Joan:
Jen and John are finally sleeping. My bed seems especially lonely tonight. I wonder if Ernie is asleep yet. The intake councellor's eyes seemed to question the need for him to be there. "I don't think he belongs here". "He is not this ill". But when I read the brochure on Clinical Depression and checked the symptoms, he had every one of them. WHY didn't anyone at the hospital know?? (I had shared all of his symptoms).

I wanted to make everything alright, but all I could do was hold him. Was up all night. Realized in the car, as we were driving to Philhaven, I hadn't showered. We were driving to the psychiatric facility. We were all in shock. Today went by rather as a dream... John was driving, Jen was beside him looking back to Ernie who was trembling ... I could only hold him.
Ernie:
How do I get back to where I was? I need to get my confidence back and my weight back up. The doctors say that I am in a state of major depression, I have lost 55lbs. I have been at Philhaven for a week and I have not made the progress that I should be making. My roomate has been discharged. I follow a schedule; up at 7 am, then meds, then various activities.

They all seem to have good reasons to be here. Why am I here? My mind feels dulled by the medication. Doctor N. is making regular changes. They say I will feel better when the new medication kicks in. I have no physical strength. It takes all the effort I have to get to my classes. Taking a shower is unbearable.
A NEW HOSPITAL

JOAN - 1996
Over a week in this hospital. The psychiatrist says that Ernie does not present as a psychologically needy patient but is recommending further evaluation and suggests Philhaven Institute (a psychiatric institution). No one seems to have a clue what is wrong with him.

I am bewildered, scared and angry. John sits stonefaced, staring at me like I should do something and looks at his father like he is a stranger. Jen moves around the room comforting and encouraging Ernie, me ... and taking pictures. I know they are both hurting and dealing in their own ways.

We are leaving a place where no one seems to have a clue, to go to another unknown place ... Philhaven? A psychiatric hospital? Ernie was very reluctant to sign himself out of the hospital. Not that he likes it there but he fears the unknown as we do.

As I looked at Ernie, with his head in his hands, I begged him to tell me what was wrong and what he was thinking and wondered if I have done anything to cause his problem.

The Depths of Depression
by Jeanine Pohlhaus
foto8


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