Category Archives: psych hospitalizations

30 Day Mental Health Challenge – Day 2

Day 2: How do you feel about your diagnosis?

I have accepted my diagnosis for the most part.  I get upset that I have to take medicine everyday.  I get annoyed that I am going to have to deal with it for the rest of my life.  I know that for my BPD I can get much better through therapy and even my PTSD can improve a lot with therapy.  My bipolar is going to follow me all my life though.  I have tried going off my meds and every single time I ended up in the hospital – repeatedly – 15 times – until I got committed to a state hospital.

I have accepted that I have to stay on my meds now.  I have accepted that I need medications and I need therapy and I will battle these for the rest of my life.

I will be honest though, I am treated unfairly many times because of my borderline personality diagnosis.  People think I am manipulative because of it.  I personally, am not.  I have doctors tell me that I tell them whatever I want to get the medications I want.  The medications I have been on work perfectly for me – since I got out of the state hospital, my meds have kept me stable.  The only med that hasn’t is my anxiety med – and I asked the state hospital to take me off of it because in the controlled environment in there, I thought I was better.  I wish I hadn’t gone off of it.  Now, everyone here thinks I am just manipulating them because of my BPD.  There is more than just that instance though – I have heard it multiple times.  I wish that my BPD diagnosis would just be taken off my chart.

But, it is what it is.  I have what I have.  I just need to continue to learn how to cope with it all and live with it all and focus my life on living better and coping better.

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Looking Back at Life (1/22/2011) – Chemical Imbalances

I look back at how bad my depression was over the last few years … in a previous online journal I had a post from January 22, 2011 at 6:28pm that simply stated:

The first two weeks of school have gone pretty good.

I need to die though.

Two sentences.  Nothing else.

My depression was so bad, that even though my first two weeks of college (actually the last semester of my senior year) had been fine, I still felt the need to die.  This was the year that my mental illness became extremely severe.  This entry was posted a week after my first psychiatric hospitalization. Prior to my second hospitalization, which would result in me abruptly dropping out of school (on the semester I should have graduated) and deciding I wanted nothing to do with graduating as I had no reason to believe I would live any longer.  And if I did indeed live, I did not need school.  I wanted no degree from the college I was going to, I hated my college at the time, and I wanted nothing from them at all.  I was much to amazing to have a college degree (woohoo bipolar delusions and suicidal ideations and reckless decisions).  I did go back and get my degree though, although I am not using it at all thanks to my wonderful hospitalizations and instability.

It is amazing how set I was on death though.  I had been depressed so much of my life, but this was the breaking point for me.  How can we see that things are good, but still want death so much?   The chemical imbalances in our brain and how they work are so –weird!

People ask me all the time why I am depressed.  Which I hate by the way.  I don’t know.  Things can be going fine in my life, and I am just depressed.  Which obviously this entry from 3.5 years ago shows — it seemed like things were fine, but I still was determined that I needed to die.  The chemical imbalance in my brain was just completely off!  That is how bipolar works, that is how major depressive disorder works, and schizoaffective, schizophrenia, and a whole host of other mental illnesses.  It isn’t a simple switch that I can turn on and off.

Yes, I can change my thought process, that does help.  But that alone does not fix me.  As I have mentioned before, I need my medication.  I am not someone who can go without my meds – because my diagnosis definitely is based on a huge chemical imbalance.  Working on CBT helps a lot, but only when my medication is also working.  Then I am stable enough to focus on using those technique to change my thought process too.

But — I guess, looking at this post from 2011… I also just think about how much it hurts to feel that way.  To know that you can see your life going ok but to know that you still feel the need to get out of it.  To have this deep desire to just escape.  I haven’t felt that deep desire since January 2013 luckily, my meds have been working well since then, but I still have the thoughts and desires here and there.  Not constantly though.  It was a hard.  It still is hard., but I’m learning to manage and it’s getting easier.

I Think I’ve Hit a Road Block – And I Need to Find the Detour

I saw my psychiatrist today.  I wasn’t really the greatest appointment.  I actually left feeling very discouraged and I’m not in the greatest mood.  I think I’ve hit a road block.

