…and boy, am I ever glad I’m not where I was three years ago tonight.
The hospital was the best place for me then and I knew it, even though I’d have given almost anything to take my grandsons out trick-or-treating instead. I had never fallen so far down the rabbit hole before, and I don’t recall ever feeling so lost and alone in my entire life. My husband Will, as dear as he was, didn’t understand and there was no way I could describe it to make him understand. I remember telling him that I wanted to hurt myself; his response was as emphatic as it was unhelpful: “No, you don’t! Don’t say that!!”
It was at that point that he demanded I call Dr. Awesomesauce or he would do it for me. At first I refused, because I knew Dr. A would put me in the hospital and I was terrified of being locked up. Then it dawned on me that what was going on in my life outside those doors was more terrifying than whatever awaited me on the inside, so I agreed to go. I was so depressed that I truly could not stand myself any longer, and I said as much in the brief blog post I published that day.
I remember sitting in the “suicide room” at the ER for six long hours, waiting to be transferred to the psych unit in a neighboring town. Will stayed with me until I insisted that he go to the cafeteria for something to eat; that’s when a security guard came in to watch me from the nurse’s station. I didn’t understand why they considered that necessary; anything I could have harmed myself with was at home. There was absolutely NOTHING in that room I could’ve used—all the medical equipment was locked away in the cabinets, there was no call light, not even a TV. It was the same when I got to the unit; I couldn’t have a fan or TV because of the electrical cords, and of course there were no outlets so I couldn’t have plugged in anything anyway. It’s all about safety…and that was exactly what I needed.
It was also a turning point in my illness. I have never again experienced such profound depression, nor have my manic phases been anything but mild mood elevation. My meds were adjusted in the hospital and they’re in just the right doses to control the worst of my symptoms without making me flat and uninterested in life. I’m not under any illusions that I’ll never have another bipolar episode, but it sure feels good this Halloween. Even if I don’t get to take my grandsons out again this year…I can’t drive at night anymore, and they’re almost getting too old to take to the streets in search of candy. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. Right now I’m winning!