I made myself go be sociable last night. I went out to supper with my friends Rip and Jen, and then we went to Fuel (coffeehouse/bar) to hang out and drink cider. Jen rode in my car on the way to Fuel from the restaurant, and I told her about the whole hospitalization thing; she took Rip aside when we got to Fuel, and I think she told him then. I told her she was free to tell him, and to mention that the only reason I wasn't telling him myself is that I don't get to talk to him in private very often, and I didn't particularly want all this information broadcast to all of Western civilization. So Cliff knows, Tyler knows (just because he was around, not because I particularly wanted him to know, Tiff and Beau know, and Rip and Jen know. Hopefully that's it.
I still feel like I'm wearing a mask, making it seem like I'm okay when I'm really not. Jen said she had known I was depressed, but hadn't had a clue that it was as bad as it is; I told her that I've had quite a lot of practice in seeming okay when I'm really very far from it.
On Monday, I need to call around to the sliding scale clinics from the brochure that MHCJ gave me when they discharged me to see if I can find a place to get follow up care, because otherwise, the hospitalization was an exercise in futility, serving only to make me even more anxious and alienated. I meant to call around on Friday, but I didn't think about it until about 5pm, at which point I was pretty sure no one would be in the offices.
I still rather doubt that I'm going to get any decent help; I was pretty sure that MHCJ would do exactly as they did, keep me for a couple of days and spring me, still in crisis and with some tiny amount of meds, when I probably should be on antidepressants for the rest of my life.
There was a woman in the hospital who scared me; I saw her as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come for me. She was in her 50s and had been in and out of hospitals all her life. She'd get into crisis, end up hospitalized, get her meds for a while, become unable to get her meds, go into a crisis state again, and end up in the hospital again. Over and over and over. That is not the life I want, but it's all I can see for myself, an unending cycle of being semi-okay, and then falling into this place again. Over and over and over.
I also hate the thought that I have to take pills to "be normal". A number of the websites I've looked at, about mental illness and the drugs to treat it, say that you ought to think of it like diabetes or hypertension. People who take metformin/glucophage (like my stepdad, for one) or insulin or the various antihypertensives have to take their meds to be medically okay. It's just different, though, with mental illness. I don't know why. If I were diabetic, I'd take my metformin or glucophage and do my glucose testing and watch my diet and so forth and not really fuss about it much (beyond maybe bitching about the inconvenience of it all, but diabetes can be WAY worse than inconvenient if you don't manage it well). But because this is mental and not physical, it feels like weakness to "need" medication. It feels like unworthiness, or uselessness.
Dr. Soto (the psychiatrist at MHCJ) said he suspected I might be bipolar, because of how quickly the mask can fall away, how quickly I can go from seeming okay to REALLY upset. Of course, they caught me at the worst time, too, right before my period, when wacky premenstrual hormones are thrown in on top of everything else. And of course, if they hadn't locked my clothing and personal care items away from me, I might not have gotten upset at them over their refusal to give me my clothes.
I've heard the bipolar diagnosis before. When I was hospitalized at age 12, I was diagnosed as bipolar type II, i.e. I don't have true manic episodes but I have hypomanic episodes, manic-lite, I guess. Later psychiatrists said that they didn't think that was correct, that I am just subject to recurrent depressive episodes. I don't know. I don't really want to go back on lithium (which I took in my adolescent years) because of all the blood test shit. (Lithium can screw up either liver or thyroid function, so it's usually recommended that you have bloodwork done every three months or so to check your biochemistry. Between that, and the allergy shots I used to take in childhood, I lost my fear of needles a LONG time ago. I don't do IV drugs though; I still don't LIKE needles, but I don't really care very much if I have to have bloodwork or shots.) I've also been diagnosed with PTSD, which does not particularly surprise me. (The trauma in question being the molestation/rape by my father, and to a lesser extent the rape by my husband.)
Oh, and I heard from Dr. Holmes (my gynecologist that my parents have mostly been paying for) yesterday; my Pap smear came back mildly abnormal, but she doesn't want to worry yet. She wants to see me again in September (when I'm due for my annual exam anyway) and we'll see what happens then. I'm sort of steeling myself for the possibility of a cervical cancer diagnosis at some point in the future. Joy.