Monday, December 15, 2014

Part Three

They transferred me to the University Neuropsychiatric Institute at 2 in the morning. They kept me in a stretcher because apparently its protocol to transfer by ambulance. I was totally ok with this since it was so late and I was exhausted. I feel that I had been through so much. At this point, I didn't care where they took me or what they were doing with me. All the processes were so time consuming. Checking me in to UNI and them filling out paperwork. It smelled just like a real hospital, sanatizer and linens.  I hate that smell.

The large Polynesian guy who was the lead on night shift came down to get me.  He had islander tattoos on both his arms which originated from under his short sleeve shirt and went to his wrists.  He sported a red baseball ball cap and gym shorts.  Tua helped me out of the stretcher and asked me to follow him. We rode the elevator from the admission lobby to the 3rd floor.  It was eerily quiet but super bright in this place. The florescent lights were killing me.  I was so drained. Emotionally and physically. My body pleaded for sleep. My friendly giant still had to do all my assessments. He checked my blood pressure and got my vitals for the night. Then he lead me to the restroom where he had me change into  over sized, bright red scrubs. I still had my iPhone on me. No one had asked for it. back in the intake room on the 3rd floor, I snapped the above pic. I was texting my parents and  giving them a play by play of what was happening.  Finally, Tua noticed my phone and said " Oh, hey man, ugh, you're not allowed to have that anymore. " I handed over my last item to the outside world and watched him pick up my clothes, bag everything and take it into the locked storage area. He handed me this yellow bin that had toiletries and underwear in it. This seemed like prison.  I was finally showed to my room. It had a bed, a desk, and a attached bathroom. I turned off the lights and crawled in. I felt like a prisoner. The blankets were scratchy. The bed was stiff. And everything smelled sterilized. I was miserable.

During the nights at UNI, the staff checks on you every hour. They do this by coming to your room, looking through the glass window on your door, and shining a bright flashlight onto your face. They do this to make sure you are OK.  It sucks. 

The next day I was immediately was seen by all sorts of professionals. Medical doctors, therapists, psychologists etc. They had me speak to everyone about my issues and how I was feeling. They made me tell them my story. About what I had done in the past. They wanted to know how long I had felt this way.They asked probing questions into my mind and my beliefs. They felt like they were figuring me out. Like I was some math problem and a simple solution would fix me somehow.  At times I felt like just another name on paper. Another troubled person who they had all seen a thousand times before. This went on for a couple days.

At UNI, its one big schedule.  There is a time for everything. meds, breakfast, morning group, therapy, psych clinic, lunch, rest, group therapy, doctors, dinner, night group, downtime, meds, bedtime. This is what happened very single day except the weekends, when then its just a muddled down version.

 I met a lot of characters during my stay. I met a lot of the staff. The spectrum was huge. There were patients there who seemed completely normal. there were some who seemed not so much. During our group therapy sessions, these men and women would share some of their stories of their life and why they were there. It was during one of these sessions that really helped me.  Slumped on the couch in my red scrubs, I listened to the heartaches and trials others went through. So many times during the last 6 months of my life, I had felt so alone in my feelings. As if I was the only one who was going through these emotions. Then, here I was listening to a handful of people in the same room as I describe in detail, the exact same emotions and feelings. I quickly learned that I was in fact , not alone in my feelings. The thoughts and emotion which I was going through were actually pretty common with people. This blew my mind. I never in a million years would have believed that someone else could have understood me.  It was at this time, slumped in the couch I had an awkward moment. This woman, maybe 35 years old, her brown hair was a mess and would fall in front of her black, thick frame glasses. She was sharing her story and describing a very similar thought process which I had experienced.  The room was somber, and everyone was intently listening as she talked through the tears running down her face. We were seated in a large circle with all our eyes on her.  Another lady, a plump younger gal with blonde tight curls sat across from me in a wooden chair was crying with her as well. I looked back at the mid thirty year old and realized how crazy I must have been to think that I was the only one feeling a certain way. What a joke! How ignorant could I be? I realized in this moment how idiotic I was for thinking no one could understand my emotions. As I was dealing with these new thoughts, I let out a soft chuckle and smiled. Coming to this understanding was humorous to me of how I could have possibly reasoned this way. Mid smile, I caught the eye of the blonde. She couldn't believe her eyes. Here, this lady is pouring out her heart and soul and the new red headed guy is smiling?  If looks could kill, I don't think I would be here. Of course I wiped the smile off my face and looked back at the speaker.  I felt her gaze upon me though the rest of the session. I could feel her watching me and waiting to see if I would laugh or smile again. I sat up straight and paid full attention the rest of the hour.

