Interrogations

Things are still going really well with the beau! We’ve been seeing a lot of each other and I’m being introduced to his friends and last night, his parents. I’m proud of how I’ve been handling these, feeling a lot less social anxiety than I have in the past. Beau is very sweet and asks me to tell him if I feel like he’s asking too much. He even thought to ask if I felt okay with surprises. I’ve been meeting his friends only one couple at a time, which is a lot easier for me.What I’ve been struggling with is answering all the questions… they are pretty much the same ones all the time (brackets indicate the unspoken part of that answer):

* What do you do? – I’m a student.
* What program are you taking? Is it a three year program? – [Insert description of program no one's ever heard of] – Yes (but I’m doing it in six).
* What do you want to do afterwards? Can you actually make a living from that? – I’d like to have a little workshop at home and have a tiny production of I don’t know what yet (that way I can work at my own rhythm and respect my limits). – Sure, I can get by on that (and even if I can’t, disability will pay out the difference).
* Do you work? – No.
* Then how to you support yourself? – I get help from the government (I’m on disability).
* What kind of work/studies have you been doing for the past 12 years? – I did a few semesters in university (totally flunked them); I also took a course in floristry (which lead to a burnout), worked a little in the domain but didn’t like it (lasted 6 weeks part-time before being hospitalized); other than that, I’ve done a few odd jobs (very few, never for long) and some volunteer work (most of it not being actual volunteering but therapeutic activities provided by the hospital). (I’ve been very sick for the past 10 years, in and out of the hospitals and therapy, and unable to work). (Realistically, it seems very unlikely that I’ll ever be able to hold a full-time job).

There are so many things left unsaid in all these discussions, and I’m usually left with a guilty feeling about having left them out, as if the whole things was a lie. I’ve tried my best to be honest, I don’t want to lie. I realize that a lot of those untold things will have to come out sooner or later – the first being the school thing. They’ll be asking how much more time do I have left in my program and I can’t say 2 years, as they’d expect, but 5. If they don’t figure it out before, they’ll know for sure in two years’ time, especially since the beau is graduating then.

How does one deal with all these topics whilst respecting your privacy and boundaries?

I’m not ashamed of my illnesses and my past, they’ve made me who I am today and I think I can be proud of who I’ve become, on the contrary, I’d rather they knew about them and this problem will be solved. I just don’t know how to go about it without dropping it like a brick. I’m afraid of what reactions Beau would have to deal with as well, especially with his parents. Any concern from his loved ones would be totally understandable. I just think he’s already being brave enough by staying and giving this relationship a chance in spite of it all, he doesn’t deserve to have to also justify himself to others.

As for me, I’d kind of like it if he did have that discussion with his friends and parents while I am not there. The issue would be out on the table and people would have a chance to come to terms  (somewhat) with it before I had to face them. I believe that’s something I can discuss with him, tell him that if his friends inquire, it’s okay to tell them the truth, I won’t be mad at him for it, quite the contrary. Maybe it would also lessen the burden for him if he was free to discuss the topic. He hasn’t mentioned it, but I imagine if you can’t go your closest friends, your confidants, to talk about your struggles, worries, or just your reality, it must eat you up inside… and, like it or not, he will need to talk it out at some point.

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Would you want to see?

I know the recent posts have been revolving more around this new and exciting relationship than on the illnesses themselves but I think they go hand in hand. That and the fact that winter is usually easier for me, so pain levels are a little more tolerable. What I can say is that the medication increase has helped ease that extra anxiety I was experiencing and that I have been having some major abdominal pain that comes and goes.

I’ve had my last final visit with my intervention worker, which is bittersweet. I know that if it’s come to this, it’s because I’m doing well enough to be able to function without her. On the other hand, there’s this insecurity in not having someone to fall back on or someone with whom to seek counsel should I need to.

On another note, I was listening to the song If God Was One of Us and the chorus made me think of self-injury and the fact that it remains so taboo, more-sothan resorting to drugs, alcohols, gambling etc. as a coping mechanism. Perhaps because it makes otherwise invisible suffering visible and people just don’t want to see…

If [pain] had a face what would it look like ?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe [...] ?

