I’ve seen three seasons at the treatment centre now. This morning I was sat on the patio looking at the brown leaves and remembering when I was admitted back in March. The trees were thin back then, with small, tight clumps of vivid green sprouts waiting to burst in the spring sunshine. I recall thinking to myself that I would have come and gone by the time they sprouted.
I was wrong. I have ‘graduated’ to outpatient treatment now, but my inpatient stay was far longer than I anticipated back then. I am lucky that through my employer, I have an insurer that funded me for 10 weeks in hospital. I was convinced I would be ‘cured’ in that time. But it seems like that’s not quite how it works. So when the money ran out, I had to leave, whether I was ready to face the world or not.
The numerous therapists and psychiatric nurses I came across in this time kept cautioning against my impatience. I would regularly complain that I was working so hard in therapy but not feeling any better. And I would always get the same infuriating response; depression takes a long time to lift, often years, so my few months were a drop in the ocean.
As we move into Autumn, I realise that this illness has been with me for a year now. Although I can’t say I feel I am getting better, I do know that I am different. I know that I have a deeper understanding of myself and my life is not how it was 12 months ago. I have stopped cutting myself, I have committed to staying sober, I have more control over visual flashbacks and my anxiety.
However, there is still a reckless, self-endangering part of me. A year ago I had never taken an overdose and I never thought I would. Twice in the past month I’ve ended up in hospital for this reason, so I appear to have proven myself wrong on that one.