I’ve really been struggling with my anxiety.  I’ve always had bad anxiety.  It was pretty well managed the last few years, although I was pretty overloaded on my last anxiety medication.  When I was in the state hospital, the environment was very controlled and I thought I had gotten over it, so I transitioned off of my medicine (the valium).  Upon moving though, I knew no one, was in a brand new state, and also began working on trauma therapy — my anxiety has been at an all time high once again.  I deeply regret ever getting off anxiety medication.  I cannot get my psychiatrist to give me medication other than vistaril, which has done nothing, and buspar which simply made it 100x worse.  I understand that other medications are addictive, but I only want something to help me when I go into a panic attack just while I go through this trauma therapy, even if it just a few pills a month to get me through the worst of times.  I am getting exhausted living like this – it has made me depression horrible.

He told me that he went through my medications I have tried in the past – not specifically anxiety, but everything.  I have gone through a lot – and he said that medications don’t work for me.  I was pissed, because the regimen I am on now has done a pretty good job for the last 1.5 years.  I have been more stable than I have been in like 4 years.  He has only seen me twice now (I go to a medical school, so they switch residents every two years when they graduate).  He doesn’t even know me! Yes, he has my records, but I highly doubt he has read them! Does he really want to see me off my medication – because I am really considering just stopping it since he claims that they don’t even matter, despite the fact that I have seen how much they have changed my life.  But if he says that, why would I waste my money?

He wants me to compliment my trauma therapy with DBT.  Which would be fine, except the only place around me that does it, is 1 hour away (ok still doable), but they also don’t take insurance, or any insurance for that matter (not doable).  I am already paying out of pocket to see him (supposed to be $124 dollars-what I was told….but I keep getting billed over $200 and while they tell me they will fix it, it never gets done).  I live on disability right now, I cannot afford to pay out of pocket for more therapy that my insurance wont pay for. 

I guess I am just frustrated though because he basically told me that if my anxiety is that bad – I need to go to the hospital.  What is the hospital going to do?  Why can he not just help me?  If he can’t help outpatient, why would the hospital be able to do anything different?  Would they be able to prescribe me a medication?  If they do–would he actually keep me on it?  I’m not going to go spend a ton of money on a hospital stay when I feel like this should be able to be taken care of on an outpatient basis.  I thought psychiatrists were supposed to try to keep you out of the hospital. 

I have grown so much since 2011 when I first started having serious problems with my mental health.  And I believe that each day I grow stronger.  I know I also fall back though.  I just feel like this is a set back for me.  Or I shouldn’t say set back – its like a road block.  A wall in my way.  Another challenge.  I don’t have help this time though. I don’t have a psychiatrist to help me get through it.  And it sucks – it just sucks.  I’m facing my pain and anxiety and depression on my own. I mean, I guess he cares in that he suggested the DBT, but he also knows I cant pay for it and he clearly doesn’t want to help me with medication – so I don’t feel like I have support.  Now, I have to find the detour, the way around it – get past this road block.

I’m going to get through it.  I just am going to have to work a hell of a lot harder and figure something out.  I don’t know what yet though.  I feel like I have tried a million coping skills. 

So, I’m going to try to write some still, but I may be a little less frequent.  I have some posts that I wrote ahead of time that are scheduled to be posted though, and those should show up.  I am still going to try to get on here though, cause it does help.  Ill just have to see how it goes I guess. 

The Worst Day of My Life

Trigger warning — discusses suicide.

It was the lowest day in my life.  My depression hit a wall.  I didn’t know what to do anymore.  I had been out of college, graduated 5 months prior, in December 2011.  It was May 2012 now.  I had no money.  I had quit my job in March, but it was a student job from my college, and I wasn’t a student anymore so I was bound to lose it at some point anyway.

My parents had been paying most of my bills.  Even with my job, I didn’t have enough money for rent and food.  They wouldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t blame them.  Rent, food, even my students loans – they were paying for them.  They cut me off.  My lease ended at the end of May.

I had to move home to Texas to live with my mom and her husband or I was homeless, in Indiana.  Neither option was a good choice.  I didn’t want to move to Texas.  I hated it there.  I wasn’t fond of my mom’s husband nor was I fond of my relationship with my mom – living together for more than 2 weeks usually ended up in a disaster with arguments galore.

