Bipolar Christian Bible Study

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Eating Disorders Bible Study

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Shelli's Sanctuary

Bipolar Christian

Bipolar Christian Biography

The Life of a Bipolar Christian Soul

Hello ... My name is Shelli. Welcome to my little corner of the universe. I would like to begin by sharing a little about myself with you ...

I am a Bipolar Christian.

Many years ago, I was a wife and a mother of three children. I had everything a woman could desire. I was part of a loving family. We lived in a beautiful home. We had worked hard to get what we wanted, but even that too, was welcome. Yes, I had the fairy tale, that we all secretly dream of.

Suddenly, without warning my whole world crumbled beneath me. The culprit that caused this, was Bipolar Disorder. One day I would be at home making a meal for my family. The next day, I would find myself trying to find something or someone which inevitably evaded my grasp. This Bipolar disease occurs without warning. The Bipolar signs, the Bipolar symptoms are there if only you know how to look for them. In recognizing this Bipolar truth, how does one survive a manic or a depressive episode? If it is possible to live through it. How does one survive and still remain whole?

Hello ... My name is Shelli, and I have Bipolar.

Shelli awoke early that morning. There was a lot to do. The herb festival was taking place and she had volunteered to man a booth. The girls, were asleep in the next room while the baby lay in between her and her husband David. Swiftly she left the bed. As she stood she coughed. The bronchitis had not yet left her body. She had tried to rest, but the grueling week and left her susceptible to whatever illness the girls had brought home from school.

"Come on girls. Time to get up." She spoke softly as she nudged their shoulders gently. Each in turn they stirred and resisted their mother's wake up call. "Remember we have the herb festival to go to. Come on. You said you'd watch the baby for me." The girls sat up in their beds. They were sisters. Just sixteen months apart. Yet they looked as different as night and day. Sherri the oldest had long brown hair and light blue eyes while the younger sister Jeanna had blonde hair and sapphire blue eyes. Sherri was tanned even though Summer was long past. While Jeanna was as milky white as the pillow she rested her head on.

"Ok, Mom," they moaned in chorus as they sat themselves up on their beds. Shelli headed down the stairs to gather the blueberry muffins that she had made the night before. They sat respectively on the counter. Neat in their dresses of saran wrap. She lay them carefully in the bottom of a basket. Carefully placing them so the crown would remain full and pointed. She then returned to the bedroom to wake and dress the baby, calling out from time to time to speed the progress of the older two children as her husband rolled over and threw his arm across his face. She couldn't blame him he had driven in the late night exhausted from his reserve duty. Shelli had kept the house going all week, shuttling the kids from event to event meanwhile caring for a 4 year old baby and maintaining a part time position in a psychiatric facility teaching teenage boys English while they received treatment for their personal issues while serving time for offenses they had committed. The work was challenging, but she loved it. That was until she began to feel the pressure of both work and home the previous week. It's impossible to rest she thought to herself when everyone was wanting your time.

Now the herb festival. With the muffins in one arm and baby in the other, Shelli walked out to the blue minivan. The girls reluctantly followed. Handing muffins to Sherri and Jeanne, Shelli firmly reminded them of their responsibilities of the day. "Now you two are going to watch Crystal while I work the booth. Right?"

Again the chorus sang "Right."

The festival was crowded. The booths were set up and people wandered from one to the other. Shelli and her entourage stopped at the children's booth. "Now you two can watch Crystal here while I help at the booth. It shouldn't be longer than an hour. " With that she left the two girls standing both holding one of the baby's hand.

The booth stood at the back of the festival, but Shelli could see her family clearly. Most of the women were older than she, but the greeted her with warmth and enthusiasm. Shelli handed her basket of muff.

Shelli handed the basket over to the lady. As the lady put the basket down and transferred the muffins from the basket to the selling tray another much younger lady came up behind her and deftly grabbed two muffins and stuck them in her purse.

She took this in.

"You know," said the older lady to the muffin snatcher. "She left her kids at the children's booth and they've been doing nothing, but fighting since."

"Yes, I see," she responded.

Shelli felt shame. She quickly glanced over to the children's area, but could not see her daughters and the supposed struggle. She once again set her mind to the task at hand as she felt fatigue wash over her.

Shelli smiled as she bartered with an older couple. "Two muffins for the price of one?"

"They're your last two. I would think that you'd want to get rid of them they've been here all day. And then you can leave since you've nothing else to sell. "

"I guess I can let you have two for one at full price."

"Sold!" exclaimed the man as he unwrapped a blueberry muffin and handed the chocolate one tow his wife. Shelli put up the trays as the two moved on to the next booth. She scanned the crowd for a glimpse of her three children. The crowd had thinned, but she did not see them. Just then two boys came up with leaflets. Flavored cooking or for sale. Instantly she knew where they were. She looked again over the crowd as she made her way to the cooking oil booth.

"Mom, The blonde child said as she handed her a bottle of cooking oil, "Happy Birthday early." The taller daughter stepped up and handed the baby to her. Gone were all the worries and frustrations of the last 2 hours. Only questions remained. How did she know where they were? How could that biddy see that they were fighting when she herself couldn't see them?

Shelli gathered up her three chicks and ushered them across the fairground. The booths held no appeal for her. She was worn out and knew that more work lay ahead at home. The girls did not put up a fuss. She was glad of that. There was more for them at home that at the herb festival. Shelli did not look forward to the mounting laundry that was laying in wait. Nor did she look forward to the rest of the household chores. They must be done and no one else would do them. The older two would help, but she knew she would spend her Saturday night in front of the television folding clothes as she had done the previous Saturday night and the on before that and so.

As they approached the van, a green leaflet waved at them from underneath the windshield wiper. The number was clearly displayed. It practically glowed in her eyes. It said call for an appointment. "Oh my God' she thought to herself, "What is this?. She un leashed it from the wiper, gazed at it and then put it in her pocket. She could feel the anxiety rise up to her throat as she strapped the baby into the car seat. The older girls discussed who would ride in the front as Shelli climbed into the car. Music blared as Shelli clenched and unclenched her hands on the steering wheel. The ride was nerve racking. Who could be trying to contact her? Why would somebody want her for anything? The questions circled in her head.

