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. 🙂