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There’s magic in the air!

One fear I had before getting involved in a relationship is whether I’d have enough energy to add anything more to my schedule. Well, we’ve seen each other almost every day for the past week and I don’t feel any worst. I think seeing him is not a source of stress or another chore, but it relaxes me instead. Okay, so it’s winter, which is usually by best season pain-wise. Realistically, I know that I have some really bad flaring coming up soon, coupled with the end of semester projects and exams. If my beau’s school resumes (they are on strike), he will also be busier, so it will probably mean we’ll be seeing less of each other.

I accompanied him to church last weekend and it made me realize how much I missed it… We’re both Christians, we believe in no sex before marriage but, as he’s a massage therapist, I’ve indulged in his services, which helped lift another great weight off my shoulders. He’s seen my scars, all of them and still thinks I’m beautiful. He doesn’t try to avoid looking at them. Instead, he looks at the ones on my arms and hand not with sadness, not with pity, not with fear, but with curiosity. Other than doctors, he’s the only one who has been witness to the extent of my injuries but I was relaxed and felt completely at ease with him, easing the process of revelation of these shameful scars.

Gosh do I ever love this man! Is it too soon to use the L-word? I realize we’ve known each other for less than a month but it seems like it’s been so much longer. He says that he loves me even more since we’ve had “the talk”. We’re already talking about the future, about marriage, houses, kids, expectations. I have all these dreams I’d pretty much given up on that are resurfacing and now seem feasible. We’re not engaged nor planning to be anytime soon (at least on my side) although it’s the first time I’ve ever felt so comfortable so quickly with a guy – or anyone for that matter – illnesses or not. I just hope I’m not setting myself up for deception. Is this what love feels like or is this infatuation that is bound to sizzle down and die? Either way, I think God’s plan will work itself out in His time. For now I’ll enjoy it and let myself be treated with all the love, dignity, respect, tenderness, compassion, etc. that I believe I deserve and, if this is something that He wants to be naught but temporary, then I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

When I think of it, it’s weird to be talking about myself in such a positive way… For so many years, I’ve felt so worthless, empty, ugly, insignificant, hopeless, helpless, doomed, desperate, discouraged, disfigured, unlovable, worthless; I’ve felt like a burden, like a dead weight. Have I really managed to get past all that self-hatred to a place of acceptance and respect? Acceptance of my illnesses, of my reality, of my past, of my limitations. Respect for myself, for who I am, for the wisdom gained from battled fought, for all the qualities that I know I have, and for all that I can bring to those around me.

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“The Talk”

Things have been getting really serious pretty fast with my beau… we just fit so well together, and it’s just perfect! Well, it was just perfect. Tonight, we had “the talk”, the one where I came clean about all my illnesses and their seriousness.

I’ve been prepping the way for a while now. I was honest in telling him that I don’t go to school full-time and don’t work either. I didn’t hide the fact that I took meds. Finally, I told him that there was a lot of stuff that had happened in the past 10 years and that, eventually, we’d have to talk about them.

So far, I’ve been quite successful in hiding the scars, except for my hand (which he thinks was due to an accident – which is the only “lie” I’ve told him). When we’d get more intimate, I’d always been reluctant in letting him touch or see my stomach, in fear that he’d feel or see the scars. He’s a trained massage therapist and one thing he learnt is that the stomach is the centre for emotions, so very gently, he tried to get me comfortable with his touching me. So I let him. When he saw the scars, he was really upset with himself and felt like he should have left it alone and said he’d drawn conclusions but wanted to wait until I was ready to talk about it. I didn’t want him to leave with that kind of weight on his shoulders. So I asked him to share what he thought it was, and I was right in thinking that he’d gotten the wrong idea… he thought I had had some kind of surgery.

