Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. (The Message Bible, 218-219)
Recovery is not a linear path - sometimes you have to go back to a place you thought you had left behind to pick up unresolved baggage. Last Tuesday, I discharged from Peachford Hospital after spending a week and a half there. I went for many reasons, including trouble with severe insomnia that triggered continuous panic attacks and a stirring up of old, traumatic memories. I am now doing inner work and am decluttering the house to help me feel better. I am taking a break from work but fortunately I had the good sense to contact HR and work it all out. The whole experience was the most surreal time of my life, concluding with a complete psychotic break, and so I feel compelled to share all the connections, the gratitudes, the insights, and the issues of this last hospital stay. One way I do that is by writing very honest gratitude posts every night - I hope I can keep it up, as it has inspired a lot of good dialogue.
Tuesday’s gratitude post inspired a lot of conversation and likes, so I thought I would condense and share a little bit of what I wrote.
The support of so many friends and family-
The good thing about being part of so many communities is that I have so many people who care. My roommates took care of my cat and even bought me some smoothies for when I returned.
Peace and Quiet
(No Yelling, Cursing, Slamming Doors or Fighting! YES)
Cuddles with Scully
Breaking The Pattern of Revolving Door Hospitalizations
(First Time Ever Discharging and not being worried about being leaving too early or having to go back soon -
I think I've Broken My Old Pattern of After Hospital Panic)
The First Time Ever That I Did Not Feel Internal Shame For Going To The Hospital -
Even Through It All, I Am Proud and Even Grateful To Be Disabled and Mentally Ill -
It Gives Me A Perspective I Otherwise Wouldn't Have -
Life May Be Hard, But I Still Wouldn't Wish This Away
(Life's Hard for Everyone)
Taking Time For Self-Care and Healing
I am very happy with the way I have handled this hospitalization and am actually very excited about taking some time for creativity and healing and self care. I am especially proud of the fact that I was able to be dialectical (as my therapist would say) in regards to work. I am sure that many will be relieved to know that I did this in a responsible way and did not quit my job. I worked it out with HR in the hospital and will be returning after some time. I never would have done that before - I would have just left and added more trauma and heartache on top of what was already there.
I had a very big mind shift/epiphany just a couple days before I checked myself in that has been incredibly helpful for me. I realized that:
- I would do whatever it takes for my recovery, even if it means being incredibly honest with my doctor or going to places I already knew would not be ideal;
- that I really am grateful for all of my illnesses/disabilities - not to discount the pain, but to acknowledge the positives that others do not get to experience;
- that because of these two realizations, I no longer had any mental health shame and no more fears with sharing more intimate parts of my story with others. This is my experience and the last few weeks have been so full of meaning and revelation that I feel compelled to share it and then publish it. I'm finally ready to seriously work on writing a real book. I really don't give a care about what people think of me anymore because that doesn't do me any good. I cared before and I ended up way overcommitting myself to other projects and burning out. I realized in the hospital that if I don't want that to happen again then I need to do what I need to do and not worry so much about what other people want me to do.
During my break from work, my goals are to declutter the house, write and create art, and do a lot of inner work - more intense therapy than I have done one a while. It is also to take a break from side jobs. I love providing resources and support for others and I would actually like to create a monthly newsletter with resources and knowledge for my supporters, but at least for the month of October, I am taking a break from the amount of emotional work that I used to doing. It is time to work on myself.
What’s cool is that I have been successfully saying no and setting boundaries lately. Not only am I trying to declutter my house, but I am trying to declutter my life. I am trying to only say, “yes,” to things that either I need to do or intensely desire to do. I only have so much energy and I realize now that I was draining myself. I have always been intimidated by the thought of being honest and direct because I thought it would seem rude, but it turns out that people seem to appreciate it. No is a complete sentence that needs no apologies or excuses and I am glad that it is back in my vocabulary.
Take care of yourselves. Seek support if you are feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Do whatever you can to get enough sleep and to eat enough good food. Move and be creative. Do not be so focused on getting by that you forget how to live.