Friday, October 28, 2016

Simple Questions, Painful Answers

What have you been up to? Where have you been?

It’s a long story.

You don’t want to know.

Both appropriate, honest answers.

I don’t want to talk about it. (So I’ll hide behind a pen.)

Well. I was at Good Sam’s Mission Oaks campus for inpatient care from July 14th to July 22nd and then from August 3rd to August 22nd. Since I’ve been in one Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) at Good Sam for three weeks, and then a different PHP in Santa Cruz for five more weeks. Having completed that, I am now just beginning an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). My brain chemicals were off, that’s why. The serotonin, dopamine, and lithium were all screwy.

How was inpatient?

Oh, God. I don’t know. It was extremely difficult. I don’t want to go back. I labeled myself damaged goods more officially than ever before. (Although I would never attach such a label to another person.) It was difficult and long and transformative (for better or for worse, I will never be the person I was before) and even good.

The first time they “let me out too soon.” So I’ve been told. But I felt so stable! I wasn’t. Ten days later I was back with my tail between my legs. I wasn’t well. In fact, I was worse than before the first admittance.

But, I made it. I cannot say enough about the nurses and their support. The psychiatrist was brilliant and the nurses were angels.

Yet I say I don’t want to go back. Truth: I’m terrified of relapse. I expressed this to a counselor at Good Sam’s PHP and she told me, “So what if you have to go back to inpatient? BFD.” (It took me a bit, but that’d be, “Big Fucking Deal.”)

That’s where I’ve been. How it was.

So where are you now?

Ugh. None of your damn business. In an IOP three days a week, taking a class, going to therapy, back on the schedule for work, and, well, slightly terrified that the hypomania I’ve been experiencing is a precursor to another fall. I know. BFD. “You can’t put a price tag on your health, on your life.” (Oh yeah? Let me pull up that insurance statement.)

I want security. I want to be able to be spontaneous and stable and secure. I want the moon. But I know that better is a myth. Healed is grating to my ears. I can manage my health, and sometimes management means a trip to the Mental Marriot. I cannot be healed. Not really. I can be better today than I was Wednesday. Than I was in August. I can be better in degrees, not in destination.

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