Untangling My Brain.


Tonight marks the last night of my inpatient treatment; tomorrow I get to go home. I’d love to proclaim that I feel completely healed and I’ll never step back into a psychiatric hospital again, but realistically I know, while not impossible, it’s also not likely. This was my sixth or seventh inpatient stay in a year and a half, and deep down I know that they’re probably not over yet; that I probably still have some things that only inpatient treatment is going to help.

And while that isn’t a bad thing, I’m trying not to focus on it too much tonight. Instead, I’m trying to zen myself out for tomorrow – mindfulness, DBT emotion regulation skills, the works. Oh, and medication (I can’t forget my two good friends diazepam and lorazepam). I’m still struggling though. Leaving inpatient treatment is such a confusing mesh of emotions – excitement, relief, fear, anxiety, etc. And worry – there are lots of things I’m worried about. Some things are trivial, others are not. To list just a few:

  • I’m worried my puppy will have formed a better relationship with my partner than me over the three weeks I have been gone.
  • I’m worried my partner and I will end up in an argument a few hours (or even minutes) within leaving here and all the anxiety will come flooding back times ten.
  • I’m worried about the logistics of maneuvering my suitcase to the car without crushing the bunch of roses I received and the bonsai tree I’ve been trying to grow while here.
  • I’m worried about returning to work next week and how they will have handled the time I’ve had off.
  • I’m worried about what time to set my alarm for tomorrow morning.
  • I’m worried that I won’t be able to manage the suicidal/self-harm thoughts I’ve worked on managing while here, and as soon as something goes wrong I’ll act on them.
  • I’m worried about the million appointments I have to go to over the few days after my discharge (okay, a million is exaggerating, but I still have to fit in appointments with my Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Community Mental Health and GP).
  • I’m worried things will be back to where they were before, or worse, within a few days of going home.

See what I mean? Some warrant worry, some not so much. So right now, instead of sleeping, I’m trying to categorise these worries in my mind based on importance and rate to which they need to be attended to. I use a Catostrophe Scale with the kids that I work with, and damn I need one right now. Ah, the life of an anxiety sufferer.

I love the picture above, and I’m trying to keep it in mind tonight as I struggle. It’s a good reminder that life is messy and hectic and crazy and confusing, and that moving forward never looks simple. But eventually you untangle things and get somewhere, even if it’s just the tiniest step.

Wish me luck on untangling my brain tonight so I can get some sleep!

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