Ten Year Anniversary of Hospitalization

Daffodils

Ten years ago, two weeks preceding and including Valentine’s Day, I was hospitalized. Twenty years ago, I experienced a psychotic break during the same season: this season – the season of Lent. Though I do not attend church, this season moves me deeply. I could write more about seasonal affective disorder and how those of us with bipolar disorder predictably cycle during different seasons. But, for today, Valentine’s Day and week three of NAMI Provider Education, I will quote past posts and enjoy the evening with my husband. Thank God I am not in the hospital this Valentine’s Day. Thank God I can enjoy the occasion at home with my husband and son.

In my post I do not whisper. I ROAR., I said this about the hospitalization ten years ago:

Trying to balance work with motherhood, I failed miserably, and ended up hospitalized in a psychiatric unit with rapid cycling and mixed symptoms of bipolar disorder. After months of partial hospitalization, I became a reluctant stay-at-home mother on disability. What does an overeducated and reluctant stay-at-home mother with a recurring sense of religious calling (or a manic and delusional symptom of bipolar disorder, depending on one’s perspective) do with her mind? Why attend seminary, of course, which I did on two separate occasions and on two separate occasions had to quit.

Last March I wrote the following post about the Lenten season.

Lent | The Rites of Spring

For many, spring is a time of celebration and remembrance.

– Deseret News, March 7, 2009

Two days ago was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Although I did not have my forehead smudged with ash, I do acknowledge my human mortality, I mourn and begin a period of atonement.

For dust you are and to dust you shall return
Genesis 3:19

My practice of atonement is more cathartic than penitent. Instead of fasting, I feel my soul shaken, and I wonder, “What, God, do you want of me?”

The Lenten season has always been spiritually meaningful for me, moving me in powerful and unseen ways. Often I find myself psychiatrically unstable, somehow shaken, and find upon reflection that once again it is Lent, once again I begin a new cycle. This time of renewal, of death and rebirth, is for me a period of turmoil. Change is near. Springtime is upon us. Time to awake.

Here is a link to an article by Nicole Warburton in Deseret News, March 7, 2009 on the Rites of Spring: The rites of spring: Rebirth is a major religious theme | Deseret News.

Advertisements

44 thoughts on “Ten Year Anniversary of Hospitalization

  1. SeasonedSistah2 February 25, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate your comments. And, I am very interesting in reading more about what you share. My 23-year-old granddaughter was recently diagnosed with a mental health condition. This is a first-time diagnosed condition in our family. Though, I feel certain I along with others in the family, at some point in life, came face-to-face with a mental health challenge that was either ignored, worked out or still in existence. I am very interested in learning how to talk openly about mental health issues with my family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 25, 2015 / 2:39 pm

      NAMI.org has great resources for family members on how to deal with such issues. I wish you, your granddaughter, and her parents the best as they learn how to best address her mental illness. With proper treatment and support, there is hope. Famiily support is incredibly important. Church and community support helps, as well. I have some materials on my site about mental health and the church.

      Like

  2. dyane February 16, 2015 / 10:48 am

    I’m SO so SO glad you spent this year’s Valentine’s Day out of the hospital and with your family.
    I love the daffodil photo – I think it’s my “birth flower” (March 18) and I love how cheerful they look. Perfect for Spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 16, 2015 / 10:52 am

      Thanks. So glad that your birth flower is so lovely and cheerful.

      Like

  3. writerwannabe763 February 15, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    My sister suffers from S.A.D. and I know how it affects her… so I can only imagine how it affects someone with Bipolar. But I’m glad today you’re feeling much better than 10 years ago …. I too find the Lenten Season very solemn… just to use that time for self reflection and what my faith entails and where there may be room for improvement… Diane

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 15, 2015 / 10:59 pm

      Thank you. I actually get hypomanic, actually. It’s quite sunny here.

      Like

      • writerwannabe763 February 16, 2015 / 5:59 am

        I would imagine (not knowing) that hypomania is not ideal for you either… but sun does seem to be medicinal even for those without S.A.D… maybe we all have some degree of it ?? Diane

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley February 16, 2015 / 10:43 am

          Yes. The goal is to expose myself to optimal, but not excessive amounts.

          Like

  4. The Professionally Depressed Professional February 15, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    I love the season of Lent as well. I choose to look at it not as a season of sacrifice, “what am I going to give up,” but rather “what am I going to do be better spiritually and emotionally. My journey has led me to so many new insights about myself that I know that I am exactly where I need to be (as challenging as it is). Thank you for sharing . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 15, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      Beautiful. I knew a former nun pastoral associate who when she studied at seminary decided to climb the Berkeley Hills behind the seminary, enjoy the view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, and pray every day of Lent. You brought that to mind. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan Irene Fox February 15, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    Kitt, I always seem to forget about SAD until it is well upon me. Insomnia, hibernating during the day (although it could be the bp, too, or the combo). Thanks for the reminder. I’ve begun to curl up afternoons in the window seat next to my kitty; we catch the afternoon sun and both partake in our own cat naps. 😉 Can hardly wait for spring thaw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 15, 2015 / 2:40 pm

      Southern California is a bit different that further North. It’s sunny and warm. I’m actually a bit hypomanic, having trouble falling asleep. I may just take sleep meds tonight.

      Like

  6. e February 15, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    So much I want to say Kitt…I hear you loud and clear and am so glad I can…. because you’ve chosen to speak.

    Honored our paths have crossed,

    e

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 15, 2015 / 6:47 am

      Mark,
      Did you intend on commenting? I see that you blog about your life with Aspergers and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) at mark-kent.webs.com.
      Thank you for visiting.

