April 9, 2016 – Journal Entry 7
“Happy birthday to me! ‘I sought the Lord and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.’ Psalm 34:4”
April 10, 2016 – Journal Entry 7
“My birthday was wonderful! I am blessed. Brian, mom, and dad were there. We had strawberry shortcake from Nantucket Bar + Grill in Chapel Hill, NC. 4 family members sent flowers. We had Ben +Jerry’s assorted ice cream. Some friends sent some strawberries dipped in chocolate from Fannie Mae Berries. My aunt sent a journal with scripture inside and a stuffed giraffe. We celebrated in the day room with the girls on my floor and nursing staff. Then, I pumped and got an hour off the unit pass to walk with my family. We went to the gift shop and bought gifts for my floor mates. A coloring therapy book, a body butter, and a baby blanket. I am so glad to give back to these women. Their needs are so much greater than my own. I love giving back to others. My mom and Brian got into a disagreement about my care. Anxiety swept over me and I started down the spiral. I colored in my therapy book, read a book, did the Emwave, and used my beads to calm myself. I was really withdrawn for about four hours after that. I watched a show and ate Ben + Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream. Finally, I did yoga and went to bed. I slept pretty well last night. I am tired and a little withdrawn today. Overall, a wonderful birthday in the psych ward.”
My thirtieth birthday was spent in the psychiatric hospital. It was a super depressing moment in my life. I felt ashamed and low. 30 is supposed to be a great celebration and I wasn’t even in control of my own choices at the time. However, we made the best of it. We celebrated as much as you could in a psychiatric hospital. The time off the ward with my family was the most special.
The other women on the ward had such needs, that I didn’t want to be the only person getting something that day. We went to the gift shop and picked out presents. My family and doctors were not thrilled. They thought this was a symptom of my illness. I, however, felt otherwise. I was so upset that something as simply as wanting to bless others was seen as a sickness. It increased my shame. After the festivities, we were all in my room together. My mom got upset because she had bought me a boombox for my birthday day. I wasn’t allowed to have it because there was a cord. Her stress and upset started to upset me and to upset my husband. So, my mom and Brian went into the hallway. They got into a fight about my symptoms and my care. It was so upsetting that I had to emotionally detach from their problems. That, I don’t believe, is uncommon for loved ones. The stress of watching the person you love in such circumstances is overwhelming. It would have been better, had I had a plan to deal with such a stressor but hindsight is 20/20. The Emwave helped tremendously. It is a hand held device that helps with breathing and tracks your heart rate. When a certain biorhythm is detected, it turns green and you have calmed down. It is a great tool to help with self-care.
That was the last time I would see my parents until I got out of the hospital. It was so hard to watch them leave so upset. There was nothing I could do, however. The stress caused me to have a relapse of symptoms that affected me for the next twenty four hours. A minor setback, but every one increases your stay.