By Erica Loberg
Key Themes: memoir, diary, hypomania, bipolar disorder, psychiatry
Inside the Insane is a first hand account of life inside a psychiatric crisis ward in Los Angeles, California. From patients suffering from chronic paranoid schizophrenia to bipolar disorder disease, to major depressive disorder, Inside the Insane takes the reader inside the walls of the mentally insane and manifests the realities of the human condition.
Erica provides detailed accounts of patients screaming in restraints, to being locked in seclusion, to suffering from over medication, in radical raw detail. She also takes a look at the mental health system in Los Angeles County and exposes the concealed world of how society treats the mentally ill. From locked institutions, to board and cares, to living on the streets in Skid Row, the horrific conditions surrounding the life of a person suffering from a mental illness is explicitly exposed.
Told through the eyes of a person dealing with her own mental illness, Inside the Insane also takes the reader on a personal journey of Ericaís manic self-destruction, deep depression, and the process of treatment, medication and recovery. Her authentic journal entries beginning in 1999 expose her mental illness before knowledge of its existence. Her accounts of flying through the streets of New York, to sitting solemn on a fire escape in lonely depression, call attention to her life before treatment. As a result, an in-depth analysis of her own writings, coupled with the writings of previous renowned writers who also suffered from manic depression, underscores the potential to discover a person suffering from a mental illness prior to a first mental break. Such a discovery offers the chance to anticipate a mental illness and can help an individual seek treatment before it results in a suicide attempt, or a hospitalization.
In 2005, Erica was diagnosed with chronic hypomania, Bipolar II, which was a turning point in her life as she began the process of psychiatric treatment. True journal accounts of her ongoing attempt to find the right medication to balance her highs and lows reveal the struggles she endures and how she works to handle that condition on an ongoing basis. She also discloses how her condition affects family and friends, and how those relationships are defined and redefined before and after the discovery of her disease.
This groundbreaking expose opens the door to a world that has traditionally been locked up and ignored, and exposes it with shocking detail as the hidden truths inside the minds of the insane are intensely uncovered.
About the Author
Erica Loberg was born in 1977 and raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her Bachelorís in English from Columbia University. Erica was diagnosed with chronic hypomania, Bipolar II, in 2005 and continues down the road of psychiatric treatment. Currently, she lives in downtown LA and works with the mentally ill, who inspired her to write this book.
This is Erica's first book.
July 2, 2008 Ė THE FIRST DAY
It was like going through an earthquake all fucking day. I walked into the dungeon with locked doors every few feet and that hospital smell that seeps into your fingers and nests in your fingernails and no matter how much you try, you canít shake the thought that you are going to have to get used to that smell. That greasy, sick, been-in-bed-way-too-long-with-no-soap stench that made my empty stomach find itself vomit to suppress the look of white fear on my shock-waved face.
I have to tell you I didnít expect to be so close to crazy, and I mean crazy unlike any crazy Iíve ever slipped as a normal word that people use without any consideration to the real meaning until itís walking down a hall with slice marks on its neck while you kneel down to speak to a patient that tried to kill her mother and needs to hear her options for her next move out of the hospital. Itís something like that.
I think my white face turned to shaking hands when I walked by a woman in a room in solitary confinement standing watching a wall, then moments later I heard a bang and a raucous explosion as she tore off her clothes and smeared her shit on the walls.
I started to pray to my grandfatherís spirit. He used to work in a hospital delivering babies and my mom said she never saw him because he worked so hard. I figured a hospital smell must have felt like home to him, so I called out to him for the ability to smell the tiles and walk by bodies with uniforms and an elevator that overruns itself then stops with a drop, so much that anyone on the brink of it may just barf right about now. And I felt the yearning to feel something calming enough to walk forward and swallow fresh without a cold palm or deep bowel eruption. Calling on a dead one that you never knew to love, but do regardless, does the job. He was something there for me to focus on and it made me breathe, which was the hardest out of all the hard things to do that first day. Breathing was Mount Sinai.
The day started out peacefully. I sat in a meeting with a table of doctors, interns, psychiatrists and social workers. We went through all fourteen clients and spoke about their current mental status. The attendant sat at the head of the squad when the alarm went off like a fire bell.
ďErica, did you lean on the alarm?Ē He smiled and I sat up real straight without realizing he was kidding. Turns out it wasnít me. There was an episode in the hallway that required the alarm for assistance. It was called a Code Green. A Code Green was called if a patient had an outburst that required a team of people to come as fast as possible to assist in wrestling the patient to the ground, injecting him with tranquilizing meds, then tying him or her down in restraints on all four corners of the bed. Sometimes I would hear it in the lobby waiting for the elevator to take me to the 8th floor.
ďCode Green, 9th Floor. Code Green, 9th Floor.Ē It was announced by a recording of a calm woman with an easygoing inflection in her voice. It was used for severe situations on the ward. It was my first day and the code was called. That bell must have been used two weeks ago when a nurse was pulled into a room by a 300-pound patient and thrown on the floor to be raped, and barely escaped thanks to that alarm. Sheís now at home resting for a few weeks because sheís dealing with shock. Thatís another type of earthquake.
Sometimes youíre hardcore, youíre outside of yourself, your brain, and your living known experience and then something happens. You are driving down the fast lane on the freeway and a belt of manic hyper voice releases from your lips and you grab the wheel and drive hard in your crazy moment that is, or was, ďtotal control,Ē to oh whoa, I'm on the side of the peel that is biting and ugly and time runs wild and youíre somewhere else but still somewhere so itís not a problem.
Is that mania?
Is that mania?
Is that what constitutes mania?
Because since Iíve been here Iíve seen people outside of their orbit or any solar system I ever dreamed existed.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 16 March, 2011.