On top of this new realization, I had another major breakthrough. It happened with a student psychologist. His name was Mike. It was the first time meeting with him and I was shown to a new room. It was a simple visiting room with four comfortable chairs.  He was tall and had black hair. Maybe 30-35 years old.  You could see his black stubble and just knew this guy had a wicked 5 o clock shadow in the afternoons. Mike wore black slacks and a white collar, button up shirt with a black skinny tie. His hair was nicely parted and he carried a note pad with him. He looked like a Men In Black agent.  I went in in and sat down. " Hello Morgan, My name is Mike. I am not a licensed doctor but I am finishing up my school and residence here and I work with other people who have similar cases as you do. If you wish to have a full fledged doctor talk with you, you can and we will reschedule that for you. " He had a thick accent and it took me a second to realize where it was from. " So, Morgan, what do you want to do? "  "Oh yeah, sorry. Yes its fine. Ill talk to you. I don't mind.... Do you miss Boston?"  "Wow, you're the first person to get that right. Everyone guesses New york or Chicago.  But yes, I do miss Boston. Ill be back by the end of the year."

Mike was so easy to talk to. Partly because he wasn't from Utah. He was a little calloused and hard spoken. He was seasoned and would just tell you how it was. He didn't sugar coat anything and certainly didn't try to make you feel special. He was real. He called it as he saw it and I respected him for that. I spilled my whole story and he listened intently. I explained everything in detail and got it all out. He would ask questions about certain thing. Clarify here, clarify there. Then would say "Continue."  In his thick Dochester accent He finally said " Morgan, your anxiety is from you living in the future. You are causing yourself all sorts of heartache and pain from things that HAVEN'T EVEN HAPPENED YET! Why stress about things that you don't even know how they will play out? You cant live life like that. And you need to trust me on that one because in a couple of months they're going to give me a piece of paper that says I'm a bonafied advice giver" I looked at him and we both started to laugh. " In all seriousness though, I know you have been through a lot. A woman broke your heart and that is terrible. Time will heal huge wounds. Talking to the right people will keep you straight and thinking clearly. But hell, don't obsess over the what ifs. Think about the baby steps. Instead of thinking months down the road, think about today. And when you get good at that, think about the week. You need to get Morgan all squared away. You need to focus on you getting healthy ok?  Don't worry about her. There's not one damn thing you can do to change her or her behavior. You change Morgan's behavior and things will line up."   I really didn't even think like this before. I needed to stop living in the future, stop worrying about things not in my control.  " Yeah you're right Mike." I said to him. We stood up. Our session was over. We were both smiling. " Mr. Morgan, you're going to be alright you know that? " " I think I will be. Thanks"  " No problem."  I started to walk out of our little meeting room. "Oh!" he says, " I forgot to tell you, When you get out on Tuesday, get laid''  We both started laughing and I jokingly replied " Ill try."   What an awesome guy Mike was.

The rest of my stay was pretty quick. My parents and brothers came up to visit me which helped a lot. They even brought me Arbys one day. I just wanted to go home though. I was done here. I wanted to get home to start focusing on myself. I wanted to stop living in the future and start making progress.

