Friday, August 21, 2009

Rachel's Story - Emergency Last Fall

As September approaches I find myself looking back to last year at this time and I am very thankful to be where I am now. This year I am very fortunate to have a whole new set of skills as a result of the various groups I have participated in at the Royal Ottawa. I am better able to recognize my mood symptoms and catch myself before I fall into a deep depression or rise into mania. Admittedly, I was apprehensive about joining the groups because I am quite shy but I quickly got over that when I discovered that everyone there was like me, seeking to learn more about their illness. If you have the chance to participate in any of these groups, I highly recommend that you do. Now I’d like to share my story.

Last year at this time I couldn’t see myself falling. I was slowly losing interest in my friends and my formerly pursued activities. Getting out of bed everyday became a bigger and bigger challenge. My thinking and speech became slowed-down. I felt sad and tired much of the time. I had no interest in food. Living life seemed to require a BIGGER effort than I could muster. These symptoms started on a small scale (in September) and escalated until I was thinking of suicide or death every day (by October). I was relieving my anxiety with self-harm (cutting). I was collecting prescription drugs with the intention of over-dosing. Thankfully, my family stepped in and took me to the Civic’s emergency where I underwent a series of mini assessments with nurses and a psychiatrist. I was pretty out of it. All I knew was that I needed to end the pain somehow. I felt like I was being tormented and I couldn’t take it any longer. I was admitted on the eve of my 26th birthday. I remember that all I wanted to do was lie in the dark, but because I was under observation, they wouldn’t let me turn off the lights. It was bright and loud and I couldn’t wait to be transferred from psych emergency to somewhere less temporary. I was supposed to be moved up to the Civic’s psych ward, but fortunately I got the news that a bed was available at the Royal and that I would be transferred there later in the day. So the day after my birthday I was transferred by ambulance to the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I was a little nervous, as I’d never been hospitalized there before.

To be continued…