I’ve now been out of hospital for 3 days and it’s definitely taking some time for me to recover. I’m technically still an inpatient, just on ‘home leave’, although unsurprisingly nobody from the hospital has checked up on me.
I have to go back there to have an official discharge meeting on Wednesday morning, where I’ve been told various staff will help put together a care plan with my wife and I. I’ve interacted with the community mental health team enough to know that it’s not overly cynical to be going into that with low expectations.
It’s been odd, the transition back to my normal life. I was so driven to escape the horror of the psych ward, I knew there was a danger I’d have developed a ‘grass is greener’ perspective. And yeah the grass is WAY greener – of course it is. I get to be in a clean, calm, safe environment, with people I love and food I feel OK eating, and my own comfy bed at the end of the day. I’m taking none of that for granted right now.
The problem is that the combination of the overdose and the sleep deprivation from being in the ward has been a huge hit for my body to cope with. And I wasn’t particularly strong before it happened. When I went into hospital, I’d had days on end of barely eating. I was only about 46kg and my blood pressure was really low. Add to that the quantity of alcohol, codeine and lorazepam I ingested, you can see why I’m still not feeling well over a week later.
The silver lining is that feeling so weak and tired has incentivised me to eat a bit. I’ve been trying to eat at regular times, even if just a little. And I think a little is the best I can do at the moment. Today, we went out for lunch with some friends and I ate a ‘proper’ meal. I almost passed out when we left the restaurant and I’ve felt nauseous since. Apparently my body can’t quite handle meals just yet.
There’s a lot of residual anxiety in my system from the past week. I’ve been getting panicky easily. I was so permanently on edge in hospital, my body hasn’t figured out how to switch that off yet. I’ve been taking baths and doing mindfulness and going out walking. So far it’s not shifting. I’m still struggling to feel calm, especially at night.
I guess that anxiety is also being fed by my fear of all the things I need to address in order to not return to the place I was in when I tried to end my life. It’s a huge pressure, knowing that I have to up my game. I’m aware there is a massive amount I have to work on.
But I am trying to do some good stuff as well as stressing about all the things I need to change and challenge. I’ve got my assessment at the eating disorders clinic in a week, and I’m endeavouring to frame that as a positive thing, rather than something to dread.
I think it’s important that I focus on the things I am doing that are good for me and that I’ve enjoyed. I made an appointment with my wonderful physio on Friday, and she helped release some of the tension that had built up in my body because of all the fear in hospital. I met the women from my CoDA group for coffee after their meeting on Saturday, and they were all so happy to see me. It was like I’d been away for years. And the friends we saw today gave us a beautiful early Christmas gift; a quilt they’d made for us. The fabric has all kinds of things we love on it, it’s very thoughtful and makes me feel loved.
In the past, I’ve been adept at ignoring this stuff, because it goes against the beliefs I have about myself. But I have to push myself to really see it, to hold onto it, to stop assuming that none of it means anything. I think that’s the only way I am going to get through this horribly difficult time.