There have been many scary things about having depression. Realising things were bad enough that I needed to be in hospital is definitely on that list. I’ve been admitted twice, the first time about a year ago when I refused to stay, the second time just last February and I ended up staying for 5 weeks.
Both times, I think I knew deep down that it was what I needed, but it seemed so drastic, so extreme. I desperately wanted someone to take control, to tell me that this was the right thing to do. The first time, I was waiting for an appointment, but things reached a head and my GP sent me through A&E. This was a very surreal experience. M had just come down with chicken pox and Hubby had to stay with her, so I ended up driving in myself. Hubby later admitted he was tracking me on Google Latitude because he didn’t believe that I would go.
I was seen very quickly in A&E, and brought over to the psych unit to meet a doctor, escorted by a nurse and a security guard. I remember having the most ridiculous thoughts – should I be trying to make conversation with them? Was I being incredibly rude? I had to wait in the unit for a while before there was a doctor available. I had calmed down to some extent at this stage and was already deciding this was a bad plan. I don’t remember a whole lot about meeting the doctor, other than a lot of crying on my part, accompanied at the same time by a sense that I was completely over exaggerating and really shouldn’t have been wasting his time. He arranged for admission and I was brought down to the ward, where I fell apart altogether. I was shown to a bed and then I was more or less left alone.
I had no idea what to do, where to put myself, how to be. Was I supposed to get into bed? Sit down? Lie down? Mostly I just cried. I felt like such a failure. I called Hubby, called my parents, not quite able to believe myself what I was telling them, that I was in hospital. Bear in mind that at this time, I was a lot less vocal about my depression than I am now! While my folks knew things were bad, I don’t think we’d really let them know the full extent of just how bad that was. Hubby was painfully familiar with it. A while later a nurse came back to check through my stuff, take note of my belongings, and remove anything I could hurt myself with – medication, shoe laces, even my belt was taken. This really shocked me. I was on a ward with 5 other beds, but I was afraid to look around the room. I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone, so I kept my curtains pulled across and ignored everyone. I was given medication – something to calm me down – and I slept.
The next morning I woke up feeling great!! I couldn’t see the sense in my being there at all, it seemed such a huge fuss over nothing. I was given more medication, slept again, and guess what? Again, woke feeling great. It didn’t occur to me that this may have been due to the relief of finally having admitted to how bad things were, or possibly because of the calming effects of the medication. I saw the consultant that morning, and went to great lengths to persuade her of how well I was, that I didn’t need to be there, that everything was fine. She eventually agreed that I could go home, on condition that I come back for a follow up appointment the following Tuesday. And that was that. I packed my bags, called Hubby and my folks to tell them it was all a mistake, and headed home. I think it took me about half an hour, tops, to realise that leaving was, in fact, the mistake.