Day 245: I was thinking about my time in hospital earlier and it lead me to read over a few of my early blog posts. The person I was in February seems like a stranger to me today. It is so scary what mental health disorders and medicating with alcohol can do to you.
Here was my maiden post from my hospital bed…
Day 1: I don’t remember doing it and I don’t know why but what I do know is I ended up in a psychiatric hospital as a result of it. I’m still processing it all. My initial feelings are of guilt, confusion and sadness. I’m not with my wonderful wife and two beautiful young daughters. I can’t leave my small room – at least not for the isolation period for Covid, and I can’t have visitors. Covid has obviously impacted the life of a metal health inpatient too. What I do know is I agreed to come here. And I know I need help. I’ve lived with my demons for as long as I can remember, and managed those demons from time to time. Sometimes things have escalated. I’ve drank excessively to block out the pain. I’ve tried to run away. I’ve gone within myself and blocked others out. I’m at a point of no return now. I don’t like being in this place and I want to go home as soon as possible
It was awful being ‘locked’ away but I needed it. The time I spent in hospital allowed me to ‘reset’ and clear my mind. I left hospital with a plan and a fresh outlook. I always remember the day I was discharged – it was a typical hospital discharge process of knowing I could leave from the evening before but then waiting all day to get the final medications and discharge papers signed by a Doctor. I was packed up ready to go from 9am but didn’t walk out of the unit until around 5pm. My wife and two little daughters met me in reception (my wife had told the girls I had been working away in this building and it was like a hotel). The hugs and kisses I gave my then 1 year old and 5 year old were the most precious moments and I knew right then I was never going back into that hospital.
I’ve said on numerous occasions that sobriety doesn’t cure depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions but in my case it has reduced the severity and frequency of these bouts. By the time I was admitted to the mental health hospital I’d started suffering from Dissociation
Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity. It is like amnesia according to the medical experts. The night I ended up leaving the house bare foot and in nothing more than shorts and a vest (on a February evening) I don’t remember a thing. I ran into nearby fields / woods and when I returned my feet were filthy and cut. Don’t remember a thing. I grappled with police. I was taken to hospital in a police escorted ambulance. Still to this day don’t remember a thing. My alcohol consumption that day hadn’t been anything major in comparison to the volume I was drinking almost daily anyways. I’d been taking more than the prescribed amount of Propranolol I should have been taking – and as a beta blocker it was dangerously reducing my blood pressure.
A few months earlier I’d had another episode where my wife called the police / ambulance because I was incoherent in the bedroom hitting my head off our bedroom wardrobe doors. On this occasion I hadn’t drank any alcohol, in fact I was going through a more controlled few days of not drinking but whatever happened was down to my mental state. I was taken into hospital on this occasion too but the Crisis team deemed me safe enough to return home. Again, I remember very little of that evening.
I try not to dwell on the past and I certainly don’t look too far ahead into the future because I can’t control either. My immediate focus remains on today. I want to give myself a fighting chance of not just ‘getting through each day’ but appreciating and enjoying it as much as I can. Even on days when my kids are being difficult, I’m feeling down and work is annoying me I try to find some light in that day. One positive thing that I can cling on to until I close my eyes and say goodbye to today. It could be a walk, reading a book or writing on here – I’ve still done something positive.
More often than not though at the moment I am going to bed content and smiling at the day I’ve lived. Not because it has necessarily been exciting but because I’m present, in control and not dying inside.