What I’ve Learnt From Hospital
In April of 2016 my very common and normally manageable anxiety and depression became not so manageable. Showers became something I would avoid for days and possibly a week, getting out of bed was only reserved for the basic needs (a lot of eating) and most importantly I began to avoid the amazing support system of friends and family that I have. This negative mental headspace had began to increase after coming home from 7 months of traveling into a job that wasn’t stressful in its description, but as I was working for my mum the stress came from me putting extreme pressure on myself to do the impossible and be perfect. Also I had stopped taking my medication while I was traveling as I thought I had been doing so well for so long now that I didn’t need it.
With the days getting harder and harder and tears becoming more and more apart of my daily life, I tried some different medication under the advice of my psych. One kind was okay but didn’t really help, another I tried for only a couple of days as I slept for the majority of that time and couldn’t even be woken up when needed. On a higher dose of the medication that was not quite achieving, the visits to my psych were becoming not only weekly but the only thing I was doing that week. After discussing it with my psych and my mum I agreed to go into hospital.
Growing up with a mum who suffers from depression meant that I was aware of what it meant to go into hospital. In fact the last time I had been to that hospital was when I was visiting my mum in the same ward for the same reason. While that was surely comforting knowing more about the process before going into it, it was still terrifying. And of course the most terrifying part meant that I was admitting that there really was a problem. A problem big enough that not only could I not solve on my own but that I couldn’t solve at home.
Unfortunately for me just after I arrived in hospital my psych went on holidays. Thus the next 3 weeks I was in the care if a doctor that I didn’t exactly click with (aka I really didn’t like him at all) and who’s main solution was to continuously up my dosage. I spent most of my time in my bed meticulously eating pomegranates and listening to the Hamish and Andy podcast. The rest of the patients were mostly smokers who had cliques and drama which left me pretty alone for most of the time. Luckily those of my amazing support system as previously mentioned came and visited me often and made me feel very loved. With this my hospital visit was made bearable and helped me forget about the fact that I was sharing a room with some interesting characters, the door would never close at night so that noises and sound would intrude on my sleep and the food while vegan was nothing to get excited for. In fact it makes me never want to see couscous again.
When the doctor told me that it was time to think about leaving as I wasn’t really improving but he didn’t want me to have hospital as my new normal, I was blindsided. In fact I had a bit of a meltdown and said I wanted to go right now, what was the point of staying a couple of more days if I would be going home soon? After a while, I had calmed down enough to be convinced to stay a few more days but definitely held a lot of fear at the idea of coming home.
Being home, just like going into hospital, didn’t solve my problems but I did continue my psych appointments and change medications to the type that I had used the previous year while traveling. After a while the rating of my weeks slowly began to move up from 3’s and 4’s to the 6’s and 7’s. Having been out of hospital now for about 8 months and generally rating my weekly wellbeing at an 8 suggests at least to me that I am pretty much back to my normal and manageable self.
From this journey I have learnt some surface truths, such as having private health insurance is extremely important, it’s always best to say you have a dietary requirement if going into hospital even if you don’t so you get food that wasn’t boiled for the masses and that if you ever get a private room, thank the universe for that amazing blessing. More importantly I learnt that being in hospital didn’t fix anything or make any problems necessarily go away but it was a very useful tool in forcing you to stop and consider beyond your daily issues. I learnt that the more uncomfortable you are, the more you learn about yourself and most importantly that human connection is the most important thing to contribute to happiness and that I was so lucky to have such fantastic people contributing to mine. Hospital was a lesson that I am grateful to have learnt from but I never want to take part in again.