Into the Dark

By Michelle Lemme


Thank you all for your positive thoughts and prayers during, what has been the most difficult period of my life.   I will do my utmost to provide you with an informative and accurate picture of what recently took place and where, in my journey, I am at the moment.  What I cannot do, is provide you with an accurate depiction of our lives with my 20 year old daughter (SA) for the better part of the last 7 years.

I was officially hospitalized on May 2nd, committed to the psychiatric ICU; I was admitted after having been brought to emergency, for the third time.  At that point, I was absolutely positive, in my mind, that my youngest daughter (LA) and husband were trying to kill me in an effort to cover up, that it was really LA who had done all of the really awful things that my oldest child had done herself and our family.

Believe me, I was unable to articulate any of this “crazy” thinking to my sobbing 18 year old child and loving husband.  Both of them just knew that I needed to go to the hospital.

We were still reeling when after a brief encounter with a staff psychiatrist, we were sent back home and told to return to the mental health floor in the morning, where I was to meet with one of the doctors dealing with patients in crisis.  After a brief encounter with the physician, I was put on an antipsychotic med and again, sent home with instructions to return in one week.

It is important for you to understand the physical condition I was in prior to visiting the emergency to truly appreciate how ludicrous sending me home was.

For several weeks, I had been hearing SA’s and her dad’s voices.  I was absolutely certain that when I heard them, they were outside of our house, trying to convince me to let SA return to our home to live (we made the difficult decision to make her leave our home last May, after she physically assaulted me; which was the culmination of many, many altercations we went through).

In a desperate attempt to deal with my intrusive and growing feelings of “guilt” I started to become obsessed with changing/cleaning everything in our house.  I was moving furniture, pictures, plants (all things that weigh more than I did) back and forth, never being able to really finish a room.  I began to stay up late, hiding the cleaning and moving of furniture from my husband and daughter; needless to say, I was physically broken.  I regularly scrubbed my feet for hours on end, believing them to be filthy always wondering why I could never seem to get them clean.  In reality they were swollen and bruised, honestly, I have no idea how I was able to even stand.  I had countless contusions on my legs, arms, back and bum (I actually climbed inside our bathroom cabinet and scrubbed the imagined filth with a toothbrush, using bleach and tilex, with the bathroom door closed, so no one would know what I was up to – it is a wonder that I didn’t kill myself inhaling all of those toxic fumes in such a small confined space).    I was, in a word, crazy.   The more I cleaned and hid the cleaning, the more convinced I became that my husband only cared about his car and himself and was making the rest of the family  live in what I believed was “filth”.

All of my crazy thoughts and actions are difficult to capture in writing, suffice to say, that when we were sent home from the hospital without a diagnosis or any real help, I begged my daughter and husband to phone 911 to tell them that I was psychotic and needed to be committed to hospital —-I cannot begin to articulate the nightmare that ensued.  Just know, that I was brought to the hospital by emergency services in handcuffs (I won’t spend time writing about the abuse I suffered at the hands of the police).   We spent the night in the emergency ward until a bed became available in the psych ICU.  While we waited I had had a CAT Scan of my head to ensure that there was not a tumor causing me to be insane. Thankfully, the CAT Scan came back and showed nothing abnormal.

Absolutely, without doubt, the most terrifying and hideous experience of my life.

I spent two weeks in hospital, where I made lots of friends  and had many interesting and unreal conversations!!  I have completed 3 weeks of Day Hospital, which focused on breathing techniques and other useful tricks to help “tame” the mind.  I started Day Treatment two weeks ago, which is much more in depth and will focus on Cognitive Behavior therapy (i.e. changing my thinking patterns).

My diagnosis is “Major Depressive Disorder with psychotic features”. I also have obsessive compulsive disorder (ruminating thoughts which can be paralyzing & the need to clean obsessively).  While some with this diagnosis spend hours sleeping, I am at the opposite end of the spectrum – which means I never stop moving and need to do something every minute of the day, in order to keep the demons at bay.

While I am working hard to get better, I am grieving the loss of my relationship with my child.  She too, suffers from mental illness; however, I can no longer put her well-being ahead of my own health or that of my youngest daughter and husband.  I do not want to get into the history of things that have gone on in the past; suffice to say, that the decision to cut her out of our lives has come with a very high price and only after many years of seeking and asking for help for her – she has not been willing or able to help herself.  Please pray for all of us.