So back to the worst day of my life —

I decided I could live anymore.  I was done.  I had attempted to end my life multiple times before.  I had failed many times before.  Usually, I called for help.  I realized it was the wrong choice.  I realized I didn’t really want to die, just wanted the pain to end.  This time, it was different though.  I went all out – I was determined to die.  I was ready to die.  I didn’t want to be saved.  It wasn’t a cry for help.

It was still an overdose, as usual.  I didn’t take the pills all at once though.  I strategically took them over time.  Ten pills here, ten pills there, ten pills here… over a course of 24 hours.  They slowly built up in my system.  My liver was toxic.  My case manager met with me the next morning.  I didn’t tell her anything.  The tone of my voice and the negativity in my voice I suppose let her know that I was having the suicidal thoughts though.  She left, but 30 minutes later called me back.  I answered and she asked me how I was.  Of course, I said fine.  She said she would call me again.  I couldn’t understand how she knew something was going on.  Before she ever called me back – there was banging on my door.  The police, paramedics… they were all at my door.  I refused, I refused to go anywhere.  Because of my past history of suicide attempts though, they could get a court order and have me taken in – with handcuffs and all if I did not go.  So I went.

The paramedics took me, I refused to tell them anything.  Blood tests were taken and showed that my liver was at toxic levels and I was very close to actually dying.  They couldn’t believe I was not sick, that I wasn’t in horrible pain from how my levels were.  I told them I refused treatment, I wanted to go home.  Absolutely not – it was not going to happen.  Mucomyst – it is the antidote to Tylenol overdose.  I was given it, immediately.  It also made me incredibly ill.  Police were outside of my door since I was set on leaving and not being treated.  I was throwing up and became very ill.  They gave me Reglan to combat the vomiting.  That was a mistake because I was allergic to Reglan.  My face swelled.  I got hives all over.  I couldn’t breathe well.  I was going to die!  Nope — then I got Benadryl.  I was miserable.  What a miserable way to be.  A few friends from my NAMI support group came to be with me.  They sat with me, disappointed that I had gone to these lengths.  I was upset.  I was upset that I didn’t die.  Yet I was happy.  I was happy that someone cared enough to save me.  I didn’t know how I felt.  I was horribly ill – mentally and physically.  I was supposed to be sent to the ICU, but the ER was trying to stabilize me from all the reactions I was having to the medications to combat the overdose.  Finally, I was sent to the ICU.

I spent 5 days in the ICU.  Maybe 4.  I’m not sure.  I was then released into a psychiatric hospital.  I spent two weeks there.  I had been to that hospital before, many times.  They weren’t surprised to see me.  Upon my release I only had a few days to be out of my apartment because my lease was up.

I won’t forget that day though.  The day I attempted suicide.  Sure, I had done it before – but that day, it was the worst attempt I had ever had.  It was the attempt I really wanted.  The attempt I had hoped would actually work.  It was right near my mother’s birthday, right near Mother’s Day.  It was the attempt that actually really hurt my family.  The one that made everyone realize that I was struggling really bad.  It was the day that I realized I was hurting everyone around me whenever I hurt myself.  It was the day that I realized I would probably never attempt suicide by overdose again either – hopefully never attempt suicide again period too.

I have had really crappy days since then.  I have had horrible days.  I have still had my suicidal thoughts and been back in the hospital since then.  But, when I think of the worst day, that is the worst day that comes to mind.  It was caused by all the horrible things that happened before me.  The culmination of all my past events that made my mind go crazy, it was caused by my chemical imbalances … and all those things just created the worst day ever.  The lowest day in my life.  The lowest point in my life.

Daily Post – Memories in a State Psych Hospital – Chocolate Cake, Flip Flops, and The Wise One

Word Press Post A Day – Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.

 

I was stuck in the state hospital.  Well, pretty much stuck.  I had reached level 4, so I had some freedom.  See, when you reach level 4, you can leave the hospital.  If there is a field trip or outing, you are eligible to go on it.  For example, we took a trip to the Indiana Pacers game – it was amazing!  It was actually my first time to a professional sports game and I had a blast. Who would have thought I had to get sent to a state hospital to go to a professional sporting event? 

