Good morning! As I had previously touched upon the first step to recovery in my webpage entitled The First Step, underneath the subtitle of “Recovery” (see this link ), the first step towards my recovery was to find some combination of medication that would bring me back to reality from all the delusions and hallucinations.
I had never been on any medications prior to my crime, because unfortunately, no one I associated with recognized that something wasn’t quite right with it. When I started speaking in tongues, (glossolalia as it’s called), my Native American boyfriend thought I was possessed by a demon and simply did what he had been taught: smudge my house with what I believe was sweet sage.
If your not familiar with smudging, it simply involves a mixture of sacred herbs, bound tightly together, resembling a large stick, and then lighting it and going from room to room filling them with the smoke. This is suppose to get rid of any negative entities that may be residing in the home. So in his mind, he did what he thought was best and simply left me and the children after staying one night.
Now when I was brought to jail the first time, (I spent three months there waiting for an opening at the forensic hospital.) the local psychiatrist tried to give me some medications to help me. I was in a very hyper manic state in which I couldn’t sleep. I was drinking water constantly under the delusion that I was “fasting.” This was another Christian principle I’d been exposed to as a child – (the idea being that if you didn’t eat for several days, and just drank water, you would receive some type of revelation from God.)
Being that I felt like my whole imprisonment wasn’t real and that it was all a test of my faith for my belief in the Great Spirit, I refused to take any medications. Basically, I wasn’t given any medications until the Judge sent me to the forensic hospital and ordered that I take the medications.
Initially, I refused; this resulted in being tackled down in the “quiet room,” my pants being pulled down to expose my buttocks, and a nice large needle with medication was inserted into my body. At first, the hospital simply tried their best to sedate me since I had been manic and awake for days. I believe it was haldol they first gave me; however, I am not sure.
[I intend to get a copy of my medical records so I can follow all the medication changes that I have been through these past sixteen years.]
Anyways, I spent three months in the institution and was sent back to jail for my trial. The medications they had me on, really sedated me heavily and I spent most my time in jail either sleeping, reading, or playing solitaire. Ten months, and four psychiatric evaluations later, I was given the NGRI (not guilty by reason of insanity) judgement.
I then went back to the forensic institution. During the first two years, my first psychologist; whom I spent an hour with every week, if not more, suggested that I write poetry again as I had mentioned to her that I use to write. I don’t recall her name or even a face to go with her, all I remember is that she was a female. She started me on the right path towards recovery by allowing me the freedom of speech within my poems. Some were angry, some were depressing, others were hopeful and inspirational.
They also had a newsletter that was written entirely by the patients. Being that I could type, I soon became the typist and editor for this newsletter, along with being a writer of several articles. Now, in retrospect, I wish I had saved those articles. I did; however, it was on the old floppy disks that I kept for several years and since technology changes so fast, I lost everything I had once written…
Another thing I did, was research on schizophrenia…for at first, I didn’t believe I had schizophrenia, I just thought I had a evil, negative entity that me possessed me to commit this act. Yet after researching and reading about the different types of delusions, primarily delusions of control and persecutory delusions, I decided to test it out for myself…
I started to “cheek” my medications: in other words, after the second year, I would on occasion hide my pills and then throw them in the trash. After doing this for about a month, some of the really negative intrusive thoughts and delusions came back. Intrusive thoughts are a form of hallucinations in which the thought that the person is experiencing don’t seem to come from their own mind, but from other sources, such as aliens, or the devil, or a particular person or individual.
At first, I thought I was experiencing repressed memories that were floating into my consciousness; however, after about three months and a medication change by adding another pill for psychosis…the thoughts just went away.
My persecutory delusions consisted of being molested and raped by my father and being forced into a form of childhood prostitution. I had intrusive thoughts that my Dad was molesting my baby daughter (for my parents had adopted her) and as a result, I didn’t speak to my family for three months.
After the thoughts subsided, I slowly awakened to the fact that I did indeed have schizophrenia and I have been taking, faithfully, my medications. The term for this is being “medication compliant.”
To conclude, my first steps in recovery were to find the right combination of medications that kept me in the reality that I was in a mental institution, my son was dead, and I had to live by the institution’s rules, or else be written up in my chart as being “non-compliant.” The medication changes came about every three months (during those first couple of years) as I saw the psychiatrist on a regular basis.
My next step was to use my skills as a writer to help cope with the terrible reality I was facing. Finally, one of my last early steps, was to begin to believe and accept that I had schizophrenia and was now being kept “indefinitely” in the state’s mental institution.