D-Day is quickly approaching!! Did you order the cake? Or did you stock up on tissues?

What do I mean when I say “D-Day”??  I mean the day you first landed your “all out of sorts” butt in the hospital or even the psych wing.  The result may or may not have been an initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder, but D-Day day sure got you closer to one.  You may have been tricked into going, you may have been taken willingly, you may have been forcibly taken, or may have even decided to drive yourself there after waking up that morning and thinking to yourself that jumping off the balcony on the fourth floor of your house was a better idea than going to work.  Somehow we got there though and sat in the room with all of our possessions confiscated and a security guard right there waiting to pounce if necessary, as we waited for them to bring us to our final destination.  The destination that welcomed you in with a great big smile, but as soon as they wheeled you in,  the doors closed behind you with a big heavy thud and the locks all clicked into place, and you were theirs until THEY said you could go.  There was no walking out when you wanted to and they definitely did take into consideration that you might have made a mistake coming to the hospital, even though you cried and sobbed and yelled at the top of your lungs and kicked the sofa cushions in a tantrum that rivaled a child in their terrible 2’s.  Those doors were not opening to let you out until they were able to give you a diagnosis and were able to get you under control.  So you inevitably make the best of your stay and they mess with the meds, you see various doctors, partake in various forms of therapy and then they send you on your way.  At the time of discharge, a wave of freedom and the breaths of fresh air overwhelm you.

Now, here it is, 5 years later.  Its been 5 years since my first visit to the psych ward.   Am I supposed to be happy and celebrate it?  I mean, it is an anniversary and aren’t anniversaries good?  But wait, this is the anniversary of when I went into this horrible place that took away my freedom, filled me up with meds, gave me bad food, checked on me every 15 minutes as if I could escape through the bars on the windows (a 5lb weight loss could have made that happen!  JUST KIDDING!  No one is THAT skinny), and made me talk and talk with all these doctors and be surrounded by all these other people who clearly needed to be there, and I surely didn’t.  I can’t be happy about that can I?  *Note to self – cancel cake*

Maybe I can be happy about this though.  Without making that trip, I never would have been introduced to the medications that I am still currently taking, I would not have been involved in the outpatient therapy where I met some really awesome people that I still keep in touch with today, and I CERTAINLY wouldn’t be sitting here, in front of this computer, typing up a post that will be published on a website that will be viewed by hundreds of people, with and without bipolar, and wouldn’t be able to talk about the experience so freely without being ashamed.  All because of that one day that I decided to drive myself to the hospital.

That day was one of the hardest days of my life.  I had to acknowledge that something wasn’t right, I had to put aside the words of others saying I acted that way for attention, I had to put aside my own pride and decided that maybe I did need help and I couldn’t fix it on my own.  The path that was started by that initial decision was not a pretty little yellow brick road that you just followed with all sorts of fun and helpful people along the way.  The path was brutal at time, there were hurricanes and tornadoes that tore through the path and those are the things that really do make me sad.  I remember all the people I hurt, all the people who were worried and concerned about me, and all the people who’s lives my illness impacted, and I feel truly bad and horrible about it.  I try to think to myself and tell myself that it could have been worse if I hadn’t gotten help when I did, but it still somehow doesn’t take the sadness away……YET.

While I believe that D-Day was one of the best decisions of my life, and I should be happy and proud of myself for where I am now and what I have accomplished since then, I still feel the immense sadness.  I don’t know when that will go away.  Do you?

How does D-Day affect you guys?  Is it bitter-sweet?  More bitter?  More sweet?  Do you even think about it anymore?  Does the sadness or the bitter go away?

8 thoughts on “D-Day is quickly approaching!! Did you order the cake? Or did you stock up on tissues?

  1. Christi,

    I don’t know what day I went into the hospital, but I know it was in July. I went because I had been taken to the emergency room by my husband because I had lined up the medication bottles and was looking at them and trying to decide whether to just take them all and end everyone’s misery of living with me.

    That was eleven years ago and absolutely, the sadness goes away. I will always be a little wistful that my illness isn’t as accepted as everyone else’s. Maybe that will go away with time. That’s what we’re working on here – making a bipolar diagnosis just as acceptable as any other medical diagnosis.

    Going through inpatient hospitalization is really hard. And the fact that you (and I) were able to get through it and are here NOW is what is important. I absolutely would celebrate that you made that decision, but acknowledge the sadness. It’s HARD to admit that the problem might be you and not everyone around you. I KNOW how hard that is. But think of the wonderful trade off you get – your LIFE. And that is nothing to be sad about.

