My Stay

And that’s exactly what I did.  I think that initial stay was about five days.  I spent 24 hours on suicide watch then went to regular inpatient status where I was allowed to attend group counseling, individual counseling, and other ward activities with the rest of the patients.

After a while, I did enjoy the restfulness of the place.  Enough activity went on that we were kept occupied, but it was a big change from normal life with three kids under the age of ten, a husband, a job, and a house and all the responsibility that came with that life.  But I kept most of my turmoil inside, again in an effort to be sent home as soon as possible. I talked to Bob every night around 6 p.m.—we had a pay phone on the ward since cell phones were prohibited. He assured me that the kids were fine and everything was going okay.  I don’t know how much of the truth he was telling.  I know he continued to work, and his mom stepped in to take care of our kids as much as she could help.  I felt guilty about that but knew that he didn’t have any other options.

Other people on the ward were very polite and nice to me, particularly those first few hours. We had an assortment of people that you might find anywhere—what we had in common was how unmanageable our lives had become.  One was a nurse at St. Dominic’s who had been admitted through the same emergency room she worked in after being picked up by the police for tearing up her husband’s truck with a baseball bat.  One older lady who was suffering from depression was very brave to talk to me as I sat crying at dinner the first night I was there.  One was a young man who was on leave for psychiatric reasons from university—he was very articulate, well-spoken, and completely unaware of how dangerous to himself and others he was.  Shortly after I was released, I heard he had died in a single-car crash after his parents signed him out of the ward.  It was ruled an accident, but I will always wonder.

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7 thoughts on “My Stay

  1. Did you find any of the counseling sessions helpful at all? Since I’ve never received any kind of counseling so far (and I was diagnosed about 20 years ago) and have wondered about it, I’m curious how it helps.

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  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped me a lot. It’s practiced by my current therapist, who is my third one. It helps you reframe your thinking from overly positive/negative or irrational to realistic and honest. I think it keeps me from having to take SO much medicine. NAMI has a lot of information on kinds of therapy, as do lots of books available on bipolar disorder. But it’s expensive. I go about once a month and pay out of pocket. .

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  3. I know there’s plenty of information about bipolar, counseling, and so on, but what I’m interested in is your particular experience with it. Can you see a difference in your thought patterns? Is it working for you?

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  4. It’s been a great help. I know how to counter the negative self-talk from CBT. I know what to do when I start obsessing on something (number one is to pray about it instead 🙂 ). It’s a place I can talk out what’s going on in my head to a totally objective listener, who can provide perspective on whatever I’m thinking. CBT helps me counter the black/white, catastrophic, and manic thoughts. It’s mainly a process of training yourself to see things as they really are instead of colored by whatever mood state you’re in.

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