As time gets closer to your release, you are actually able to spend a few hours outside of the hospital with family and/or friends and even weekend visits out – yep you can leave the hospital for a whole weekend and spend the night at home!  My family didn’t lie in Indiana, so this didn’t even seem like an option for me, but for one week, both my parents (who lived in different states), came up for a visit!

I was due to be released in 2 months if all went well.  I would be off of my commitment and we were still figuring out where I would go – a treatment facility, group home, independent apartment, back with my family, etc.  Ok ok, so where do these flip flops, cake, and someone old and wise come in?  Well, I was free!  My family was there and I was level 4!  At first, I would only be out for 4 hours for the first 2 days, then 8 hours the next two days, then I got to spend the night at the hotel for the next day and didn’t have to be back until 8pm the next day! 

You can’t have shoes with laces in a psych hospital.  Nope.  You might just hang yourself.  So flips flops!  Yep, you bring flip flops or house shoes, or my favorite were my converse shoes that they make now that have elastic and no strings (I make sure to always have those around in case I get sent to a hospital).  But the days I was out with my parents, I just wore my flip flops, easy to put on, light, and freeing!  It was like going on a vacation to a beach – you just have to flip flops on. 

Chocolate cake!  We met up with my friend and his family from my city I was from.  State hospitals are rarely going to be in the city you actually live in.  I was in one that was 1.5 hours away from where I was from.  My friend and his family was amazing though, they had come to visit me about 2x a month, bring me food (yep you can also bring food into the state hospital) and basically being my second family. So my family and I met up with them at Applebees! This happened to be my friend and my favorite restaurant!  We always ordered chocolate cake for desert here when we went to ate – so to celebrate my freedom (even if it was just for a few hours) – we had some chocolate cake!

Tech M – he was old and wise.  He made sure to tell me what to do and not to do on my outings.  Of course I knew.  I knew not to drink or do drugs.  I knew not to do anything crazy or get out of control.  I knew that anything illegal or out of control would get me to not be able to go out, lose a level, and perhaps even delay my release.  But he sat me down and really explained the gravity of it.  He spent time telling me how proud he was of me.  He spent time telling me how important it was to spend time with the people who loved me.  He spent time telling me how hard I had worked to get to the level I was at.  I left for my outings with a sense of pride for being able to go on my outings, a sense of responsibility – more than I had before. 

I still think of psych hospitals when I wear flip flops.  My friend from Indiana, he still will text me pictures when he goes out to eat (anywhere) and gets chocolate cake – “Remember Applebees?”  Tech M, I will always remember him.  He was kind and caring.  He actually got very ill while I was still in the hospital.  He took some time off, and never came back.  A week or so before I left, we were told he had passed away.  He was a wise soul and I think he gave a lot of good advice to a lot of people – he touched a lot of lives. 

People have a lot of misconceptions about psych hospitals.  I know not all are good.  And I know not all state hospitals are like the one I was at.  I definitely went to one that was beyond amazing and got incredibly good care.  I have a lot of fond memories there.  I wanted out of the state hospital so bad when I was there especially the first three months. The last past of the 6 months, I just wanted out because I thought maybe I would be stuck there forever otherwise – and yet when I left, I actually missed it.  I missed the friends that I had made there.  I missed the groups that I had gone to.  I missed the support that I had.  Even the stupid roommate situation – I missed it.  Being on my own was hard, incredibly hard.  Thinking back on these memories actually make me smile.  There were some bad ones, but there were a lot more good ones than bad ones. 

Daily Post – I Wanted To Feel Human, I wanted to Feel Alive. I Thought Suicide Could Do This

Word Press Post A Day – After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

 

Feeling alive again, feeling human again.  How I long for those sometimes.  It is so easy for me to just feel numb and dead.  My depression can take over.  It can consume me.  Lifting a piece of paper, can feel like I just moved a boulder. 

