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Eight Days in a Mental Hospital

Last Tuesday, I was feeling anxious and guilty and having suicidal thoughts, so I called the 24-hour crisis hotline. I was just hoping for someone to talk me back from the brink. Instead, they called the police to take me to the emergency room at the local hospital. After that, I was sent on to Generations Behavioral Health, a mental hospital in Youngstown.

To be honest, I was relieved to go, because I thought I would finally be getting some help. And I did get some; they changed my medication, which got rid of the physical part of my anxiety. I’m not waking up one to two hours early, and I don’t have the knot in my stomach that was plaguing me ever since last August.

Unfortunately, there was no therapy at Generations. I talked for a short time with a nurse practitioner every day, and that was it. Sometimes we’d have group activities, but not often. Usually, they’d give us our medicine in the morning and at night, and then they’d leave us to our own devices.

I was upset with this, for two main reasons. First of all, I need way more help than just taking medicine, and I’m sure the other patients did too. In fact, one patient definitely needed a guide or an aid with her at all times, because she would yell out random things and break into song. And the aids there would just tell her to shut up. She wouldn’t, of course, and it made things extra uncomfortable for the rest of us.

Second of all, it was mind-numbingly boring. I brought along my tablet, but we weren’t allowed to have tablets or smartphones. I didn’t bring anything else to do. There was a bookcase of romance paperback novels, a few of which I read. There was a word search book and a lot of coloring pages, with crayons and markers, as well as two TVs and some playing cards. And that was it. That was all there was available to do. The boredom only made my anxiety worse.

I definitely don’t want to go back to that hospital. It had the feel of an institution, and I felt neglected there. I’ve heard there are better mental hospitals out there. For the sake of mentally ill people everywhere, I hope that’s true.

I have to eat my words.

Those of you who have read comments from me on your blog posts probably know that I wasn’t happy about going to work during the COVID-19 crisis, because there was nothing for me to do at work.

Well, I have to eat my words. Because today, due to a stomach bug, I stayed home. And in some ways, staying home is much worse than going to work.

Because I’m all alone. When my mind isn’t focused on something else, there are no other people around to distract me. And I can’t stop myself from thinking horrible, terrifying thoughts.

Now that we’re undergoing a frightening natural disaster, I keep remembering horrific stories about natural disasters, not real ones, but imaginary ones. Now that there’s a situation going on over which I have no control, I keep picturing even more terrifying scenarios where I have no control.

And there’s no one to talk to about it, no one to distract me from my fears.

I am terrified.


Head bowed to the ground,
Back hunched to the sky,
I crawl backwards through time,
Away from the unknown, the painful,
The noisy, the bright, the hot.
Backwards through time
To a warm, quiet shelter
Of memories and dreams.
I am safe.

Why I changed my blog’s name

I won’t just be posting food safety info and recipes to this blog anymore. I have so many strong feelings on so many different topics, and I want to practice my writing. So this blog is no longer only Food Safety and Science. Just like I’m not only a Food Safety Scientist; I’m involved in a lot more.

Selfish, Scary Trump Supporters

The terrifying truth about Trump supporters.

Why are so many people like this? What is remotely okay about literally tearing the rest of the world down to make yourself feel better?

I’m struggling. I’m anxious and alienated, and I feel like I don’t belong in this world. But I still didn’t vote for Trump. You know why? Because I don’t want the rest of the country or the world to be destroyed. Because unlike the people mentioned in this article, I realize that other people have the right not to suffer. Because I’m not an utterly selfish, heartless monster.

Why is basic human empathy such an alien concept to so many people?

The Accident

I was in a bad car accident today. A pickup truck slammed right into the driver’s side of my car. Of course, the car was totaled, but I escaped with chest bruising, probably from hitting the steering wheel. However, I don’t feel lucky to be alive.

You see, the cops said it was 100% my fault, because I was pulling out into oncoming traffic without making sure the coast was clear. That means my insurance won’t pay for a new car, and I have a court day in May. So now, in my mind, what was once an unfortunate, well, accident has now become a failure, a sign of how incompetent I am.

And it’s only the latest one. Last Thursday, I drove over a curb, blew out a tire, and was almost stranded in Millersburg, because every auto service place there closes at 5 or 6. On Friday, Wal-Mart (where I’d been towed) couldn’t fix the car, because for some reason, they couldn’t get the right rim. I was an utterly useless, crying mess for an hour and a half. Everybody at work had to help me–I owe them so much. The car was fixed on Monday. On Wednesday, I tried to drive to a restaurant for an inspection, and got lost; I never made it there. Of course, it was partly over confusion over the address, and I tried to buoy up my self-esteem by telling myself that. I actually made it there and did the inspection yesterday. And now, this horrible thing has happened. That doesn’t even count the small failures I’ve had all week.

I can’t do anything right. No wonder like I’m just being tolerated and humored, like a mentally-handicapped kid at school. No wonder I feel like my parents regard me as their incompetent daughter, whom they have to keep pulling out of these situations and for whom they have to keep driving up to Wooster and spending money. I feel humiliated and degraded by it all, and I’ve practically lost all confidence in myself.

Personal Update

My first year working on my Master of Public Health is done.

I’m doing a summer internship at Franklin County Health Department. It’s a great place to work, and I’m really enjoying it. Right now I’m analyzing the data from a project on infant mortality in Ohio. My supervisor has also arranged for me to go on some inspection tours, once he learned I wanted to be a registered sanitarian.

I’ve actually been working at this internship since May. This little personal update is almost two months late.