Shelli pulled into the drive of her home. The girls grabbed their prizes from the fair and headed into the house. They left Shelli to contend with the baby and all that was left in the car. "Maybe David will be able to make some since of this she told herself. She put the baby in the highchair in the kitchen, gave her something to eat and lay the rest of the gear on the floor by the phone. She in turn sat on the couch which was in the adjacent room.

Listening to the background chatter of David and the girls, she gazed upon the paper which lay on the kitchen table. Crystal gurgled and drooled as she put one grape after another in her mouth. Shelli picked up the green paper and dialed the number.

"No one is taking calls and this time. Leave your name and number and we'll get back to you."

Shelli left her name and number and hung up the phone.

"How was the festival?" David asked as he walked into the room.

"I don't know. Things happened."

What do you mean things happened?"

"It's like people were watching me." She replied as she watched the puzzled expression take over her husbands face.

"What do you mean people were watching you?" He asked.

Shelli told him of the the woman and the muffins. She then repeated the oil incident. The she told him of the number on the leaflet.

"Don't you realize that it would take a lot of people to set something up like that? His military background had already rolled in.

"All I know is what I saw."

"It's impossible."

The telephone rang. Shelli jumped up to answer it. David sat pondering her version of the story.

"Hello. This is Shelli. Yes, I did call earlier" she said as she spoke into the phone. The voice on the other end sounded muffled. She could not quite put her finger on the owner. She had heard it before somewhere maybe on the television. She gave the man her address. He claimed that he had more information for her and would be sending it through the mail. What could this possibly be about she asked herself yet again. He excused himself by saying he had more people to contact and telling her that she should call him as soon as she received the package he was sending.

"Who was that?" David asked.

"I think that was Governor Bush."

Shelli lay awake in the quiet hours of the morning. No matter how she tried she could not fall asleep. The sun made its way across the floor of her room. Soon David would be up and the girls would be rushing around getting ready for school. Shelli would make the drive across the city to take Elizabeth to the daycare while she spent her morning at the detention center. After that there would be shopping and housework leftover from the weekend.

As she lifted her tired body from the bed, Shelli looked in the mirror across the room. Her eyes were lined with dark circles. The bathroom mirrors reflected the painfully obvious. She had not slept and didn't know if given the chance again she could make her body rest. The thoughts of the previous weekend still nagged at her. No time for that she told herself. You have a full day ahead of you. She woke the kids and kissed her husband good morning. She dressed herself and then dressed Crystal. She fed the baby breakfast and scooted the older two out the door in the ever present fear that they would miss the bus and she would have another chore added to her list.

The drive across the city was filled with the hazards of the morning commute. Once the baby was safely in the daycare workers arms, Shelli then began to clock watch tensing as traffic ceased to make way for the ebb and flow of crossing traffic. Once she finally approached the two story white house known as The Crossing the tension in her body seemed to rise. She parked the car and walked across the threshold. The receptionist smiled and motioned to the Day Room. All the staff were milling about.

"What's going on?"


"Shelli come here. There is someone I want you to meet." The director said to her as she motioned her to a very tall African American man. The is Cyrus. He has come from New York to do some training for us." The man reached for her hand as shook it vigorously.

"Shelli is our English Teacher. She is also certified in Special Ed. She is quite good with our crew." said Linda, the director. "We have sent the boys off on duties so we can hold the training here. Cyrus is a graduate of the adult program. He struggled with drugs and alcohol for years. He is a testimony to the facility and our program."

Shelli watched as Linda and Cyrus gathered the staff. She sat on a nearby couch as he began to speak to the group. His words went through her. He told how he struggled with drugs and how he drank in his latter teen years. He was now free of all of it. Shelli searched her soul. She felt as though he were speaking to her alone. True enough, she didn't take drugs, but the drinking? Lately she had been having a drink in the evening to calm her down from the days events One had become two as things had become even more stressful. The last couple nights after the baby had been put down. She had drank even more, but still sleep had not come.

"Come on Shelli." Linda motioned towards Shelli, while Shelli was lifted out of her thought.

Cyrus had put music on. Shelli recognized it as the Bunny Hop.

Linda lead the line as the followers hopped in time to the music. Shelli found herself attached to the end of the line. Suddenly there was silence.

The line disassembled. Shelli looked from person to person. The music started again and the line reassembled. "Form two lines." called out a voice. The line became two. Trapped in between the two lines, Shelli stood stock still wondering what to do next. The music again stopped. The staff clapped as Shelli rushed out of the room.

"Meeting in the classroom!" Someone called down the hall. Shelli looked in the bathroom mirror. As she splashed water on her face, thoughts began whirling through her head. She looked at her watch. Only an hours, you can make it until then. She headed down the hall and went into her classroom. The director and staff were seated around the large table that served for desks. Shelli sat on Cyrus' left.

`Ten years ago, he began, " we were 10 in rented rooms in Brooklyn New York. You are what we have become today." Cyrus' voice pitched as his enthusiasm continued. Shelli looked down on the table next to his hands. What were her glasses doing there? She had left them in the car. Had someone maybe even Cyrus gotten in her car and taken them out? She stood petrified as he took the glasses off the table and put them on. He was wearing her glasses. He read from a page in a book. Shelli heard nothing he's said from the point on. Her mind was only focused on the glasses.

The day was done. Shelli approached her car and unlocked it. She grabbed her glasses that were sitting on the dash and drove to the daycare center to pick up Crystal. The traffic moved at a fast pace and then she was home.

Shelli had decided she would take the rest of the day off. She watched as Crystal played on a small blanket in the front lawn. Crystal stood up and yanked at the home of her dress. She worked the cloth over her shoulders and then threw the garment down at her feet. She tucked her thumbs in the waist of her underwear and steeped out of them. Free from the constricting clothing, she laughed as she ran across the yard. Shelli jumped up and grabbed the blanket and followed the child as she rushed to the neighbors front door.