I saw this as the best opportunity to discuss the issue and came clean about everything. So now he knows about my being bipolar, about my being hospitalized often, about the self-injury, about the headaches, and about the fibro. Oddly, his life has been strongly impacted by mental illness because his mother and a couple of close friends are bipolar. In a way, that’s a good thing, but it’s also much scarier for him… I could tell he was hurt and frightened and shocked. He said it didn’t change a thing about the way he felt about me. I realize that it’s a lot to digest… but I think we’re both glad we had the discussion. He told me he wished I’d brought it up sooner because in the past 3 weeks, he’s had a chance to build up an image of me and that now, that image was all fragmented, but I’m not sure it would have been better. I’d rather he made of image of me before the label “bipolar” got slapped on my forehead.

I won’t be seeing him the next two days, I suppose it will give him a little time to think it all through. I’m hoping that things won’t change between us, but realistically, the dynamic will be at least slightly different. As for me, it’s a major weight lifted off my shoulders. The thing that has scared me the most about getting into a relationship is now out of the way. It’s out there in the open, and he’s not running away. I guess the fact that he has people in his life that he loves who are bipolar makes it easier for him to know that someone who is bipolar can be lovable.

I guess the thing that I’m most afraid of right now is tht he’ll look at me differently. I want to keep on seeing the love in his eyes, I want to keep on feeling beautiful and precious and desirable. I don’t want to see pity or sadness or worry.

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The Drug of Love

Okay, so it sounds corny, maybe it is…

I was having the worst of days: I was awakened by abdominal pain. I was feeling really anxious and was looking forwards to being able to talk during my appointment in the afternoon so I made the 1-hour transit across the city to the appointment, which turned out to be next week – I almost broke down in tears. I was due back in the area 2 1/2 hours later so I travelled halfway back home, had a bite to eat and had planned to spend the last hour sitting comfortably in the library with a good book. At the coffee shop, one of my feet started to really hurt but I walked over to the library only to run into a locked door. The place was closed due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ (probably due to the frustrating, omnipresent student strike going on). So I had no choice but to head home. Made the half hour transit back, had 15 minutes before having to leave again, which left 5 minutes to lie down and rest if you count the time it takes to remove and put back on all the winter paraphernalia.

At this point, my other leg was also hurting and I was starting to get abdominal pain again. At this point, I just wanted to hide under the covers and never come out. However, it was the opening day of an exhibit at my school and I’d arranged to meet my beau and use the occasion to show him around. So, I made the 45 min transit back. We went, there was lots of people but it was nice. We then braved the cold and set out on foot, looking for a place to eat. It was a good 20 minutes before we found something but it was a nice, quiet place with comfortable seating. We stayed over two hours. The break, the food, and the good company of course, made my day all worth it. I forgot the pain momentarily, had a nice time, and we made more plans together.

So now I’m back home, pain in a few fingers is making typing this a challenge, my shoulder is making the position I’m sitting in right now uncomfortable, I can feel pain running down my leg to my foot and fatigue is starting to hit. But, had I stayed home and moped, I would have spent the last 6 hours with these or other ache and they would have felt much more present. Also, I would have missed an opportunity to better my new but promising relationship.

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Second Date

So I had a second date with my beau last night, had supper at his place. This one had a few obstacles but it went quite well, considering… I got there late because I got lost. Towards the end of the evening, I drifted off into the dreaded fibro fog. I managed to attribute it sudden fatigue, and tried to keep on conversing as well as I could. One thing I’m worried about is that he seems quite preoccupied by the burn scar on my hand (which he thinks is from a cooking accident). I’m hoping I won’t have to bring up the subject for a while (just have to remember to wear long sleeves and not roll them up), but I will eventually, and I’m anticipating his reaction to all those other scars. When we were talking school and I mentioned I was studying part-time, he asked me if I also had a job. He seemed a little taken aback when I said no, but he didn’t push any further. Nonetheless, he was very sweet and walked me back to the metro station when I left and I got a good night kiss.

I also had an appointment with my remedial counsellor yesterday and she helped make a link between my anxiety levels and my hacksaw sleeping patterns. I had never thought that they could be related, but it makes sense. When my anxiety is very high, I tend to keep as occupied as I can in order to distract myself, and it’s usually during those times that I stay up most of the night… she suggested I book an appointment with my psychiatrist sooner than the one in 3 months. He did say that if after a couple weeks of the medication increase I didn’t feel any better, to come back to see him, it’ll be two weeks on Monday. The thing is though, I do feel a bit better.

