At the programs I’ve been to, it’s always advised to stop your relationships with the people you’re locked in with 24/7 or the people you spend 8-3 with every day. It’s sort of an oxymoron as you bond, share stories and secrets, eat every single meal, talk about your illnesses, families and histories together. Then it’s like one day, you discharge, and you’re supposed to cut ties forever.
The people you met in the hospital are the people who really do become your support system and sort of like family. The friends you have on the outside, they may provide support, but they weren’t there when you had your 8am vitals, your 12 o’clock lunches, your 2pm art therapy group, your mid-week mental breakdown or the fight you had with your psychiatrist over medication and treatment. How can they provide the same comfort when they really don’t even know.
I have never had a problem making friends in any mental health hospitalization setting. I even make friends with the Mental Health Associates, I see one at my partial program and we talk almost every single day. I usually love my nurse like a mother and it always pains me to say goodbye, not knowing if I’ll see her again.
I think it’s advised by these institutions to not speak with others because you don’t want to end up playing therapist for the other person (vice versa) or making/enabling poor behaviors that could negate therapy and all the work that was just done in-patient/out-patient.
But it’s so hard.
I find myself very alone in this city I decided to move to. While I have no regrets, I do have no true support system aside from my psychiatrist and therapist, who aren’t even in Boston but Cambridge.
I’ve never been in solitary confinement, but I feel like I am. I’m sorry if that offends anyone but I have no one to turn to when I need it up here in Boston, by myself. I decided to discharge myself from my program because I need one-on-one time. I need someone to understand me. I need individual attention. I crave that. I was raised as an only-child and as an athlete, I was trained as an individual. I’m not used to being lumped into a group to get results and I think with something as important as mental health, I shouldn’t start now. I’m afraid if I don’t get the therapy I need, I’m going to fall back into impulsive behaviors like spending and drinking. I want to end the mania and hospitalization cycle.
The people you meet in hospitals are special. No matter what his or her background or diagnosis is, you connect, you are allies and you are kin. I have 2 great relationships that came out of McLean. But those people have their own lives. I’m not a priority, they’re not checking up on me and I don’t expect that from them.
Last night, I cried myself to sleep because I feel as if I have no one to turn to. I’m starting with a new therapist, which should be good. But, I still walk around the city alone to kill time. No one is texting me asking how I’m doing. My mom barely responds to me because she works so much. Right now, I’m closest to my mom’s sister and my dad’s sister. I have 2 moms, they’re not even moms, but aunts. I’m so happy to have them but I need my parents because I’m fragile and I’m sensitive, right now.
Today is going to be a good day, I’m going to work on my memoir, get some sun, do some laundry and have dinner with a work friend.
In my opinion, if you make a friend or even a best friend while you’re hospitalized, it happened for a reason and continue it if it feels right. I’ve ended friendships from out-patient and in-patient programs because it got to be too much, and that’s okay too. But it served a purpose and it brought me joy when I needed it most.
This a quote I always go back to by Emery Allen
“Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or to just be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us.”
We’re halfway through the week so I have to stay motivated!