‘This your first stay here?’
‘No, this’ll be my fifth time.’
And here comes the eye raise. The one that I get that translates into, “Damn, you must be really fucked up huh?”
I’m really not sure if that’s a question that can be answered. I think what could more clearly explained is the chronic qualities of my mental illnesses. One of them is sticking around for life. Then there’s the depression. I’ve tracked it and it seems to be a major depressive episode every six months which requires hospitalisation. Hospitalisation because if we’re being honest here, I get to a point where I don’t want to be here anymore. That’s what it does to you.
I remember my first admission, remember telling my contact nurse I wanted to go home after having been there for two hours. But it’s become easier every time. It’s not what you see on TV either. It’s a bubble filled with people of all ages who become your comrades. An instant form of solidarity is formed between a group of people who needed help and sought it. The most broken people I’ve met are the most brave.
The smokers area becomes a den of support and conversation. The living room a place of laughter and friendship. The strange becomes normal. Well, as normal as a psych hospital can be of course.
At 7am a harsh knock on the door comes from your morning nurse, who i’m sure would wrench you out of bed if they could. The amount that their wake up calls are ignored becomes an inside joke amongst the hospital.
The group therapy board is wheeled down the hallway at 10am. What are we going to choose to learn about today? Loneliness? Depression? Anxiety? It’s a beautifully fucked up daily lucky dip.
You have to learn to make your own fun. On Monday night the ward put together a list of all of the ways potato’s can be used and made. It was extensive. The nine letter word quiz in The Age and Herald Sun? A daily struggle and group project. Competitive games of Uno bring out more than a few loudly exclaimed, “FUCK”s when a draw 4 is placed down. Mindful colouring? Boy you better believe we’ve got it.
I guess what I’m trying to say with my already exhausted mind is that I forget people out there don’t realise that hospitalisation is an option. Or therapy. Or medication. They feel such shame or embarrassment attached to what they’re feeling that they don’t even know how to reach out when they need to. There are always ways to get help. I’m not saying it’s easy because it’s not. It’s hard work. Hard and strenuous work. But it’s worth it.
Anything and everything is better than you not being here anymore.
To be continued.
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Advice And Support For Anxiety And Depression
Original Artwork supplied by MG