This entry is going to be about the two times I was hospitalized for my schizophrenia. Even though I was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2000, I was never hospitalized for it until the fall of 2006. I was not an Emergency Protective Custody (EPC) case as I self committed voluntarily. I came to the conclusion I needed help because of severe anxiety and flare ups of my paranoia. These were caused by job place problems and several stressful occurrences that happened throughout the year 2006. To start the year 2006, I lost my job at the university and had to leave the MBA program. I had also applied for Social Security Disability Insurance shortly afterward. At the time it was a major blow to my ego and self confidence as I thought it was admitting defeat in my pursuit to be self-supportive. I also had a few failed attempts to hold down employment through the spring and summer of 2006, adding to my already considerable anxiety. Finally after several months of the anxiety, paranoia, and anger building for several months, I came to where I hadn’t slept in probably two and a half days. By then I knew I had to do something to stop the deterioration I was going through. That’s when I checked myself into the local mental health hospital.
With the fact I didn’t wait for the police to take me to the hospital, my stay as an inpatient lasted only one week. Even though I wasn’t uncooperative and belligerent with the hospital staff and doctors, for the first three days I was confused and couldn’t focus at all. I was also sleeping probably fourteen hours per day for those first three days as I was trying to regain my bearings. One thing that I am absolutely convinced helped my recovery and allowed for my relatively short stay at the hospital was that I cooperated with the doctors and nurses even when I secretly didn’t want to. Despite going through a breakdown, I knew I needed their help if I was going to recover and go home. I think that I found favor with the doctors, nurses, and counselors because I was willing to cooperate, even if it was begrudgingly.
Finally after a week in the hospital I was well enough to go home. Even though I could have left probably any time I wanted as I was a voluntary commitment, I was sick and I knew I was not doing well at all. After I left in early September 2006, it would be another seven years before I would go back to the hospital.
In September 2013, I went back to the hospital. Once again I was a volunteer commitment. I could tell that things were getting bad again like they were in 2006. Because I took preventative measures to make sure things didn’t escalate completely out of control, I was in the hospital for only three and a half days this time. This time I was still cooperative with the doctors, nurses, and counselors. By this time I had been dealing with schizophrenia long enough that prolonged stress and anxiety over the course of weeks and months would ultimately lead to problems. I also have a seasonal element to my schizophrenia as I tend to do better in winters and springs than I do in summers. For some reason summers have always been a rough time for me. Both of my hospitalizations took place in the month of September.
If I were to offer any advice to someone going to the hospital for the first time, it would simply be do what the doctors recommend, be as nice as you can with the nurses, be active in counseling, and at least attempt to get along with the other patients. Believe me, your stay in the hospital will be much less troublesome.