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When You Don’t Feel Happy After Being Discharged from a Psychiatric Hospital

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. 

We had the usual family meeting, which ran it’s usual predictable course, then we did the usual thank-you cards and good-byes to the nursing staff, then my mum and I did the usual drive to the pharmacy and filled all of my six prescriptions. Although my discharge was planned, it still hadn’t sunk in while we drove home. It didn’t really hit until it was twilight and my bags were in my room, waiting to be unpacked. 

It was then the sadness overwhelmed me. I cried for the lost hospital routine, my little hospital room, the fact that I was never alone and woke up every day and went to bed every night to the smiling faces of the nurses. I had cleaned the manic mess in my own room over a couple of days while on leave and had hung a few of the paintings I had done while psychotic on my walls. I liked them at the time but now they served as a reminder of just how unwell I actually was. 

This is what I cried mostly for. The reality had set in about what had happened over the past five weeks (particularly the first two) and sobs racked my body. It was a replay of being diagnosed after my first psychotic manic episode. I cried because I had been manic, I had been psychotic, I had bipolar disorder, I had been hospitalised in a psychiatric hospital, I had spent time in seclusion, I was one of those cases people heard about. How rapidly and severely the mania and psychosis came on was scary, and once again I was reminded of how powerful and deadly my illness can be. I cried about the unpredictability of bipolar and how unfair it was that I had it. I cried about all of this but I still longed for my little hospital room with the feeling of security and the smiling nurses’ faces. 

Though, I have to say spending the night in my own bed with my window open and a full, summer’s moon hanging overhead was heavenly. Today wasn’t as lonely or boring as I thought it would be, which is credited to family and friends. And I realised how lucky I was to be out of hospital and to have my freedom and independence. 

In a completely irrelevant context to my current situation, my friend un-expectantly messaged me this: “Sally you have a good life”. At first I thought how can I have a good life when I have just spent the last five weeks in a psychiatric hospital? But it didn’t take me long to think, “Yes, I have an exceptionally good life, and I’m so incredibly lucky to be out of hospital and living it.”  

(NOTE: The picture is yet again, another picture of me in hospital.) 

Sally also blogs for bp Magazine and has written for Youth Todayupstart and The Change Blog. To read more of her IBPF posts, click here.

Comments

Thank you for this - it's the first time I've come across someone who's felt the way I do sometimes. I still have days where I miss the rigidity and safety of the hospital - the absolute knowledge that the same things will happen at the same times day in day out. Thinking about it while I'm out has at times made me feel sick - like how could I want to be hospitalized. But your article made me realize that it's okay to miss those things and it speaks to just how helpful my stay in the hospital was.

Thank you again, and wishing you the best.

I felt the same way and still do at times. It's like I feel like I need a break from everyday life, plus like you said, the safety, the routineness. Right now I'm fighting through physical illness where I am waiting for a follow-up with a neurologist to try and find out what's wrong. I can't do much driving and I don't have energy to do much at home. My friends have jobs and families and their own responsibilities. So while my husband's at work, I sit at home lonely and depressed and bored. There's only so much coloring and reading one can do. I sleep on and off. So sometimes I do kinda wish I was in the hospital because then at least I would have people around me and things to do.
But at the same time I know every time I've been admitted I've cried and screamed about not wanting to be there and I know how hard it is for my husband when I'm in there.

I have bipolar. how can you face your fellow workers who refuse to understand your disease. That your manic behavior hurt and upset people who refuse your apologies. That you are a kind and considerate person that has a hard time controlling his episodes

I, too, sometimes look back on my two hospitalizations with some degree of fondness. I think I Especially get that way when I am feeling unwell -- when I am fighting off mania or sinking in depression. The hospital is safe, I am safe when I am in it, there is a routine, I can't forget my meds. It is easy to remember all the good and none of the bad about being hospitalized. I am glad that you feel stable and have come home -- best of luck to you!

Thank you so much for this story. I thought something was very wrong with me for missing the routine of being in the hospital. It was 'easy' after the first two weeks. I was in a psychiatric hospital for 21 days. Sadly, I often think back to those last few days in the hospital and think they were some of the best of my life.

You are amazing! I have a close relative with bipolar which is rarely talked about, this is an amazing insight and helps me to understand it a little more. Loved reading this :)

I often wondered if I was the only one who missed the routine of the hospital. I am unable to keep a stable routine, even though I know it is healthier for me.

This is amazing. Im feeling this way now. Its weird but i felt safe there. I like the routine and comfort of knowing the nurses and doctors were there. And knowing if i had an episode i wasnt alone.

Four months ago, I admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital. If I hadn't, I'd most likely be dead. Because of other health conditions, I was unable to take some of my non prescribed meds that were essential I take daily (high potency vitamins to help with chronic pain). I was also had to remove my physician prescribed transdermal pain patch because about 11 months prior, a patient there got ahold of someone's and tried chewing on it to get high or attempt suicide. They didn't know for sure.
The bed there was not fit for an animal to sleep on. It felt like flat, hard concrete, which it was, with essentially a puffy blanket for a mattress.
I was desperate for help and I think had I have stayed a week or two, I'd be better today-- but I'm not. I think about ending my life often but I don't think I'll act on it. I had a cousin take his life last year in March and sometimes I think, if he had the courage to end his pain, maybe I do too.
In a nutshell, if the psych hospital would have allowed all my meds and had a comfortable bed, I think today I'd be better mentally.
I ended up only spending about 24 hours at the facility. This facility is highly regarded. I just think it was a shame. I can't afford one of those private spa facilities, unfortunately.

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