Squashing The Stigma of Inpatient Part 2

Recently, mental health has finally become as important as physical health.

When someone feels depressed, they internalize it, which makes it worse for them, even those around them. What happens if you break your arm? Fall off your bike? Have a kidney stone? You treat that shit. So why should depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD/ADD, and the rest be any different? It is just a different organ in the same exact body.

Basically, after my 2nd day tantrum and protesting eating, I felt very good there.

My 3-7 days inpatient were absolutely…relaxing. They treated mental illnesses like it was just something that needed to be treated. Yeah, I know that’s their job blah blah, but this was different. They didn’t look at you like you were in the “nut house”. They cared about YOU and how YOU were. There were smiles on everybody’s (except some of the lunch ladies…) faces when they saw you instead of judgement. That’s what you’d get on the outside. You can’t really tell just anyone about how you are feeling without seeing that line in the middle of their eyes crinkle up. The judgment.

Not only were you taken care of by nurses and other staff, but there were therapy groups you needed to go to throughout the day. So yeah it was the medication and going to therapy that I thought but, this was a lot more..fun than I thought.

Every morning, they printed off a schedule for the day. When and what the therapy groups were, when breakfast/lunch/dinner was, when we could go outside, stuff like that. So, when I was woken up at 5:45am, I would go grab the schedule and a coffee (DECAF!!!!!!) and plan out the day. We had our community/new patient orientation where we just went over rules. Sometimes one of the cool PCAs ( Patient Care Assistants) would go over there and it wasn’t that boring lol.

The group therapy sessions were comforting, in my opinion. You know what you think when you think of therapy? Well it’s not that. It was nice being able to talk to people, who feel similarly to the way I do, and the therapist. I have never opened up like that to anyone. Not even my husband. There is just something so comforting about having someone who listens the way you need someone to listen. Each day she would check on us and see how the rest of the previous day was. Now, I cried a good amount when I was there, the therapy sessions were working.

So the activity therapies might have been my favorite. Not only was the therapist one of my favorite people, I always had such a fun time. I realllllyyyy like coloring, I just hadn’t done it in a long time. In one of our sessions, we all got to color. Ever since then, I color very often and consider it as one of my coping mechanisms. I couldn’t stop after that. Even the day after I got out, I went to Target and bought some nice gel pens to use! We would meet with each therapist twice a day. Both before lunch, and then again after lunch. We painted some and made worry stones from some cheap clay that for some reason I loved it so much. One of our sessions we water colored. It was my favorite piece I did when I was there. Now I watercolor all of the time!

Yes I framed it and that is a PLANE not a FISH!!

We were not shunned from everything like I had thought. They had 3 or 4 phones you were allowed to use as long as it wasn’t during any therapy groups or after 10:00 pm. Throughout the day we could call our loved ones or get messages if someone had called for us. Family is an important support system for people that are inpatient. They weren’t going to shut us off from everything.

I loved that we all just got to relax for a few hours (after we took our medications at 9:00 pm of course) and watch shows (Shark Week was popular for some reason), color, or read.

I was able to see my kids twice, with a special order from my Psychiatrist. They were both only 30 minutes long. I was lucky just getting to see them. For me, it was important for my son to know why I wasn’t home with them. I did not give him the big scary details but I explained it well enough that he could understand. I do not want him to fear anything if he starts feeling like this (it is likely with a mom and dad with mental illnesses).

Visitations were always different each time. My first actual day, my parents came. I cried and complained about how much I didn’t want to be there. But as the days went, and the more visitations I had with different family/friends, I grew a lot more positive about things and about life. My suicidal thoughts smoked out a little bit every day. I was actually enjoying myself and the people I was with. I have come so far from my first night.

I was not “trapped” like I thought I would be at the beginning. This was the most helpful, hopeful, fun, relieving experience. I have learned many new coping skills I have taken up since I have gotten out, and this blog seems to be one of them!

Anyone who may be contemplating going inpatient, you should definitely do it. Don’t let the stigma of being inpatient scare you out of healing yourself and caring for you. If your thoughts are loud and you can’t tell what’s real anymore; trust me, inpatient is the BEST care for you.

-Bipolar Weirdo

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