you dread doing the most first, then the rest is cake.  Not literal cake, but you know what I mean.

Here goes.  Deep breath.   (If you know me well, you can probably envision me telling this story...covered in hives.)

On April 7, 2014, I walked into a detox facility because the residential treatment program I was entering required me to do so. However, after a lengthy assessment by a clinician, I was not admitted to the detox unit.  I was, however, admitted to the mental health unit, also known as the "psych ward".   I was also placed on suicide watch.  Most of that experience is a big blur, but I have memories from those four days that still shake me to my core. And...I possibly still have the bright orange bracelet that reads S U I C I D E   R I S K.  Or maybe I threw it away.  Anyway.

The day started when two friends drove me to this hospital and sat with me through an excruciating and lengthy process, which began with an evaluation at the Emergency Room to ensure I could physically handle the detox process.  If you know me, you know that I handle things with humor, even when humor is the awkward, uninvited guest who hasn't yet realized it's time to leave. I vaguely recall barely scratching my leg on something and yelling for a morphine drip--I thought that was hilarious. I was still making jokes and making my friends laugh, even though I could tell by the looks in their eyes that they were scared to death for me.  They knew it was not a joking matter.  How can a life or death situation be a joking matter?  The ER doctor ran some labs and cleared me to proceed to the Detox unit.  He assured me that I was making a wise decision by doing all of this. I, however, wasn't so sure.  Part of me still thought that maybe I didn't need help, that everyone else was just overreacting.

But...the thing is....just two nights prior, I had swallowed a "significant" amount of sleeping pills.  That's not weird, right??   I mean I clearly had a grip on things.  I had taken a little too much of something that had totally amped me up, then when it was time to finally try to get myself to come back down and go to sleep, I thought these pills would do the trick.  It didn't sound dangerous to me at all.  In fact, I began to wonder why I hadn't chosen a profession in the field of prescribing medication.  I was a prescription drug genius.  

I opened the bottle and poured out the prescribed dose into my hand....then a little extra, just to be safe.  And then maybe a little more to be extra safe.  I gave it ten minutes, and when nothing happened, I took a little more.  By this point in the night, I was lost in the hopeless/helpless thoughts that had become so familiar to me.  I began thinking about what I had done earlier that day, and shame and remorse flooded me.  I swallowed another pill.  I thought about how I had rocked my daughter to sleep that night with my phone in my hand, searching on Topix for a dealer in my town.  Another pill. She was in her favorite pajamas and she smelled like Baby Magic, yet all I could think about was getting high.  She deserved someone so much better than me.  Another pill.  How could I have done this to my family again?  Another pill.  There was no hope for me....I would never change.  Another pill.  Once my husband started putting all of the clues together and figured out what was going on again, he would be done.  He had already told me no more chances.  Another pill.  I am such a hypocrite.  Another pill.  

At this point, I fell asleep, only to wake up a few short hours later.  I attribute this to the unrelenting grace of God.  When I woke up, I honestly can't tell you if I was relieved or not.  I remember thinking that I was probably pretty lucky that I woke up, yet I was still not sure how I could make it through another day of this misery.  And if I had any inclination of what the next four days would hold, I probably would have laid back down in that bed and closed my eyes.  But, I got up and forced myself to get in the shower so we could go to church, you know, to act like nothing ever happened.  I felt like a total zombie.  It was hard to think, talk, or even move.  I got the kids all dressed up (like I did every Sunday), and we headed to church.  I still felt like I wasn't even in my own body.  I absently sat through church, then we headed out to lunch.  One of my good friends tagged along with us, and as we sat eating, she questioned my odd behavior.  She suggested she and I "take a ride" and let Chad take the kids on home.  I agreed, and we left.  This ride ended up turning into a continuation of the intervention they had held with me just a few nights prior.  I really wasn't up for this that day, and I was starting to feel really ill.  I listened to all of their reasons that I should go to treatment:

Misty, you are going to kill yourself.  You nearly did last night.

You are going to lose your family if you don't get help.

It doesn't matter that you will miss your kids or your kids will miss you for the next few months, you are going to miss their graduations and weddings, and they are going to miss you being there.

You've proven you can't do this on your own.  You need some help. 

The reasons continued for what felt like days.  I knew everything they were saying was true, but I didn't have any desire to go to treatment, and to be honest, a part of me still didn't really believe that I needed to go.  My friends had already found a place for me to go in Kentucky, and they showed me pictures, told me my insurance would cover it, and, once again, begged me to go.  Reluctantly, I finally said yes. 