I never felt better walking out of those front doors anxious to get home. I finally got my iPhone back and plugged it in my moms Jeep. When it turned on, I snapped the picture above. I knew I had been through so much and felt like seeing what I looked like. I think the story is in my eyes here. I think you can see the pain. Behind that pain though, was hope. Behind that pain, was a new life. When I see this picture of myself, I think I was saying goodbye some how. Goodbye to my old life.  Yeah, goodbye to the old.  This was me, letting go of the future and embracing the present.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Jaguar


It was a steal of a deal for the slick black Jag.  It had leather interior and low miles because of a rebuilt engine.  It was only a  fraction of the price of other comparable models. The only cosmetic issue was a battle wound on the side that left some paint scratched. It wasn't bad at all though. My best friend succumbed to desire and brought it home that night.  Little did he know, it really was too good to be true.

It was a junk yard motor that was crap. He ended up putting in $6000 towards a fuel pump, O2 sensors, new tires, rims, wire harness and exhaust system when all said and done. Countless trips to the mechanic pushed him to his limits.

I remember going to at least to three mechanic appointments. It finally came to the point where my friend was done. After picking his car up after the many fixes, he asked the mechanic "What is she worth? I mean, if I decide to sell it ..."

The old mechanic had this look of surprise at first then his face shifted into thought. "Hmmpft" he sighed as he put his fist under his chin, still deep in thought. His overalls were all black with grease. I think at one time they might have been blue. His hands seemed stained with thick motor oil. It was sure that he knew his ins and outs.  He cleared his throat. " The thing is..." He said. " This car just don't have a pretty story. I don't know who would want this car, let alone pay for it."  

Pierced. His words pierced my soul. Not because he was talking about a car. But because somehow I felt he was talking about me.  I didn't have a pretty story. Who would want me? 

We grow up our whole lives hearing how special and so talented we are. How we have so many great qualities and lovable attributes.  Well, sorry.  Life happens and changes everything. Life can be a cold-hearted  kick in the mouth.

You see, who would want a divorced, late twenties, guy with a kid? Who would want a guy with no college education who has a median income ? Who would want a guy who had a failed marriage? Who would want a guy who had attempted suicide? Doesn't that scream red flags? Is that not a deal breaker?  I don't have a pretty story. I did everything backwards of what I wanted to do, of what I intended to do.  Looking back, I was so caught up in the moment of things.

I served a two year mission for the LDS church. I intended to get home, go to college, date a lot and get married in the temple. I had every missionary's dream homecoming.

I was married six weeks after I returned home. Not in the temple, but at our local chapel. Two months later, my wife was pregnant with my son. We had ended up moving a few times and I never felt I had the opportunity to go to school. I had to provide for my family.  I picked up random jobs here and there throughout the first part of our marriage. Nothing career worthy.  Through stress, marriage and a kid, I put on weight. I  wasn't happy with my situation at all. It wasn't how I thought my life would go. All of this contributed to the end of my marriage. (This is a whole other post in itself)

So here I am 4 years later, hearing this wrinkled, seasoned mechanic say " It doesn't have a pretty story."

That old Jaguar and I had so much in common. We both started out new and shiny. We both started out with an awesome story.  Now here we were. All used and washed up with countless issues, problems and baggage.  Who would want me? 

I still relate to that damn car.  I have plenty of battle wounds just as the sports car did.  I still struggle countless times a day with the feeling of being inadequate.  I continue to push on as weak as I feel. I continue to find support in friends and family.

Unlike the Jaguar, I know I will, can and have been restored. Many of my issues have been overcome. A lot of baggage I had, has been unpacked and put away. Many scars have been healed and repaired.  I am changing week after week to become a better me.  Maybe I won't be new and shiny again. I definitely have a few miles under my hood. But I will be an steal of deal. No secrets, no surprises. No hidden issues.  I'll be ready to give it my all with confidence. I'll be ready to fly. I need someone who isn't afraid of a little wear and tear. I still have many, many miles left in me.

Who will fly with me?


P.S. The Jaguar went on to bless a life tremendously. It brought happiness and eased the stress of another.  I like that.