I have been blessed with two great experiences in mental health care. Both of these experiences were in hospital care under the supervision of quality mental health professionals. My mental health today is far better than it’s ever been because of these lessons. Mental health is equally as important as physical health. I have been told the two are interconnected in many ways.
My first mental health hospitalization was in Fremont, Ohio. I was suicidal. Upon admission they took my pocket knife, my belt, shoe laces, etc. Amazing enough they allowed me to keep my razor. (I think that was an oversight.) I recognize today the cause of this deep depression and negative mental health was chemical abuse. After several years of treatment for depression the psychiatrist sent me to Alcoholics Anonymous and I began to recover.
The important thing I carried away from the mental health hospital stay and the follow up treatment was I was a sick person not a bad person. The chemicals had allowed me to make negative judgment choices and decisions. This changed almost immediately when I quit using alcohol and other chemicals. The cause of my chemical abuse will take years for me to eliminate from my mind, one day at a time.
During my first stay in the mental health hospital I also learned a couple of tricks to a better mental health. First and foremost was it is OK to talk to yourself. It is OK to answer your own questions. If you start replying DUH! Perhaps you should revisit the mental health hospital. I went back once just for show and tell, I wanted them to see a real nut job upfront and personal. Hahaha The second was something that has been echoed in Alcoholics Anonymous many times. AA calls it HALT. Basically the letters remind us to not get too hungry, too angry, too lonely, or too tired. Any of these situations lowers our ability to make good decisions.
My second stay in a mental health hospital was in Toledo, Ohio. The cause was basically from a mistake in my medication. I was taking my cardiac medication when I should have taken my diabetic medication and vice versa. This caused me to have visions of my dead father and talking to him as he was alive. I got very angry when he wouldn’t answer me, all he would do is pet this big Newfoundland puppy.
When they corrected my medication I returned to normal with one exception. I have the imaginary dog. Just like Jimmy Stewart had his rabbit Harvey. My dog is an extremely large black Newfoundland. He is gentle and makes an appearance anytime I am under extreme stress. My psychiatrist has determined if he isn’t a mean dog don’t worry about him just enjoy the moment. I’ve named him Fred. The Queen Goddess chuckles when I tell her Fred has returned. I did ask the mental health doctor if this was like a child’s imaginary friend. His reply was typical “Do you want it to be.”
I feel my mental health has improved because I took the suggestions given to me and began to walk the walk. I live one day at a time but I do make plans for the future. I just don’t plan the outcome. Occasionally I still stumble and I know where to find the answers.