So anyways, I think I’ll leave it at that for today…

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It’s Been a While

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated, though I think that’s a good thing. Overall, life’s been pretty good to me in the past weeks. Sure, there’s been obstacles, more than I would like… but I’m quite proud of how I’ve handled them though. I haven’t updated the blog because I I’m afraid that if I start focusing on all the health issues, I’ll become more and more preoccupied about them, which will start on a downwards spiral. For this reason (and because I don’t think anybody really cares), I’ll postpone my series on psychiatric hospitalizations.

What’s been going on? School’s well under way, 1/3 of the semester’s already finished and, although the student body is now on an indefinite strike, my classes are still taking place (all my courses are off-campus). I applied for a student exchange program, not really thinking my project would be retained, but it was! So I’ll be travelling to France for 10 days or so in January 2013. It will mean an extra work load this semester, and I’m dreading the fatigue…

I’ve had the occasion of meeting with the doctor who’s going to be my new GP and I couldn’t be happier. She is so gentle, she has a good ear, is very thorough, and persists in asking if I’m sure there’s nothing else, before ending the appointment. As for the psychiatrist, normally my care would be transferred to the GP now that I have one however, I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety lately and I haven’t been able to identify the cause, so we increased one of my meds in hope that it would help. So far (it’s been one week), it seems to be helping, although I had a pretty bad attack yesterday. I’ll be continuing my follow-up with him until we have that under control.

Physically, I’ve been tired. My sleep pattern is totally reversed, so I’ve been staying up most of the night and sleeping most of the day. That’s not a good idea when you have to get up in the mornings, Hence, I’ve not been getting enough sleep. Normally, I need a 9-10 hours a night to function and I’ve been getting 6 or 7 most nights with a few longer ones. I can’t seem to switch back to a normal sleep schedule. I’ve been in quite a bit of pain, feeling weak, and especially shaky and clumsy. Fibro fog has been quite hindering too, hitting me at school as well as at home. Whereas winter is usually the easiest season headache-wise, the weather conditions being totally out of whack have not allowed for much respite.

Socially,I’ve been going to my knitting group weekly and I enjoy it every time. It makes for really long days, but the boost in spirit a little socializing gives me is worth it. I fit right in from the start and have never felt any social anxiety, shyness, or felt awkward. Best news though is that I put a profile up on an online dating site and I’ve met someone. It’s all very new, probably too new to really be able to tell if it will work out, but it seems very promising. We corresponded via email for a couple weeks and met for the first time last Friday. It went really well, we prolonged coffee into dinner into a really long walk holding hands – we must have spent over 5 hours together. We’re the same age, share the same faith, are both students, have some of the same ambitions, and are both interested in seeing where it goes. He’s studying to work in the medical field as an electrophysiology technician, so I’m hoping that when the time comes to talk amount my medical issues, he’ll be understanding… we’ll see. We’ve agreed to meet twice a week. It’s another extra thing to add to my schedule, which is getting to be fuller and fuller. I’m just hoping and praying that my body will be able to keep up.

At home, I’d finally decided on getting a second cat as a companion for my Daisy. I’d found one and was quite excited about it but the owner backed out. It was a big disappointment, so I’ve put the idea on ice for now, especially seeing how busy I’ll be. I’m putting my name on a list in order to move into a cooperative housing unit. I’ll be needing bigger and can’t afford it, can’t really afford what I’m living in right now. I think it’s a good option for me. Seeing as I’ve done a lot of volunteering in the past, I should be a candidate of choice, which will increase my chances of getting an apartment quickly. I’m very behind in housework – especially laundry – and I need to find some kind of way to discipline myself to get it done or it’ll just keep adding up.

That’s the news for now!

