Day 1

Well Belmont Hospital certainly is different since my last admission many years ago. I am sitting in their cafe. I’m drinking my favourite iced long black or long iced black because I always say it wrong. I have a raspberry cream cookie to enjoy and I am sitting in air conditioned comfort.

Last night I asked if I could have a tray brought to my room for dinner but alas it was too late to organise. I didn’t feel up to mixing but forced myself to venture out for what turned out to be a yummy nachos meal.

I’m sharing a room, which I really don’t mind at all. I have left it to my room buddy to decide on what kind of social norms she’d prefer. She’s quiet and we have not yet introduced ourselves. I don’t mind. She may well be thinking I will leave it to my room buddy to set the scene also.

You would think after the many many admissions I would be comfortable navigating this arena. I’m not! Firstly, that last time I checked out I swore that was it. I was done and would never return. I don’t feel like a failure but I am annoyed at myself for not taking earlier proactive steps to avoid an admission. I do monitor my mental health very closely. I am quick to make an appointment with my psychiatrist at the earliest wobbly signs.

Last year I nearly organised a planned admission but delayed because I was worried it would prevent me from holidaying in Hawaii with my family. I didn’t know if it would jeapardise my travel insurance or if my psychiatrist would flat out refuse to allow me to go. So it was a head in sand approach instead.

A year ago I was on a great journey. I made time in my day for exercise and also invested a lot of time into eating properly and learning about nutrition and what a balanced diet was for me. Over the course of about eight months I lost 36kg. I felt great. I loved the way I looked and that also gave me a newfound confidence I hadn’t experienced for many years. I think that confidence helped me have such a stellar year.

Along the course of this past year as I became busier, I forgot to prioritise time for my exercise and ate quick, easy and highly processed meals too. I was losing that balance but it was hard to recognise, because I also felt fulfilled. Running Clay’s business and advocating was my passion and I threw myself in the deep end without learning to swim.

During this time I put back on 15kg of the weight I lost. I found this out last night when the nurse asked if he could weigh me. Purely my choice too which was great. Also during this time my back packed it in. I have since found out I have two types of arthritis and have been floundering with how to deal with this. My GP is not currently working and the GP I have been seeing is really unhelpful and simply wouldn’t listen to me when I said there are days when I can’t function. There are days when I have to pick what I can do because I can no longer do it all. That I am in constant pain and nothing helps. I am by nature someone who doesn’t complain. My husband would agree to this. In fact he would not even understand the depth of my pain because I just don’t talk about it.

I did find a very effective immediate pain relief measure. One that just was unsustainable. One that is readily available and is easy to use for social reasons. So my alcohol intake began to increase. I told my GP. I told him I was drinking more than I was happy about but it helped with the pain. I still put boundaries on this though. I would not allow myself to drink every night but I was drinking more than what is considered good for myself. At least three nights a week alcohol gave me relief and helped me get to sleep. But I knew this was not a great option. I knew if I kept going I would continue to increase my alcohol intake and my family life would not be happy.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who understands the mental illness journey all too well. I rang her because I thought she could come with me to the GP and be a support person as she lives with a chronic back condition. I thought she could help communicate how little quality of life I was experiencing. Anyway our conversation took a great turn when the subject of coming into hospital came up. I truly don’t know who raised it but we talked about it. I said to my friend I think I need to do this. I think if I come into hospital so I can sort out my sleep deprivation, so I can have more access with my psychiatrist to work on good life balance, so hopefully he could take a role in referring me to a suitable specialist and so I can reclaim my life and lose that fucking 15kg.

I may have to cut something from my life. I am prepared to do that. In my mind I think I know what that will be. It doesn’t mean I am quitting though. I am resting, recouping and regathering. Am I disappointed I am back in hospital? Yes I am! But, I know that this is the best place to be. I am not ashamed. I am very proud. I have been in the ring many times and come out on top. This is another round that I know I can win. So it’s gloves on and time to work hard.

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