I just had my first experience with hospitalization for my illness. It was scary, mostly because I didn't know what to expect. Locked doors and the idea of not being able to leave until someone says "ok" terrified me. I have a 6 year old son, a loving husband whose finally on board with the program with the fact that I have a serious illness, and a Mom whose herself fighting with depression. Admitting that I needed help enough to admit myself to the hospital took more than I thought I had. But I did it, and I'm encouraged.
I'm not going to lie and say it was a nice stay. It was hard and emotionally exhausting, but the staff were good people for the most part and treated me well. The biggest help I actually found was from other patients. My second day I had a breakdown where I couldn't stop sobbing and couldn't pull myself together. But other patients saw what I was going through and little by little they came to sit near me and offer support and wisdom about the whole process. That calmed me down some and made me realize that I had done the right thing by coming in and admitting myself voluntarily. I was sick and I needed help.
Ionly spent 2 days there, and in that time I realized that most of us sufferedfrom the same problems. We shared many similaritiesand were suprised on how many of us faced the same characteristics of illness.Most of us were in for depression-related illnesses and just couldn't cope with what we were enduring privately anymore.
I myself had just suffered a major depressive episode that had started earlier in the week, and needed to get treated for what was obviously bipolar disorder. I had spent 2 years with a psychiatrist that wouldn't listen to me and had too big an ego to admit that his initial assessment of me was incorrect. Even though I saw my therapist and they worked in the same office he never bothered to look at what she wrote in my chart. In November of last year I finally had enough- and sent a letter to care management to demand to be moved to another doctor's care. Eventually the whole thing apparently got him fired or he resigned, but either way I was free of him.
Sadly my new psychiatrist only looked at it as depression initially. He wanted evidence of a manic or hypomanic episode happening before he was willing to start me on a medication regimen that would fit bipolar disorder. Well, he finally got one. It took me having to admit myself to the hospital in crisis (under my therapist's urging) to have someone recognize what was going on.
I've finally been put on mood stabilizers, which I have been taking since Sunday. The crisis appears to be over, but there's still a lot of lingering issues that I'm dealing with. I see my doctor in the morning and we're going to move on from there and maybe finally get a complete diagnosis.
I'm afraid of the medications, but in a way I feel like they can't be a whole lot worse than what I've been going through for the past 15 years of my life.