Shelli scanned the porch. A basket held an airplane and a Happy Birthday banner. flanked the window next to the door. Her insides clenched as she took in the sight. Her birthday was the next day. This couldn't possibly be for her. "Ding Dong," the doorbell chimed and the door slowly opened. Sheila, her neighbor peeked around the barrier. "Hi," she said from behind the hand she held across her mouth. "Come on in." Sherri crossed though the front of the house the while covering her mouth.

Shelli followed behind her. Upon arriving in the family room she noticed piles of movies. The Disney films glowed on the floor. Sherri sat on the couch and Shelli remained standing. Crystal flitted from one pile of movies to the other. Shelli motioned to the glowing films. "What's all this?" she asked. Sherri's hand dropped as she answered.

"Oh, that's Tammy mess. She got all of the movies out this morning and sorted them before she went to school."

Shelli got a good look at what her neighbor had been hiding. The area above her lip adjacent to her nose bore a huge scab. Sherri turned a bit pink when she noticed Shelli's attention to her lip. "I get this every now and then." Sherri said. "I don't usually leave the house when it happens."

"Oh," Shelli responded. "Do you have medication for it?"

"Yes, it's cleared up quite a bit. It always happens when I get too run down."

"Do you know where you got it from?"

"'I've had it since I was a little kid."

"You know it's a herpes virus and it can be spread by oral sex. Nothing happened to you as a kid did it. Sometime things happen to us and we don't remember them. I remember everything that happened to me that my uncle did. I wish I didn't."

"Oh no. Nothing happened like that to me. I mean my folks did a bit of drinking and stuff, but that's all."

By that time Crystal had rounded the corner and was exploring the laundry room at the far end of the house. Shelli trailed behind her. On a stool in the small room stood a television playing Dumbo. Sherri came right up behind Shelli. "The stupid cat," she said. "We play movies in here and it keeps her from meowing all the time."

The naked child walked through the stacks and headed for the door. Clutching the blanket her bewildered mother followed in attempt not to lose her.

Crystal's pink body basked in the sunlight. Her round cheeks pumped up and down as she bounced up the side walk. Shelli scurried along after her. Crystal stopped at another neighbor house. As soon as the door was opened Crystal scooted through the space between the door and the occupant. "Hi" Shelli said nervously. The lady stood and chatted with her as Crystal ran from the top of the house toe bottom of the house squealing and laughing out loud. Soon the urchin appeared at the foot of the stairs and wiggled her way back out the door. "I better follow her," Shelli excused herself and retreated back out to the side walk.

Crystal meandered down the sidewalk and climbed the tall steps of a brick house down the street from her own. She sat and rested her chubby elbows on the knees. Shelli rested right beside her. Next to her was lettering a one, a seven , and a nine. The letters were silver and twinkled in the sun light. "Is this what you meant for me to find?" Shelli asked. The child smiled and then gazed forward. Suddenly she stood up. Gently climbed down the steps and hit the sidewalk once again.

Krystal's feet padded on the gray concrete. A loud hum sounded in Shelli's ears. Turning, she saw a big yellow school bus full of children round the corner. She took the blanket she had been carrying and cover her child's nakedness from the view of the children in the bus. The bus passed and Crystal had not provoked the pointing and staring of it's occupants.

Crystal crossed the busy street to the nearby playground. She was one step behind her. Krystal spotted the play scape and quickly scaled the structure. Shelli anxiously watched the passing cars hoping no one would be offended by the sight of her child. A patrolman on a motorcycle drove be. Shelli tensed. He looked her way and waved. Crystal returned the wave and giggled.

Suddenly the blue van pulled up. David got out of the car and crossed the grass separating the road and the playground. He charged up to Crystal pulling the blanket out of Shelli's hands and demanded "What happened here?" Shelli looked at the blood streaming from Crystal's nose and pulled out a tissue to stop the flow. David wrapped the child in the blanket and placed her in the car seat.

Shelli sat in the deserted Doctor's office. The walls were flanked with Southwestern paintings. She knew the places. She and her family had visited New Mexico the previous summer. The pictures haunted her. She remembered carefree days of hiking the trails.

"Ms. Moore?" the nurse called out. David sat beside her oblivious to their surroundings.

"Yes?" she answered.

"Please come over to the station so that I can get a blood sample." The nurse responded.

Shelli went into the adjoining room. She sat down on the blue plastic bench and extended her arm over the desk like top. The nurse approached. Shelli looked up. The horses hair was long and frizzy. Shelli saw that wisps of it lay ion the floor and the bench. As the nurse neared, Shelli saw that her fingernails were long and dirt encrusted.

"Now if you'll just give me your arm, I'll take a teeny bit of blood." The nurse reached for her arm just as Shelli snatched it away.

"No, you're not taking my blood. This place is filthy. I might catch something." Shelli snapped.

"Believe me," said the nurse, "I am more likely to catch something than you are. See I have gloves to protect both of us."

"I want to see the doctor."

"I'll see what I can do," said the nurse.

A small balding man in tan Dockers and a tan plaid shirt came into the small room. "Ms. Moore why don't you step into my examination room and I'll be right with you." Shelli walked down the hallway while he and David talked in the waiting room. She hoisted herself onto the examination table. The same pictures stared back at her. Cliffs and dwellings could be seen all around the room. The doctor opened the door and David followed him into the room. David stood behind her leaning slightly against the wall. "I understand," began the Doctor, "that you haven't felt well lately. Why don't you tell me about it Ms. Moore?"

"Well I've had a bad cold and I haven't been able to sleep." She responded.

"Why don't you tell me about the other things that have happened."

"Well, I feel that people are staring at me and talking about me. I can see them doing this right in front of me."

"Your husband told me about something has that happened to you at a fair and then Governor Bush calling you right afterwards. Tell me did he ask you to do anything? He didn't tell you harm yourself or anyone else did he?"

"No." The Doctor's line of questioning confused Shelli. Why would Governor Bush want her to harm herself. He wanted something of her , but she didn't know what. She tried to follow the Doctor, but the prints on the wall drew her attention. They beckoned her from the little gold frames that encased them.

"Mr. Moore is there anything you can add to this?" queried the doctor.

