Sometimes it’s hard to tell a hospital from a jail

Caleb just spent a couple weeks in a county psych unit.  He had been getting more and more ill, out of balance, then manic, not sleeping…and finally suicidal.  We both lost sight of when the mania ended and he disappeared behind a wall of rage that wasn’t him at all.  We just knew he had to be in a safe place to protect him from harm.

During the first ten days of that hospitalization, every single thing that happened infuriated him. He felt nothing but contempt for the psych techs, the RN’s, the social workers and the doctors. And he said over and over, that this was a total waste of his time, and that jail was better. That at least in jail the people were sane.

But after several days, they found a medication that would help him sleep.  After a good night’s sleep, he was much more upbeat the next morning.  A couple days later he got another good night. Then another.  As one solid eight hour sleep stacked up on another, Caleb began to return to himself.  He felt more cooperative in group sessions, less persecuted by the staff, more compassionate about the ill people around him there, and his appetite returned.

Once again, a dramatic example of the importance of regular sleep for someone with bipolar disorder.  Sometimes, your brain just swings out of control and seems almost impervious to the sleep medications that have worked before.  Sometimes the symptoms of this illness get so out of proportion, that we have to just stop and let someone help.  Sometimes we just can’t do it all by ourselves.

This has turned out to be helpful.  Caleb is feeling better, looking forward to coming home and eager to keep his exercise, diet and rest schedule in place.  I’m glad we had somewhere to turn to help him get all that working again.


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