Why I Will Tell You That I’ve Been in Hospital

I’ve been home from hospital for three weeks, and back at work for two weeks. I only work several hours each week, but there were staff who’d noticed my absence. Several asked where I’d been, and commented that they hadn’t seen me for ages.

I’d explain that I’d spent a month in hospital, but have been home a few weeks. My answer was met with genuine concern, and questions about my wellbeing. I’ve told different colleagues over the years that I have PTSD and a dissociative disorder. I’ve never elaborated beyond that. The reason for my hospital admission, I explained, was ‘PTSD stuff’. Only colleagues I know well have asked anything more after that.

I don’t hide my psychiatric diagnoses, but I don’t advertise them either. I’ll explain as much as people want to know, and as much as I feel comfortable with. Questions about my mental health, or mental health in general won’t offend me, but making assumptions about me, or my capabilities will.

I do tend to avoid telling most people that I have DID. It’s a difficult diagnosis to explain to people who have little knowledge of mental illness, let alone trauma and dissociation. The majority of people have some knowledge of what PTSD is, and given I have Complex PTSD, it’s not far from the truth.

I hope that by being relatively open about my own struggles with mental health issues, that those around me will feel comfortable in talking about their own mental health, and see seeking treatment as ‘normal’, reasonable, and okay. The way I see it – I was unwell, outpatient treatment wasn’t very effective at the time, inpatient treatment was going to be more effective, so that’s the treatment option I chose.

Let’s ditch the stigma.

It’s okay to not be okay. It doesn’t need to be hidden, covered up, or kept secret. It’s also okay to seek help.

5 thoughts on “Why I Will Tell You That I’ve Been in Hospital

  1. I like the way you handled that. When I first went on disability, I didn’t want people to even know I was on it. I felt ashamed. But, I realized that for some parts, telling this was too close to telling about the abuse.
    I am trying to be more open. I don’t want to lie to people. So, I try to avoid them even asking anything about my mental health. That leaves me without much support. I am trying to be more open. I know it will help me with my shame. I like the term PTSD. I think it is a term people hear about and there isn’t as much stigma. I will think about using that term. It would not be a lie. But, it isn’t telling the whole story either.
    Thank you for sharing

    • It’s definitely tricky working out how to be honest about yourself without exposing everything. I don’t tell everyone everything. Different people are told as much as they need to know at the time. Sometimes there will be a conversation about it, but not always. I hope you can find a way to share as much as you feel comfortable with.

  2. I love this. The more of us that speak freely (or as freely as we are comfortable with) about our illnesses and struggles, the more it will be normalised. And then, the better it will be for everybody. Good on you.

  3. The fact that you are so open about things most people hide is why I live your blog, and I really respect you for it. I’ve been more and more open about myself as the years have gone by, and I feel better and better for it. It’s hard sometimes, but everyone knowing my “dark secrets” makes shame simply less of a possibility, and I love that. It also seems to really help and inspire others who are still living in secret… like you help me!

    That said, while it’s a happier and MO rewarding path, it takes a tremendous amount of courage. That’s why more people don’t do it. My hat is off to you and I thank you for being so brave!

    • Thank you.

      I’ve found that sharing the secrets we’ve held on to for so long takes away their power, and that on its own is very liberating.

      There’s also a lot of safety in anonymity. I do share this blog with some people I know, but I’ve also done my best to minimise the likelihood of others who know me finding it, and recognising me.

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