Schizoaffective experiences recorded Oregon State Hospital Doctor Mickey Stellavato
I’m going to the Oregon State Hospital Museum. “Maybe I’m Crazy (lyrics from “Crazy,” by Gnarls Barkley) and “All She Wants To Do Is Dance,” by Don Henley, are playing on the radio. That means they know I am coming since I was out of my head at the time I was in Oregon State Hospital and when I got out I became a dancer. The air is thick and warm. An autumn day set aside for dreamers. But not just a day for dreamers of romance and travel to unique and beautiful places, but a day set aside for dreams of strange configurations, distorted faces, and hand and eye contact like I had with the inmates in the OSH. Somehow I couldn’t shake the images, especially the day before my interview with Dr. Mickey Stellavato at the Museum.
It wasn’t a typical day when I signed myself into the Oregon State Hospital in 1971. The relentless wind tossed my step dad’s car around in triangles until it almost landed on its top. I knew then that I wasn’t suppose to be in “Salem” (another word I used to describe the asylum). I felt no one could penetrate this brain of mine. Yet, they sedated me. But enough of the nightmares and hellish ghost filled memories of the past. It is gone from me now. I am not here to relive my past, but to record it and give information about my stay in the Oregon State Hospital to be put in its Archives to help others. My husband is taking pictures of me at the door. I wear my deodorant and am calm, cool, and collected. The interviewer is friendly and thorough. Seems like I don’t forget any of my experiences in “Salem.” It is such a mind shocker. It’s pouring outside. My husband stands outside the recording booth. He is my champion. I am so grateful that I am able to climb and conquer another mountain. As we leave, I see a large steel cooking pot and huge ladles, possibly the ones where I stood next to as I worked in the kitchen on the upper level of the institution. There are pictures of patients, paintings, and other memorabilia. I don’t know what gets into me. All of a sudden I get the urge to bite the ears off of 20,000 chocolate bunny rabbits and devour them all, and I don’t normally eat chocolate!