Just Cuz You’re Back from the Hospital Doesn’t Mean You’re Fixed

Last night I had a meltdown as I tried to prepare dinner. There were few groceries around to fix a meal but I found some defrosted chicken breasts and rice and peas. I didn’t want to fuss with marinade – which we didn’t have – and then broil the chicken. And so I thought I’d make chicken strips to add to the rice and peas.

Then I remembered that I would need to use a knife in order to cut the chicken breasts. And I panicked. Knives have figured prominently in my plans for hurting myself or killing myself. I haven’t ever done anything other than feel urges to fulfill the plans. But last night the vision of me hurting myself as I cut the chicken – with the tremors in my hands and the blade slipping – was so strong I was seriously worried that it would happen.

Bawling, I called my mom to talk me down and step by step she coached me through the process, including cleaning all the knives in the sink and putting them away where they belong. The rest of dinner went fine, yet I was shaky and out of sorts.

Today I was anxious all morning and bawled again as I processed the incident in group therapy. The rest of the day I remained tense and anxious, including a clenched jaw and grinding of teeth as I tried to push harmful thoughts out of my mind. I met with one of the counselors because they were not certain I should be home with intense urges. I still might need to go back inpatient if I can’t keep myself safe. They won’t be able to fix the intrusive thoughts and feelings, but they would keep me safe.

I’ve been following my schedule as I said I would. I was too exhausted after getting groceries to make it to the library, but I did color my hair (priorities, you know). Dave should be home in an hour and a half, and so I’m almost done with alone time. And dinner no longer requires utensils that harm, now that I bought frozen meals for the next few days.

Just because you’re discharged from the hospital doesn’t mean those thoughts are gone or that your coping skills are strong enough to make it through intense urges. I can imagine having to go through the pros and cons list again to know if I should go back in.

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7 responses to “Just Cuz You’re Back from the Hospital Doesn’t Mean You’re Fixed

  1. What is the answer for dealing with those urges? Is it just a learning process or is it medication or how do you get better?

    • First – skills to use in the moment to tolerate the emotional pain. Then learning to let thoughts be thoughts that just flow through your mind without having to give them any staying power. The thoughts may disappear on their own or in response to medication since having the thoughts at all is a symptom of the illness. For many people I talked to, the thoughts never go away and you have to use the skills I learn in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or Acceptance and Challenge Therapy.

  2. I have the same questions wizkey.

  3. I trust you to make good choices and keep yourself well, Deb. I know you have the capacity to do that. You are going to be OK. We all love you.

  4. Best of luck to you. I have a family member with bipolar disorder, so have lived through these episodes. My family member takes lithium, which works really well, as long as he keeps taking it. Please, please stay on whatever meds your doc prescribes!

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