Klonopin Psychotic Break Leads to 8 day Mental Hospital Stay!

I’ve always been a good sleeper. However, I had been sleeping very poorly since my wife died  after 38 years together. You sleep next to the same person for decades and you get extremely used to it. Eventually I sought out, based on my girlfriend Sue’s recommendation,  an uptown psychiatrist named Dr M, a very nice man. He prescribed a sleeping medicine- Klonopin

(Clonazepam). Among the prominent side effects- thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.


After a few days on Klonopin, I was sleeping better, but my waking behavior was changing for the worst. One thing you learn from good parents and a long happy relationship is how to treat the opposite sex.  I always look for a substantial woman, and I don’t mean physically. Eventually, it’s a person’s psyche that holds your attention, that intrigues you, it’s her mind that I fall in love with.


Clonazepam has a long elimination half-life. Elimination half-life refers to how long it takes for half of a single dose of a drug to leave the body. For clonazepam, its elimination half-life ranges from 30 to 40 hours. This means that it will take between one to two days for just 50% of Klonopin to leave your system


Psychosis – The unpredictability of Klonopin abuse can cause several psychological problems, such as psychosis or depression. People may experience vivid hallucinations, become increasingly aggressive towards others, attempt suicide and even develop homicidal intentions. The brain sends and receives various signals throughout the body that control thoughts, actions and emotions: when the brain gets a dose of Klonopin, it starts sending abnormal signals that make people think, do and feel abnormal things.

All of a sudden, I had problems with my temper, and my usual rational thinking was deserting me. I love life like the next person, but under the influence of Klonopin, I began to thinking very negative thoughts. I wanted to commit suicide, and I needed a rationale to do so. From this point forward, except for me cutting my wrists, I don’t recall any part of what’s coming. I was driven to do this.  I got this all from girlfriend Sue. Three days of my life are a complete blank, except for 15 minutes. Again, this drug is very dangerous.


So I lost my temper, and for the first time in my life, punched and choked a loved one- my girlfriend of three years. After I knocked her down, I had all the justification needed to cut my wrists. So I left the girlfriend on the floor and went to kitchen and got a big sharp knife and cut my wrists. I’m right handed which led to deeper cuts on my left wrist. I was bleeding out and Sue called for an ambulance. Sue reports that there was plenty of blood all over the house.


I have virtually no memory of my 3 days as a monster. All I can recall is slitting my wrists, and I recall feeling very happy while cutting.  Via Klonopin I have blocked out 3 whole days of my life, except for the absolute low point of those days, cutting my wrists and almost dying. Sue has filled me into my actions over those days, and it wasn’t me, it was the pill. I love myself and would never hurt myself. I love Sue and I would never choke or punch her. Frankly, it’s frightening that your personality can be changed so drastically via a little pill that’s supposed to relax you.


I ended up at a local hospital where they stitched me up- 15 stitches, 10 in my left wrist.  Then I was taken to an uptown mental hospital (Community Care) for 8 days. This hospital was a short term facility. There were 5 floors of patients, The 3rd floor is where I went. The hospital averages 10-13 inmates per floor. Everyone over the age of 45 was on my floor. I was the only inmate with my circumstances-  bad reaction to a pill with slit wrists. Two persons were giving up heroin without any methadone- not easy.  Another 9 or 10 were mentally ill. Some were more ill than others. Some were released to a group home, not real freedom. Some were hardly sick at all.


Community Care  is a pill palace. Pills are distributed 4 times daily, 7 days a week. You go to the nurse’s station with a cup of water and get a half dozen pills. Mood stabilizers, tranquilizers, antibiotics if needed, sleep aids, vitamins, etc.  When checking out, I was prescribed Seroquel 60 mg twice daily and Buspirone 3X daily. For sleep I given 600 mg of Seroquel which works very well. Unfortunately, Seroquel is a very expensive drug  -$700-1,000 per month- , so I’m working with the Salvation Army and the United Way for some help. I’ve got at least a month’s supply of the Seroquel on hand, so I’m good for now.  I was also prescribed Depakote, which is also extremely expensive so I never got that one filled.  Where I will get a month’s supply in 45 days when I’ll need it is still unknown.


The truth is, I don’t feel any of these pills except the 600 mg of Seroquel I take at bedtime. I don’t feel good about taking so heavy a dose. If the house was on fire, during that first hour, I don’t feel confident that I could manage to get myself out of the house without falling. When I am in bed, after taking the Seroquel, it’s a bit uncomfortable. That feeling lessons during the second hour and for the rest of the night.


Most people take sleeping for granted until they have a sleep problem. Recently I have been sleeping 6-7 hours nightly which is excellent for me even though at the moment I am living with a friend and sleeping on his nice fold out couch.