"No, I think what we discussed in the other room was all that I can give you," He said.

"The I think," replied the doctor, " what we discussed would be the appropriate measures to take."

"Thank you , Ms Moore, for stopping by and seeing me. Mr. Moore." The doctor motioned for the couple to follow him out. David caught her elbow and lead her to the door. He walked to the car and for the first time in many years opened the door for her. As soon as she was safely in the car he walked to the other side and climbed in.

"I don't think he was a very good Doctor. You know he could have given me something to help me sleep. Then I wouldn't be in this mess," Shelli complained.

"He couldn't help you Shelli. He referred me to a place that could."

"Where are we going?" She asked.

"To the hospital."


"They are going to admit you and keep you under observation. Then we should know what is wrong with you." David's emitted no emotion. He sat behind the wheel.

Shelli didn't know what to thin already her mind was racing. White cars whizzed by. They stopped at lights. They even overtook the blue van. White lettering stood out . Shelli read the sins as they passed. Hospital ahead one proclaimed proudly. Shelli watched the white toll booth at the entrance to the parking garage. David followed the white line to the the parking spot. White lines imprisoned them on the asphalt. Shelli opened the door. People wearing white walked slowly toward the building. She in her white shoe and white shirt followed the parade. Soon very soon two white doors would bar her from the rest of the world.

The metal door swung shut. Shelli could see David standing a little further down the hall though the reinforced glass at the top. Head hanging, David slowly walked away.

"Shelli, my name is Dr Stone," Said a short elderly gentleman to her right. He held out a medicine cup to her and said" I want you to take this now. It will help you feel more yourself." He extended his right hand toward her. In the cup was a small white pill."

He is giving me Tylenol she thought. He is curing me with Tylenol. She took the cup and lifted it to her mouth. The pill was bitter. A nearby nurse handed her a paper cup filled with water. She drank it.

The tall lanky nurse motioned her down the hall. It was long and narrow. In the middle of the hall was a bay of telephone jacks. . On the right of that was a bay of windows. Further down the hall doors lead to rooms. The nurse summoned her to a door that bore her name. "This is your room."

She led her to her room. On the far side of the room was a small dark haired Hispanic lady. She sat looking out of the window. On the desk beside her was a bible and various pictures of Jesus and the Madonna. Shelli sat on the bed nearest the door. The woman did not greet her or even glance her way. She sat staring out the window. A nurse came into the room with Shelli's hand bag. "You can have this," she said "but we took the money out and all the sharp instruments. And I need you to take the shoelaces out of your shoes. OK?"

Shelli bent down and removed her shoelaces. The nurse hand her her handbag and took the laces with her."

"They always do that." the small woman suddenly spoke. " they think you're going to hang yourself." She moved slowly across the small room. Shelli saw that she was no bigger than herself.

"let me see this" She pointed to her purse. The lady took out here wallet and opened it. She took the pictures of her family and displayed them on the desk in front of her. She took Shelli's card of the Lord's Prayer and sat that in the midst of all the photographs, "There she said. Now your family is with a you and you are truly blessed. Come and see mine."

The woman rushed to the window. Shelli followed. It was night. Out of the window she could make out a courtyard. Across form the courtyard was and entrance ramp glowing and eerie red. She could make out a long vehicle Form behind the vehicle that pulled out a gurney. There was a man on the stretcher. He was completely cover. The lights continued to glow in the darkness. Shelli was drawn to it.

Finally the light went out. The ambulance slowly proceeded away. Marie as she had called herself lay on the bed staring up at the ceiling in the darkness.. Shelli took off her clothes and slipped into one of the gowns brought her by the nurse. She lay down in the stiff bed and finally fell asleep for the first time in many days.

The sun peeked through the window. Shelli stirred. Down the hall she heard a cart being rolled in. She got up to investigate the noise. The resident of the south side were gathered around the table and one of the aides was delivering covered trays to them. Shelli sat in a vacant seat as the man in white weeded thorough the sips sticking out of the trays. "Here is one for you," He said

Shelli looked down at the tray of eggs, toast, and juice. Her stomach tightened. Across from her sat a you tall thin blonde man. She guessed him to be about nineteen. His hair curled about his head like a halo. She knew him to be an angel. He glanced at her. She smiled. A heavenly creature bound to this earthly place. No wonder his wrist were covered in bandages.

"What would you like to drink ?" asked the attendant quietly. He noted her gaze on the boy.

"Can I have some iced tea please?" she inquired.

A white Styrofoam cup was placed beside her hand. The boy looked at it. Shell drank and thought. The angel continued his gaze which turned into a glare. "Would you lie some?" She asked.

The boy nodded. She handed him the cup and requested, "may I share this with him?" of the attendant the attendant rushed to the boys side replacing the cup with a new fresh one.

The room was cleared all but for a blind man sitting a chair blankly staring at the television screen. Shelli sat at the table nursing her iced tea wondering at the angel. He drank the iced tea he had been given and the crouch on his chair and rubbing his stomach and scratching his head before heading down the hall.

Shelli a nurse inquired, "Might I get you to help Jesus down the hall to his room?" "Sure," she responded. She walked over to the brown man and gently touched his arm. He stood up and she guided him down the hall to the room marked Jesus.

Shelli went down to the patio. It had been raining off and on all the while she had been there. She had entered during the heated season. Now the cooling off had begun. She had nothing but a denim jumper, a pair of jeans and two shirts, which she alternated. With the cool weather she stopped wearing her jumper which made the hospital staff think she was clergy. She had come to know the members of the staff. She knew who cared of who was just there to get a paycheck. Often they would give her advise on her family life. Not that she had any family life anymore. David visited once. She tried to talk to her daughters on the phone occasionally, but for the most part she was just lost. Monday through Friday there were classes in which everyone would gather in a big circle and talk about what kind of tree they would be and why they were that particular tree. They would go through visualization exercises in which they would imagine themselves on a beach of mountain side. No one had yet told her what was wrong with her.

The girls had called her. They were waiting for her down on the patio along with their grandparents. They sat on the steps leading up to the terrace of flowers. She could hardly contain her happiness as walked quickly towards them. Crystal was waiting in her grandmother's arms.

