Hospital stays are never the number one option for anyone. Nobody wants to be hospitalized for physical or mental illness. Who wants to be in an unfamiliar place filled with unfamiliar people for an unknown amount of time?
I just got released from a psychiatric hospitalization yesterday. It was my 11th one, after starting having them at 14 years old. This one happened to be in the local hospital’s psych ward. It was my third time in this particular setting. Being released is an excellent feeling, but it all starts with a not so excellent admission.
I had been experiencing symptoms of the high part of my bipolar disorder, or mania. I couldn’t sleep or sit still. I was having emotional breakdowns every day. My speech was fast and my mood was elevated. I felt extremely happy, yet scared and sad at the same time. My paranoia and hallucinations were out of control and I was freaked out half of the time. I couldn’t even write for my blog, which was highly distressing for me. All I could concentrate on was the Deadpool movie, which I watched 14 times and am in the midst of my 15th.
I started my new job at the library, working a twenty hour week. All was well. Sure, I was a little more hyper than usual and felt invincible, but I just figured it was excitement. Then my parents went away for the weekend. I had a hard time handling this, especially with the mania going on. I was in a tough position.
My parents got home on Sunday, and I was so happy they were home. I had another breakdown that day, which I felt guilty for ruining my parent’s homecoming with. I managed to make it through another week.
Mania is scary to the extreme. You never know what you are going to do or feel. It was Saturday, June 26. I woke up, thinking it would be a close to normal day. However, I should have known that with bipolar disorder, there is no such thing as a close to normal day.
I have a fuzzy remembrance of that day. I know I had a breakdown. I know I was hitting myself in the head. I remember being out of control.
I remember storming off into the kitchen to the pill cabinet and pulling out a bottle, opening it up, and tipping it toward my mouth.
Luckily, my mother had followed me, probably because of something I said, and grabbed me and the bottle before any pills fell out. It was then decided that we were taking the wonderful trip to the emergency room.
Once again, I vaguely remember what happened. It feels like there is a blurred lens over the part of my brain working during this whole episode. I am getting a lot of this information from my mother as I sit here writing this.I believe it was pretty busy, but I know they took me back quickly. Then I had all of the typical tests you get in an ER. Blood tests, urine samples, and an EKG are the norm. I sat on the bed and waited for the doctor to come in, along with a mental health resource worker. The strange thing is, no mental health resource person came to evaluate me. The doctor just said that I had to be admitted. I don’t know if this is because it was serious enough no worker had to come, or if there was just no one available.
I said goodbye to whichever parent was back with me when I started to go down. My dad brought my suitcase in, and I was wheeled down to the psychiatric unit. My family didn’t get to go down with me, as always. I had a short introduction and exam, but not nearly as extensive as it had been my first two times on this unit. Then I was set free to go to my room. They asked if I wanted a roommate, to which I was responded with a strong NO. I went in my room and settled in as much as you can at the hospital.
I have gotten to know the workers at the unit well, which I am not happy about. I guess at least I got to see some familiar faces. It’s not a bad unit at all and everyone is there to help and support us. I got through the first day,once again, with the blur on.
Each day, we had different groups. My favorites were the ones done by the recreational therapists. I have gotten to know two of them very well. We had exercise groups (which is normally chair exercises or walking, but his time was always walking), art groups, aromatherapy, and there is normally animal assisted therapy, in which a therapy dog comes in, but no dog came this time.
My favorite is walking group. I walk around the unit pretty much all day anyway, so getting to listen to music while doing it was a good pastime. The therapist normally let me choose the music because I was so into the group. I always chose either twenty one pilots radio or Fleetwood Mac radio on Pandora, mostly tøp. We would walk a mile around the unit. I normally get around five miles a day on exercise group days because of my other walking throughout the day.
Aromatherapy is hard for me with my issues with smell. The person who runs it, the same one who walks with us, knows what smells bother me, and finally found a good combination that doesn’t bother me. She uses essential oils in the diffuser. We also get cotton balls with synthetic oils. She knows I like orange, so she always gets me the orange oil. It is very soothing to me.
People always talk about how bad hospital food is, and sometimes it is. Other times, it is really good (pulled pork sandwich day for the win). It really depends on the day. We also get regular coffee in the morning and decaffeinated at around 3 pm and 8 pm. I’ve never drank much non-Starbucks coffee before, but with plenty of sugar, cream, and milk, it is really good. I drank quite a bit of it over the twelve days I was there.
I met with the psychiatrist, who happens to be my outpatient one as well, every day. He changed one of my medications and meddled with the doses. I had a hard time sleeping while I was there. I normally took a pill to help, but one day, he decided I needed to a shot to help me sleep. It was just one night, but was not enjoyable at all. At least it did knock me out. I’ve been sleeping better since, probably just because the mania was settling down.
Going home is always the best part of every stay. I was supposed to go home one day, but I had a meltdown that night while my parents were visiting. My doctor decided I needed to stay another day, which bummed me out, but at least I got to go home.
I met many nice people of all backgrounds. It was a good stay, and I believe I actually got help this time. It’s been a little rough this time coming home, but I know I am getting help and I feel genuinely better.