    If I hadn’t gone into that psych ward, I would not be here. I say that with confidence – this disease would have killed me if I hadn’t gotten treatment. And no, it hasn’t been easy. But the fact that I did it is something I am proud of. I was willing to work on the person that I was and get better. And so did you. It’s a lifelong trip, but hey. Isn’t everyone else’s journey lifelong? If this was diabetes and you had had to go in the hospital or if you had had a heart attack and gone into the hospital, you would have given up control of your life to the doctors and nurses and eaten that same bad food and taken their help. Mental help is somehow harder to accept, but you did it and that is a wonderful thing!

    Hugs,
    Chelle

  2. Kristie,

    I had three young (really young) children when I went into the hospital. I decided that they were better off with me being gone for four days in the hospital to be able to deal with them than it would have been if I had gone through with my suicide plans.

    Is there anyone who can help you with your children if you need to be in the hospital? Who would watch them if you had to go in for gall bladder surgery or any other illness?

    Mental illness is just as dangerous as any other illness if not treated and bipolar disorder has a very high fatality rate without medication and therapy. Please, if you feel like you need to be in the hospital but can’t go, at least make sure you are getting some counseling and talk to your doctor about possible medication management.

    Hugs,
    Chelle

  3. I always kept track of that day,for the first few years that I was diagnosed,but after a few years I realized for me,that it was not the date that was so important for me to remember, but the time and events surrounding my life prior to my diagnosis, and 3 month stay. I can look back and say , Wow,i cant believe that was me! I had a lot of experiences,good and bad while I was in. I’m just so thankful I family members to come to see me while I was there. Though at nobody’s fault,but a chemical imbalance,I felt guilty that I had family members come to see me while I was inpatient. There are sadly SO many with mental illnesses that had nobody to come see them at all. Of course it wasn’t my entire family,but still. I was always going around trying to cheer up the other patients,lol. well anyway,now I’ve gone off on a tangent,….Sometimes I have sadness,but mostly I just feel happy that my head has been screwed on so tightly, that when I was diagnosed,and hospitalized for 3 months,it has been my one and only hospitalization,that was almost 12yrs ago. I refuse to become like my biological mother,who though I love dearly,has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. I know its not a simple thing to most with this illness to do,and i am thankful for the resources that are offered in the situations of those who need to be at an inpatient facility. Just happy Ive made it almost 12yrs with being able to manage this pretty fairly,though lately feel like im going through some things,ill always have and ups and downs. but thanks to you guys,im doing pretty good! i dont think about whys,and avoid going down the roads of WHAT IF,and Guilt Lane.Regret is a tool for self destruction.-much love–jules

  4. Thanks Chelle. I know that it was the best decision for me too and I guess in time, the sadness will go away. I am fortunate to have made the strides that I have and to have perservered like I have in order to get me this far. I’m sure, like you said, the sadness will go away in time. Hopefully sooner rather than later! 🙂

  5. Well Jules, I’m glad that we can be here for you during your ups and downs. I guess thats why this illness is like a roller coaster. We are always going up and down! But Its great that it has been so long since your hospitalization and just like you, I did notice the individuals that were in the hospital with me that did not have family members or anyone that came to visit or support them. One even asked my mom if she could go home with her because my mom listened to her stories. And you are right about doing down the paths of What If and Guilt. I’m glad I made the decision I did and went to the hospital because my life would not be what it is today. Hopefully the sadness will dissepate.

  6. Christi,

    I promise the sadness will go away. Five years isn’t that long and you are still so young! Just give it time and give yourself permission to grieve for the person you thought you were going to be before the hospitalization.

    It’s been hard for me to accept that I have this illness and that it affects my behavior instead of having “medical” symptoms. And, after being way overmedicated for years, sometimes it’s still hard to make myself take medication for it. But with time, it becomes easier and you will come to a place where you are at peace with it.

    I say celebrate everything you’ve become and all of the wonderful things that have happened because of your illness.

    Hugs,
    Chelle

  7. Christi:

    I do remember that day and I was 20 years old. It doesn’t seem like a D-Day but a day I chose to get help or I wouldn’t be here today. I am now 43 and struggling with the same damn stuff I did 23 years ago. I am fighting hard and trying to keep myself stable.

    However, I am not angry, bitter etc about my stay in the “the unit”. I am mad that I didn’t notice there was something wrong before hand so I didn’t have to be taken by the police.

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