Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Psych Ward

It has been a long time since I have written anything and so much has been happening! As you can imagine, not all good, hence the not writing part. Sometimes I debate writing when I'm feeling terribly low. After all, I wanted to use this as an outlet for things happening. Not sure what my hangup is.

I spent a week in the psych ward at the hospital. It was probably one of, if not the scariest thing I've ever been through. I went to my routine appointment with my psychiatrist and she told me to go to the ER and have myself admitted the minute I left her office. I walked to the hospital alone, unable to reach anyone on the phone, and by the end of that day was in the psych ward at Pennsylvania Hospital. They made me change into hospital gowns and sit in a padded room on a gurney for hours waiting for the doctor to assess me at the psych ER. I was scared. I was alone. And I was more uncomfortable than I've ever been. I told them I was suicidal when I wasn't because I knew that's what my doctor wanted me to do to get admitted. They took this very seriously. What they took more seriously was my admission that I was hoarding medications.

Several hours and a frightening ambulance ride later I was in "6 Spruce." The nurses were so nice. I don't know if I would have made it if they weren't so amazing. I was so blessed to be where I was. We got to pick our meals out of a menu. We probably had more freedom than many other psych wards. But I was still scared out of my mind. I felt trapped. I've never felt trapped like that before. My entire body was consumed by the need to flee. But I couldn't. I was stuck there in my hospital gowns, waiting for Tony to drop off some clothes for me, just trying to make sense of everything that was going on.

You see, I was admitted with the intent to receive ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) treatments. That's right, "shock therapy." In my desperation I originally was all for it. But once I got there, I didn't want it. I didn't want to go that far. Not to mention, funding for my stay was hard to come by. I was told they would get the State to fund me, but that did not cover the ECT. Talk of getting the hospital to do it pro-bono came up and I just finally told them "no." They worked with me. They changed my medications quickly and that seemed effective. Of course my desperation to get out of there helped. I quickly changed my tune from sobbing, begging to be let out, to making the most of my time there. I finally accepted that I would be there for at least a week whether I liked it or not, so I just worked on changing my attitude. By the time I left, I was a new person compared to the somber woman they admitted.

In hindsight, it was a great thing. I'm still wrestling with mixed feelings about having been admitted. It's hard to go from feeling so trapped to feeling grateful for the experience. But I'm working on it.

The depression came back. But I'm fighting it. I'm feeling better today and am taking it one minute at a time as always. I was approved for Disability which is amazing. I am so thankful. Now I'm working on Medical Assistance. It's just one step at a time, step by step. Today I'm positive. Not so much all days. So I'm sharing my story. This is the brief, yet detailed version. I think I cover enough for now.

My Tony… was by my side and behind me one thousand percent when I was there. I don't know if he feels the same way, but I feel like our relationship jumped to a new level while I was there. Ever thankful for his support and willingness to do whatever it takes to help me get well yet get me out of there as soon as possible. His endless cuddles in the first week I was back home were like a drug in itself. I love him more today than ever. I cannot find words to express what it feels like to have someone support me like that. I never thought I was worthy of such a thing, thinking that my "illness" was sure to drive anyone away. To have him stick by me through that and all he's been through with me is the most humbling experience. That's love baby.

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