      Like

  7. supermommyoftwins February 15, 2015 / 4:56 am

    Three years ago on Valentine’s day, I woke up in the hospital, barely alive. I too, am so grateful, and feel so blessed, to be here with my beautiful family today.

    After reading I feel a bit less alone. There ARE people out there, like you, who understand. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 15, 2015 / 5:53 am

      Thank you. Glad to have you here with us. You are not alone. Both you and your family are blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sheila North February 15, 2015 / 2:15 am

    Interesting post. I once did a chart – when, most likely, more than a bit hypomanic – showing that my periods of illness were tied to the seasonal festivals I follow. Fortunately, I lost the chart – I’m sure I would have obsessed over it!

    Interesting post. Curious how the “dust to dust” idea can turn on its head, for me at least, if you change the dust to “stardust”.

    I used to lose my faith when I became depressed. Just one more reason to hate those times, for me.

    I hope you have a lovely lent, and experience a positive “rebirth”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mariah Warren February 14, 2015 / 9:20 pm

    Glad Dyane shared this… I appreciate your reflections on Lent and its meaning for you, emotionally. Kind of like Advent for me, the time of my longest hospitalization. And like you, I’m an overeducated mom on disability who has felt a pull towards ministry…no seminary yet, though. I’m a bit too disorganized at the moment- can’t even find time for all these great blog posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just Plain Ol' Vic February 14, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Kitt:

    Your story is a true testament that a person can be bi-polar, have negative experiences yet still emerge a stronger and wiser person. Thanks for sharing!

    Vic

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley February 14, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you, Vic! I hope that you having a nice Valentine’s Day. My husband is playing catch with our younger dog inside the family room. I got roses and chocolate. Yum!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Tammy February 14, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I had my breakdown around Valentines Day too in 1998. Diagnosed with major depression and bipolar! It’s an uphill climb with valleys but like you, I too, am extremely glad I’m not in the hospital! Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley February 14, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      I’m glad you are not in the hospital, too! Happy Valentine’s Day, Tammy!

      Like

  12. Trish February 14, 2015 / 7:41 pm

    you are an inspiration to those with Bipolar disease just by telling your story!! You rock!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. kbailey374 February 14, 2015 / 7:08 pm

    Congrats on making it thru this year 🙂 and being able to enjoy this season!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA February 14, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    Dear Kitt, although I am Jewish and do not celebrate the Lenten season, we do have our special holidays and festivals to bring in the Spring season. The very first Commandment after Sinai was to observe Rosh Hodesh, the beginning of each month. This month, which we are now celebrating, is the month of Adar. Each month has is own special mission. The mission of Adar is to bring in joy. Loosely translated, the saying is “whoever brings Adar into himself, increases the joy in the world.” The sad part about this is that I always get depressed in the Spring, starting about now. It seems unfair! I’m glad you are not in the hospital, and I’m glad you can find meaning in Lent. There is so much more I want to say about your amazing post here, but I’m just so tired….I guess I’ll just have to say that I admire you greatly….And I used to read the Deseret News also, when I lived there.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Kitt O'Malley February 14, 2015 / 8:47 pm

        Nope. My hospitalization was due to mixed symptoms. Crying hysterically. Overwhelmed at work. Overstimulated. Mixed states. Ultra-rapid cycling. It was over ten years ago. The seasonal affective disorder honestly depends on the weather. As the days get longer I start to become more hypomanic than depressed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • kbailey374 February 14, 2015 / 9:03 pm

          Oh Kitt, sorry I wasn’t clear, that remark was meant for Laura up above. She says she always gets depressed in the Spring.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kitt O'Malley February 14, 2015 / 11:13 pm

            Oops! Sorry. I butted in. Laura, I piggyback on KBailey’s hopes for wellness (less to no depression).

            Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley February 14, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      I found the article last year when looking for links about the topic. I will have to write a more universal post about the different rites of spring and seasonal affective disorder and such. Sorry to hear you get depressed. More of a hypomanic, mixed symptom time for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA February 15, 2015 / 7:02 am

        I started thinking, which symptoms would I rather have? Hmmm, none of them. If I had to choose from the library of symptoms that have been visiting me, I guess I would choose a mild hypomania, the kind that gets me out of my recliner and instead of simply being more depressed about the chaos in my living quarters, actually gets me doing something about it. Only, now I have my pesky arthritic skeleton getting in the way of movement. Mixed symptoms are definitely the worst. Total disorientation…after my second hospitalization with that, I realized that nothing they did in the hospital was actually helpful….so now when it hits, I make sure I have plenty of hot tea available, and just go to bed with large amounts of benzos, for however long it takes to blow over, usually one to two weeks….I used to use antipsychotics, which were the most helpful of all, but then I developed extrapyramidal symptoms…..too complicated to explain here, I will have to write a post on that. Anyway, I can’t take my Seroquel anymore, which makes things much more complicated and unpleasant.

        Wishing us all a healthy and symptom-free Spring! –Laura

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley February 15, 2015 / 1:18 pm

          Terrible when must stop antipsychotics due to extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS).

          For my readers (not for you), I list them here:

          Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) are drug-induced movement disorders: dystonia (continuous spasms and muscle contractions), akathisia (motor restlessness), parkinsonism (characteristic symptoms such as rigidity, bradykinesia, and tremor), and tardive dyskinesia (irregular, jerky movements). (source: Wikipedia)

          Liked by 1 person

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s