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“Keep calm and knit on”

I went out yesterday and met some new people. I’ve been cooped up in my little apartment lately, waiting for school to start again, not seeing many people. Feeling lonely as I was and knowing that I needed, both physically and emotionally to get out, I was browsing through the Meetup site, looking for perhaps a walking group or a singles activity that I would feel comfortable going to. Instead, I found a knitting and crochet group. This week’s activity was at one of the members’ house in order to savour the delectable aspect of Epiphany with homemade baked goods whereas the group usually meets at a coffee shop. I hesitated for a long time, trying to work up the courage and energy to actually go out there on my own. I kept on telling myself that if I waited, I’d wimp out and that it would probably be easier for me to go to someone’s home rather than a public venue. So I hesitated some more, finding lots of excuses as to why I couldn’t go this time until I finally looked away from the screen and closed my eye as I RSVP’d, taking up the last spot, 2 hours before the start of the even! So… now that I had signed-up, it was a social obligation, so I just ‘had’ to go. I went and I totally LOVED it! We were a group of 10 women, mostly the same age as me, along with a wee 10 day-old baby girl. Now I have a weekly activity to go to. *smile*

Not sure I’ll make it every week though. Realistically, I’m not sure I’ll have the energy – it is 4 hours of socializing. Anyone with a moderate degree of knows how exhausting that can be, even if you’re having fun. Add the fibro, the headaches, and school… you’ve got very little left. I came home last night completely drained of any energy. I was constantly yawning on the public transit and, by the time I stepped in the door, I had a full-blown .

I get my class schedule on Friday, I do hope it leaves Tuesdays open so I can attend! In the meantime, I haven’t gotten as much done as I would have liked to during this break… I did get loads of tidying up and cleaning done today because of a weird dream. I dreamt that I was awakened by the phone this morning, at around 10:30. It was my landlord calling, saying he needed to see me at home. So we arranged for him to come by at 9:30 tonight. So I went back to sleep, not knowing why he so urgently needed to see me. When I woke up again (two hours later) and saw the mess my place was in, I went into clean-up mode because I could not let him enter with the state it was in. After about 4 hours nonstop, I was finally satisfied and took a break. I went to make a phone call and as I was looking through the list of callers, there was no record that I’d received a call this morning. That’s when I started to wonder if it was all a dream… but it just seemed SO real. When he didn’t show up at 9:30, I concluded that it was indeed a dream.

My sleep schedule has been completely reversed: I sleep most of the day and stay up all night. I know that this behaviour is semi-conscious sabotage. I can’t get any housework done at night because of the noise and when school starts, I’ll be exhausted. That’s something I really need to fix, and fast.

On the plus side, just found out that one of my projects for school will be featured at the open house next month.

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Company For Daisy?

Yay or nay?

First, let me introduce you to Daisy…

She will be five years old sometime next month.

Daisy is my little ball of love, my companion, my source of laughter, but also a source of frustration. You see, I’m convinced Daisy also suffers from borderline personality disorder (if that’s at all possible)! She gets very jealous, nobody else but me can interact with her. She hisses, growls, and claws at anyone who passes too close, who tries to talk to her, or sometimes even look at her too long – she doesn’t like it when I have company. However, she’ll never go and hide, she prefers to stay in everyone’s presence. But with me, she’s completely different. She comes when I call her name, follows me everywhere (and I live in a bachelor pad), she holds conversations with me and with her imaginary friends (more on that later), she’s very cuddly, and she’ll do anything – good or bad – to get my attention. She’s got the whole “I hate you! Don’t leave me…” thing going on. When she wants to cuddle, I have to be holding her in both arms, giving her my full, undivided attention, sometimes she’s so clingy, I wonder if she thinks she’s a scarf. That’ll last a few minutes, then she’ll get mad, bite me and run away.

There are times where the roles are reversed and I’m the one who’s short tempered, who’ll yell or get mad at her for next to nothing, who pushes her away, who can’t stand being around anyone or anything. We’ve learnt to read each other quite well and when she sees I’m in one of my moods, she’ll be more cautious – but she’ll still impose her physical presence on me – settling for lying snugly against my leg, always with a paw on my arm or leg, to prove that she’s still in control.

But Daisy’s lonely. I can see it in her behaviour. She’s an indoor cat, so when I’m not home or not approachable, she’s all alone. She spends too much time staring at a wall, at a door, at the fridge, or even just at nothing in particular and she cries – which drives me bonkers. She’ll do all kinds of stuff she knows she’s not supposed to purely to get my attention like claw the furniture and jump on the kitchen counter. The minute I get up for any reason, I don’t even have time to slide off the bed (aka couch, aka office) that she’s sitting in my spot so that when I get back from getting my glass of water or whatever, I’ll have to push her out of the way. She can be quite the rebel.

