Ten Year Anniversary of Hospitalization


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.

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.


  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.


  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.


      • 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.


  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.


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