Coming Home from the Psych Ward

Last blog post I talked a little bit about what to expect when you’re admitted to the psych ward. Now I’m going to talk about what it’s like when you get home after a trip to the psych ward.

You won’t magically get better. At the hospital, they don’t just wave a magic wand and make everything better. Some people may expect you to be a completely new person. Even after being discharged, You are still constantly working on new coping strategies, finding things that are triggering and learning how to manage daily living. I know it seems discouraging, but hold on to hope. The psych ward is one of the best places to build the foundation upon which your recovery is built.

People will likely wonder where you “disappeared” to, and it’s up to you how much you share. Sometimes people simply say that they were in the hospital and that it was for a personal or embarrassing reason. Sometimes you tell the truth, to some degree or another, and open up about why you were in the psych ward. Maybe you just went on a personal vacation? The Mighty has a great article that can help your support group know how to support you when you come home.

  1. I’ve changed a lot. I understand this doesn’t mean I can erase all the horrible things I’ve done or said, but I’m trying and I want you to see that.
  2. I have bad days. Just because I went to treatment doesn’t mean I’m magically fixed. We all have bad days, and I know that doesn’t excuse what I say or do. Give me time, I’m trying my hardest.
  3. Sometimes I forget. I may accidentally skip a meal because I’m busy or forget to take a dose of medication. That doesn’t always mean I’m relapsing. Ask questions! I’m open to a conversation.
  4. Don’t expect miracles. I may have slip ups and that happens. Sometimes I may skip a meal or two. Please talk to me about it, don’t accuse me. Recovery isn’t linear and that’s important for both of us to recognize.
  5. Don’t only talk to me about my recovery. It’s not the only thing I want to talk about. I want to hear about you and what you’ve been up to!
  6. Don’t walk on eggshells around me. I understand I’m new to this whole process and you may be too. I also understand you may not say the right thing and that’s OK — I will tell you if I need to. But also take into consideration what I’m going through. I’m still recovering from an eating disorder and don’t want to talk about what celebrity has lost weight and who hasn’t.
  7. Give me some space. I know I just came home and last time I wasn’t on the best of terms with everyone. However, trust me enough to make the right decisions.
  8. Help me have an open dialogue. I am open to you asking me questions about what’s hard for me and how my disorder affects me. It will be easier for me to come to you when I need help.
  9. Just because my plans change doesn’t mean I’m up to something. If I stay out late or if I’m a little late coming home doesn’t mean I relapsed or that I’m up to something bad.
  10. Thank you. I want to thank you for being patient with me. Spending your time, money and resources to help me get better feels amazing. Words can’t describe how grateful I am you’ve stood by me.

Original article here.

The weeks following a psychiatric event can be very damaging. I’ll never forget the time I came home after my closest suicide attempt. My boyfriend broke up with me, taking with him his family, who I was extremely close with. My friends took a break from being my friend. In my mind, my reason I had attempted in the first place came true. I WAS alone. I thought I was better off dead. I was in a cervical collar for a month. Even today I feel yucky when I look back at that time. I know I cannot change those awful things I did, and even though I changed, some of the relationships stayed ended. The weeks following I did some interesting and questionable things. I picked fights, I went rock climbing with a c-spine injury, I hardly ate. So believe me when I say, I know it can be rough. 

But it can also be a really positive and uplifting time. One time when I came home, I had a beautiful letter on my bed from a friend who had a key to my apartment, letting me know how much I was loved and supported. I had a flood of encouraging facebook messages from old friend and family alike. I got into good therapy programs and started making more art. My employers were very gracious and forgiving. I felt like I had room to breathe.

If you’re freshly out of the hospital, I wish you godspeed in your recovery and that your experience is a positive and uplifting one. If you’re struggling after coming home, please feel free to reach out. You can check out my Contact Us page, or text HELP to 741741.

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