Especially at a VA psych ward, you’ll eventually come across “regulars” (much like me, although I was able to stay out for a little over a year). One of these is a guy. Let’s call him Andrew. Andrew and I went through a partial hospitalization program called “Day Hospital”. During this time, we became friendly, but as usual (with me, at least) these friendliness periods do not become real friendships. I knew him as a calm, cool person.
Last night, however, he had a little bit of an outburst. In the day room, we have a tiny little fridge we can use to put little things, like leftover milk, or a yogurt you didn’t want to eat for breakfast, but maybe wanted to eat later. The rules of the fridge are unwritten and kind of fluid. they go from “label your food so nobody can take it” to “if you didn’t put it in, it’s not for you to eat.” It seems this time around, we are in the latter. Well, Andrew took a blueberry yogurt that, let’s call him Mike, had saved for later. When Andrew took it, Mike noticed it, and said, Hey man, that yogurt is mine.” This made Andrew flip out into a screaming match that continued for what seemed to be hours, but it was probably 10 minutes or so. In the end, Mike kept his yogurt.
But Andrew isn’t the only one with outbursts. On Monday night, the football game was going on. At the time of the football game, I had a migraine. Everything seemed louder than it really was. And as I was sitting to wait for my medication, I blurted out “Fucking awesome! You bring me where everybody is hooting and hollering while I have a migraine!”
All people present were like “WTF? Nobody is being loud”
So yeah, I guess my point with this post is that anyone can be disruptive. The difference is that one was more of a confrontation, and the other one was just plain weird.
And from a wellness standpoint, these two outbursts could have been avoided. Let’s dissect this. Let’s start with Andrew’s tirade.
As soon as Andrew found out the yogurt he really wanted and was already probably savoring in his mind, he had 2 choices. He could have just said “Sorry Mike, I didn’t see a label or a name on it, so I thought it was fair game. I’ll put it back in the fridge.” OR he could have gotten angry, screamed his lungs out and created a disruptive scene. Which one do you think was the better option?
As for my own outburst, not excusing it, but I do get very sound-sensitive when I get migraines. However, I still had 2 choices. Scream like I did, OR remind myself that nobody really knew that sounds bothered me immensely, and just quietly wait for my meds. Which one was the better reaction?
We may have mental illnesses that limit us, but we have a choice in how we respond to life. Just because we have an illness, it does not excuse us from acting up all crazy (unless you’re very seriously mentally ill).