There is very little active therapy in Community Care hospital. Each weekday afternoon,

I would see one of three shrinks for 5 or 6 minutes, at most 10 minutes. Once each week day, a thirty minute group was held. Topics ranged from 30 things to stop doing to yourself to general information about grief. The hospital had an activity therapist who brought her guitar and she would play music games like guess the song/tic tac toe. Her name was Meredith and she was a welcome distraction a couple of times weekly. She had a great smile, and smiles are in short supply on mental wards.


Cigarette breaks 4 times daily were a highlight of the day since we got to go outside for 10 minutes at a time. I don’t smoke so paced around the space back and forth 20 times. It was my only chance to get any outside exercise. Roughly 80 percent of all inmates smoke cigarettes. When leaving, my son dropped off two cases of cigarettes for the third floor. A day after I was released, I dropped off another few packs for another inmate.  I also dropped off $5 that I borrowed from an inmate during my stay. Cigarettes are big business in the mental hospital business. When you are in a confined mental hospital, you are at the approximate lowest point in a person’s existence. An extra snack or cigarettes can provide a high point in the inmates’ day. Packs are cheap when the inhouse cigarette machine is available.


Vending machines favored the inmates financially. A 12 can of Coke or Dr. Pepper was 50 cents, and a bag of Fritos or Doritos was 50 cents, but the machines were particular. One machine only took dollar bills and the other took only quarters. You had to have dollar bills and quarters if you wanted a cold drink and a bag of chips.


Inmates have trouble accessing their own money. For example, I had around $30 cash in my wallet, which was in a ziplock bag locked away in the nurses station on floor 3. During my 8 days, I could access only $15 of my money, and when I left, there was still a $5 and $10 bill in my wallet.  Why I got only half of my available cash over my 8 days locked up, I don’t know. $15 isn’t much money on the outside but on the inside it’s quite a bit of money. It’s true the prices of the cold drinks and Fritos are wonderful antiquated prices.


Visiting hours were a total of 2 hours daily, broken up into 2 sessions. It’s not much but if someone came to the hospital during non visiting hours, more often than not they got to come up and have a visit.  My son Joshua was my most steadfast visitor, coming 5 of the 8 days I was there. My step daughter Sharon drove Josh to the hospital a couple of times but never came up. My ex-girlfriend Sue came once.


I read everything available. That’s how I spent my enormous amount free time. I remember one great book. It was about Seabiscuit, a legendary racing horse from the 1930s. My family brought me newspapers, which I devoured.  I was a sprinter in high school and college and I won more than my share of races. I sort of identified with Seabiscuit.


From drugs.com–   Klonopin section



The most commonly reported side effects were drowsiness, ataxia, and behavioral problems.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depression, emotional lability, confusion

Frequency not reported: Hallucinations, hysteria, insomnia, psychosis, excitability, irritability, aggressive behavior, agitation, hostility, anxiety, vivid dreams, hyperactivity, hypoesthesia, organic disinhibition, depersonalization, apathy, excitement, feeling mad, illusion, nightmares, sleep disorders, suicide ideation[Ref


The reason I’ve highlighted suicide is because it’s apparently a far more common side effect than I  thought it was. From 1 to 10 percent of users have suicidal tendencies? That is the worst side effect I have ever heard of. How can a drug be approved if approximately 3-5% of the population that takes Klonopin on average try to kill themselves?  


I landed in a mental hospital after beating up my beloved girlfriend and as a rule, when you enter the hospital, some event precipitated your arrival. That arrival generally ensures a rough landing into the hospital, where you are locked up tight.


You need an address to go when released. The hospital has to call the address and make sure someone answers. I landed a block from the Mississippi River, with a guy I’ve known for 20 years, and stayed with once before after my beloved wife passed. The house has its share of old building defects, such as the toilet and tub have partially sunk to the  floor below.  Therefore, sitting in the tub (there is no shower)  is a risky proposition, as is sitting on the toilet. These relatively stressless activities are now stress laden.


I purchased a mattress topper, as the mattress I sleep on is only 5 inches thick. The mattress topper came yesterday, and it improved my sleeping arrangements markedly.  


The 2nd floor apartment is 4 blocks from one of the most celebrated live music venues

In New Orleans. The  Maple Leaf  Bar is one of the top 3 clubs in New Orleans, along with Tipitina’s and Snug Harbor, in my opinion.  We live 3 blocks from Oak Street, as iconic a neighborhood shopping street as any in New Orleans.


About Community Care Hospital, I conducted an informal survey while locked down. Over the 8 days, I asked just about all the inmates about their education. Turns out I was the only college graduate which made me the only Ivy League graduate as well. There were about 40 or so inmates present in the facility while I was there, and approximately 10 or 12 at a time on the 3rd floor. Since it was a short term facility, there was no real education component.



