The psych unit

I've been pretty caught up with please talk lately. It's taken a lot of time, and a lot of headspace, but I'm really enjoying it so I don't mind. There are numerous things to tie down over the next couple of weeks - an official launch and speaker for said launch, press release, staff and student communication, a training course to be I said, lots. I was talking to Hubby about it this morning, he would have a lot more experience with project management than I do. He was taking me through the practicalities of trying to engage people, delegation (never one of my strong points) and how to put together a decent plan for the future.

As we were talking about all this, I remembered something. This time two years ago I was in the psych unit. I'd been in just shy of a week, and at that point in time, if I'd been given the choice, I probably would have elected to stay forever. I felt safe there, looked after in a way that wasn't possible at home. Meals were provided. Meds arrived twice a day. There was a lot of tea. Apart from that I was mostly left to my own devices and played swiped for hours at a time, obsessively, it kept me out of my head. I honestly don't remember a whole lot about it otherwise, I think in part because I don't want to remember.

Yes, really. A considerable proportion of the time I spent in the psych unit was passed this way
I mentioned this to Hubby, the difference the two years has made. Here I am now, planning and rolling out a mental health campaign, and then? Well. He asked me if I remember how angry I was, and if I know now whether it was truly because of him or something he'd done, or if it was just a part of where my head was at. Thinking on it, even for a few brief minutes, actually brought both of us back those two years so very vividly. I felt sick. I'm reasonably confident he did too. (For the record, I don't think I was angry with him. I was just angry, and he was the easiest one to target. Not my finest moment).

I think I've forgotten - blocked out? - just what a bad time that was. Looking back on it now, willing myself to remember some of it, I'm really taken aback at how strong my desire to stay there actually stay was. I remember the first time I was let out for a few hours, Hubby came and brought me home. I don't know what we talked about on the way, or if we talked at all. How do you begin to have a normal conversation under such circumstances? My folks were in the house, the kids weren't, they must have been in creche. I've a vague memory that we decided it would be more confusing for them to see me come home and then go away again. I walked into the house and had no clue where to put myself, I felt like a visitor in my own home. I couldn't settle. I think I had tea. I know I had a shower (the showers in the hospital were HORRIBLE and more than once I went in to find someone had used it as a toilet). And that was pretty much it, I think I lasted an hour before I wanted to be brought back. And for what? There was nothing to do. Ok, there was cookery, which I didn't see the point of - I already know how to cook. There was 'guided meditation' (I'm using quotation marks because all it actually consisted of was sitting in a darkened room listening to a cd). There was art therapy which I refused to try until my last week. There was a communal sitting room which I only ventured into if no one else was there. There were tvs blaring all day - US chat shows - enough to drive you to depression if you weren't already there. There were horribly uncomfortable, plastic coated pillows. Toilets that didn't lock. No air. Bad food. And yet, despite all of this, I still desperately wanted to be there. My life had become so unbearable that this was preferable to being at home.

I mentioned it to Therapist last week as well, and she told me about how difficult it was to see me going through that, to watch me struggle with not wanting to go home. She also told me I used to come in to the room and be shaking so badly that I would be visibly vibrating. I was afraid to be on my own in town, crowds had me terrified. The only way I could make it from the hospital to her office was with ear phones firmly plugged in, and head down.

It's so strange to think back on. I don't think of it that often, because everything I've mentioned above makes me feel bad. It's in the past, well in the past, and I want it to stay there. I came dangerously close to going back in last year, but managed not to. Since then, I haven't come anywhere close, and I hope I never will again.

Every now and then I terrify Therapist by toying with the idea of stopping medication. I really, really want to believe not just that depression and bpd are under control, but that they're cured, gone forever, never to come back. And every time I raise the subject, she reminds me of just how much have to lose. First the surface things - work, please talk. Then most likely this, my blog. Then? My ability to be a parent, a wife, a friend, would all stop. My ability to enjoy life would stop. Do I really want to risk all that? I'm at a point where things are good. I'm stable (most of the time). I haven't had an episode since last year. Maybe at some point in the future stopping meds will be an option. Maybe it won't. But right now at least, I won't be rocking the boat.

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