I don’t typically find it difficult to write, but over the past week I’ve struggled and struggled with how to write this post. I try to be pretty open about my experiences with bipolar disorder in the hopes that it will help someone else with a mental illness to feel like it’s okay to talk about it or reach out for help. For a refresher on Bipolar Disorder, please click here.
Days since last hospitalization: 6.
You may or may not know that I very recently spent quite a bit of time in the hospital. 11 days to be precise. The time leading up to my hospitalization is a bit of a blur. I’m not sure if I have things in the right order or not, but I’ll do my best.
I was depressed from October to the end of May. My doctor and I were considering doing ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy (Shock Treatments) as we had tried most available medications and they didn’t seem to be helping. In the end of May or beginning of June, the doctor put me on a medication called Vraylar that’s supposed to be particularly good for mixed episodes, which I have sometimes (Those are where you experience the symptoms of depression and mania at the same time and are considered the most dangerous time for people who have them because you may have suicidal thoughts AND the energy to carry out any plan you create). He thought it may help with the depression and it did. However, my spending started increasing and I mentioned to my doctor that I thought I was becoming manic. I also expressed to him that I felt like the number of medications I was on was too much, particularly since they didn’t seem to be working. He continued to add medications. He said he didn’t want to start removing medications while I was manic.
I ended up in the ER on Monday, August 31st because I was rapid cycling between depression and mania and wasn’t sleeping well. Really, some nights/days I was sleeping too well and some nights I was sleeping barely if at all. I slept for most of three and a half days then was awake for 36 hours then slept for something like 16 or 18 hours then only slept for 2 hours the next few nights then sometimes wasn’t able to sleep at all then slept all night and all day again. While I was awake I was talking to some of my friends a lot more and a lot more intensely than usual. My spending was getting out of control. Sometimes when I wasn’t able to sleep I would just lie awake in bed thinking about what a failure I felt like I was. I was rapid cycling between depression and mania.
I had tried calling my doctor’s office for 45 minutes that Monday and no one answered. I have given up on leaving messages there because they never return them. I called my therapist and she suggested that I drive over to the psychiatrist’s office, explain to the receptionist what was happening, and ask to be seen. The receptionist offered me an appointment on Wednesday when the doctor had a cancellation. 48 hours later was the earliest I could be seen.
At the ER, they asked me if I wanted to be admitted to the behavioral health unit. I declined as I was still hoping things could be managed at home and since I wasn’t having any thoughts about hurting myself or anyone else. They gave me a prescription for Lunesta and sent me home. That first night, I took the Lunesta and fell right to sleep. The second night, I took the Lunesta and still only slept for about two hours. I think it was that day that I started packing for an inpatient stay. I hallucinated on a couple of occasions, thinking that my Mom had called my name when she hadn’t and feeling like there were bugs crawling all over me.
On Friday, August 4, I ended up in the ER again. This time, I was all packed and ready to be admitted. I thankfully never ended up having thoughts of harming myself or anyone else, but all of the other symptoms had become too much to manage on my own. I spent 11 days in the hospital trying to regulate my mood and my sleep. While my mood is much more stable, I am a little on the depressed side now. I also only got one good night of sleep the entire time I was in the hospital. Since I’ve been home, I’ve gotten a few nights of good sleep but it’s still pretty hit or miss even with the new sleeping medications I am taking. I just got out this past Monday. The doctors took me off of about half of my psychiatric drugs, which I’m very very pleased about. One of the medications I’m taking to help me sleep could potentially help with the depression but it may take a few weeks to work. I feel clearer, more grounded, and generally better. I will start an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) next Tuesday. An IOP is where you go to group counseling three days a week for three hours or so. I will probably do that for about six weeks.
I have to say, I’m really really grateful to Park Ridge Women’s Hope Unit and the amazing nurses and doctors there. I don’t know where I would be without them. This is twice they have helped me in times of desperate need and they are definitely my first choice of hospital to go to. It’s an all women unit that only has eleven single rooms, the food is good, and the groups they have are meaningful and helpful.
Mom and Dad took excellent care of River for me while I was gone and she even got to come to the hospital and visit me with them every chance they got since she is a fully trained service dog. It was tremendously tremendously helpful to see the three of them so often and to know that they were all taking good care of each other. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for my parents for always loving me, supporting me, and helping me. I have no idea what I would do if they weren’t kind enough to let me live with them.
Thank you so much to all of you for reading this and for your support. I appreciate it more than you could possibly know. ❤
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of self-harm or harming someone else, please call 911, go to the nearest Emergency Room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.