Today I unpacked a little wheelie suitcase. To the casual observer it would probably have looked as if I were off to a weekend in Barcelona or Prague or somewhere, trying to get by with just a carry-on bag.

It was actually the bag I packed because, for the second weekend running, we thought I might well need to go into hospital. I’d packed clothes and toiletries and a novel and a colouring book and pens and earplugs and a sleep mask and my spare phone cable. I had three days’ worth of everything; enough to get by until Tom could bring other stuff.

At some points that full suitcase was a comfort because I knew I could go in if I needed. At others, it generated a feeling of practical relief, that we had been so sensible, so prudent. One night I lay awake because it terrified me, the thought of going back.

As I sobbed and sobbed to the Home Treatment nurse on Monday she expressed her concern that I was quite obviously not coping in the community. I was having more and more paranoid thoughts around technology and the same old banana skin thing. I was very low; I wasn’t suicidal but I knew that every day I felt that weariness would grind me down, that every piece of “evidence” that I was being persecuted would eat away at me until I didn’t want to be alive.

On a scale of asking (rather than being told) to go into hospital I was at 99% that day. I was desperate the relief of not having to looking after myself. I decided to give it one more day.

Things have turned around. I am maybe a little high, but my God is that preferable. I am on week three of aripiprozole and now at therapeutic dose, waiting to see what it will do for me. I have just put the T-shirts back in the drawer and the bag of travel toiletries in the bathroom cupboard.

Yet part of me still hankers after hospital. Even now. Even now my friends have gone, even now I would be on one of the treatment wards I fought hard not to be moved to, even though I am not at risk to myself or anyone else.

I’m getting into the swing of therapy with psychologist Ellie now. In this coming week’s session we’re going to try and unpack why it was that my hospital stay meant to much to me and why I am drawn to going back. There’s a lot of stuff there about boundaries, about how I both crave and kick against rules, both loved and loathed the ward.

I guess we’ve reached the point in therapy where things are going to get messy.

I hope I’m strong enough.









About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards
This entry was posted in Hospital, Inpatient care, Mental health, psychology, Therapy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Unpacking

  1. reacting is so easier than thinking and acting. Those days when I am in a frenzy needing to get something resolved (like a source of bill paying cash on a regular basis or is washing more pressing? how about going out for half and half? just one sudoku to get my attemton focused by a neutral exercise…) and It is just too much to set and commit to one act at a time, wonder if maybe something else would be a better option, better chances, less hassle. I keep flashing back to childhood, those easy, unstructured sick days, and especially the guiltless opportunity to read a good book or 3.

    • Thanks, Walt…I am feeling a bit different now as I am quite sedated on new meds… it’s slowing me down whether I like it not and reducing some of the desire to hide in hospital… Some of it, anyway.

  2. Leslie says:

    I completely understand the desire to go to the hospital. There is an automatic lessening of anxiety when you get there. No responsibilities, no reason to be paranoid that someone may think that you may not be trying hard enough. The people there “get it” you don’t have to try to explain.

    It will be good for you to start pulling apart that desire with your therapist. I’ve done it, and it’s hard, but it is rewarding. I like Walt’s advice, too. If you can do something to distract yourself when things start getting hard, it could be a really useful tool.

    • Exactly, I miss being taken care of 24/7. I also *really* miss my friends and the friendship group I had there. There have been some times in my life when I haven’t had a group like that an others when I had and I struggle a bit without. I haven’t had one for a long time now except in hospital. Sure, I have friends, but most of them don’t know each other.

  3. jazzmanhenry says:

    As a therapist I know just how messy things can get. Hopefully the mess can be picked up and put back into something a bit more healthy, though there’s no guarantee of course. The important thing at the beginning is geting a good trusting relationship, and it sounds like that is well on the way to happening. Glad the bag is unpacked for the moment. It’s sort of the oppositive of packing a bag when expecting a baby, when you’re looking forward to something that should be amazing and wonderful (though not always), leading to new life. On the other hand, both journeys are leading to pain, and both can lead to new life and meaning.
    Hope you stay healthy.

    • I said that about the baby! although in a way not an opposite for me as both times I was booked for a home birth but had to have a bag packed “just in case” x

  4. LucyG says:

    Wishing you all the very best with your treatment and your meetings with your psychotherapist Ellie. You are doing so well to receive help and talking about. You are an amazing person to share with all of us what you are going through. I value your blog enormously. Please stay healthy. Thinking of you each and every day x

  5. Nadine lowson says:

    Thanks for your honesty, it really makes me want to respond and encourage you, though I am not really sure what to say… I know the feeling of wanting to be in hospital and be looked after. I am glad though, that you gave it time and the next day you were doing better so much so that you unpacked your bag. Just take it a day at a time, don’t put any pressure on yourself. You’re good enough as you are, this blog is great.

  6. So glad you could unpack but I hear you with your vulnerability and desire for the safety of hospital away from the exposure to daily decisions from meals to more difficult things. The hospital ward to me sounds like it gives validation to your distress and struggles and being at home almost says ‘look she’s not that bad as…’ Despite all this your distress is there but your coping is there too. So good to hear you in a much better place. I hope you see the psych soon to get off the Q. Sedation by meds in the day is very debilitating.
    Life is hard and juggling it when sedated is extra tough. I hope the mood elevation gives you the space to have some quality time with therapy, reading, tweeting , writing and enjoying other things . Take care xx

    • You are so right in everything you say – as usual – I’m actually feeling quite good mood-wide despite the sedation so I think maybe the aripiprazole is giving me a little kick, IDK.

  7. Glad things have turned around for you. Sending support X

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