Inpatient at a psychiatric facility is not a place anybody wants to be. When you have a debilitating mental illness, such as Major Depressive Disorder, there are times you realize you need to be inpatient at such a facility.
I can’t speak for others but there have been two times in my life when I knew I needed more help than I could get from my psychiatrist, my therapist, and the medications. It sounds absurd as I type it, that I could need more than all of that, but it is very real. Knowing I need it does not make it easier to go, it does not make me want to go. I am only able to acknowledge that if I don’t go there’s a good chance this illness will kill me.
A few weekends ago I made the decision that I needed more help than I’ve been getting. Functioning on a day-to-day basis was increasingly difficult and nearing impossible. There is nowhere in our town that serves patients without insurance on an indigent basis. My husband drove me three hours away to my sister’s where there were two options. Halfway there we found out the best option had changed their policy and would not work with me as an indigent and to get into their program would cost seven thousand dollars. Of course, this was the treatment center my doctor recommended and he had never heard of the other place. I went to the other place anyway out of desperation. During the intake process, I found out there was no therapy involved. It was three days of seeing a psychiatrist once a day, the doctor may or may not alter my medications and may or may not consult with the psychiatrist I see on a regular basis. That is not the kind of treatment I needed. My husband and I walked out and drove three hours home. Welcome to mental healthcare in Florida.
I lost my job recently. I was out for the week with a note from my doctor. I received my termination notice via text message. I liked this job a lot, worked hard to do it well. Being terminated was a slap in the face. It’s difficult to get up ready to fight again after being kicked while you’re already down. Losing my job meant my husband and I lost our mortgage loan before we even got to see one home for sale. The voice of depression instantly barraged me with how I’ve failed yet again, that there’s really no point in trying because all I am capable of is failing. I have numerous friends and family who assure me I am not a failure, though whether I am or not is inconsequential because I feel like I have failed. It’s a simple case of mind over matter and my mind is in the grips of my demons right now.
Starting over. We all have to do it at some point in our lives, some of us more than once. Starting over is a recurring theme in my life, one I do not look forward to. It generally comes fast and unexpectedly like a car crash, whiplash leaving me in disarray.
As I get older, there are certain parts of my life with which I crave stability. I am forever grateful that I’ve found it in my marriage, my husband is my lifeline. The other two major areas depend upon one another and the one is terribly elusive. I have struggled for seventeen years to find stability with my mental health. The other aspect of my life that I am fighting so hard to find stability in is work. It is very hard to maintain stable employment when your mind is constantly working against you.
Perhaps if mental health services were more readily available for those in distress, maintaining stability would be less challenging. I wonder if holding down a good job might be easier if mental illnesses weren’t so stigmatized, if there were systems in place and it were treated like any other illness by employers? My hope is that one day it will be treated like any other illness, and employers will be forced to treat it as such. My hope is that I will live to see that day come to fruition, even though it may come too late to benefit me. Right now, I need all the hope I can get.
*Chronologically, I wrote this and should have posted it before Starting to Heal – but if you have already read Starting to Heal you might understand my brain has been a bit fuzzy and not necessarily working in chronological order! Seriously though, what I wrote here is an important piece of my story and needed to be shared, out-of-order or not. Thank you so much for reading ❤