Three years ago, I wouldn’t have done anything to feel alive.  After a grueling week, an exhausting week, a horrible exam, or anything that just overwhelmed me — I would have attempted suicide.  If I was alive, then I could die.  Bizarre thought process right?  That is how it was for me though.  Mental illness was lying to me, it was messing up my thoughts, my emotions, and really destroying my life.  Over and over again I attempted suicide, landed in the ER, the ICU, and in psych hospitals

Today, I don’t do that anymore.  I still have the suicidal thoughts, yes.  I reach out for help before anything happens though.  I also use my coping skills.  To feel alive, I paint, I juggle, I draw, I write, I spend time in nature, I do anything and everything to keep me from ruminating on whatever it was that made me have an exhausting or overwhelming situation.  I don’t do one thing to feel human again.  I can’t do one thing – for me, I have to do multiple things, I have to keep trying things and if one thing does work, I have to move on to another thing. If I don’t do that, then I might fall back into my old pattern – and I don’t want that.  If that happens, then I won’t even be able to be alive. 

Psych Hospitals – The Not So Scary Truth

Don’t take me!  I don’t want to go.  I’m not going!!!

Going to a psychiatric hospital can be incredibly scary.  There are a lot of horror stories about them.  And for the most part, in today’s society, the horror stories are not true.  I say “for the most part” because I know that for some people, they have had bad things happen to them.  But, in general, most facilities are safe places, where people can go and get the care they needed.  They are not strapped down for hours and hours, stabbed with needles, and/or drugged up and drooling on a couch.

As I have mentioned a few times on here before, I have a little bit of experience with psychiatric hospitalizations. 17 different hospitalizations to be exact – at 7 different facilities. 

  • 1 in Texas
  • 4 in Indiana
  • 2 in Florida

Out of all of these facilities, I would say I had bad experiences at 2 of them, and out of those 2, only one of those was a really horrible experience, and I would say I would absolutely never want to be admitted to that hospital again.  Despite that, I know people that have been admitted to that hospital, and have had completely different experiences than me – so I don’t know, perception of how I compared it to the other hospitals I went to maybe?

All of these hospitalizations ranged in time differences – from as short as 3 days to one as long as 6 months at a state hospital (that hospital was probably the best hospital I was ever at). 

The reason why I really am writing this, is because far to often people talk about their bad experiences at the psych hospital.  No one really talks about how much it might have helped them. This tends to scare people off from actually going and getting help when they need it.  They are scared they might lose their kids, or they will never get out, they will be restrained and tied to a bed, they will be treated bad. 

This isn’t true though.  I can’t promise every hospital is going to be amazing.  It isn’t a 5 star hotel, and some hospitals are newer and better than others.  But it is a safe place if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.  It is a place for you to get help.  Unless there is abuse or neglect of your kids where they are in immediate danger, they wont take away your kids if you have someone to watch them while you are there – you will get them back (per every situation I have ever encountered with people that have had kids).  You might be there 1 day (unless you are under a 72 hour hold), or you might be there a month – but that is between you and the doctor and how you feel you are doing.  If you are not a danger to yourself or others though, they cannot keep you in there against your will. 

I know it might not seem like the hospitals helped me at all, considering I was in and out of them so much.  But they did!  They saved my life.  If it wasn’t for them, I would be dead.  I would go on and off my medication, I was non compliant.  I didn’t think I needed help.  I didn’t know how to accept the help.  Every time I went in I hated life and wanted to die – or had actually attempted suicide.  They would bring me back to reality, get me back on my meds.  Get me into the group therapy there, the techs would talk to me, the psychiatrist would talk to me.  I relearned how to use my coping skills.  I got stabilized.  For the time being anyway.  For me, it took more than an acute care hospital – it took the state hospital.  For most, it doesn’t take that though.  But for me, that state hospital literally saved me from destruction. 

I spent 6 months there and I was scared to go.  When they told me I was being committed I was scared.  Yet, I didn’t even think much of it at the same time.  I was so over hospitals and assumed I would kill myself no matter what it didn’t phase me.  In the end, after 6 months, I was a new person.  Yes, I still struggle, but I think about how much time and effort everyone put into teaching me how to live again, not just survive in life but actually live.  The psychiatrist, nurse, medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, techs, recreational therapists – it was amazing how much everyone cared. 

People at psych hospitals do care.  It is a not a gloomy place where patients are catatonic and drugged up, tied to chairs and beds.  Groups take place, patients make friends, support is given. I still have friends from some of my hospitalizations in the acute care hospitals and friends from the state hospital.  And we keep in touch more often than other friends because they understand me much better.

If you need help, reach out.  Take it.  It is there.  Don’t be scared.