A couple months ago, I voluntarily admitted myself to a mental hospital. Well actually, my decision was not so voluntary. My intensive outpatient program would not accept me unless I agreed to complete an inpatient program as a prerequisite. Thus, it came down to one of two options: life or death. And while I was tempted to go with the latter option, I realized I could not let down and inevitably destroy my family. So, I "voluntarily" admitted myself to a hospital because I did not have the will to live otherwise.
I was scared shitless. I had never been hospitalized. I did not know what to expect. Quite frankly, I felt like I was being sentenced to a month in prison. And between the prohibition of cell phones, electronics, sharps (ie. razors, pencils, scissors, makeup), the 15 minute checks, violation of privacy, and constant questioning, it did feel a bit like prison at first.
However, my experience changed drastically upon leaving the acute care unit. My transitional living program allowed me much freedom. I could walk anywhere about the premises without supervision, I could shower without being interrupted by staff, and I could finally access the internet. Between the vast amenities, the sprawling property, and lovely nature, I was essentially on a month long retreat at a country club.
Though the circumstances were definitely better, my first week in transitional living absolutely sucked. I was ambushed by feelings of social anxiety that had been masked by periods of hypomania and alcohol use over the last 4 years. I felt like I had been reverted back to high school.
I had really doubted that things would work out. However, I was able to use my "wise mind" and reason that a month is not really that much time out of my life, and that I should be entirely grateful to be able to be apart of such a program.
Before long, I fully immersed myself into the program, and I began to utilize the skills I had acquired to overcome some adversity. I forced myself to sit with painfully uncomfortable feelings that I could have easily fled, and I found myself relating to my peers on much more than a surface level. For the first time in a while, I did not quite feel lonely.
By the conclusion of my time in transitional living, I determined that I do wish to live. Or rather, I concluded that it is worth trying to conquer my fear of living. I would be in denial if I did not admit that I still have fleeting thoughts of suicide, but I realize it will take a while for them to dissipate completely. And it's okay to have these feelings. Because as permanent as they may seem, feelings are temporary and can be altered.