Just a mere five days ago, I was released from my fourth psychiatric hospitalization. It’s not always the easiest thing for me to talk about, but I want others who have been through similar situations to not feel so alone — and to see there’s no shame in it.
See, I have Bipolar I Disorder. I had my first episode (depressive) at 16, but wasn’t properly diagnosed until a manic-turned-mixed episode during college, at age 21. It involved delusions, drugs, drinking . . . a perfect storm of chaos, a storm that ended with my suicide attempt and my first hospitalization.
I’ve had to go through another acute series of ECT (but I’m still grateful that it’s kept me stable for over two years now–something no medication was able to do). Fortunately, however, it’s only an abbreviated acute series. I had #4 this morning, and will return to maintenance next week.
Recovery from a hospitalization always takes time. All four times that I’ve returned home from an inpatient stay, there’s been a period of adjustment. There’s a flood of emotions–relief, gratitude, reluctance, uncertainty, fear. Part of you is so happy and relieved to get back to the creature comforts only found in your own home; another part is terrified of not being in that safe, regulated environment where there’s always someone around, someone to make sure you’ve taken your meds, someone to check on you.
Happiness can be found in the darkest of places if one only remembers to turn on the light.
The light during my current recovery from my hospitalization is made up of (naturally) my husband and my parents, but also some amazing friends. Part of my illness, one of the sneaky parts during my mixed or depressive episodes, enjoys whispering lies in my ear: it tells me that no one actually likes or cares about me, that I’m worthless, that I’ll never amount to anything, that my life isn’t worth fighting for.
But since my return home I’ve had so many friends who have texted me just to say a simple “Love & miss you” or “Hope you’re feeling better”. I want to share this one particular text that, not going to lie, got me a bit choked up earlier today:
The outpouring of love I have received in the last five days has been such a stark contrast to the lies I believed a mere week and a half ago. One coworker/friend is picking me up tomorrow, and has made a nice lunch for us. She insisted on helping me get out of the house, as I’m not yet allowed to drive for another two weeks at the very least.
A psychiatric hospitalization is never easy. It’s never easy to ask for help. But just remember that there are people who care, even if your illness is trying to convince you otherwise.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255