The morning of day 3 in the psych ward, I still found myself confused as to when I’d actually be discharged. So were the nurses apparently. “Do you know if I’m going home today?” I asked my assigned nurse. “What did the doctor say?” she asked. I replied that he said I would be going home either yesterday afternoon or that morning. “Okay, how about after lunch then?” she suggested, and I agreed. It doesn’t seem like very good organisation when the nurses have no clue what the doctors say and when their patients are supposed to be discharged…
A bit later on, while I was in the TV room sitting with another patient- a 39 year old woman, the same nurse came to ask us what we needed, as we were both being discharged that day. The nurse then started telling me, “You’re still so young, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. You don’t want to be in a place like this.” I looked ruefully at her. The patient I was with agreed- “You’re still so young!” The nurse then continued, “CBT is very effective. I know patients who did CBT and now we hardly see them here anymore.” I smiled disbelievingly and let her know that I have in fact tried CBT but the doctor was recommending I give DBT a go.
Late morning I attended the baking activity in the OT kitchen where we baked choc chip muffins. I was the only one who turned up, though an older woman appeared later- after the the muffins were already in the oven baking, conveniently enough! It irked me though when a couple of the staff members walked in and made me feel completely invisible- comments such as “You’re the only one here today, M?” directed to the older woman and “No one turned up today?” Last time I checked, I was still someone…
After lunch my parents came to pick me up. I was given back what had been confiscated- my antacids and badges, though ironically there were pins on the pin up board beside my bed, and handed a script for the Lexapro. The nurse advised me that the hospital psychiatrist would probably have sent off a referral for DBT to Dr T, my regular psychiatrist, and again repeated, “DBT is very effective!”
My parents drove me straight after to a community pharmacy to get my script filled. Unfortunately one of the occupational hazards of being a pharmacy student, or even an ex one, is that you may come across one of your fellow students. At first I saw M walking around in a uniform. Heart started pounding a bit faster. Then I saw C behind the counter collecting scripts. I panicked then and hid behind the shelves for a while. It’s bad enough having to get antidepressants dispensed from someone I used to study with, but a hospital script looks different to a normal one- a fact I hadn’t realised ’til then. They didn’t teach that to us in our lectures! Realizing then that I hadn’t much choice, I walked up to the counter and handed the script to him. We had a bit of idle chit-chat. He pointed out that I don’t have any repeats. “Yes, I’m seeing my doctor soon who will give me script,” I said. A while later I was called to the counter once more and he asked me to read the doctor’s instructions. “Take one in the morning and….supply every 14 days?” I recited, with a question mark at the end. Lexapro 10mg tablets come in boxes of 28 and pharmacies dispense by the box so it was an odd instruction to have. I was dispensed one box anyway- 28 days supply. Don’t know why the extra instruction was added… unless it’s to hinder me should I be tempted to overdose. Way to add to the embarrassment! “I’m happy you’re discharged,” C said as he handed me my pills. I gave a dry smile in return and walked away. Good to know ex fellow students now know I was hospitalized in a psych ward… *Cringe.*
So was the overall experience helpful? I think getting that bit of respite in that two and a half days on the psych ward did aid me in letting the dust settle post overdose and letting my emotions calm a bit. In the ED, during day 1 and the first half of day 2 I was not ready yet- I was still feeling miserable about it all, still sobbing, still dreading having to go home to face my parents and the real world. By the end of day 2 I was feeling slightly more at peace, had stopped crying and was ready to go home.
I’m also relieved that things treatment wise have moved forward slightly. I was contemplating medication again but was unwilling to tell Dr T so, this way I’m back on the Lexapro without having to bring it up with Dr T myself. I was also unsure about where the therapy side of things were going and now I’m apparently being referred for DBT. Though, that also depends on their efficiency- whether the referral has been sent or not, and whether Dr T approves.
At the same time, I’m terrified. DBT seems intense and is apparently very strict with lots of rules and boundaries. I’ve been told by a girl who’s starting it soon that they HAVE to call someone if they’re about to self harm, and if they do self harm, they’re excluded from the course for 24 hours.
There’s also the question of why I’m being offered DBT in the first place. I don’t, as far as I know, have a diagnosis of BPD. Just plain old vanilla depression. As much as I want a correct diagnosis, I’m afraid of being hit with the BPD one. Does it fit? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. But if I do have that label stuck on me, I’m afraid that if I turn up at the Emergency Department next time I’ll just be viewed and treated as an ‘attention seeking borderline.’ I’m afraid that if I say I’m suicidal or tempted to overdose I won’t be taken seriously. I want to ask Dr T next time I see her, “Am I being offered DBT because it’s been suggested I have BPD?” but I’m not sure I want to hear her answer if it is indeed “Yes.”
I next see Dr T on the 4th of January. I’m nervous about this appointment. In the month that I haven’t seen her, I’ve overdosed twice. Which is a big fail, even for me. I’m apprehensive about what she’ll say. And I’m extremely embarrassed that the reason I took one of the overdoses was because I thought she’d stop seeing me- why must I be so flippin’ needy?