When I first arrived at the hospital I was unbelievably scared. They took me into this white room with only a tiny picture on the wall. It was a big room but it only had a hospital bed, a desk, and a little closet. There was something about this white room with the hospital bed that made me feel even sicker. I honestly started to freak out about the fact that I was going to stay there, for god knows how long. I didn’t say much but when I saw a lock on the window, I completely lost it. I freaked out and started crying, begging my mom to take me home. It was such a weird thing to freak out about, but I saw that lock as something very big. All of a sudden I felt like I had to be locked up, which was not the case at all.
A nurse came in right as I was freaking out, and tried to calm me down. She told me the locks were to keep people away from the windows, which actually just scared me even more. But looking at it now, it does make sense. She managed to calm me down, but when it was time for my mom and Leen to leave, I lost it again. I couldn’t deal with the thought of them leaving me there, even though I had made the decision to be there. The nurse had to sit with me while they left, and I honestly felt like a 3-year-old being left at daycare for the first time. I just wanted my mom.
The first night at the hospital was awful. I didn’t get any sleep. I heard so many noises, and I kept having nightmares about not being able to get out. Like that wasn’t enough, a nurse would come in every hour to see how I was, and she would use a flashlight to be able to see my face. So that kept waking me up too. The reason she had to do this was that I was on suicide watch, apparently. They had to do that for 3 days, and I’ve never been happier about sleeping than when they stopped.
Being at the hospital helped me a lot. I got to push a “pause” button on my life and only focus on learning how to deal with my emotions. While in the hospital, I had again gotten the depression diagnosis and I had started on antidepressants again. As I did the last time, I decided that I was now fine. I convinced my self I was, I convinced my family and friends I was, and by the end, I convinced the doctors I was. So they let me go home.
Looking back, even after spending time at the hospital, and even after realizing how bad things were, I was so determined to not be looked at as “sick”, I would manipulate my way out of having to deal with it. So as soon as I felt like I had dealt with my mental illness enough, I would find a way out of dealing with it any further.
It wasn’t until I took up the offer of talking to someone at a different ward as a follow up I realized I needed to take everything even more seriously. I had only talked to this woman for about 15 minutes when she asked me “do you think you should’ve been out of the hospital that early?”. I was stunned by that question, cause nobody had really questioned it. Of course at first, but when people heard the doctors had said I could go home, they thought I was fine. But this woman did not.
I don’t know what she noticed, but she did an excellent job. Next thing I know, she said she wanted to ask me some specific questions I had to answer as honest as possible. She pulled out what looked to be a checklist, and went on to ask me a bunch of questions. When she was done, she looked at me and said: “have you ever heard of borderline personality disorder?”. I hadn’t, and honestly, it sounded like the scariest thing ever. She told me a little bit about it and I was terrified. Cause everything she said was exactly how I felt. It was every feeling, every thought, every experience I had gone through, and for once somebody had put a word on it.
She told me she would take everything up with some other doctors, and a few days later I got an email saying that they had decided to diagnose me with BPD. I was at work with two of my really good friends when I got the email, and I was so upset. But they made me realize how good this would actually be for me, to have a name for what is wrong, and to learn how to manage it. And they were right. To this day, I’m still so thankful for their help in that situation.
So from this day on, I started a whole new journey, a journey of understanding myself but with actually knowing what was happening to me. And knowing that I wasn’t crazy! This is where I truly started to change.
If you want to read about BPD, you can read about it on this link: https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.borderline.html
I ask you to read with an open mind and remember that not everyone reacts the same. Some of the things mentioned may sound extreme, but it is important to understand that mental illness is way more nuanced. I will post the last part of my story next week, where I will talk about getting better. I hope you will read it!