Then came the hard part.  They told me I had to call my husband and tell him what had happened and that I had agreed to go to treatment.  I refused.  (To this day, I regret that decision and wish I could go back and change it).  So...our former pastor drove to our home while I sat at my friend's house and told my husband, Chad, who was dressed in boxers and a t-shirt for his Sunday nap, that his wife had relapsed and was going to treatment.  Surprisingly, he didn't handle the news as well as I had hoped.  Chad called my friend and told us to meet him at the church office.  I agreed, even though I was so afraid to face him.  Just a couple of months before this incident, I confessed of yet another relapse, and he had initiated project Tough Love.  He told me he would no longer sit by and watch this happen, and that it was my last chance before he would be forced to make me leave our home.  I knew he wasn't bluffing when he told me this, but even the fear of that couldn't make me stop.  Thankfully, we got to the church before he did, and I went into the office and sat in a chair in the corner.  I don't remember much of the conversation, however I do remember him walking in looking extremely angry, making me make some calls to check about treatment for myself, then crying and hugging me, telling me to go get the help I needed.  Everyone involved decided that I needed to go get my bags packed and head out immediately before I backed out.  My friends offered to take me, and they were instructed to not let me out of their sight.  I am usually a fairly neat and organized person, but in my addiction, my life had become a mess, both inner and outer.  I had to dig through piles and piles of clothes to try to find things to pack, and I knew for certain I didn't have everything I would need.  They assured me someone would bring things to me later on.  I threw everything in a bag and we left. 

We drove into the town where the treatment facility was located and learned we would have to get a hotel and wait until the next morning.  When I woke up the next morning, my friend was on the phone with the facility, and when she hung up, she told me I would have to go to detox.  To say the least, I was not happy, and I cried and told her I wouldn't go if it meant going to detox first.  She talked me through it, and we headed back out.  We were told I had to go to the Emergency Room first to be seen by a doctor and cleared to go.  I checked in, had my vitals taken, answered some questions, and went back to the waiting room.  I sat down in the waiting room, looked up, and noticed a sign that read, "Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10. My eyes then focused in on a security guard near me, a gray-headed elderly man who seemed pretty nice.  He kept staring at me.  He would look down at his newspaper briefly, then his eyes would be right back on me.  It started creeping me out.  A younger guard walked in, and it appeared that he would be taking over for the creeper.  Shift change, thank goodness.  As the older man started picking up his belongings, he leaned over to his replacement, pointed at me and said, "Keep a close eye on her.  She's suicidal."  It was very surreal to hear that, and I sure wished he had known how to whisper.

I made it through the ER process, and we headed on to the detox unit waiting room for what felt like hours.  I did an initial assessment with the lady up front, then sat in the waiting room.  I watched people come and go and began to get extremely nervous.  I watched a boy who was probably close to twenty years old, come in looking frantic.  He sat down across from me and was shaking violently.  I was miserable just looking at him.  Finally, the lady in charge called me back.  She asked me questions about every substance I had ever taken.  She did an in-depth assessment, and, when she was done, informed me that she did think that I needed admitted for detox, however she was concerned about my incident with the sleeping pills and wanted me admitted on the mental health side.  At this point, I was exhausted and just agreed.  A nurse evaluated me again, and they sent me back out to the waiting room.  I informed my friends that I would, in fact, be admitted, and they heaved a sigh of relief in unison.  I sat and waited.  And waited.  And waited. 

Then I heard my name called.  "Misty Monroe".  I looked up, and two ladies stood at the ominous looking wooden door entrance with metal detector wands in their hands, and beckoned me to come with them.  I stood up and began walking toward them in what felt like a trance.  It appeared my nightmare had just begun. 

To be continued....

Read Part 2 here


  1. Hi I'm lacey ,a addict,I wanna read more!!! Your story has helped me so much my email is feel free to email me but I would love to chat with u thank you so much for sharing you can save lives with this your so awesome please tell me how I can follow your blog

  2. Yeah I book marked ur page was waitibg for part 2 :) did I miss it? I LOVE ur story. Its truly inspiring

    1. Thank you Angie! You might have missed Part 2, but you can find the link at the bottom of this post or on my homepage. There will at least be one more part, maybe two! Thanks for reading!

    2. Thank you Angie! You might have missed Part 2, but you can find the link at the bottom of this post or on my homepage. There will at least be one more part, maybe two! Thanks for reading!