Sunday, December 9, 2012

remembering hard times (my hospital stay)

Now, for once, I wish for a private blog.

I went to a shelter recently with some other people. I was just going to play guitar and sing, but ended up doing more.

Anyway, the night went well. I got to talk to various people and enjoyed my time.

Until the end. Combine late night with memories.

Of being in a locked building, only I was locked inside. Of getting my evening meds from a caretaker. Of bed checks, of classes during the day, of my life out of control, of ... wordless feelings. Of my stay in the hospital.

Every so often, I think about it. And I'm grateful for being able to go to the hospital when I was feeling so bad. I'm grateful  that I finally got to see a psychiatrist, and not just for one short visit. I'm grateful for the classes.

And I'm still disturbed. I felt like it was a grown up version of a daycare like where I worked when I was on the outside. I felt for the nurses trying to take care of us all. I understood when they didn't have enough staff to take some of us outside (into the little yard with very high, non-see-through fences). I felt for the people around me, who were struggling to deal with their lives. And then I had my own set of issues. And then I still was me, so whatever problems were suggested, like being co-dependent, I assumed I had.

I remember the psychiatrist telling me that the saying of "fake it 'til you make it" applied to me; that I'd have to act like I was healthy and eventually my brain/emotions would catch up. I remember that he liked some of my discoveries about myself, like that I did lots of black and white thinking, but I was going to intentionally look for grey options.

I liked making one or a few small goals that I could acheive during the day, like "take a shower" or tell myself three good things about me.

And I remember feeling broken, seeing my presence in the locked ward as evidence that I couldn't handle life on my own any more, at least for the moment.

And I remember how hard it was transitioning back into the outside world. I'd longed for sleep when I entered the hospital and assumed that they would be able to give me something to help me sleep. I didn't expect to lie awake in bad for hours each night. And then the nurses would flash their flashlight in on me for bed checks for a second or two, and then they would record me as being asleep because my eyes were closed and I wasn't moving! Come on! Parents know better than that. It got so I wanted to open my eyes and show I was awake when they came, but I tended to be too slow. So maybe I was half asleep, but not sleeping well.

So back in the outside world, I was SOO tired, dealing with anxiety, dealing with the trauma of having been locked in the hospital (even though it was voluntarily). Eventually, as in that same week or maybe the next week, I saw my family doctor, and he was so nice about saying that if he'd had to stay in the hospital, that would upset him; he wouldn't sleep as well in a strange bed, and it would scare him to think that he was that sick to need to be there. He said it well, only I blame my brain more than the strange bed for keeping me awake at night.

And I wish that the hospital was some magic cure, but it was really just another stop on the journey. Sure, I got focused time to deal with myself. And as my counselor suggested, I tried to see it as a break from my outside life, a safe place to rest (the non-sleep kind). I think it was a good thing. But a few days in the hospital to change from one antidepressant that takes months to work to another antidepressant that takes 6 weeks or months to work, how is that an instant cure? Basically, it isn't.

The stupid severe depression continued to haunt me for a while. And it hurt so bad. And I still want to cry about it.

And how does that fit with feeling better now?

Maybe I wasn't quite ready to visit a shelter yet. Maybe my life is still too close to some of that stuff.

Maybe I'll stop feeling this hurt some day.

It would have helped, possibly, if I had gone to sleep earlier last night. But it was hard to transition from the late night out to going to bed. I did a slow transition. So now I'm tired and struggling with memories. Maybe I'll go home and distract myself with a book or a movie or even a nap.

Because my memories of my time in the hospital and of the severe depression, I still don't know how to handle that. This isn't indiscriminant stuffing away of unpleasant memories. This is the, I don't know how to deal with this, so let me distract myself for now and hopefully I'll be able to deal with it later, kind of stuffing away.

Well, the snow came back and the sunshine went on vacation. Nasty things. I'd better go sit by my therapy light. I wish it was more magical than it is. I wish it completely obliterated the effect that weather has on me. But I think it has done more towards the lack of daylight hours as opposed to the grey weather.

Well, on to better things?


  1. Oh, Abigail, I'm so sorry. I think you should be proud of yourself. You've had some difficult things to deal with, but you are dealing with them. Hugs.

  2. Abigail, I'm so sorry that you've had these things to deal with, but you ARE dealing with them, and in very courageous ways. You have accomplished so much and come so far. I agree with Sunny--you should be proud of yourself.

  3. You are very brave to write this. I have also been in a hospital for my illness and I could relate to much that you wrote. I am glad to know you through your blog Abigail and am thankful for your courage.

    1. You are brave to share your comment. Thank you. And I'm glad we can be blog friends, too.

  4. You are doing really well. It's hard when those stinging painful memories come up.


  5. Thank you to each of you for your kind comments