After hellos were spoken to the grand parents Shelli put her hands on Her oldest daughters face. It had broken out. She ran her palms for her forehead to her chin. "There she said. Your face will clear."

"Thank you. Mom " She said as she looked quickly to her sister not daring to look at her grandparents.

Not much was said. The girls sat close to her and each held a hand. The rested their cheeks on her should. The grand parents were respectively silent. Crystal wriggled to be let down. She ran across the patio. She loosened herself from the comfort of her two oldest daughters and followed.

The toddler walked to the main building and then over to the parking garage. Shelli followed not inhibiting her progress. She went up to the white cars and touched the one by one. "Mom don't let her go in there. That's dangerous.!" called Jeanne as she rushed up behind her and grabbed the child's hand. "I think it's time to go, " she called to her grandparents who respectively rose from the steps.

Soon they were gone and Shelli sat at a patio table wondering over Crystal's message of white cars.

Shelli's roommates came and went almost daily. She noted the turnover as she went to the lounge. She had patted backs and said comforting words to as many as walked the halls or lay crying on the couches. Yet, no one had patted her back or smiled in her direction. She received no visitors except for her morning quizzes with the doctor. She moved freely about the hospital receiving blood tests and once even a spinal tap. She called home as often as she could. In this part of the hospital the phones were freely accessed. They were not like the other ward where the phones disappeared at certain times of the day. Al her calls home went the same.

"I want a divorce," she said to her husband firmly. "I want Crystal. "David barely said a word to her. His answer was "You can have a divorce, but you can't have Crystal." "When you're well we can talk about it."

Shelli began to question her jailers about a release. She never received an answer. She felt separate and alone. As she was sitting in the day room a nurse came up to her with the good news." you need to get your things together the nurse said. "You are being released." Shelli jumped up from the couch and rushed to her room. She gathered her sparse belongings in the paper bag and rushed to the phone. "David," she said, I'm being released can you come pick me up?"

"No, you're not well," He said." there is a reason you are in the hospital" With that the phone went dead.

"What do I do? "she said to the nurse. "My husband won't pick me up."

"Do you have any family?" asked the nurse.

"No, just my immediate family." She responded.

"What about friends?" the nurse suggested.

"Well I do have a neighbor." she answered.

"Call them and see if they can help you." the nurse replied.

Shelli dialed Sherri's number. "Hello Sherri? This is Shelli, they are releasing me from the hospital and David won't come pick me up. I have no place to go."

"Well in that case Shelli. I don't think it would be good for you to come over hear, but I could help you find someplace to stay." Sherri replied.

"There is a hotel across from the hospital. I could stay there." Shelli responded. " I have two checks from school. If I could cash them I would have enough money for an apartment, but I don't have any money for a hotel right now."

"That ok. I can help you out with that. Let me get the kids taken care of and I'll be there soon." She hung up.

Shelli waited. After an hour Sherri walked through the door. Shelli stopped at the counter for her medication. . The nurse put it in a plastic bag and gave it to her. Sherri singed her out. They walked to the parking garage and from there Sherri drove the two minutes to the motel across the street. Shelli waited in the car as Shelli went to inquire about a room for the night. The motel was deserted. Soon the door opened. Sherri climbed in the white Volvo with something in her hand.

"I got you a room for two nights," she said. "after that you can deposit your checks in the bank and we will look for an apartment. The clerk said it was a good thing we weren't here last night. it was full." With that Sherri pulled the car into a parking spot. "She said the room was up these stairs. Get your stuff and I'll find it."

With bag in hand Shelli followed Sherri to her new room. Sherri opened the door to the stuffy room. "Here I'll turn on the air conditioner. Sherri went to the window unit and flipped a knob. "I brought you a few things to eat." Sherri said. She pulled out a bag of chips and a bag of sunflower seeds. "Will you be all right here?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Shelli answered.

"I'll be here tomorrow to check on you and if there is anything you need just call." with that Sherri was out the door.

Shelli took her clothes out of her brown paper bag. She was wearing her long sleeve shirt and jeans. The jumper was gone. She'd had a number of clothes delivered to her over the past months, but the nice ones always seemed to disappear. All that was left was a pair of sweat pants and a band booster shirt besides what she was wearing. She took out her medication. It was in a clear plastic bag with a warning sticker on it. Beware ... radiation present, it said. Shelli read the label Take one before for bed. Xyprexa. Take one in the morning and two at bedtime Depakote. Warning: Can increase effects of medication if taken with alcohol. Shelli paced them on the sink along with her toothbrush and toothpaste. She turned the television on. She went to the door. She stood outside the door for a long time.

She shut the door and then tried her keycard it didn't work. She walked down to the desk and told the young Hispanic woman working there her dilemma. "Let me see the card for a minute," the woman said. "I'll re-key it for you." She took the key and ran it through a machine.

"Thank you," Shelli said.

"Oh it's not safe for you to be out here at night. " The woman warned. "We have a lot of vagrants.

"ok. Thanks for the warning." Shelli replied.

Shelli found herself outside her door again. Where can I go she thought to herself. The pool beckoned. Shelli descended the stairs and walked toward the pool. The night was damp. Sweat clung to her. She stood at the edge of the pool and hesitated. I bet John Lennon thought he could walk on water she thought. Do you think you can walk on water she asked herself. "No, "she answered herself out loud, "I can't walk on water, but I can swim." With that she dove into the pool and swam across the length of it and lifted herself out. The denim felt uncomfortable and cool against her skin. She walked back to her room leaving a water trail wherever she went.

A beat up Volvo pulled into the parking lot. The music blared. Shelli let herself into the room and quickly changed out of the wet clothing. She hung it on the hook on the door. She then put on her only other clothing. In her sweat and t-shirt she started to make her way back down to the pool. She was met by a couple of black men at the foot of the stairs.

"Hey! what's going on?" one of them inquired.

"Oh nothing." She responded.

"Why don't you show us where your room is and we can go and have a drink."

Shelli complied.

