I spent almost four weeks in a psychiatric hospital. The admission was helpful, and worthwhile, but being at home is very different.
Whilst in hospital most days looked like this:
8am: Morning announcement usually announcing the day, date, and time, that morning medications were being dispensed, and the dining room was open until 9am for breakfast.
9:30am: Community meeting which was five to ten minutes of information about the group program, complaints, suggestions, compliments, new patients, patients being discharged, birthdays, and new staff. You’d also go around the room saying your name, and answering an ice-breaker type questions.
10am: Anxiety Management group which was controlled deep breathing for five to fifteen minutes depending on who was running it.
11am: Morning group if you were assigned to one.
1:30pm: Afternoon group if you were assigned to one.
3:30pm: Occasionally a walk, but that would depend on nursing staff having time, and patients actually wanting to do it.
Afternoon: During the week there’d be yoga, a fitness class, a psych education group, or art therapy. Each group running only once per week.
8pm: Relaxation group
8:45pm: Night time medication
That was how my time was spent. I’d also see my psychiatrist six days a week for twenty to fifty minutes. Plus chatting to nurses if I wanted to. If I needed to talk someone was there. If I wanted to rest I could. There was no cooking or cleaning. All I had to do was wash my own clothes.
Home is very different. I’ve had to unpack from moving house. I’m living in a new, somewhat unfamiliar, suburb. There’s dishes, cleaning, and washing to do. I’m trying to be sociable and keep up with friends, but I’m struggling with that. I’m back to showering once or twice a week because I’m physically exhausted, and my mood is low.
I’m anxious and unsettled. I’m scared to leave the house. I burst into tears when I need to leave the house alone. I hide inside because it feels safer than outside. There are so many things I want to do around the house and outside. I have plans for our garden and courtyard, even if they’re small. I have plans for all the things I want to do, but doing them will be a slow process.
I’m safe, and I have support, but I’m struggling. Adjusting to being at home, and to a new house, new suburb is hard (and slow) work.
I was excited to come home, and I don’t regret coming home (I have freedom!), but it’s hard.