I have been in the hospital for six days, twice, for psychiatric issues. First I was diagnosed with “post partum depression”, then “major depressive disorder” and lastly “rapid cycling bipolar disorder” I never made a suicide attempt, but there were a lot of people there who had. One plunged a knife into his belly. Another knocked herself into a coma for three days – alcohol and pills. The other patients were, for the most part, not ‘crazy’, they were just really sad.
It was one of the best things that ever happened to me, that time in the hospital. We made arrangements during my first hospitalization to breast-feed my daughter twice a day (she was almost two – the accommodated that!). My friends and family showed they loved me by visiting me in the evenings and calling me on my cell. Some brought food and treats. Everything was allowed for me to eat, except my Dr. Pepper because of the caffeine. I felt totally supported and knew I was getting care they were unable to give. Also, I appreciated how much they had already done all these years of caring for me and my undiagnosed illness.
The hospital didn’t dope me into oblivion. I had to sign for every new drug they gave me, we could talk about the main effects, the side effects and other related topics. I refused, they couldn’t make me take it. They started small and raised the drugs as I didn’t respond to them. The only negative part of the experience was a bad reaction to Ambein, a sleep med. It caused me to hear voices – scary -but better to hear in the hospital than at home. It was something I never repeated.
All those movies about people screaming and being restrained or having electro-convulsive therapies (electro-shock) forced upon them were not a part of my experience. There was no Nurse Ratched type character controlling things. Everyone was supportive of the healing of the patients.
We had group counseling every day, classes on how to deal with our disabilities (things like not telling everybody you know you’re bipolar), and 1:1 time with a nurse every day too. The nurses and even the doctors were kind and healing for me. We did things like art and music therapy too, which I thought was corny, but after a while I realized it was an effort to teach us how to take care of ourselves and how to relax, something many of us never learned to do.
I was able to wear my own clothes, and keep my cell phone. There was even smoking time for those who needed it.
Anyway, I felt led to share this. I haven’t seen you around