Here we go, a continuation of the story of my disorder thus far. Thanks for being so patient.
During my first hospitalization, I was put on a new mixture of medications. One of these medications made me very shaky and unsteady; I felt very weak. I ended up getting out of the hospital right before my 17th birthday. A few of my cross country friends took me out for my birthday and I just remember how much my hands were shaking. The friend I mentioned before, who saw the cuts on my leg, sat next to me and held my hand while I struggled to get food from the plate to my mouth. I remember being so tired but also increasingly frustrated with the state I was in. I couldn’t believe that this was who I had become. Someone so weakened to the point where they couldn’t even eat because their hands were shaking too much. I knew I had done the right thing by admitting myself to the psych ward, but I wished I hadn’t had to.
Something I forgot to mention earlier, and something that stands out vividly to myself and my family, happened before my hospitalization. I was struggling with the urge to cut and my therapist suggested holding ice cubes until it passed. It made sense, but at the time, seemed deeply unsatisfying. However, I remained open to the idea and it actually seemed to help. One time though, I was with my family and we were at Universal Studios. It was nighttime and we were walking through the park when I felt like I wanted to cut, which was around the time I usually would. I told my dad, and we rushed to try to find ice. We ended up finding a kiosk that must have held drinks or something that needed to be kept cool, and took ice from there. I walked around the park with my family with ice in my hands and water dripping onto the concrete. It was an intense time.
As I attempted to return to normalcy, I began attending a weekly teen group. It was more of a gathering of high schoolers with various mental illnesses to vent about whatever was happening in their lives. There wasn’t much consistency as to who attended, and not much guidance by the therapists. But it still was a place I could go to be around my peer group with those who could sympathize with me. I continued going to therapy on a weekly basis, and saw a psychiatrist to keep up with my medications.
My senior year began, and I was given a light load of classes due to what happened over the summer. Luckily I had taken extra classes in my first three years of high school so that I was able to do so and still be on track to graduate. This year I wasn’t able to join cross country, which was probably the saddest part for me. I had run cross country every year since the sixth grade, and now I wouldn’t be able to for my last year. Many of my friendships faded, days blurred together, any previous excitement about the future dimmed.
In the spring, I was back in the hospital. What got me there was a self inflicted burn on my hand. One day before class, I had taken a curling iron and put it to my opposing hand a couple of times. It didn’t look bad at first, but while I was at my first period, it was beginning to bubble up and look nasty. Soon after I was taken to the psych ward again. I don’t remember much of this hospitalization; I assume it was more of the same. It was after this that I began a program called home hospital with my school. This meant that a teacher from the school would bring work from my classes to me and I would complete that work for her to bring back to my teachers. She also proctored my tests. While this is what I needed at the time, I felt even more isolated from everyone else. I had a boyfriend who kept me updated, but honestly he was probably all I had through that period of time. I tried to avoid social media because it reminded me of what I was missing, and who I was missing.
Amazingly, I was able to finish all of my work in order to graduate. Throughout this tumultuous time with my academics, I had a grade level coordinator (basically my school counselor) who worked very hard to do what he could so I could graduate. I remember as I walked on that stage and received my diploma–well, the holder for it anyways–and walked off, he was there and gave me the biggest hug; he said that we did it. I think that was the highlight through all of this. As I took pictures with people, I realized how different I was now. That so much had happened since I met them, since I knew them. It was a sense of loss, partly because we now we were all going to go separate ways, but also because I felt like I missed out on the high school experience. So many of the people I was close friends with I didn’t talk to anymore. I’m sure many people would say that their graduation was bittersweet; mine felt much more bitter than sweet.
Alright, I’m going to stop here for now. I think I’ll finish on the next post; I’ll try not to take too long in writing it. Thanks for sticking with me.