I spent exactly one week in the hospital, Monday to Monday. I spent nearly all of last week recovering from the new host of medications and this week trying to get back into some semblance of normalcy. Whatever that means.
I wrote every day I spent there, and so I have much to share. To begin, let me tell you the story of how I came to be home again.
I suppose it was this dose of the “outside world” that made me realize that something had to change. Erik and I had hoped the structure and intensity of a hospital setting would be a salve that would work on me and bring a lasting change for good in the course of my illness. Well, the hospital program wasn’t quite what we had hoped it would be. (More on that later.)
Sunday evening after everyone had left, I was standing in front of my metal mirror that looked like it had been dented by three bullets, getting ready for bed. I was brushing my teeth when I had the sudden realization that something had to give.
Over the last twenty years, I have tried counseling in various forms and medications of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Whenever I stood on the edge and should have been in the hospital, I always managed to pull back from that particular cliff, feeling like a stay in the “mental hospital” would somehow set me apart. Going to the hospital was the scariest threat any counselor could hurl at me and so I learned to keep many things to myself.
Standing in front of that “mirror”, I saw that I had now fallen over that cliff. I could say that I had tried counseling, medication, and hospitalization. But all that had gotten me was a cartoon reflection and a wardrobe without ties. I realized that it wasn’t so much that I wanted to die, but rather that I simply didn’t want to live like this any more, depressed, anxious, hurting myself and the people that love me. And there are so many things I haven’t tried yet – doctor’s I haven’t talked to, diet changes I haven’t made, alternative therapies I haven’t considered. The hospital wasn’t the place for me.
So, I put my toothbrush back in its case, carried my bin of hygiene products back to the nurses station and informed them that I wanted to go home. In less than twenty-four hours, I was walking through my own front door – all my freedoms restored.
My week in the hospital was helpful in its own way, and I will talk more about that in the days to come. But for now, it’s enough for you all to know this. I’m not done yet and I think there’s rather a lot more to come.