My life started to get chaotic, a first sign that something was not right. I was in my late twenties when I became ill, and this was my first of a total of three psychiatric hospital admissions. The first admission was hard, but necessary. 

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This is what Bipolar Psychologist writes in a new guest post. The psychologist writes here as anonymous. Hjelptilhjelp.no knows the writer's identity.

Here you read the whole post:

 

A very stressful month

June 2014 had been a very stressful month. There was a lot to do at work, my relationship with my boyfriend went bad, and I had three courses that involved travel business that month. In addition, there was so much going on in my spare time, and gradually I began to sleep less.

I pondered over the relationship I was in, which had not lasted more than 6 months, but which had nevertheless led to a cohabitation. He had moved to a new place for my sake, but had still not gotten a job, and he had not yet established any network or participated in activities where we lived.

I often came home with a guilty conscience because he had nothing to do and I was the only one he had. His family did not live nearby, nor did his former friends.

He became mute and quiet, and if I invited friends to visit, he did not make an effort to get to know them. Did he notice that I wanted to get out of the relationship? I think so, but when I think back on these weeks in June, the course of events is a little unclear to me.

My life started to get chaotic, a first sign that something was not right.

 

I became more messy than usual 

Usually I like to plan and follow these plans, but now I started messing around.

At work, suddenly two patients could show up at the same time, and the days went by. I locked my things in the car just before I was to fly on a course, so I only had my backpack with my mobile and bank card with me, but no clothes or toiletries.

When I arrived in the city, it turned out that I had booked airline tickets and hotels at the wrong time.

 

Poorer sleep

The sleep got worse and worse, but I did not notice it on my energy level.

Even though I was sometimes so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open, I could still go to training before most people had even gotten up. Colleagues at work said that I had become thinner, something I just laughed at. I generally laughed a lot. Joked, said my opinion.

Usually I am relatively quiet and modest, but now I was so engaged in everything that I could not hold back. At distribution meetings, I said yes to new patient cases without assessing whether I actually had the capacity to do so.

 

Everything felt important

Even though I was in a hurry, everything felt so important.

I could not say no to a case, the patients needed me. I felt special, as if I had a task that required me to give everything.

Life was tiring, but imbued with meaning. Everything I read and heard was important, as if I were uncovering the mystery of life layer by layer. I came close to a core of meaning that I did not have enough time to explore.

 

Did not let me stop

Looking back on this time now, it seems obvious that this could not go well in the long run. Something I partially realized then.

But I knew it was not long before the holidays, so I just had to stick with it. I had experienced stress before, and endured it. I was going to do that this time too.

So even though I was nearly empty - in a "power saving" mode - I did not take the time to recharge.

Others tried to stop me, but I did not listen, since I had never been good at following the advice of others. 

 

A thousand ideas in my head

My boyfriend went home to his family, and I was alone in the apartment. In two days I was to travel on the last course of that month, which was in England. It was a trauma conference that I had been looking forward to for a long time. I had previously sent a request to a person I had met via a trauma forum, to meet.

I was on fire, struggling to sleep. I tried, because I knew it was necessary for me to function at work the next day, but a thousand ideas chased through my head, all equally urgent.

My apartment had started to look cluttered, I had papers and things lying around, since I had had a number of hobby projects that I was working on.

 

A restless energy

Among other things, I was painting a dresser in a screaming blue color, and I was also going to decorate it with decorations. Everything from glue products, paints, glitter and paper flowers covered the floor surface, and I constantly came up with new things I could use these products for.

Thus, I got up, even though it was already around midnight and I worked more on my projects.

I do not know how many hours I spent like this, just the feeling of not being able to sleep as a restless energy rushed through my blood vessels.

 

Without filter

I tried mindfulness apps, focused on calm breathing and drank warm milk with honey, but nothing helped.

All sounds were amplified, and I could even hear the sound of my heartbeat. Everything disturbed me, both memories, thoughts and sensory experiences. It was as if my brain had no filter, everything went through and kept me activated.

Did I sleep at all that night? Probably two to three hours.

I have rarely had nights where I have not slept at all, and basically I have always been a person who goes to bed early and wakes up rested early in the morning. Now I had suddenly slept badly several nights in a row, and I knew this was not good.

The weekend had also been extraordinarily active for me.

 

Experienced that everything had a deeper meaning

I was at a nightclub where I talked to everyone I met. I, who almost never smoke, smoked cigarette after cigarette. I drank alcohol and energy drinks and ordered coffee, all to keep my energy levels up. I sang along to songs I could from before, and felt that life was magical. People I met, I met for a reason.

