I have been home from the psychiatric hospital for a week now and, at times, I am overwhelmed by very small things. It is a wonderful thing to be discharged from the hospital particularly when there is a good plan in place and one feels safe. That was certainly my experience. To be honest, though, it is not easy. One may think being back in the comfort of one's home would feel soothing and relaxing but for me, I have not consistently felt that. I certainly sleep better in my bed with my life partner by my side and I certainly like not being checked on every 15 minutes. The stresses that brought me to the hospital are still there although dulled. I am still experiencing weird occurrences of remembering different aspects of being in the hospital as brought on by smells or sounds. I need to be careful when that happens not to allow it to take over my thoughts in those moments as it will not accomplish anything positive.
I am still not feeling great so I still need to monitor my symptoms. That can be difficult at times. There are times when I feel like everyone in the entire world is texting or calling to check on me and it feels too enormous to respond. That then brings on tremendous guilt and its own version of negative self-thoughts. The truth is nothing about this is easy for anyone involved in my life.
My therapist had used the term that I needed "a break" and classified that as me going to the hospital. I told her this week that I could not continue to describe my hospitalization as "a break" as it was not as if I took off a few days to go to Canyon Ranch (I wish!) or took a few days at the beach. In my mind, it was not really about taking a break but rather keeping me safe. That was the bottom line and the reality of my hospitalization. That is the new language now that I will be using. While I may have also needed a break from reality, the intention of going into the hospital was to keep me safe, simple as that. I talked with my husband about this language and he agreed. I am learning a lot right now about how important it is to let others in. It was important to tell my therapist that I did not agree with her language and we were able to talk about it and come up with a solution. Also, just as important, I knew to bring this to my husband's attention in order for us to be on the same page. Semantics can carry a lot of meaning and it is so important for me to be understood. It is a very empowering feeling.
What would be helpful right now? Certainly hearing from my family and friends is important, I just may not respond if I am not up to it. It is not personal. I need to let others into my world a bit more as I have been unable to do so for months. This is very hard for me as I have not felt others "with" me in that emotional way in several months as my depression has fought against those feelings. Cut me some slack while I find my way. Yes, it is great to be home from the hospital but there is still a lot for me to acclimate to socially, emotionally and rationally. I need to try to give myself a break, too, during this process and for me that is like delving into the unknown. It scares me but I can intellectually see how important it is to my ongoing recovery.
My new medication is holding a lot of hope and during this waiting game of a few more weeks as it kicks in, I have chosen to have a couple of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatments to help me get through. This was not an easy decision to make and although I originally told my doctor in the hospital I would not have more treatments as an outpatient, I came to it on my own once I was home for a few days. I felt empowered and terrified making this decision as there is so much anxiety for me before each treatment. It was helpful though while I was in the hospital and I need to give myself every opportunity to feel better. As my very eloquent therapist said to me this week, "it's enough already!"
Yes, it really fucking is.