locked in

When I was a senior in college, I was admitted to the locked psychiatric ward of a major hospital.

Since I was 14, I had suffered silently from a particularly awful form of OCD. Thoughts
of harming someone occupied my mind from the time I woke in the morning until I finally closed my mind at night.

It was 1964, and nobody knew about OCD. I thought I was the only person in the world who had this awful thing that went on in my head while I made the Dean’s list, the National Honor Society, and appeared to have it all
together.

I finally collapsed one day, and told my family about the thoughts.
I saw a psychiatrist who recommended hospitalization. He diagnosed me as a paranoid schizophrenic and put me on a killer combination of the new thorazine tranquilizers. They didn’t help, of course, because I was not a schizophrenic.

But they sure made me sleep well.

I didn’t graduate that year, and when they unlocked the door and I went home, there were two letters waiting for me. One contained the glowing scores I had made on the Graduate Record Exams. The other was an acceptance from the University of Michigan’s English Department.

I got over the OCD. I graduated from college four years later. No longer locked in.

11 thoughts on “locked in

  1. Interesting…I think they were going through a phase….like “Bi-polar” has been! I sent for old psych records from KC Mental Health Center for 1966-1969. I was surprised at the Dx of schizophrenia too. It was my first, short marriage with two years of therapy. It was depression actually!

    No, you never mentioned this hospitalization……I mean understand why.

  2. Phew… strong stuff! I’m a tad confused… your blog title is “Almost the Truth” … should I read each post with the proverbial pinch of salt? 😉

  3. You have my admiration. What a frightening thing to go through. It seems that the “cure” was almost as bad as the condition. You should be very proud of yourself for not only surviving, but going on to achieve what you did in life. And how brave of you to write about it, too.

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