For a few weeks now, my mother has been going on and on about one of her students. The young girl’s cat had kittens, two, a brown one and one that is all white. The child and her family have been handling them since the day they were born, so they should be very friendly. Over the holidays, my mom, who babysat Daisy, planted the idea in my head that maybe I could adopt one of them to keep Miss Daisy company. I stewed this idea around my head over the days I spent at the cottage and, of course, grew fonder and fonder of the idea – I even found a name for the white one (if it’s a he).

However, Daisy’s already a handful. I don’t know how she’d react to another cat… She’s lived with other cats before (never longer than a few months) and she grew accustomed to them – not to the point of playing together or cuddling, but well enough that they would sleep on the same bed or couch. Both times, she was the one who was introduced into their home. So I wonder if I introduced the cat into her home, if she would accept it more easily and if, since it would be a kitten, some kind of motherly instinct would kick in?

On the practical side, kittens are a lot of work and are energy-consuming, I have to find room in my budget for a second carrier, vaccines, veterinary care, surgery, and extra food. I have to evaluate whether I really have enough energy and patience for that. I’m sure that a kitten would brighten up my day enormously and, in a way, force me to slow down. When Daisy was a baby, I was so happy when she’d lie down on me that I didn’t want to move, in fear that she would leave. This made me realize that I never stopped, I was always multitasking, never just sitting down, doing nothing or just watching tv, resting. I still don’t really take the time to do that, but Daisy’s made me aware of that fact. I’d hope that the kitten would also serve the purpose of keeping Daisy company and that her not being so lonely would make her a little less of a handful.

I am very enthusiastic about the idea though and I know it’s keeping me from objectively assessing the pros and cons. Anyways, all this being said, I don’t even know if they’re putting the kittens up for adoption. I could be setting myself up for major disappointment.

So yay or nay?

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Psychiatric Hospitalizations – Part 1 (Winter/Spring 2003)

First of all, let’s talk about psychiatric “”, it’s almost imprisonment… Although health care professionals and institutions have been making an effort in the past years to de-stigmatize mental illness, there are so many contradictions still going on. The most common statement I’ve heard is that ” is an illness, just like diabetes”. Yet, someone with unstabilized blood sugar will most likely be treated kindly, get a semi-private or private room with a bathroom whilst the person with depression will most likely be locked in a ward where they will share a room with 2-3 other people and share the single bathroom with all other same-sex patients on the unit where they will be allowed no privacy. no curtain or division between beds, where doors have to remain open at all times, where they and their luggage will be searched, where they will not easily have access to music, pencils, or other distraction methods, where visitors will not be allowed in their rooms and will have to remain in the noisy dining area where there is no privacy. Another HUGE contradiction is how psychologists, social workers, nurses, therapists insist on calling the people they treat “clients” instead of “patients” so that people don’t feel as if they’re “sick”. But if it’s an illness, just like any other, shouldn’t a mentally ill person be coined by the same term as someone with any other illness?

If you haven’t noticed, in most hospitals, the psych ward is completely isolated – sometimes even in another building, it’s usually indicated more obviously than any other ward (except the ER) as if to make sure, God forbid, someone accidentally wandered there – sometimes there isn’t even a ward in that hospital, patients (aka clients) are sent to “psychiatric” hospitals/institutions.

On to my personal experiences…

My first hospitalization was in early January 2003. I was 19 at the time, so my only experience is with adult care. At that time, I lived in O Region, which consisted of 4 or 5 relatively big cities, 3 general hospitals, and a psychiatric hospital. The procedure over there was:

  1. You go to the ER of your choice, go through triage and; see the Dr on call.
  2. An orderly will then accompany you, by taxi, to the psychiatric hospital.
  3. You will meet the psychiatrist on call who will decide whether you need to be hospitalized or not.
  4. If he does think you need to be admitted, you will return to the general hospital (whichever one serves the city you live in) and be taken to their psych ward.
  5. There, your follow-up will be taken over by a GP who chooses to work in psychiatry. This GP will consult with a psychiatrist if necessary.
  6. If during your stay, your case is considered too heavy and they think you require more intensive care, you will be transferred to the psychiatric hospital.

