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Learning Relapse Prevention The Hard Way: A Military Spouse's Experience

When I married my husband, who is in the US Air Force, I knew life would be tough as a military wife, but I had not realized how much harder it would be with my newly-diagnosed mental health condition - bipolar disorder type 1. 

I met my husband in England whilst he was stationed overseas, and as an English woman, I fell in love with the American who loved Harley Davidsons and said ‘yes ma’am’. It was wonderfully romantic, with a proposal in Italy, and we were married just over six months later. 

My Manic Summer: Take 2

It seems that my last blog post was somewhat prophetic. I am currently sitting on a bed, in a psychiatric hospital, recovering from my second psychotic manic episode. 

This episode evolved much like the last did, with me becoming so elevated that I lost insight and subsequently stopped taking my medication. I had been hypomanic and compliant with my medication for months, but January and February (summer months in Australia) are still bad months for me regarding mania. 

The Generation Watchers

Growing up, I was the one who looked up to everyone: 5 siblings, my parents, tons of older cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I had idolized many of them. Now that I’m becoming an adult, despite 23 not being old (even though I feel it sometimes), I feel like I’m in their position. Sitting higher than the generation below me for them to watch for action. Like a leader leading her knights into a battle. And I especially feel like that when it involves my niece or nephew because they are all going through those impressionable ages that children go through. 

The Perfect Storm

I’m writing this three days fresh out of an acute treatment unit. It’s a locked facility similar to a mental hospital, but smaller. 

It’s not the first time I’ve voluntarily admitted myself to this unit due to extreme symptoms and personal safety issues, but it’s been at least two years since my last visit. 

Finding a workable med combination and being committed to therapy has kept me on track for the most part. Any episodes I’ve experienced over the past couple of years I’ve been able to manage at home with the support of family. 

Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization

When I think about involuntary hospitalization, I feel vaguely violated. It was sudden, and it wasn’t my choice. I was deceived before the police showed up and slapped on the handcuffs.  It was personal and not. It hurt, bewildered and shocked me. Terrifying? For sure. Transformative? You tell me. 

When Someone You Care About is Institutionalized

I woke up sad and nervous before drug treatment court this morning.  My friend, Cee, was going to be held today in county jail until a bed opened up at a nearby drug treatment facility: she kept failing drug screens and this was her consequence. It would be meted out at court, but she knew already. Everyone in our group knew. Cee said a tearful good-bye to us last night at group therapy. 

Life is a Puzzle

After six days in the psychiatric hospital, I was taken to the intensive care unit because I had thought of a way I could kill myself in the hospital.  There wasn’t much freedom in the regular unit, but there was even less in ICU.  We were only allowed outside into a small yard once every couple of hours so those who smoked could have a cigarette.  I didn’t smoke; I just wanted to be outside.  A staff person went with us, we had to come back in when the staff person told us to, and then the door was locked again.