I was diagnosed as having bipolar II. I would like to know if the hospital is the best place to be when you are feeling like dying and crying so much all the time or give your medication change a time to adjust to you body? Which is better? I feel I may be in the hospital too long. I have a job and I am worried about being really bored and wanting to sleep all the time there in the hospital. I feel like the doctors may not let me leave when I want to. What would you do if you feel like you don’t know what your purpose in life is and wish you were never born?
Gosh, I read this email and I thought that I had actually been the author!!!! I am going through the same exact thing myself. 5 years ago, when I was diagnosed with bipolar, I found out because I had checked myself into the hospital. What brought me to the hospital that time? Well, I was completely out of control. I had a substance abuse problem that was interfering with my medication and I had so many suicidal thoughts in my head I couldn’t stand it any longer. My live-in boyfriend was not supportive because he didn’t understand the seriousness of what was going on, nor did my family. They thought it was just typical stress and depression and that I was just overreacting. They weren’t aware of the substance abuse and when I woke up one morning and stood on the balcony on our 4th floor and wanted to jump and didn’t think anything of it, I realized that I needed serious help. I had been seeing my psychiatrist regularly but that apparently wasn’t enough. In this situation, I was so glad that I went because they were able to detox me, put me on the right medication, observe me, and then teach me some tools on how to manage my symptoms once I left. They also sent me to an outpatient program which I attended for 6 months after which helped teach me additional skills and reinforce the skills the hospital had taught me. I found that this was the best option for me at the time because I didn’t know ANYTHING about bipolar disorder or how to deal with it correctly and didn’t know anyone else who had this that I could talk to. The hospital however, has a strong hold on how long you stay. When I was there, the doctor had to approve your discharge, but you also had to participate in a certain number of activities (whether you wanted to or not and whether they were pertinent or not) and it was a lot more restrictive on when you could be discharged.
NOW, here I am 5 years later, and while I don’t have any substance abuse issues, I am feeling the lowest I have felt in quite some time. I have been working at a law-firm full time for the last 4 years in litigation, which is fast paced and high stress and now, it has worn on me. Some things in my personal life have added to that stress and my work performance is slipping and I fear losing my job. I have spoken with my doctor and we have done all we can for the most part medication wise and he told me that a huge part of my feeling low is situational based and the only way I was going to feel better was to remove myself from the situation. Since work was one of my major stressors, my doctor agreed that a leave of absence from work under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was a good start. So, I went right back to my office and gave them the note and that very day started my leave under the FMLA.
HOWEVER, before my doctor agreed to let me go on leave, he wanted to know a list of things I was going to be doing at home to get myself back up and running and what I was going to do to prevent myself from sitting around in bed all day and falling deeper into the hole. I gave him a list of things such as some of the classes at the gym I had already registered for, some books I had to read because I had interviews with the authors lined up, and I gave him a few goals of things I wanted to accomplish while on my leave (a few possible alternative careers that might be less stressful).
I do cry all the time and there are many times that I feel like I just want to die because I can’t take feeling like this anymore, however, the urge to ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING (like go out on the balcony) is never there. That is why I feel safe at my house. I also have made plans with friends for lunches and get togethers which will prevent me from being alone for days or long periods of time. Its much better than having hospital staff checking in on you every 15 minutes, thats for sure.
I can’t give you a solid answer on which is going to be best for you because only you know the actual way you are feeling and the details of your circumstances, but for me, the hospital at this point may not have been such a good option because I would be much more restricted in the things I am able to do to try to help improve my mood and myself. If I was in the hospital, I DEFINITELY would not have been able to respond to this question because I wouldn’t have my computer and I wouldn’t be able to get the support from the other authors and other people who are part of the ask a bipolar page. These are things that you will have to decide for yourself, however, I don’t know if this is true in all states or all hospitals, but each time I was admitted, even if it was voluntary, i was there for a mandatory 72 hours, so that would be the minimum stay.
I hope this helps you a little bit. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us again!!!!! Just remember, we can get through this. We may not think we can and we may feel like this is the end and we have nothing left, but somewhere deep down, there is a little spark just waiting to be ignited, and once it is, its all uphill!!!!! 🙂 Best of luck!