I’ve left hospital for many reasons, none of which were about feeling boom, wow, so much better now. In some cases I’ve been so traumatised by being in hospital that I played the game to get out of there. I knew what to say and how to act and I got released. Other times it’s been a case of the hospital wanting to clear patients out because they get less money from health insurers after a certain amount of time. In these instances it’s more like, well, you’re not better but you’re not any worse so back into society you go.
The people who check up on me- family, friends and family friends- don’t seem to understand that being back in the world doesn’t mean I am any better than when I was in hospital. “How are you doing NOW?” “How are things NOW?” There really isn’t that much separation between hospital me and out of hospital me. The only difference is that NOW I have to cope with things on my own and NOW I can do whatever I want.
I have more freedom now but I felt more free when I was locked away because no one really expected anything of me. I don’t mean the hospital. They expected me to go to groups and to eat but even that wasn’t highly enforced. If I felt like lying in bed in the middle of the day, no one stopped me. I was free because those who really care about me couldn’t expect anything of me. I couldn’t go anywhere. I didn’t have to answer phone calls. I didn’t even have to have visitors if I didn’t want them and it was safe for me to be left alone because I was in a safe place.
NOW it’s like I have to give updates on how I am going, as though day by day I am getting better and one day all of this will be a distant memory. It’s like those who really care need me to be improving constantly. There is a lot of pressure in how much they care so just like in hospital, I have to play the game. I have to pretend to be okay because that’s what they want to hear. That’s what they want to see so they can go on being okay too.