Life After the Hospital…

was bittersweet. I was overjoyed to be home and yet, being home was hard and a bit of a let down. Things felt flat, anti-climatic…boring. The same thing that landed me in a fabulous mental health facility is the same thing that has you back at home before you are completely ready to be back; supply and demand and of course let us not forget insurance coverage only allows you to stay for so long. You, essentially, are sent home once it is determined that you are stabilized, which is different from actually being stable.

In short, you are still crazy, just not out of control crazy (some people might debate that). You have a decent amount of medication in your system and as dosages increase, slowly, over the next few weeks you should continue to improve. It is however, highly recommended that you not be left alone, you shouldn’t drive, or work, I wasn’t allowed to cook (knives and gas), stimulants are off limits, as are non-prescription/recreational drugs and alcohol. There is a whole lot of “Do Not’s.” No, I haven’t forgotten that list of reading material, but that hamster that was spinning on its wheel, well, it was still going strong and so focusing was an issue.

I discovered that reading also was going to be an issue. I could see the words, but there was a disconnect there. Simple words like “the” stumped me, I couldn’t recall what it sounded like, meant or how it functioned in a sentence and oddly if I wasn’t looking at it, I couldn’t spell it. I found this frustrating, I had a degree in Literature (minored in Art), and although prone to run-on sentences and holding the undisputed title of Queen of coma splices,  spelling and vocabulary had never been an issue…until now.

The hospital had been so structured and home was not. Days in the hospital were filled with therapy sessions, doctor appointments and activities, there was a schedule and it was kept religiously. Home lacked structure, and outside of daytime television (which I couldn’t sit still for) and stilted conversation with friends and relatives (not my mother though, she was too busy shopping and my doctors didn’t want me near her anyway) there wasn’t much to do. Even getting out of the house to go to a doctor appointment was jarring and over stimulating. Home, I found, was both shocking and boring simultaneously.

This was not a good combo for someone like me. I paced and fidgeted like a caged animal while at home, and wanted to curl up in the fetal position and scream when out of the house. I started to notice that when we were at the grocery store, everything was too bright, too loud, and there were too many people, I would become anxious and have panic attacks. On the flip side home was comforting and sedate but not being able to occupy my time caused a different sort of anxiety; too much pent up energy and no outlet for it.

I did the only reasonable thing I could do, I seldom left the house unless I had too; doctor or therapy appointments. I filled my days cleaning and probably set new standards in OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Every night when Sus would come home from work our apartment was not only freakishly clean and organized; I had also rearranged the furniture, even swapped out entire rooms a few times.

This all seemed ok with my new therapist, (who looking back was the crappiest therapist in the world). I, luckily, was attending out patient group therapy sessions lead by my former hospital therapist, it was brought to my attention that this wasn’t healthy. I had been so proud of my cleaning regime to. So, he and Sus started the task of getting me back on track to recovery.


Photo: Distortion. Night Party on the Beach, Goa. Taken By Pamela with Nikon DSLR 5300.

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