Last Day on the Psych Ward

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?

10 thoughts on “Last Day on the Psych Ward

  1. I know being labelled with BPD would suck, I have had it myself but it’s not the be all and end all of things if you are. You can get better from BPD, it just takes work.

    I’m glad you’re home and a sympathise having to get your script off of an ex-student you studied with. That would have been pretty awful. Be kind to yourself, you do deserve it you know 🙂


  2. Wow. I would have been super embarrassed too with the filling of your prescription by someone you know. I’m impressed you got through it and didn’t demand to be taken somewhere else to get it filled. I changed pharmacies so I wouldn’t have to deal with people in my small town knowing my personal details, but then I found out one of the pharmacy assistance works in both places and I’ve seen people I know at my new pharmacy. It’s so hard to hide anything!

  3. bpd is not the only reason someone would be suggested DBT. There was a DBT group in my eating disorder recovery center. I, personally do have BPD- it has a horrible stigma but it explained soooo many things of my past and the WHYS of so many of my current emotions and actions.

    Congrats on getting discharged but stay strong..

    try out the DBT- it CAN do wonders.


  4. I hope the DBT referral comes through & It works for you. 🙂

    And as for the BPD thing, I know it sucks, but a lot of professionals are starting to see it in a better light. I’ve certainly only come across one individual who thought I wasn’t worthy of treatment because of it.

    Take care, and thanks for this insightful read into what must be a really difficult part of your life xx

  5. My therapist in the past recommended DBT, and she was firm on my diagnosis of Bipolar 2. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It sounds like a great program for unlearning negative coping mechanisms and learning positive ones. But I’ve never gone through it, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness.
    Take care,

  6. I was referred to DBT when i had a diagnosis of depression though BPD had been mentioned. The support that i have recieved since attending DBT has probably been my saving grace. My psychologist who, i see weekly, has been the one person who has really supported me. I have found her to be non judgemental and she has always come across as concerned. She was the driving force behind making sure that all the other professionals involved with me were doing what they were supposed to be doing. The actual group has at times been very stressful but also because of the boundaries in place a safe place to talk about how you are coping, well or not. My diagnosis of bipolar and change in medication, i think , came because i was seeing people on a more regular basis and they could actually gauge what was going on with me. Take the support that they offer and give it a try if it’s not for you then at least you gave it a go. Good luck, you’ve got through a tremendous amount of emotional turmoil, that’s no mean feat. Stay safe. Hugs xx

  7. Your post reminds me so much of my past hospital stays. I hate comments like “you’re so young,” etc. And the whole “What did the doctor say?” is classic. I also know what it’s like to have coworkers/colleagues aware of your personal meds/situation, etc. It was kinda weird at first but I honestly don’t much care anymore. Hope you’re feeling better. Oh, and I can also relate to your feelings and reasons behind overdosing. It seems as though every single of my overdoses has to do with my therapist and our relationship. Take it easy. *hugs*

  8. mint that means you get out soon i bet you probably want to get out last time i was in it was near inposible to get out before they thought i was regulated and stable i wasnt to lucky neither my ex rang me up and i got sectioned because i wanted to go and meet her i hate the bit where you cant go but you want to and then the hospital says it not your fault whos is it then hope you get out soon and i hope cbt works im going to satrt intensive phyco pheropy in febuary im kinda scared of it maybe the fear of the unknown i dont know

  9. Your blog is really cool, BtF. It’s hard to consider how deft of humanity these places are, considering they’re meant to be a place of humanity for those who are losing hope in it. The BPD thing has been said to be a label reserved for annoying women, therefore a fairly patriarchal labelling method. Not that any other labels are much nicer.

    I just came across this guy Rollo May who predicted this a long time ago. An interesting interview with him about the need for creativity and existentialism in recovery from such distress:

    Does this resonate with you at all? Anyway, really appreciate your blog, it’s good that you seem to write without too much judgement, it really helps take what you want from it.

    It’s important to question everything you experience, from your writing it seems the Drs and Nurses have far less insight into your own wellbeing than you appear to.

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