At the top of the stairs a man in the baseball cap crossed their path. He lifted the cap in greeting and turned left. The silent black man followed. Shelli opened the door to her room. The man sat a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon on the night stand near the still made bed. The unmade bed stood across the floor.

"How bout some glasses?" He inquired.

Shelli retrieved two plastic glass and the ice that stood by the sink. She sat them down on the night stand.

Ok this man is from Kentucky she thought to herself, but who is he working for? I don't know any one in Kentucky.

"Do you want ice? He asked.

"Yes, please."

"And one for me. No ice."

Shelli took the drink from his hand. She sat on the edge of the bed and began to question her. Her questions were unheeded. The black man move closer toward her. He lifted her shirt over her head. He slipped her pants off of her waist. Shelli wore nothing underneath. She lay out flat on her back with him over her. She could see the warts on him scrotum. His hand ran up and down her body and she held him at at batty. His testicle in her hand. Her body shuddered. She began to cry. Wet drops fell on his legs She released his grip on her. She sat on the floor. He relieved himself and wipe the residue across her face. She dressed and a knock came at the door. The other man spoke softly though the door. In her room her captor grabbed his bottled and walked out the door. Shelli undressed and climbed in the other bed.

Shelli didn't slept deeply for the first time and many nights. The clock read, one. A knock came at the door.

Shelli's stay in the observation ward was uneventful She spent most of her time walking up and down the halls. The phones would appear and then disappear like magic. The other inmates kept to themselves. They might say hello or nod in greeting or passing. They were all warehoused just the same. In the morning the cart would roll in and serve breakfast. Then a second smaller cart would follow. This was for morning medications. Everyone would then sleep or wander aimlessly until lunch arrived. The trays would be handed out. The residents would eat and then wait for dinner. The carts would roll in and out and then the next day begin anew. The staff change by shifts. Shelli got so that she could tell the time of day by the nurses in attendance.

"It's time to get your stuff, you are going over to the other side today." Shelli hardly knew what the nurse was talking about. Through the big double doors was what appeared to be a waiting room. "Gather your things, She said "Here is a bag for you to put them in." The nurse handed her a brown paper bag. Shelli scoop the contents lying on the desk into. She put her gown and the change of clothing that she set out the previous night to be washed in the bag and follow the nurse through the ward. No one looked up or even acknowledged her departure. With one fell swoop the nurse slid a card though the key pad beside the door and click the lock opened. Shelli paced herself behind the nurse. The room was large with several couches and chairs flanking the walls. In one corner was a small glass tellers window. Adjoining the room was a long hallway. She was led into a room that looked unlike her previous room. There was a large window looking down onto the street. The walls were painted blue. Carpet covered the floor where linoleum lay in the acute wing. "the washing machine and dryer are in here." The nurse pointed to a small room. The dining room is down the hall . You'll know it when the trays come in." Shelli felt as if she had been released from prison. All the color seemed to explode around her.

She went into her. A knock sounded on the door. "Shelli you have a visitor." A tall figure entered the room. David had been informed about the change and had made it a point to see her. "I brought this for you he said and handed her a card.

"And I have this for you." She said and tugged the gold band off her finger. She placed the tiny gold circle in his hand. His face clenched. He retreated through the door.

Upon his departure she opened the card and read the sentiment and the loving words underneath it. She walked across the room and put it in the garbage can then followed the trays for dinner.

The dining room was large with rows of tables. Prints covered the walls. A long row of windows covered the far wall. Shelli could see the city at night. Music filled the air. An attendant handed trays out to the patients as they walked in. They sat where they chose. Some sat alone while others sat in groups or pairs. Shelli chose to sit by the windows she looked at her meal as she basked in the glow of the night's lights. Shelli ate a few bites. The intensity of the new people got to her. She could feel her stomach clench. She took a deep breath. Shelli let the music sweep her out into the city. She drank her tea and was oblivious to the other diners.

Evening filled the air. With her hospital bracelet Shelli was allowed to go onto the patio. She could go with others, but not alone yet. The others sat and talked about their lives and smoked cigarettes. Haven given them up years ago, Shelli sat and observed the patients.

This was a new feeling for her. She had long been pent up .All that was in her soul sang out. The night was moist, but she was out among the birds and God's creation. Though darkened the scent of the nearby flowers made heavy by the damp clung to her. She was free. If only for a little while.

She returned to her room. Late evening was the time the residents forage for snack. Be unable to eat she searched in the tiny refrigerator in the TV room for something to drink. Her evening meds had been double tonight. They still had not told her what she had been taking. Nor had they told her just exactly why she was in the hospital to begin with. She was isolated. Her Doctor visited every morning. She was pulled out of group for it. He always asked the same questions. How are you feeling today? Was your mother depressed? Does any one in your family have a history of mental illness? Shelli felt every time she answered that she was giving the wrong one and searched herself to find the right one. The one that might release here from this purgatory in which she was trapped. Not only was she not able to eat, but she wasn't able to focus on anything long enough to take it in. She felt listless. She did sleep better, but now that was all she did aside from going out to the patio with her new companions. This evening she would sit in the TV room until it was time to go out yet again.

Grape juice. That would do it. She took out two small cups of grape juice and slowly peeled of the top seal of one. This my body she heard. It has been given up for you and all men so that sins may be forgiven. She drank. A joy spread over her.

The door sounded. "Shelli?" she heard and then a barrage of pounding. Shelli lay very still and slipped once again into the thick black sleep. Once again the door rattled this time it opened as Shelli slipped the card into the system.

Sherri opened the door , but could see a mass of blankets piled on the bed. She surmised her friend was under them. "Shelli," she started again. Nothing. She reached toward the blankets. She pulled them back to reveal a head. "Shelli come on, time to go deposit those checks and look for your new place."

Shelli squinted at the daylight. She tried to close her eyes and her mind against the out side world, wanting nothing more than to be lost once again. "There are no checks."

"What? Sherri exclaimed. She walked toward the phone . She would call David. Maybe he could help her friend.

"David," She started, "this is Sherri. I'm at the hotel and she won't move. What do I do?"

