As you may have figured out, I did in fact land in the hospital this week. My therapist and psychiatrist encouraged continued use of skills, yet reminded me that only I know when it’s time to go to the hospital. Before I left for work on Monday, I packed a bag of items I’d need for the hospital, just in case. Sometimes a security blanket is all I need.
I tried to make it through the work day, yet as the day drew closer to a committee meeting… I knew I was heading to the hospital for an assessment. Anxiety, confusion, intrusive and obsessive suicidal desire. Barely made the drive. Naturally I was admitted, and there I began the hard work. I realized how stress had gotten the best of me. Just your normal, everyday stress, but too much for what I could handle at this time. A big piece is that the other people at my job are stressed because of the really fun, but stressful to plan, fundraiser next weekend.
The plan while I was there was to rest and de-stress (though the unit was unstable with alpha males being stupid…); to learn or reinforce stress management techniques; and to adjust meds if needed. I hoped all of those would eliminate the suicidal desire. Those of you familiar with DBT may know the skill of Riding the Wave. Even though I know and practice this skill, I needed a tune up to remember to, and practice, riding the emotional wave of despair that leads to suicidal desire. As I practiced stress management and got a med tweak and re-learned this skill, I became ready for discharge after only 3 days – a record short stay for me!
Conditions of discharge included doing the part-day Anxiety program, a totally sadistic (my psychiatrist’s word!) program that jumps on any anxiety you have to deal with it directly and head on. Yay.
This sadism started in the first minute of entering my group. The person talking was describing his/her struggle with losing a youth director job and looking for another one, whether current skills were enough or needing more education. Another person jumped in with experiences of being on an associate pastor search committee.
I nearly jumped out of my skin or at least left the room! I’ve been avoiding all religion and church because they are such strong triggers for me. I don’t need any triggers as I’m trying to have as boring a life as possible right now to stabilize, stabilize, stabilize. But… using my DBT distress tolerance skills, I pulled out my silly putty, got myself back in the moment and was able to put it away. Focusing on my breathing kept me from leaving the room. So so hard!!!
I guess it’s time to face these fears and anxieties. I hope the tune up I received in the hospital will help me get through this without going back!