The names mentioned are fictiticious to protect their identity, except for mine.
In Chapter 2 of my story, I want to talk about what happened before my first hospitalization. First of all, I was lying down on the steps of the high school building singing away to my heart's content. What I didn't know, was that Mindy Sullivan, one of my neighbors that I went to school with, saw me singing on the steps. She called the nurse's office to alert them to what was going on. I'm guessing that she thought that I was weird or something. All of a sudden, much to my surprise, four big men were escorting me over to the nurses'' office. I was sitting there for a while until Crystal Violet and Chester Lee Bloomingdale (my sister and brother-in-law), picked me up in a first-call car to take me to the hospital. For those of you who don't know what a first- call is; it's the car they use to transport dead bodies to the funeral home. Chester was the funeral director at the time. You can imagine how frightened I was.
This took place after I witnessed the aftermath of a murder. Two teenage boys were nicked in the shoulder by a bullet, and one teenager, Jonathan Merriweather, nearly lost his life trying to protect Cynthia Stoneburg. She was shot once in the head, and three times through the heart and lung. She was my next-door neighbor. She was planning a surprise birthday party for her daughter, Lydia Rothmeyer that night.
I was protected seven times that night. (1) I was invited to go to that party. I heard that there was going to be drugs involved, so I decided not to go. (2) I asked my friend, Stacey McPhearson if she could spend the night and go see a movie. For some reason, her parents wouldn't let her go. If we would've gone, we would've pulled into the driveway about the time of the shooting. (3) After seeing what was going through my bedroom window, I quickly turned away and jumped down a flight of stairs. My dad happened to be there to catch me. If it hadn't been for him, I might have broken my neck. (4) I was going to turn on the lights in my parents'' bedroom. My dad slapped my hands and told me not to do that. While my dad was on the phone talking to the sheriff, the sheriff heard the shots being fired. I had never seen so many sheriffs as I did that night. (5) I planned on sleeping in our camper that night. It was a good thing that I decided against it since he shot through the camper. (6) I was so angry at Freddy Stoneburg for what he did, that I wanted to go after him, and (7) Cynthia Stoneburg knocked on our door. If I would've opened the door, I and my parents could've been shot and killed.
I was lucky to be alive that night. I was seventeen years old when this incident happened. I was a senior in high school, and, for the first time, I was enjoying the subjects I was taking. My favorite subjects were Psychology and Family Planning. When I took psychology, I remember reading about mental illness and the symptoms that were associated with it. I thought that the book was talking about me since I was feeling the same way as what was being described. This is when I discovered that something wasn't quite right with me.
The murder occurred on October 5, 1974. Five months earlier, the night of my birthday, March 14, 1974, my friend Willamena Robinson spent the night at our place. That evening she received a phone call that her brother, Ramon Robinson, drowned. When I heard the news, I was devastated and shocked. He never knew it, but I had a crush on him. He had a way of making me smile and laugh. We never went on a date, but I thought of him as a good friend. To my knowledge, I don't think that his sister knew how much I
liked him. There was a drug bust that night. Being that Ramon's dad was a sheriff, he was there the night this happened. I heard that when he saw his dad coming, he jumped into the Dungeness River in Sequim, Washington. It was a stormy night and the water was rough. A life preserver was thrown out, and he was almost at the shore when his hand slipped.
When I was told that he was taking drugs, I couldn't believe it. I was in disbelief. I wasn't able to accept the fact that he was on drugs. I was thinking that he was somewhere in the woods looking for me. Ramon's funeral was the first one I had ever been to. Due to the family's request, it was a closed casket. Even then, the reality of him being dead didn't register with me.
Sometime before my hospitalization, another friend of mine, Consuelo Cortez, came over for a visit. At this time, my emotions were going up and down. I would laugh at things that weren't funny, and cry hysterically; I didn't have control over my emotions. I could tell that something was wrong with me. I told Consuelo that she needed to take me to see a psychiatrist. She asked, "Why?" I said to her, "I'm going crazy". She said, "You're not crazy". Years passed when I heard that she ran away from home. Because my emotions were out of control, I thought that I must have scared her. When I heard that, I felt bad.
I was thinking of Trevor Obranovich, a friend of a guy I liked. For some reason, I had it in my head that he was going to pick me up during my chorus class, and we were going to run off and get married.
During my time in the hospital, I had a visitor from the State Government. It turned out that she was Trevor's mother. She was a caring person who gave me some good advice and assured me that I would be okay.
Charles Anthony McBride, a young man that I started dating, visited me in the hospital. I talked to him for a little bit, and for some reason,, I began to slap my face. He took hold of my hand, and then I bit his finger. I was very confused at that point; I didn't know what I was thinking, or, why I did that. This frightened me.
The moment I entered the hospital, I remember being stripped of my clothes and then getting a shot. Whatever they shot me with left me higher than a kite. I never drank, smoked, or taken any drugs. My mind was feeling weird. Taking a look at my fingernails, I noticed that they were pitch black. They were growing longer and curling downward. I was hallucinating (seeing things that weren't real). They had me on eighteen different medications. One medication, Thorazine, caused me to blackout whenever I took a shower. My dad talked to my psychiatrist about this and told him, "You better take my daughter off this medication, or it's going to kill her. He did take me off of that.
This was the beginning of my journey. I was told that I had a mental illness and that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. I accepted the fact that I needed to do this; even though I didn't understand why; I didn't question it. The medications made me feel depressed. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he would keep increasing the dosage. I felt horrible. My mind felt numb. I didn't know that I would continue to feel bad.
After refilling my prescription, I was so depressed that I swallowed the whole bottle of pills. I realized what I had done, and came to my senses. I rushed over to my dad and said, "Daddy, you need to get me to the hospital; I just swallowed the whole bottle of pills". I had to get my stomach pumped. This was very uncomfortable. I don't wish this on anyone. They put a tube down my nose, but I kept pulling it out. The more I pulled it out, the more they put it back in. Finally, I gave up. I learned my lesson; I never did that again. That was quite an ordeal.
After being depressed for two years, my counselor decided that I needed to go to a halfway house for treatment. I decided to go. I went to Peninsula Lodge in Bremerton, Washington. While I was there, I took a BOST (Business Office Skills Training) class. I typed, operated ditto and mimeograph machines, cut stencils, made copies using carbon paper, filed, learned how to do speed writing, and listened to people talking on tape and took notes. I was paid 50 cents per hour. I was there for about one year before I got married to Derrick Nelson Hollingsworth. At the time I got married, I was twenty-one years old.
Before I married Derrick, I began to get cold feet. I went ahead with the marriage because I didn't want to let my family down by having to return wedding gifts. We lived in Bremerton, Washington for about a year, before moving to Tucson, Arizona. I worked for the Building Codes Department as a file clerk and registered people for the In-House Training Program to take classes for the Labor Management Committee. Both of these were for the Pima County Government. Then, I worked in the Technical Services Division of the Fire Department for the City of Tucson. These were jobs that I had under the CETA Program. After that,, I was hired permanently for the Revenue Division in the Business License and Sales Tax Department for the City of Tucson.
This will conclude Chapter 2 of my story. The next chapter will tell about the verbal abuse I endured, how long I was married, and when I flew back to Sequim, Washington to stay with my mother. I wasn't there too long before I moved into another halfway house in Port Angeles, Washington.
Written by Anna Marie Carlson
April 22, 2022