"I don't know, " replied David "You probably ought to call the hospital."

"Ok bye.

"Where is the patient Ma'am?" Shelli heard a man ask Sheri. She heard metal rattle and bump the outside stairs.

"She right over there in the bed."

"Ma'am? Ma'am? Can you hear me?" said the male voice.

Shelli burrowed further into the blankets. Suddenly all warmth left her. She was naked to the world. Shelli hugged her knees. She could not breathe. An acrid fume assailed her nostrils. She gasped for air. Her eyes flew open. Before her stood a man dressed all in white. Beyond him stood another man and her dear neighbor. She was no longer buried in the warmth and the dark.

"Ma'am, where here to take you to the hospital. Can you get dressed before we put you on the stretcher?"

Shelli stood up and grabbed the clothes that were heaped at the bottom of the bed. She walked over to the stretcher and allowed them to put the white sheet over her and pull it up. She looked around the room from person to person. Sherri hung her head. "I'll follow you over in my car." she mumbled.

Shelli rode back across the street in the ambulance. Once again she found herself in the arms of the nursing staff in the acute psychiatric wing of the hospital. The place she had fought so hard to flee had once again swallowed her whole.

Shelli stood at the windows of the acute ward. She found that if she looked hard enough at the visitors through the window they would change the direction of their paths. She had been in the ward for three days. Nothing had changed. The staff was either receptive or distant. Some of them had taken to calling her princess. Since she had been there before she knew the rules. In knowing this she also knew it was time for her to be released to the other side. It was not much she realized, but yet she would be able to move about freely, call her daughters and go down to the patio.

Shelli walked through the doors dividing her from supervised existence to near normal life. At least as normal as she as she felt safe with. The nurse led her way as she carried a new paper bag. The faces had changed, but their postures had not. Figures dressed in robes and carpet slippers stooped over as they sat or walked in the blue lounge. The television flickered in the TV room, but as in previous days, the people around it stared blankly at the set.

"Since you been here before and we have a number of rooms vacant you can choose your room," the nurse told her.

Shelli knew instantly the one she wanted. She turned the corridor from the day room and motioned to the nurse. "I want this one." She had been in the room before. From the second story window she could see the pool across the street at the motel. The restaurant's florescent lights beckoned her as they hummed just beginning to light the way for the night.

Once again, Shelli unpacked her things from the bag. Her load was light. She had missed dinner and was hungry . She walked down to the little refrigerator in the TV room and loaded up. At the door to her room she sat a coke bottle down. The jovial Santa grinned up at her. She took the flowered bed cover off of her bed and lay it on the floor. On the blanket she sat two containers of strawberries, two packages of Lorna Doone cookies, two containers of peanut butter, and two Sprites. She rested her eyes on the sight. A picnic for two. Shelli sat on the corner of the blanket she picked up the strawberries, unwrapped them and chose a big red berry. She bit into it relishing the sweet, tart taste. He will come.

"Knock, knock," said a voice from the door. "Do you mind if we come in?"

"No, not at all."

"A picnic. Are you expecting somebody?

"No, come on in," Shelli's words belied her intentions.

"I want to introduce you to my husband, John" said the willow redhead standing at the doorway.

"Hi John," said Shelli, "Come on in." She remained seated on her corner of the blanket.

"Bridgette would you like some cookies?" Shelli inquired as she held up a package of Lorna Doones. "I have peanut butter."

Bridgette sat opposite of Shelli on the blanket. She accepted the cookies from Shelli and reached for a tub of peanut butter. John sat on the edge of the bed furthest from them. In turn, each woman opened the cookies and unceremoniously dipped them in the small white tubs.

"John?" said Shelli has she motioned toward the food on the blanket.

Before she could ask he shook his head no.

"Well, I've got to go," said John.

Bridgette dusted the crumbs off her legs and stood up. "I'll see you later, ok?" she inquired.

"Sure, I'm not going far." Shelli replied Shelli put down the cookies and started once again to eat the strawberries. She cradled the bowl in her hand and crossed over to the window. Eat here blinked and beckoned.

Shelli had chosen the room for its location, but she had also chosen it for privacy. Upon walking into the room several days after she had chosen it she saw a suitcase. Not a paper bag, but an honest to goodness suitcase standing on the other side of the room. A bible lay on the night near it. She had her own bible tucked neatly within her, but no one asked her what she need if they had she surely would have mentioned this. She crossed the room so that she could hold it in her hands. She was drawn to it. She held it briefly and then realizing this belonged to her new roommate she put it down. Gone was her privacy and gone was her brief new awakening. She left the room to go to dinner. She took her tray and sat down. She stared out the window. The others around her chatted and ate. She listened to the music and stared out of the window. Having spent what she saw as a sufficient amount of time over her meal, she gathered her tray and walked toward the trash can. An attendant stood there. "You are going to have to do more than just drink tea, Shelli." The portly attendant said to her. I have it marked here that you haven't eaten since you've been here. All you do is drink tea."

"I eat," she said defending herself. "It's just that I can't eat in here. There are too many people."

The attendant made a mark on a paper as she dumped the uneaten food in the garbage. She turned down the hall to go to her room. Once in the room she found a couple intertwined on the bed opposite hers. Not wishing to disturb them she walked back out to the corridor, then went into the TV room.

In the TV room Shelli went to the small refrigerator and scoured it for strawberries. There were none to be found this evening. She took a Diet Coke and a Dr Pepper from a nearby cabinet and rummaged in the drawers for Lorna Doones and peanut butter. After accomplishing her mission, she wandered from room to room. She would knock at the door of a room and peek in. This time of night families came to visit. She would receive introductions or friendly greetings after the knock. She went back to her room. "Hi ,"she said to the young brunette sitting on the bed as she walked into the room, "I brought you a Dr. Pepper."

Thanks," the young woman responded as she took the drink form Shelli's extended hand and placed it on the nightstand. A young man walked into the room. "This is my boyfriend."

Shelli nodded her head in greeting. "I will let you two alone, "she said as she retreated toward the people filled hallways.