My head saw patterns everywhere, felt how events were intertwined, that some meetings were even predetermined.

As a professional, I know of research on confirmation bias, where you actively interpret information based on theories you already have. Among other things, this can mean that if someone calls as you just thought, it confirms that you have a sixth sense. On the other hand, every time you think of someone without the person calling, it is not stored in the memory.

Although I knew how potent our ability to deceive ourselves and see connections where they do not exist, this did not help now.

My head worked like a pressure cooker, and everything that happened to me mattered.

If I met someone who said something I had thought about a while ago, I had to think about it. Maybe I was on my way to a new and deeper insight?

 

Intensity and intimacy

I was further filled with love and had a strong need for physical contact. I hugged others, and flirted with both men and women. All the people I met were beautiful and glowing, just the way I felt.

How I was experienced from the outside, I do not know. In my head, most people liked me, and it would not occur to me that anyone thought I was too persistent or intense. On the contrary, a good male friend of mine had noticed that one of the things he liked about me was my intensity.

The party never ended, and I took people home with me to the nachspiel. Despite having a boyfriend, I had now taken home both men and women I did not know. Most went home after a while, but one man stayed overnight. I had previously spent the night with him, and even though I had not thought of it as more than a one-night-stand, I let him sleep in the same bed as me.

I do not think it was sex I wanted, but intimacy. I do not remember the day after, but I know that my sleep had probably been bad and that the day was probably long.

All the stress from the last few weeks had accumulated in my body, like small poison drops that in themselves could not hurt, but which together became toxic.

 

The day I was admitted

The day I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital was Tuesday, the same day I went to work after only 2-3 hours of sleep. I remember how tired I was, and how just driving to work required full concentration.

The music was at full strength in the car, all to keep me awake. I just had to get through this day, I thought.

There was no alternative, I had always been conscientious and would not let patients down. I had about three patients that day, but one patient that I had not registered in my appointment book appeared unexpectedly. I was really done, ready to go to bed. I lmost fell asleep in the middle of the session. I even interrupted the session by going to the bathroom only to be able to close my eyes for three seconds.

My judgment was also poorer.

 

I remember the day in small flashes

A patient who had been admitted previously thought he needed a new admission. Did he really do that, or did I transfer my inner pressure to the patient? At least I started a process to get the patient acutely admitted, in the middle of everything else that needed to be done. It was busy, and hectic.

I really do not remember more from the day at work, other than small glimpses.

I think a colleague came into my office and asked if it was going well and said he could drive me home. I did not understand the concern, and was annoyed. I did not need a babysitter, I could come home by myself.

 

Unbearable fatigue

The day finally came to an end, and I must have gone shopping before driving home. Probably energy drink, extra snus (i.e., a tobacco product), and fast calories. During this period, my consumption of nicotine, caffeine and carbohydrates had probably increased considerably.

When I drove home, I was so tired that it felt like I could crash at any time.

It was not a long drive, but when I finally arrived it was like a switch was turned on in my brain.

Instead of pressing the brake pedal to park, I pressed the throttle and drove straight into a vehicle in front of me. Not hard, but enough that I stumbled. I must have been confused at this point, but still my goal was just to get into the apartment so I could finally get some peace.

 

Sudden stop

I lived in an apartment complex, and stood outside the main entrance to my spot trying to find my key. Where was it? Eventually it appeared, but then I had to lift it and put it in the lock.

Suddenly the task became too big, too energy consuming, and I was just standing in front of the door.

I'm not sure if this actually happened, but I have a vague memory that I had to go to the bathroom so much that I peed on myself. Right in front of the front door.

Finally someone else came out, who must have seen that something was wrong. They asked me what had happened, and I said that I had driven in another car and that my head had been thrown back. The person helped me into his own apartment, where I finally got to sit down. She said that I might have had a concussion, and that it was important that I did not fall asleep. 

 

Impossible to think clearly

I think she called someone else who also came by, but at least I sat and talked. I talked, and talked. Got to know my neighbor for the first time. She brought me water, and asked if I needed to be taken to the emergency room. I said I did not know what to do; to think clearly was impossible at this time.

How long did I sit there? I do not know. At some point, we must have decided that it was best to drive me to the emergency room for safety. 

 

Admission - # 1 - psychiatric emergency room 

Everything that happened after this, however, is gone from me, except for a few glimpses.

