Inpatient Tips

I have been having trouble coming up with posts to make which is why I haven’t written anything new in quite some time.  I guess I’m just not that creative, so if anyone has any ideas feel free to post them in the comments.

This topic came to mind today and I felt it is important to go over.

I have been in psych hospitals several times starting when I was a teenager.  Both voluntarily and involuntarily.  If you have the choice, choose to go voluntarily.  You get treated pretty much the same regardless at the hospital but the police will likely treat you like a criminal if they have to bring you there.

Here are my tips:

  • Bring clothes (stuff that doesn’t have strings attached) bring something warm because most hospitals are cold.
  • Don’t bring any sharp stuff
  • Participate in group.  You generally have several groups a day, at least that’s how the hospitals around here are.  Make sure you are active in them.  If you’re there involuntarily they will be looking to see your progress in the groups.
  • Advocate for yourself.  If you feel like something is wrong don’t hesitate to talk to the director of the program about your concerns.  I once had an incompetent psychiatrist who tried to get me sent to a residential facility even though I was doing 100 times better and it was only my first time being hospitalized and all the staff members agreed that I was doing much better.  Thankfully he discharged me once I was there for the max time.
  • Bring something to read.  There are several hours in the day where you aren’t doing anything, a book can help you escape mentally and make the time go by faster.
  • If your doctor says they’ll put a hold on you if you decide to sign yourself out (if you’re there voluntarily) listen to them and just wait until they decide to discharge you.  The last thing you want is to be there on an involuntary status, it will just keep you there longer.
  • Take the meds they give you, complying with the treatment is a big part of recovering.  If you have issues with any of your medications be sure to voice your concerns to the doctor.
  • Do NOT start dating another patient you meet there.  It is not the place nor time and you each have your own problems you’re trying to resolve.

I’m just putting down things that come to mind right away when I think about my inpatient stays.

It can be a wonderful experience.  Take advantage of the therapy and groups.  Get the help you need and most importantly be honest with your doctor.  If you’re not feeling better, don’t tell them you are, tell them the truth so they can help you.

Accepting That You Have a Mental Illness/Being Med Compliant

I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that I have a mental illness, specifically the Schizoaffective/Bipolar part,  The anxiety/and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are a given, but the things that happened when I was manic or psychotic seem so unreal now that I’ve been stable for some time..  I look back at it and it just seems so obscene. Sometimes I wonder if what happened was a singly crazy episode that will never happen again.

I also have a hard time with the idea of being on meds, I always think I should stop them because I feel great and am doing very well in life, but like my doctor and family always say, it’s because of the meds I’m doing so well.  Nobody wants to be reminded that they have a disorder every day and that’s what happens every time I get my meds out,  I am trying to learn to not think about it, just accept it as part of my life and move on.

Have you accepted that you have a mental illness?  Do you have any issues taking meds?  Feel free to share if you would like to in the comments/

You Can Succeed

Well, the title is pretty cheesy but it’s reality,  You can succeed in life no matter what mental illness ails you.   There is help out there, reach out to a school counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist if necessary.  You can get to a point where you are stable, it may take time and several med adjustments but you can accomplish your goals.  Whether it be going to college, learning to draw, learning to play an instrument or getting a job, you can succeed just like any other person, it will just take more time and patience.  I started college right out of High School but wasn’t currently diagnosed with this illness yet and didn’t even make it past the first week due to distracting symptoms.   Now, a few years later, I am stable enough to try again.  I am taking 2 classes and am doing very well in both of them.  What are some of your goals?

Views on Medication

What are your views on psychiatric medication?

I think they can be helpful, but I also think there are things that should be tried first.  There are a lot of coping skills that could help with things like anxiety, maybe not so much for psychotic disorders though.  There’s also life changes you could make, improve your eating habits and stay on a good sleep schedule and have things to do during the day.  I’m not sure which comes first, the lack of sleep then the instability, or the instability causing lack of sleep.  I think it can possibly happen both ways.  One thing that I don’t think is good, is that psychiatrists seem to throw anti-psychotics and anyone they talk to for 5 minutes.  I really think they are more heavy duty meds and should be used less often.  I’m on them, but I have to be.  They literally saved my life.  Doctors also seem to over medicate people, especially with Bipolar and Schizophrenia.  I am on quite a few meds, but they each serve a specific purpose, my doctor isn’t piling on meds to counteract side effects from the actual meds for treatment of the disorder.  For example, someone may be on Effexor and it causes them anxiety, so the doctor adds a low dose Antipsychotic like Seroquel or Abilify, then they get akithisia which can be described as an inner feeling of restlessness so they prescribe Cogentin for that side effect and so on and so forth.