Two years ago, in March of 2016, I was in a much different place than I am today. Currently, I am working a nearly full-time job, in school as a part time student, a fully engaged step mother and spouse and in a place of stability mentally speaking. But, two years ago, this was not the case.
As Facebook memories reminds me, I had just finished a visit with my mom. She flew out to stay for a week, as I was so incredibly unstable, that my doctors were insisting that I sign myself into a mental hospital for 24/7 care, however I refused.
I was not sleeping much and was not sitting still during the day. I was not hungry, so I was not eating much. With my mom visiting, I had someone to talk to, although the conversations that we had were me babbling and purposely not telling her how out of control things were in my head. I was not letting it be known that I was hallucinating, nor that I wanted to die only in an effort to get out of the hell that I was living within my mind. I spent the week that my mom was with me, as seven days of trying to prove to her that I was totally ok, when in reality I was falling apart, spiraling radically out of control.
Today, I regret not seeking treatment through a hospitalization. I had spent nearly a year on a ward for Anorexia and Bulimia when I was a teenager and I was scarred and scared that the experience would be the same. I was incredibly fearful that I would not be able to sleep and what would I do at night if I was not sleeping, but not in my own home where I had things to tinker with. Many questions flooded my mind: Who would I meet? What would the hospitalization be like? What would I eat, especially with my food allergies and intolerances? What if it doesn’t work? And my biggest fear, what if they keep me?
Then I thought about my family and what it would be like for them. How will my family function without me? What will the kids think? What will my friends think? These are all things that went through my head and what I chose to do was to keep my inner turmoil to myself and suffer silently. I was not able to realize that if I was in a hospital that my family may not be as worried about me as they would know that I was in a safe place, getting care and treatment and working on getting back to a place of stability. I was just too afraid.
I ended up suffering and being out of work for a total of seven months. Spending day after day, home alone. Somedays wearing the varnish off the floors from my pacing and other days being incapable of getting out of bed. The number of phone calls that I made to my mom crying my eyes out would be lost to anyone who tried to count them. It was a very dark time. It was a very painful time. But, it was a time of growth.
I now can look back at that period and I can see how sick I was. I have made the pledge that should I ever relapse I would go into a hospital to get the care that I need. Today I am far less afraid. I am more educated about the disorder for which I live with (bipolar disorder) and I know what I need to do to remain stable. I no longer wake up each day wondering what kind of a day it will be. Will it be a manic day or a depressed day? I wake up and I think, “it’s going to be a good day”, and “goodness what amazing outfit am I going to wear” and “what’s that smell? Oh yeah coffee, I am so lucky that I have coffee made for me every morning, I am so spoiled.”
I would not be where I am today had it not been for where I was before. I no longer dwell on this part of my past, but allow it to help me put things in perspective and take pride in how far I have progressed. I also use the past to help me appreciate where I am, and to encourage me to maintain stability, regardless of the unwanted side effects of my medication. As with so many other trials and tribulations, I maintain progressing forward, looking and working towards my goals. I have learned to embrace what I have in the now, but also to keep the momentum going that launches me forward and through the unwanted and unpleasant parts of life. I press on and move forward, while appreciating what each day brings to my life and how every day is slightly better than the previous.