Some asked an awful lot of questions, but I do not know who this person was. At one point I just wanted to leave the room where I was, maybe because I was scared or just tired of all the questions? Actually, I just wanted to get home and finish packing.

I was going on a course the next day, flying to England.

My behavior must still have been so striking that they recommended admission to a psychiatric emergency post. 

 

A role change

Suddenly I was in a place where I myself had worked, where there was a danger that patients who previously had me as a therapist would see me (as a patient). I had to talk to doctors who I knew from a colleague relationship.

The roles were changed, and I was not cooperative. I was just very tired and should not be there.

I had still come there voluntarily and thought I could spend the night there to rest.

 

Pain and restlessness

But first I had to talk to the doctor and go through some somatic examinations. I remember that I had to walk across the floor with my legs in a strange position, which hurt.

I generally complained of pain, because I had pain everywhere.

My body had no energy, but I was still restless.

I went to the small bathroom and showered while sitting on the floor. Someone I knew had recommended this if you were tired: Sit on the floor, so you use less energy. Eventually I got to bed and lay there.

 

Emotions rolled over

Now I had started to cry, because suddenly a lot of old memories came back to me. A friend who had died at an early age, a relationship that had ended.

Everything was played like a movie in my head, and the emotions that the memories forced on me were difficult to deal with. Besides, I was scared. Afraid of what would happen now. I was hospitalized.

Was I going to lose my job now? 

 

Between dream and reality

I remember it was getting dark outside, and I saw a small window over my bed. Suddenly I saw a creature resembling a gollum from the Lord of the Rings. Afterwards, I was not sure if I had really seen anything or not, a bit like I was somewhere between dream and reality.

I have never hallucinated before, but wondered what it would be like.

Hallucinations fascinated me. I had heard others describe things they had seen, and thought I would also like to see something that was not there. That was exciting, but at the same time as I was scared.

Suddenly it felt safe that I was in a room with staff right outside. Just in case there were creatures in the dark looking for me.

 

A night in my own home

I must have fallen asleep in the end, and slept restlessly for a few hours.

Suddenly it was morning and I was going to have another conversation with a doctor. The doctor recommended that I be transferred to another place where I could be hospitalized for a while, since I wanted to be discharged. I said yes, even though I was not sure if I wanted to.

I was offered admission to this place, but I had to get there myself. I was grateful to finally be released. I probably got a cab back to where I lived, and finally I was able to lock myself in my apartment.

I really only had one goal: I was going to sleep. Long. I had been given something to sleep on that I should take before I went to bed, which I also did. 

That night I slept ten hours.

 

Admission - # 2 - on my own to a new hospital

When I woke up, the taxi that was to take me to the place where I was to be dropped off had tried to call. I had missed the alarm clock, and I realized that if I was to get to the psychiatric hospital where I was to be admitted, I had to get there myself.

In the middle of the day, I figured out when the next bus was going, and I decided to travel. When I think back on it now, I wonder what would have happened if I just had not traveled. If I had avoided the stress of getting there, but just stayed home. Calmed down. Considered my options.

Would I still be forcibly admitted? Or had I even managed to recover with good sleep?

Such questions often have no benefit. I made a choice and I can not go back in time, but I wish I had chosen differently.

 

The last thing I needed now

I was still confused, disoriented and on the verge of psychosis, so a long bus ride was the last thing I needed.

I should have shielded myself from more impressions, but once again the sense of duty was the dominant one. I had agreed to something, and then I had to show up.

It is strange how the experience of time changes when you are tired. I have always enjoyed taking the bus, where I can let my mind fly, read or listen to music.

This bus ride was different. I was still restless, so it was difficult to sit still. I sat uncomfortably in the seat, writhing back and forth. I had not told anyone where I was going, my decision to get there on my own had happened quickly and I had no plan for what to do when I finally got to the psychiatric hospital.

I did not know where it was, and I had no one to meet me when I arrived. 

 

Lost my wallet. Then my luggage

After the bus had been running for a while, it had to take a short break before driving on. I immediately got off the bus to buy myself more snus and caffeine.

In addition, I started hiking. I walked around, sat down on a bench and started talking to someone else who was there. About everything and nothing.

I also think I took a smoke, something I had never done during the day before. But I needed refills. Of something. No matter what.

I got on the bus again, but discovered too late that I had left a wallet with cash in the waiting room. There was little I could do about it then and there, so I decided I would try to call them later.

