I wish I wasn’t sick

TW: SELF HARM, SUICIDE

My psychiatrist is really concerned about my recent overdoses, so she managed to fit me in for an appointment today. The appointment did not go well.

Despite my severe depression, frequent suicidal ideation, increasing self-harm, and repeated overdoses, I didn’t realize how serious things have become. Until last week, when I decided to drop one course, I was taking a full course load (five courses) and had no intention of changing this.

I have been working on my undergrad degree since September 2012, and plan to graduate in April 2018 by taking a nearly-full course load for the next two years, including the Summer. I need to move forwards in my life because I am SO TIRED of always standing still. The idea of pushing my tentative graduation date back is really upsetting, and yet, I am having to consider this.

The hospital psychiatrist referred me to an intensive DBT program that runs for six hours plus an additional individual session every week. I doubt I can complete this program while taking four courses. But most of my current classes are pre-requisites to the ones I plan to take next term, so dropping them will probably set me back an entire year. I told both the hospital psychiatrist and my psychiatrist that I would attend the assessment, but that I was unlikely to accept a spot in the program. Both doctors accepted this, but were clear that they think I need this treatment.

Intensive outpatient treatment is one thing. But it was a much bigger shock to be told that my psychiatrist is starting to think I need to be admitted as an inpatient. She mentioned this more than once, and said she doesn’t feel comfortable making huge adjustments to my meds while I am an outpatient. She also somewhat-threatened that I would have to go inpatient if I overdose again. That would obviously ruin my current plans for school. I have never been done inpatient treatment, and I hate spending even two nights in the hospital. I also haven’t said a word to my parents about how I’ve been doing, so it would be a big surprise to them. Now I have “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse stuck in my head. Great.

On the bright side, this appointment served as a wake-up call. I am ready to work incredibly hard to stay out of the hospital. I got rid of some items that threatened my safety. I am eating more in the hopes that my mood will become more regulated. I am trying to get to the gym and to social events, which I know will make me feel better long-term. I will do whatever I need to do.

I have slight faith in mental health professionals, so there is a decent chance that they are right and I will need more intensive treatment to survive this. But I personally think my feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing will only increase if I take more time away from school. So I am going to try incredibly hard to avoid that scenario.

The problem is, I can’t will an illness away. I can take steps that increase my chances of feeling better sooner, but if my brain decides we’re going to be depressed this month, then that’s the situation. And that’s really scary. So I will try my very best to pull myself out of this rut without the help of intensive treatment. But I know that I may end up needing more help, or even that I’ll be sent to an inpatient ward involuntarily under the Mental Health Act.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I wish I wasn’t sick. But my “Relapse Prevention” therapist told me after my first Day Hospital admission in an Eating Disorders program that “wishing and hoping isn’t a good strategy”. And then I relapsed. So, we’ll have to wait and see whether that’s enough this time.

Sarah

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