Hospital Days / by Charlie Francis Cassidy

Trigger warning: Self harm and Suicide

I spent most of last week in hospital. I entered the emergency room Sunday at 1/2am I think, I was pretty out of it, and didn’t get admitted till Monday 7pm. By time I fell asleep, loaded with meds, I’d been awake for about 34hrs. The Emergency department is not a great place to fall asleep. Spending time in the Mental Health ED was an experience as well. While the nurses were all lovely, you could tell the room was designed with involuntary patients in mind. I guess safety is the number one priority, both patients and staff. Anyway, I stayed there till Friday afternoon when they released me, with some higher medication and a piece of paper about breathing. I’ll come back to my thoughts on that, I should probably start with how I got there.

If you’ve read probably any of my other posts, you might know I have an intense fear of hospitals. As in, anyone that knows me and that, would never expect to find me voluntarily walking into one to commit myself. Yet, there I was. My physical urges to kill myself got too much to handle. I thought I was going kill myself, I wanted to kill myself. This was happening every day. Everyday I wanted to die. It got so bad one night, I realised that I’d lost my fear of dying. That’s all I had stopping me. I was talking to a good friend of mine, and finally I told her exactly what was going on. She convinced me to let her take me to hospital. Which, I’m really glad of.

My stay didn’t fix me though, I don’t think they really knew what to do. Aside from obviously not letting me kill myself. But they couldn’t just keep me there forever. It actually took a bit of effort to convince them to take me as well. I’m surprised I didn’t just walk away. Apparently the fact that I hadn’t killed myself yet seemed to indicate I probably wouldn’t. It doesn’t help that I am so very bad at explaining myself, or describing any of my problems or thoughts or anything really. But I got in eventually.

The first thing they did when I woke up my first day, aside from my medication and a nurse who wanted to know my story, was sit me in a room with a Doctor, a Psychiatrist and an intern. Then I was asked so, many, questions. Which I answered, in some way. It got harder as we went along, and my brain started doing the thing where I can’t think, so I got to explain that as well.

Since I’m bad at remembering things lately, I can’t remember exactly what the diagnoses was. Bipolar was brought up, they seemed to think only hypomania was happening so I was, type 2 I think. He also brought up something about a personality disorder, which I really wish I’d asked more about. I am hoping it’s in the report they’re sending my psychiatrist. They then decided to up my meds. My Lithium is now 750mg at night and my Seroquel is 50mg. He also wanted to increase my Efexor, but I’d just decreased that to try and stabalise my moods.

Now, I think this was both a good and bad idea. Good because, maybe I do need higher doses to make myself more stable. Bad because, there is an adjustment period with more Seroquel. I was so out of it my whole stay in hospital, so my suicidal episodes rarely showed up again, only sometimes at night before I went to bed. But they gave me my meds at 8pm each night, so I was out by 9 most times. I think this made me look a lot more okay than I was, and didn’t really prepare me to go back to the world and handle this stuff.

The other thing they did was give me a handout on breathing to calm yourself. Standard stuff you’re told when you say you have anxiety. And then a handout on Mindfulness. Intrigued? The exact handout is here. I did try it, do still try it but I can’t grasp my head around it. I just don’t believe in this stuff. I think it’s because I just don’t understand how to get my head to do any of it. I don’t know how to not think about something. Apparently I can’t even focus on breathing without thoughts jumping in.

I am glad I spent my hazy period of a higher Seroquel dose in hospital though. I had nothing I had to do, so it didn’t matter if it took me a minute (kind of an exaggeration) to answer a question sometimes. But now I’m out, everyday is a little bit worse. Unfortunately not really clearer, I don’t think my head has been clear for a long time.

I just started Lexapro today, after finally seeing my psychiatrist who is all filled in now. Though still waiting for that report. He thinks getting me off the Efexor is a good idea, and getting me onto something that won’t do the same thing so he can pump up the dose. I don’t think it’s just my depression causing this though. In fact I think I’m worse when I’m manic. I mean, all my thoughts now revolve around hurting myself, and worse, but I get very very bad when I’m manic. I think. I’m not really sure of anything. Which is the problem when I have to tell someone about it.

This whole thing has cost me 2 weeks of game work now. It’s also made me realise I really need to take better care of myself. I was pushing myself right past my limits, because that’s just kind of how I am. I expect a lot of myself. But I can’t work like that again. I can’t be up till 3am programming only to sleep a few hours and wake up and have to be doing something else. Not eating, not sleeping and no free time. It’s amazing I survived as long as I did. I’m finding it very hard to get back into it, but I’m trying to take it slow. Next week I’m back to my full schedule of work, but I’m going to organise some sort of schedule so that I can’t over do it anymore. And if it doesn’t get done, then maybe I’ll have to accept that my health is more important. Which is very hard for me.

I guess I’ll see. In the back of my mind, I’m kind of expecting to end up back in hospital.