So that first time was pretty decent. I stayed about 1 month total at H Hospital, with a whooping 8 days in the ER, waiting for a room to free up. It’s a little fuzzy but it was a locked ward and I wasn’t allowed out. I believe we were only two per room. The activities pretty much consisted of playing sandbags with the evening staff, where the winning team got hot chocolate (though they gave me some every night). One or two times a week, I had individual meetings with the occupational therapist as well as group therapy sessions. The nursing staff was pretty stable and, as much as possible, they tried to keep you assigned to the same one. I also started attending a group at PJ Hospital (psych hospital, in H-town) offering coping strategies to young girls (about 15-19 yrs old) with BPD and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. This was 1 hour a week for 20 weeks. I met with the psychiatrist only once – this was when he gave me the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. All medication was prescribed by the GP. Went home gradually, 40 pounds heavier, with a couple of follow-up visits with the occupational therapist and the group, as well as a referral to the day hospital program (PJ).

Unfortunately, a couple weeks later I was re-admitted following another suicide attempt. This stay was much shorter, I think it was 3 days in the ER and 6 on the ward. Same scenario. However, since I made sure this “attempt” was clearly linked to the headaches, I got to have tests done I should have had a long time before (EEG and CT Scan).

I think it was late March when I got a callback for the day hospital. This was an 8 week program. Four days a week, you would participate in group activities such as art, relaxation, discussion, sports, cooking, etc. Once a week, you met with their very odd psychologist and had maybe 2 or 3 meetings with a psychiatrist during those 8 weeks. I was not doing very well at that time and had a few overnight ER visits. Since I was in the program, I was discharged.

Towards the end, I spent a week-end in the ER and, when they sent me back to the day hospital on the Monday morning, I was too unwell to get through the day. At that point, the program’s psychiatrist offered me a temporary bed. PJ Hospital is very small (about 100 patients total) and has specialized wards for children, adolescents, geriatrics, as well as four adult units. The only bed available at that time was on the geriatric ward. It was quite an interesting couple of nights as I was the youngest there by at least 46 years! The nurses were so kind. They would warm up a blanket in the dryer and come and tuck you in when you were feeling especially anxious or ill and there was a big room full of rocking chairs and soft music, where patients spent most of their time, there was also a dining area and a tv room with by comfy couches. After a couple days, I met with the day hospital psychiatrist who gave me two options: be hospitalized or finish the program. At this point, I had moved and was living in G Hospital’s territory. I wasn’t really feeling any better, so I asked him whether I would be admitted to PJ Hospital or G Hospital, largely preferring what care I’d had at PJ. I understood from his behaviour and response that it would most likely be at G, so I opted to finish the program – and I did.

THE CONTENTS OF THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH MAY BE TRIGGERING FOR SOME INDIVIDUALS

At this point, things were going downhill quite rapidly. This was when the SI had turned to addiction (see Scars post). I was visiting G Hospital’s ER almost daily for stitches and was undergoing hydrotherapy treatment 3 times a week for third degree burns. In early July, they decided that this behaviour was degenerating way too much, so I was hospitalized again (G Hospital). The only treatment I remember getting there was a few stretching exercises in the morning, lots of PRNs, and the hydro. The psychologist I was seeing at the community clinic also came by once a week. The rooms there were nice and spacey, there were only two beds, separated by a curtain, and there was a bathroom and a window.  There were two tv rooms (smoking/non-smoking) but no dining area, meals were eaten on trays at your bed. This was also a locked ward and aside from being wheeled down to hydrotherapy by an orderly, I didn’t leave the ward. The last couple of days, they would let me go out on the grounds, with another patient, for 10 minutes. After 8 days, I think, the psychiatrist was too worried about me and decided I would need more personalized care. Two days later, I was transferred to PJ Hospital.

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