So the last two weeks were a little hectic. I went into my interview appointment with my new psychiatrist thinking that nothing different was going to come out of it, but I ended up getting a new diagnosis, (bipolar II, aka soft bipolar) which meant that I was getting on new meds (lithium), and on top of all that she recommended that I go inpatient. I felt suicidal most days, so I agreed that I probably should be locked up until I felt better.
Hypo-mania turned out to be very different from what I thought it was. It’s not as extreme as mania, where you can’t control what you’re doing and end up regretting the thing you did. It’s a lot more subtle. It could be as feeling slightly irritable for 3-4 days or more joyous than usual. First I had a hard time believing my diagnosis, and accepting it, but because my medication is working, I decided that my doctor was probably right.
And so it began, hospitalization number 2. Just like the last hospitalization, things with strings were not allowed, or my phone. I had my book (The Noonday Demon), and my sketchbook and some pens. There were some people who were just depressed, and there were some who were in the deeper end. The quiet ones were most likely there from suicidal thoughts, and the involuntary admits were the loud ones- they were there for something a bit more functionally debilitating, like schizophrenia. The people who had their wits about them were nice, but others who couldn’t help themselves were not so nice. One lady compulsively lied and made up stories about where she worked, or how people were out to get her (via scams), and one kid probably a teenager would try to manipulate others, had a fierce temper and didn’t think it was hurtful when she was honestly assessing her behavior.
But modern psychiatry has come a long way. I saw some people who would in layman’s terms be described as, “insane” and out of control get turned into soft spoken, kind people right before my eyes. Of course, this process took days sometimes for their medication to kick in, but when they were ready to get discharged I saw smiles on these people’s faces where I couldn’t fathom one blossoming a few days ago.
As for me, in hindsight, over the ten days, my symptoms of depression changed dramatically. I got started on lithium right away, and within five or six days, the bad thoughts, the suicidal ones, were gone. I couldn’t imagine how I could have thought of suicide in the first place, if you ask me now.
Other than the time I spent in group, assigned by my nurses, I spent most of my days drawing animals in ink, and planning my future. Not knowing if my condition will be a disability in the future, I’m carefully weighing my options because I know I can’t go back to my stressful job I used have. Or any stressful job. I need something low stress. I don’t mind going back to school for a while, and I should be able to get some recommendations from my college professors since it hasn’t been too long. But this is of course a long way away. In the next few months I’m going to get in shape, and sign up for Outward Bound and go back packing.