Each morning, my clinical team visited me. The team was made up of the psychiatrist assigned to me, a nurse, my social worker and various other staff. I would sit on my bed while they stood and asked me questions. How was I feeling compared to when I came in? Was I having any side effects from my medications? Did I still feel like hurting myself?
I had told the nurses that my tongue was moving of its own accord, seriously hoping this was a med side effect and not psychosis. It turned out that my blood work showed a toxic level of Lithium, one of the pillar meds for Bipolar Disorder treatment. So, over the next few days my Lithium dose was lowered and the weird tongue aerobics went away.
After my visit with the doctor and his/her team in the morning I would call Jesse and let him know what they said. We would talk about his upcoming day and my plans for the day. (Mayo provided six cordless phones to the patients to make phone calls because they understand how vital it is that you stay connected to your support system.) I usually called Jesse 2-3 times per day. He could hear the confidence building in my voice every day.
While the doctor’s made rounds, we had an opportunity to study/read before our classes started for the day. The nurses and social workers taught the classes on everything from self-esteem to resilience. We were usually given a bit of homework to complete for discussion at the next class. We were also to put to use the techniques we were learning for stress management and cognitive restructuring. Classes lasted all day.
We also got to take part in occupational and art therapy. Occupational therapy involved making a schedule for myself each day to keep me busy. I loved art therapy and visiting the art room where there were endless tubes of paint, brushes and other art supplies. The occupational therapist played the radio during our time and I loved listening to music and painting away. I found this so helpful that I practice my own form of art therapy at home. I always have markers/colored pencils around to serve as a distraction when needed.
The week was over and, again, I didn’t feel like I had gotten on top of my problems. But I did feel better so it was time to go home. Jesse made the frosty trip to Minnesota to pick me up. We both felt hopeful, but I knew that my problems still weren’t solved.
Read the next installment of Staying at the Nut Hut at http://www.mentallyinteresting.com/blog-hospital-part-II.
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