Free At Last!

I’m back home after a full week in the hospital, and to say that I feel much better would be an understatement. I took advantage of all the psych unit had to offer in the way of group therapy and one-on-one sessions with the nurses, and now I have a box of shiny new tools to use when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Going inpatient was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done, and my experiences in the unit were good ones. I bonded with several of my fellow “inmates”, and we made plans to stay friends on the outside. And I wasn’t even claustrophobic, though I knew I was behind three locked doors and could not possibly get out. Shut away from the outer world, I actually felt safe and protected for the first time in many months, and more than once I wondered why I’d been so scared of the hospital in the first place.

My official diagnosis now is Bipolar 1 with severe depression. At first I thought that was a little harsh, but I’ve long suspected I would be given that diagnosis at some point because my manias are so bad and my depressions even worse. Still, it was a bit of shock to see it in black and white on my chart, and I know it’ll never revert back to NOS or even BP 2 because BP 1 is the most severe version of the disorder, and that’s a forever thing. As is the illness itself.

And there goes the very last of the denial.

Even up until my admission, I’d been toying with the idea that since I’ve had three depressive episodes and no mania in the past year, I wasn’t really bipolar, just depressed. I hate to admit that, because it doesn’t work that way and as a clinician I know it. The meds merely suppressed the mania while not quite controlling the depression. And speaking of meds, I got a tune-up and now am on a crapload of Lamictal as well as more Zyprexa. I’m probably never going to come off that stuff…..but then, I’m at the point where I don’t really care anymore, because the alternative is worse. I don’t want to feel the way I did a week ago ever again.

It is somewhat discouraging to know that my disease has progressed over the 2 1/2 years since the original diagnosis, even with excellent care. But I’m no longer afraid of the hospital, and it’s reassuring to know I can go back if I become overwhelmed again. So maybe if there is a next time, I’ll do it sooner rather than wait until I’m desperately ill and have no choice. I have also GOT to call Dr. Awesomesauce when I start sliding in one direction or the other instead of trying to push through the episode. And I made Will promise that he would call if I refused to, even if I begged him not to. I never realized that my insight is just as poor in depression as it is in mania, and that I seldom recognize how sick I am when I’m in the thick of things.

I want to thank all of my readers for supporting me through this crisis. On my admin page, I can see where you have stuck with me and kept reading even though there’s been nothing new since Halloween, and I sincerely appreciate it. I hope I can return the favor; so if you ever find yourself in a bad situation, feel free to say so. You know where to find me. 🙂


Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

17 thoughts on “Free At Last!

  1. I often wondered if having been hospitalized early in my illness would’ve made matters any better. I’m glad to hear you are feeling better. I’m right where you were a week ago. Overwhelmed and my release is to escape. I have to face my husband’s family for the holidays again. And I just dread their prescence.
    I don’t see my Candyman for another 2weeks. And i see my hairdresser next week. So for now, I’m keeping my anxiety down but, it doesnt help when my husband says his family is “normal”. What a blow to the heart! I hope I can share your testimony as mine is very similar to yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome back! I am glad your experience was a good one. I’m still on the outside, though needing to ask my family for a lot of extra care and help–but if it gets worse, I will follow your good example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the hardest thing—asking for help. I’m terrible at it…..I don’t even ask Dr. A for it half the time, and he is so very willing to help me any time I need it. I am going to have to learn to ask, because I don’t want to fall down that rabbit-hole again if I can help it.


  3. I have just started following your blog. It makes me not feel so alone. I was hospitalization 3 wks ago for suicidal ideation. I can’t believe I actually walked in there on my own. I had a new Dr. He was an excop an felt that i way an adidict so he put me in detox. Never mind that I needed a safe place to be until I felt better. I needed my Geodon increased but he would have none of that so I spent the 4 days anxious and crying. He threatened to keep me for 2 weeks until I was no longer an “addict”. Needless to say, they will have to shoot me in the back before I go inpatient again. When I got out I was so glad to see my regular Dr who has been helping me thru this for the last 15 yrs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry you went through all that. Nothing is worse when you’re already on the edge than being treated like crap. I hope you have better luck the next time you become ill…..there are times when IP is the only thing that will save you, as it did me.


  4. You know, I’ve had several people say that and at first, I thought it was crazy to think of someone needing help as courageous. But I’m not dead because I did ask for help, and got through it and came out the other side. So I guess you CAN say I’m being brave by taking care of myself. It’s not something I’ve ever been good at, but I’ve got to start somewhere!


  5. So glad to hear that you are doing better. It takes a lot to admit your self. I am a nurse as well and Bipolar 2, Anxiety and Panic Disorder robbed me of a career that I loved. I was shocked that at the age of 48 I found my self anxious, depressed and planning on taking my own life. It cost me a marriage as well since my husband couldn’t cope. Wishing you the best and thank you for this platform that helps so many others have hope and a sense of humor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your response. I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog.
      I’m so sorry you lost your career too. Our profession is not kind to those of us with mental health issues. That needs to change, but unfortunately it probably won’t happen in our generation. Here’s to eliminating stigma and changing the world as much as we can. 🙂


  6. You should know my feelings on hospitalization by now, but I’ll share again. It is a brave thing to do. I’m proud of you. I’m a little embarassed that I went in a month ago and now you were in and I’m hoping that I didn’t trigger you, even though I know how silly that sounds. You’re smart for taking advantage of all that the hospital could give you. It’s not easy, but it was necessary. I’m on Lamictal 200 mg BTW. It’s one of the few drugs I’ve been on for almost the whole diagnosis now and it’s been a decent glue, all things considered.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, my dear friend. No, you didn’t trigger me, I have enough stuff going on in my life to trigger my own self ten times over. I felt bad when you had to go in but I knew it was the best thing for you, as it was for me.

    As for the Lamictal, I’m now pretty much maxed out on it but I feel better on the 400 mg. It was my first bipolar medication. I just fear what could happen if it stops working…..but I guess I ought to wait to cross that metaphorical bridge if/when I come to it, yes?


  8. *hugs* Hopefully the cocktail is getting better and more useful. And yeah, I’m always worried about getting ‘promoted’ to Bipolar I, but that’s also ’cause everything about Bipolar II makes sense with my particular set of things and I’m worried that I’d end up with another numpty who doesn’t want to understand there are different sorts of bipolar.

    Anyhoo, thinking about you!

    Liked by 1 person

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