“LET ME OUT OF HERE!” I screamed at the top of my voice, hammering on the nurse’s station door. I was yelling so loud my lungs and chest hurt, my throat was raw and it felt like the veins in my neck would burst. The day’s events that had seemed trivial were no longer a joke and I was angry. That afternoon I had been admitted onto a psychiatric ward. Initially I thought the whole thing was quite funny because I wasn’t even “unwell”. Soon everyone would see I was not manic but actually a divine being and they would all feel rather foolish.
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Yesterday I was discharged from a psychiatric hospital after a five-week stay. I was hospitalised for mania and psychosis (you can read about it here). Instead of only feeling the expected excitement and joy, I also felt underlying apprehension and fear. But mostly, sadness dominated over happiness.
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.
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My last blog post, “My Manic Summer Take Two”, was written while I was in a psychiatric hospital for psychotic mania. Well, nothing much has changed as I am still hospitalised for that episode and am writing from hospital.
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.
In my last blog post ‘My Experience with Psychotic Depression: Part 1’, I wrote about how I became suicidally depressed and psychotic, which lead to a hospitalisation. In this post I will write about the changing point of my depression and how I got better.
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.
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.
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.
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.