I’ve been lucky in life. I had a good upbringing, with three big sisters and two excellent parents. My mom and dad loved each other to the end, and I learned from them. They both were in the Navy during WWII, in San Diego, which was a Navy town back then and still is. My dad was drafted but my mother enlisted.


I attended excellent public schools. I  grew up in Queens on Park Lane South until I was 8, then Searingtown, Long Island. Exit 36 of the Long Island Expressway.  


I graduated from an Ivy League College. I was lucky in love at Cornell.  Marcy, somewhat a wild child, became my girlfriend the first week. Smart, funny, great looking with an eighteen year old’s body. There was an immediate attraction. Our dorm was sponsoring a coed social and they played the classic Stones catalog. We both loved that music and started dancing. The first night we headed in her 67 yellow Mustang to the Cornell Apple Orchards- they were deserted completely. This was my crazy idea, At that time I was in the Agriculture School, and their marketing to me in Long Island included some photos of the orchards. The sex was a bit awkward to say the least but extremely memorable.


We started living sleeping together in a twin bed. We each had a roommate. We didn’t care what the roommate thought. We were young and stupid and in love.  We had to cuddle like mad to sleep to make it work, but we both slept like rocks after living the life of super busy Ivy League students. I ran track winter and spring and was in the college band playing sax and clarinet. Time flew by, and my third year was half over.


While at Cornell the first time I was researching my trip to New Orleans and I found a phone number for a community crash pad and kitchen, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. When I got off the airplane in New Orleans, I knew no one, and had $300. It was 1975. I called the single number I had and reached Suzy Steelman.


Suzy gave me Mike Stark’s number. She said he had  rooms available in the Faubourg Marigny. I didn’t want to shlep off, so I waited 15 minutes and I called Suzie back and told her I had spoken Mike who said they were full up. I didn’t know where Mike’s place was. It was fate that I would spend my first night in the Esplanade and Rampart Street apartment.


On the next call, Suzie told me about some rooms for rent at Esplanade and Rampart Streets, above Mistretta’s Auto sales. I felt that was closer,  it was Meg’s friend’s apartment. Some roommates had moved out suddenly, and a couple of rooms became available. I accepted her offer and moved in the apartment. Meg was living with her daughter Sharon in a S. Derbigny apartment. A few weeks later, Meg’s apartment was ransacked, and the house became unlivable, so she moved into the apartment where I was.  


My wife to be, Meg Pomeroy, RN, was working with Suzy volunteering at the community medical services. New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu (father to Mitch Landrieu, current New Orleans 2 term mayor) pushed through a budget which paid for one doctor twice a week during clinic hours.


I met her that first night in New Orleans and was in touch with her during my first month. That first day,  had a hammock in my room and we lay together and cuddled and made out. The hour got very late and I stated it was time to fish or cut bait. She choose to fish.  After that we were living together, and I was lucky to get 38 wonderful years with her. For her last 25 years she worked at Children’s Hospital New Orleans,


I stayed three years with Meg and her daughter Sharon who was eight when I moved in-  If I stayed any longer, my Regent’s scholarship in New York would lapse. I couldn’t do that to my parents or myself, so I returned to Cornell to finish my degree. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of  Arts and Science and moved back to New Orleans and my steady squeeze Meg Pomeroy.


Meg was of Scottish descent, her maiden name was Anderson. The Andersons  are an old clan of Scotland. We were together for 38 years until she was betrayed by her body and died at 72 in Touro Infirmary in 2012. Her heart exploded. Death was extremely quick. I still love her, after several decades it’s hard to stop.


Meg was an extraordinary woman. I was lucky in love, that was for sure. She died a sad death in Touro Infirmary but that was out of her control.  It’s been 5 long years since her death, I realize more and more how rare and special she was. I still miss her daily. After 38 years, it is hard not to.

Three years after Meg passed away, I found found myself on a senior dating site.  I met Sue, and we hit it off. We were together for close to three years when Klonopin messed with our lives.  


As for my ex girlfriend, Sue,  I am seeing her on weekends. I’m going with her to see her family for Xmas.  Her sister Chris and her husband live in a tiny town in Mississippi where cell phones have no bars at all. Sue’s mother lives with them. We are going for Christmas in a couple of days. Satellite TV and landlines rule this extremely rural small town.


Merry Christmas to all!


After 3 years of cohabitation we are starting the relationship all over again. We are dating. It’s fun, but frustrating. Three years of love and happiness down the tubes, but there is a fast track back. Sue wants to speak to my shrink, the doctor who prescribed me Klonopin and if he certifies me as normal again, which I certainly am, as I’m getting enough sleep and Seroquel has no adverse side effects for me.  