Shelli sat in the lounge. The cookies had broken off in the peanut butter. The noise around her became nearly unbearable, but she couldn't go back to her room. The nurse had refused to move her again. The couple spent most of their time in each others arms, either in her room or the TV room. It was almost impossible to escape them. Now she went into the room to sleep and was out before the girl awoke. She did go in occasionally to get something. She always said nice word to the girl complimented her on her choice of clothing and exchanged a minimum of words with her. Now that she had her green button she could go down to the patio alone. And this is what she did from early morning until night.

Shelli," said the nurse, "You need to get your things and come along with me."

Shelli went into the room. It was empty. She gathered up her belongings and put tem in the paper bag that the nurse had given her. Once she had done that she went back to where the nurse was standing. "You have lost your privileges," the nurse stated, "and you are going back to the acute wing. You can't rifle through other people's belongings." The nurse swiped her card in the door and it clicked to allow entry.

Shelli walked through the big double doors once again. She had gone backwards though time. The nurses looked at her from their glass viewing area. She smiled and they looked away. "All the rooms are occupied so you are just going to have to make do. Here this is your room." The nurse led her to an open door. A youngish woman stood there looking out the window. She wore western wear and her yellow hair was overly permed. She turned to look at the people who now stood at the door. The woman's face was bright red.

"This is your new roommate Colleen." the nurse said.

Colleen turned her head and resumed to stare blankly out the window.

Shelli took her paper bag and placed the meager contents in the the drawers of the chest. She lay down on the bed nearest the door and let her body go.

Shhhhhh sounded the water in the bathroom. Shelli got up and went to the bathroom door. Colleen had left the door open. Shelli watched as Colleen scrubbed at her face with her bare nails.

Gotta get clean, gotta get clean," Colleen mumbled to the person she looked at in the mirror. She then dipped her hair under the faucet and scrubbed at her head with the bar of soap. Shelli decided to let her be. Her chore was getting and and she was not getting involved with anything that would keep her there she though as she stumbled over the doorway. At her feet lay a pile of clothes. She looked at them closer. They were hers. No doubt her roommate had decided to move her. She picked them up off of the floor and put them back in the drawer.

Shelli phoned Doctor Stone "hello," the receptionist answered.

"May I speak to Dr. Stone please?

"I'll see if he is in."

"Hello/ Dr Stone here."

"Dr. Stone, I no longer want you as my physician."

"I understand, Shelli."

"Thank you, Dr Stone. Good bye"

Shelli laid the phone down. She had done as her daughter asked. What was next?

"Shelli, You need to get dressed," the nurse said." You have an appointment today."

The nurse crossed over to the blinds a let the light in.

"What is it?" asked Shelli.

"I'm not at liberty to tell you. You're husband brought you some clothes. Shelli stood up from the bed to take the jeans and neatly pressed shirt on the hanger the nurse was holding.

Once dressed the nurse led her down the hall.

A uniformed officer walked into the room. He headed straight for Shelli.

"I'm here to give you a ride to the hearing," he said.

Shelli dumbfounded walked behind him. The nurse opened the door with her key. Shelli walked quickly down through the second set of locked doors as she stuck closely to the officers. She smiled as she entered the elevator. Her reflection grinned back at her. The policeman paused at the door and waited for her to clear the entrance.

"This way," he said, as he held open the door to the oustide world.

The wind was sharp and crisp. Shelli saw patches of ice on the street. Gone were the summer festival she knew replaced by the harshness of winter. The officer held the back door open for her. The car was not a police car in the manner of cages and locked doors, but a transport vehicle used solely for this purpose.

Through the streets he brought. Shelli didn't recognize any of the landmarks. It had been so long since she had been anywhere but the hospital, the journey had her enraptured.

The vehicle came to a halt. The officer once again appeared before her and opened the door.

"Follow me," he repeated.

Shelli followed him into a modest brick building. In the hallway stood a group of people. David was among them.

"Hello, Ms. Shepard. I am your attorney. I have been asked by the court to defend you in the matter of a competency hearing."

"I just want you to know that that man over there, David Shepard raped me for nineteen years."

David's back stiffened as he heard the accusation of his wife.

"Ms. Shepard," said the attorney, "if you just follow me, we'll be starting soon.

Shelli sat at a long table lined with people on both side. Try as she might she couldn't follow the order of the proceeding. There are so many people she thought to herself. She was confused just following their gestures. She could not keep up with their words.

"Mrs. Shepard? Would you like to take a moment and tell us about yourself?" A voice came out of the head of a table. "Do you understand why we're here? This is a hearing to decide whether or not you stay in the hospital. What do you have to say?"

Shelli took a deep breath. "I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't hurt my children. I let Krystal walk around the block naked. A police officer went by and didn't stop. She got a bloody nose, but that was because it was dry out. I didn't hurt myself. I may have gone swimming with my clothes on, but I didn't do anything against the law."

With that the hearing was over. Shelli's attorney was the first to leave the room. Shelli tried to follow him, but it was to no avail. Outside the room, the officer appeared at her elbow.

"Ms. Moore, you'll have to come with me now." Once again he led her to the car. Shelli's taste of freedom was just that, simply a taste.

Shelli was back again in the acute wing. On her entrance to the ward the nurse held out a stack of white papers.

"What is that?" Shelli asked.

"That is your court order. You are remanded by the court to remain in the acute psychiatric wing of this hospital for thirty days.

Thirty days in the Intensive Care Unit meant no going outside. It meant no smoking. Shelli had recently required the habit. It meant loss of all freedoms. Shelli would wake at six o'clock am every morning to a breakfast selected for her. She would shower every morning after breakfast. She would then pace the halls after her shower until lunch arrived. Shelli would then pace the halls until dinner arrived and then she would prepare for bed. The only thing that would alter her schedule would be the arrival of the doctor. Her new doctor arrived any time of the day.

So for thirty days Shelli ate, slept and woke according to her time clock. The white walls bore down on her. She refused to take her medication. It prevented her from breathing at night and once she took it she was out. The nursing staff told her if she would take her medication and comply with their orders she would get an early reprieve. Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel Shelli did as they wished. The day came. The taxi was called and she was headed home.

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