Finally we arrived at our destination and I went to find a phone. I decided to call the parents of my ex-boyfriend, who I knew lived there. My suitcase was left in the bus, I had forgotten it in the stress of getting there as quickly as possible. 

They picked up the phone and I said I needed a ride to the hospital.

I think I explained it by going to a course.

When I got back to the bus, it was gone. It had driven on, with my luggage in it.

I was annoyed, but I thought I would fix it later.

 

An oasis in a desert where I had lost my way

I therefore went towards the place of my ex-boyfriends parents, who I had not seen in a long time.

I remember how emotional it was, something I clearly expressed. I continued to talk in the car towards the hospital, when she drove me up. Without filter.

I said how impressed I was with them and that I admired the unity of the family. That they had given their children a good and safe upbringing. Furthermore, I told about myself. It felt safe, even though deep down I knew it was wrong. I had no right to seek them out, out of the blue.

They were still kind to me, an oasis in a desert where I had gone completely lost in the last few days. 

 

Irritation

I had borrowed their phone to call the hospital so they knew I was coming.

It was strange to go in there and know that I was now a patient who was to receive help. I sat in a waiting room, explaining the situation with my luggage that was currently somewhere else, and that I was therefore in a hurry to get a start-up examination for the admission.

The doctor turned out to be someone I had worked with, and which did not get along very well with.

In addition, the doctor spent a long time before it was possible to have a conversation. I started to irritate myself endlessly since I was still in a mode where everything went too slowly. Things should have happened yesterday, and now I was just sitting in a room with nothing to do. 

 

Conversation sabotage

Eventually I was assigned a room and the doctor came in to have an income interview with me.

Since I was now annoyed, I decided to sabotage the conversation, much like a three-year-old who has not received his will. I refused to speak Norwegian, and wanted to answer in German since the doctor was German.

The answers I gave to the questions were characterized by the fact that I did not like the questions, and a feeling that I would never ask questions in such a way myself. I was still in a place where everything I did was right and good, while others did not know what they were doing.

In addition, I got the feeling that she wanted to put me in forcibly, since I talked about that I wanted to book a new plane ticket so that I could still participate in the course in England. I had no plans to take advantage of the offer they were talking about, and I suddenly just wanted to get out of there.

 

A bad choice

The fear of being forcibly admitted made me make another bad choice.

Instead of cooperating, I decided to leave. I knew the place I was at well, so I started walking towards the center. I was afraid that they would start looking for me, so I took roads that were difficult to reach by car, until I got to the city center.

Here, too, the memory becomes vague, right up until I walked into the same gas station where I locked myself in the toilet.

Probably they alerted the hospital, or some of the staff found me, but suddenly someone knocked on the door. I went out and was greeted by two employees who recommended me to join the car. I refused, but they kept talking to me, and I realized I had no choice, so in the end they persuaded me. 

 

Unbearable wait 

They said it would take time for a doctor to talk to me, and for someone who is hypomanic or manic, this is torture.

I sat in the car and felt trapped, but could not run away anymore. They told me that the first place they took me to (probably the emergency room), could not receive me anyway, so then we had to drive to the hospital where there was even more waiting.

I was tired and exhausted, and I needed to go to bed. I asked to call home, but they asked me to wait a little longer.

When I finally got to the doctor who was to assess me, I was not allowed to call my mother there either. This made me upset since I needed a safe voice, something normal in all the chaos.

It was finally decided that I had to be transferred again since I refused to be on the current hospital, and an ambulance was called to take me to another place for assessment.

 

Admission - # 3 - admitted under force

It was now late at night, and waiting for the ambulance cost me more energy than I had left. When the car finally arrived, I had to lie down, but I felt insecure. One ambulance driver was abrupt and impatient, making it even harder to calm down. After a while I came to a new place where I also knew some of the therapists, and I was allowed to be in a room there until the next day where I was to be reconsidered.

Did I sleep that night? I do not remember, but probably little, because when it was morning I was still tired, scared and restless. I was now tired of talking to new doctors, but this time I was finally heard.

It was decided that I should be transferred to another city where the chance of meeting patients and therapists I knew was less.

I arrived at what was to be my new home for over a month, late that day, and as I had feared from the start, I was forced into it.

This was my first encounter with my own illness and with the health service from the 'other side'. I know today that I needed help, but then and there everything felt wrong.

I was in my late twenties when I became ill, and this was my first of a total of three admissions. The first admission was tough, but necessary.

- From the blog Bipolar Psychologist

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