Spent last night at Sue’s, it was divine spending 2 days with her. I went to her family Christmas party outside of Jackson, MS, yesterday in a very rural area where cell phones get no reception at all. Sue’s mom is still alive, which is wonderful for me, as my folks died in the 1990s. Seeing Sue this Friday for a movie date. I think the world of her big family and they like me just as much.


                                      Anderson Clan


My first job in New Orleans was working at Audubon Zoo in the Hoofstock area.  Giraffes, rhinos, hippos, antelope, deer, etc. This was a hard job physically but it was very memorable. Met a landscaper at the zoo named Mike Dianda, and we are still friends today. We zookeepers would enter the animal pens to pet the creatures and hang out. We especially like the two rhinos, Willy and Jesse. They were from South Africa and we had to quarantine their poop. No joke.


I left the zoo to finish up my Cornell degree. It was a sad but adventurous time. I was in love with my girlfriend Meg and her daughter Sharon, so I knew I would be returning to them when I finished my degree. After Cornell I came back to New Orleans and Meg and Sharon. It turns out the physics lab at Cornell burned down my last semester, and I got an incomplete in physics. I took my last three credits at Loyola University on St Charles Avenue during summer 1985. I was 23 years old and already was hooked on New Orleans’ charms.


I started writing resumes for one of the biggest nationwide companies. This was the early 1980s. The Louisiana oil patch was in the throes of a big economic downturn, so many laid off oilfield workers needed updated and better looking resumes. This gave my resume business a big kick forward. These were relatively fancy resumes which customers would pay $200 or more for. The resumes were successful, and word of mouth referrals helped business considerably. My step daughter Sharon Pomeroy was my secretary for much of my resume writing career.


I eventually moved in the music business and made a lasting impact by bringing to New Orleans a music publisher from California who loved New Orleans roots music as much as I did. He paid big bucks for three iconic New Orleans musicians- Professor Longhair, James Booker and Earl King. That fixed the legacies of  2 of those artists, who died poor.


I’ve toured New Orleans brass bands and blues men to the biggest music festivals in Europe and Scandinavia- North Sea, Montrose, Pori and Umbria. These four are on a par with our own New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Artists include James Andrews and Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Algiers and Treme Brass Bands, and many other bonafide New Orleans music talent.


To meet the right world buyers of Louisiana talent, I devised a trade show marketing program to market myself, my roster, New Orleans and Louisiana. We often sponsored a booth while attending 2 big music American trade shows and 2 in Europe. The 4- New Music Seminar, New York City; South by Southwest, Austin, Texas; Berlin Independence Days; and MIDEM in Canne, France.


I threw invitation only parties for Louisiana buyers. I brought Crawfish Etouffee and Seafood Gumbo prepared in New Orleans and frozen in convenient heavy 3.5 pound foil pans, I purchased and made the rice at the show and also brought and served the rum at the show, after mixing it with Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix  which I purchased in New Orleans. I decorated the party with purple, green and gold Mardi Gras decorations. Our parties were well attended by the top cream of the show.  Real seafood entrees served in sample sized bowls, along with real Pat O’Brien Hurricanes, with Mardi Gras decor.


Often we would talk to a busking New Orleans groups about performing at these trade shows, highlights included  in Europe, David and Roselyn and once even Cowboy Mouth appeared live in Cannes, France. Cowboy Mouth played an acoustic set daily at the booth, and David and Roselyn played the nighttime party.


At the trade show booth, I would give away lots of Mardi Gras beads, and hot stamped cups embossed with trade show date and logo. I would carry the beads in a large wicker basket which I would turn on it’s side for the trade show giveaway. I hung a sign on the basket stating Free Beads. We carried a lot of record samples in those days, and later CDs. We ran our own video marketing program, with recorded shows of the Nevilles, Fats, and the Radiators playing non stop during show hours.  


A month before the convention, we busily faxed out invitations to our party and a  business meeting on the trade show floor. I would target Louisiana music buyers around the globe. It worked, we did a lot of business with Louisiana buyers.


I had a client who represented 90 ninety second vignettes all about wine. It was hosted by a local chevallier.  We produced a boxed set, containing a booklet with 2 videos. We attended a TV merchandising convention in Chicago, and as a result of this trade mission, we cut a deal with TV juggernaut QVC. On Valentines’ Day, we debuted on QVC. We sold out in 10 minutes the thousand units QVC ordered. They reordered immediately. I recall being amazed at the high production values on the 3 minute segment they produced to sell the boxed set. My partner was the late Eddie Kurtz.


I purchased a mattress topper, as the mattress I sleep on is only 5 inches thick. The mattress topper came yesterday, and it improved my sleeping arrangements markedly.  


~ by neworleansmusicman on December 2, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: