After being stuck on a psych ward for over forty days, you’d think there would be nothing more appealing than coming back home.
However, whilst I’ve found the return to my wife and dog incredibly exciting, it’s also come with its fair share of challenges.
Before I go any further, I should mention that I haven’t been discharged from the hospital. I’m currently on six days’ worth of leave for Christmas, but here are some of the emotions I’ve experienced since my departure from the ward:
The Initial Excitement
When I first found out I was going on leave, I was ecstatic. I was practically pinging off the walls, desperate to get home as soon as possible.
I’m one of those very lucky people who lives in a house that they love, with a very supportive wife, and incredibly friendly (albeit slightly annoying) staffy called Colin. Therefore, initially, nothing felt sweeter than the prospect of being reunited with them both in my favourite place.
Plus, unlike the ward, being at home meant I’d have access to an actual duvet; instead of layering up thin sheets, I would have proper bedding – something I’d come to miss so much. I’d also be able to enjoy my most-cherished foods (hello crumpets), and catch up on my favourite TV shows (Eastenders, I’m looking at you)
But having so much freedom can feel a little overwhelming. When you’ve had most aspects of your life controlled by hospital staff for several weeks, having your independence back can feel a little bit much. When you become so used to the routine implemented by the hospital (for starters, meals and meds are distributed at the same time every day) it can be difficult to readjust.
Furthermore, I made the mistake of visiting a local shopping centre yesterday morning and, although I arrived bright and early, the Christmas crowds had started to assemble. Being around so many people in a busy, intense environment was definitely a bit much. Saying that, I did manage to pick up some my favourite mince pies – so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
Since being out, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to be permanently happy and excited.
However, last night, I ended up crying to my wife. My thoughts were racing – and I simply couldn’t relax. After a chat, the first I did was apologise to her. I knew how excited she was to see me home, and I felt guilty for getting upset. Her response? ‘You have nothing to apologise for. The fact you’re being honest with me is the most important thing’.
And she was right. There was a time in the past that I wouldn’t have opened up to her (or anyone) about my emotions – so, instead of feeling guilt, I’m trying to be proud of myself for being open. Plus, bipolar or not, feeling excited 24/7 just isn’t realistic.
Scared of Relapse
The last time I was at home was when a police man arrived, stating that there were worries about my welfare. At that time, I was really very ill and ended up being sectioned later that day.
Even though I’m in a much better place now, every time I look at the chair the police man sat on, I can’t help but be reminded of the day my freedom got taken away.
It’s scary – because, in the back of my mind, there’s always that fear that I could get worse again. A large trigger for my recent episode was the excitement and change brought on by a holiday to Kos – and with Christmas Day just around the corner, I’m concerned that the joy associated with it could cause me to go backwards.
However, we’re trying to not make much of a fuss of it this year – we’re not doing presents ’til a later date, and we’ve decided to hold off on decorating the house. It’s hard, because I’m usually a massive fan of the holidays – but, knowing that we’ll have a second Christmas when I’m better gives me something to look forward to, whilst also (hopefully) helping to keep my mood as stable as possible.
Being out brings back some hazy memories of things I did when I was last at home. Even though I’m constantly reminded that I was ‘really ill’ and ‘I wasn’t being myself’ it still hits hard when I recall some of my actions, and I’ve spent a good chunk of time writing apologies to those affected.
It feels hard to heal when there’s so much you’ve done that could have devastating consequences for your future – things like not turning up to work shifts, and spending money you don’t have.
Also, whilst I’m glad I’ve been open about my illness and hospital admission, I admit that I did feel some shame when I bumped into a neighbour yesterday who follows me on social media. She was delighted to see me out and about – but I still felt slightly embarrassed of some of the things I’d posted when I’d been at my worst.
However, I’m trying really hard to focus on the future. There’s no point dwelling on the past – as hard as it is, I’ve just got to keep moving forwards.
So what’s helped?
My wife has been brilliant – and completely understands there isn’t a quick fix to my recent episode. She’s always there to listen – and being able to vocalise all I’m feeling (without any judgement) definitely helps. She’s also on hand to make cups of tea, give me hugs, and helps me keep to a routine (for example, by reminding me about when to take my meds, and ensuring I’m in bed at a suitable time). I know how lucky I am to have her – and I know that it’ll get to a stage where things feel far easier but, right now, I’m just trying to be kind to myself. Recovery is bloody difficult – but I’m getting there.
Note: I’ve decided to set up a Ko-fi account so, if for whatever reason, you fancy getting me a ‘coffee’, you can do so. I’ll always keep my blogs free – and there’s absolutely zero obligation to do so (in fact, I feel pretty bad posting it in the first place). But, here’s the link for anyone interested:
3 thoughts on “Returning Home from the Psych Ward”
Glad that you’re home Charlie. Take it easy. I’m always being told to take baby steps. I’m thinking of having a celebration later in spring! It’s much nicer then.
One day, not now, there an important book amongst all your experiences and writings.
No rush. Could be years away. Could be with somebody else taking the heavy lifting.
Whatever, thank you. You have already helped me 😊
Thank you for being so honest about your experiences. I know it’s far from easy, but I really admire your courage in sharing the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens of this journey. I hope you know how much you are helping others with your story, and I hope that writing about it all is equally as therapeutic and beneficial for you personally. x