June 29th -- Departure from the Psychiatric Hospital(excerpt)_________________________ __________________(names changed)
Yes, June 29th was a very special day. I got up extra early to buy a soft-drink from the machine, in keeping with tradition (I always buy a drink from the machine on days when it looks like I'm going to be discharged). This time it was Creaming Soda (everyone calls it 'Creamy' soda, it's even labeled that way on the machine), and I drank it before breakfast.
Most of my gear was already packed, so it didn't take long to get the rest of it into the bags. At nine a.m. I came downstairs carrying everything. Sitting in the lounge, I expected Dad to come by at any moment so I looked up from my book every now & then at the passing cars. At one point I thought I saw the blue car arriving, so I went to the nurses' station and asked Nurse Barbara for my pair of scissors, the ones that were confiscated on March 4th. She searched through the cupboard for a while but eventually she had to admit that she couldn't my find scissors. Let this be a lesson to all mental patients: once something gets confiscated, chances are you'll never see it again.
Hanging out in the foyer, I overheard Wally on the phone -- apparently he and Lulu absconded together yesterday. How romantic. I noticed Lulu spent the morning in the lock-up which has been renamed HDA, High Dependency Area. Wally asked for my phone number, so I gave him the number of my parents. Ditto for Natassia. Ditto for Robert. I wonder if they'll ever ring me. It must have been about eleven when Pa walked in, while I was sitting on the couch talking to Cindy. As I left I answered the waves and goodbyes that came from the sitting-outside clique... and that was it, the end of an era. Will they miss me? Some of them will. They generally had an admiration for me. I'm much pleased that I left a positive impression on them.
July 7th -- A Brief Return to Psychiatric Hospital(excerpt)_________________________ __________________(names changed)
It wasn't quite half-past eleven when I got off the tram at the hospital -- the appointment was at twelve so I had plenty of time to wander 'round the grounds like I used to do. I went to the activities centre and played piano, with good results. Then, with some nervousness, I entered Ward North 6 and announced myself to the nurses there. Whitney and Dustin the doctors were a bit late, so I had lunch in the dining room like old times.
At first none of the patients said hi, and I thought maybe they thought they were hallucinating me. But then Natassia said hi, and Mary said hi, and Timothy, and maybe Robert. I wish Lulu had said hi, but she was busy. I finished lunch and started to watch Ricky Lake downstairs, but then along came Whitney and the appointment started. It was basically just to wrap things up -- she gave me the results of the personality test which identified my problem areas, nothing new there. She gave me a few sheets of paper showing me how to contact various helping organisations -- it looks like I'm the one who's expected to get in touch with them, but I really can't be bothered. Not before August the 8th. Not even after August the 8th probably, though I'll be inclined to get in touch with "GROW", the discussion group people, when I work out where I'll be living. Anyway, without further ado or discussion of Prozac, the meeting ended and my link with the hospital was cut.
As I was walking out the door, Mary was on the phone to Wally and she interrupted her phone call to ask me, "Are you leaving now? For good?", and I said "Yes" and she said "But I love you!" and I was taken aback so far I didn't know quite what to say. She put me on the phone to Wally and he asked me how I'm doing and where I am -- it was only a short conversation. I handed the phone back to Mary and she kissed me on the cheek and wished me good luck and she said "bye" and I said "bye" and I left. There were so many supportive things I should've said to her on departure, but I didn't think of any because that's the way it goes. Mary -- she doesn't have my address, but what she said to me was really touching 'cause her admiration for me isn't based on any outward impression, she knows a lot about me from reading what I've written, and she can see more good in me than bad. It's a self-esteem raiser. And she sounded so blatantly sincere... anyway, those last few moments at North 6 were among the most wonderful, thanks to Mary. I hope she won't miss me too much. As I walked to the tram-stop, listening to Gloria Estefan music, North 6 shrunk into the distance and I silently thanked it for all its happy memories and learning experiences. It was really rather poignant as I was seeing everything for the last time. You wouldn't believe the number of times I looked back.