Hospitalization, depression, and friends

The nurse from the ER led me back to the “quiet area.” Another nurse made me leave my stuff in a locker and change into a gown. She showed me to my room, 27. There was a bed, a pillow, and a chair. That was it. The lights were bright and the door was all glass so that the nurses could watch you from the desk.

The ER doctor came to talk to me about why I was there. I explained to him that my therapist thought I was a suicide risk.  The nurse took my vitals. The lab came and took my blood. My head hurt but the nurse had to wait for my blood work to come back clean before she could give me anything. I took a long nap. I waited and waited. Finally, the social worker came to talk to me and decide whether or not I was a risk.

Ultimately, I went home 5 hours later with a safety plan for how I would proceed. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had to go to the hospital for having suicidal thoughts. It was a wake up call for me. I realized that I needed to start trying a little harder to get better. I needed to try and live.

There is a lot that has to be figured out– what the right medications for me are, should I be seeing a psychiatrist, am I depressed or just angry. There is not a clear answer with mental illness. It’s a lot of trial and error. It takes time to figure out okay that medication didn’t work for me, but this one does, okay this person isn’t able to support me, but this person can. Every day is touch and go.

There are a lot of bad days and there are a lot of good days. There are the in-between days. Those are the days that you just go through the motions because it’s easier to be numb then feel. The bad days where you want nothing more than to sleep for hours so you don’t have to think about all the fucked up things. Then there are the good days, where you have hope that you are going to get better. Everyday you take a step. That step may be a bad step or a good step but you won’t know until you try.

I didn’t think I was depressed until a few days ago when my therapist pointed it out. I associate depression with cutting and since I don’t cut anymore, I didn’t think I was depressed. But I am. I most definitely am. I’m tired, angry, irritable, sad, and in pain. Those are all symptoms of depression. People think depression is just being sad, but it’s never that simple. Mental illnesses are not simple. They all manifest differently depending on the person. That’s why you can’t treat the illness. You have to treat the symptoms.

The worst part about being depressed is the way some people treat you. They make you feel crazy and they blame you for being depressed. You try to talk to them about how your feeling and they tell you that you are being too negative. They tell you that talking about your problems is only for your therapist. Those are the people who don’t understand and they may never understand. Inevitably, we all have people like that in our support systems. Sooner or later, you will figure out who they are.

However, there are so many amazing people out there who want to help you. They may have experience dealing with mental illnesses or they may not. My support system is split almost evenly between people who know what it’s like to be depressed or anxious and those who don’t know. You don’t have to have a mental illness to be able to understand someone who does. I have many friends that prove that. So the people who don’t understand always blow my mind. They say things and I’m just like why the hell would you ever say that to someone who’s depressed???? Just no. You don’t blame them for feeling like crap.

If you want to help someone but you don’t necessarily have similar experiences, you go in with an open mind. You ask them “How can I help you? What can I do?” Never ever alienate them or say something that might make them feel worse. You don’t have to know what to say. You just need to let them know that you support them and that you are there for them. That’s all that matters.

Like I said earlier, it’s all about trial and error. It will take time to find your people and it will take time to find what helps you feel better. Just remember, if they can’t handle you at your worst, than they sure as hell don’t deserve you at your best 🙂

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