Two months and one day. That was the length of my stay on the psychiatric unit. I feel as though I was in a fight for my life and there were days that I was unsure if I could make it one more day. But by the grace and strength of God I made it out to the other side. I was able to celebrate victory and come home again. I could not have done it without the love and support of my forever family.
The day of my discharge was one that I both looked forward to and dreaded. I was excited because I finally would get to sleep in my own bed, and I was dreading leaving the safety net that was the psych unit. What I wasn’t expecting was the direction that the family meeting that preceded my discharge took. I felt blindsided by the information that my psychiatrist presented and even more unsettled when my sweet friend agreed wholeheartedly with what he was saying. The words stung and the tears flowed. But I knew in that moment I had the choice to accept the new letters I was being labeled with or I could become angry and resentful and refuse to entertain the idea that this could be valid.
This news of an additional diagnoses made me realize just how much I allow stigma to dictate the way I see myself. I recognized that I had just started to come to terms with being labeled with “treatment resistant depression”, but these new letters I was being branded with made me feel ashamed and like a failure. Why is that? Had I been told that I had developed diabetes in addition to my depression I wouldn’t have felt shame, so why did I feel like I wanted to hide away and not tell anyone about what the psychiatrist said?
In that moment, I chose to accept the words that were being said about me. I knew that they were coming from a place of compassion and that they were intended to help and not to hurt. So, I accepted the hugs offered by the staff in the family meeting and made the choice to move forward. I finished packing up my bags and prepared to face the outside world after two long months.
I have to admit, coming home has not been easy. It has been hard to slow down and allow myself time to transition back into the “real” world. You see, I am a super type “A”, 3 on the enneagram, doesn’t sit still well kind of person. But I know that this transition needs to be taken slowly. I am coming from a regimented, structured place back to home, where I have to cook my own meals and be responsible for taking my medications, and I don’t have a nurse available to talk to when things start to feel overwhelming.
I am grateful to be home. I am grateful to those who stocked my freezer with delicious food, so that I don’t have to stress about what’s for supper. I am grateful to those who send a random text just to let me know that I am not in this alone. I am grateful to all of those who prayed for me and who did battle on my behalf when I was unable to fight for myself. And finally, I am grateful for all the letters that make up my diagnoses, because I know that they are my superpower and that God will not waste a minute of what I have been through, but rather will use it help someone else as they make this journey.