Because if you’re not in hospital, you must be better.

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.


15 thoughts on “Because if you’re not in hospital, you must be better.

  1. I know how you feel! (As much as any of us can know how another person feels.) I’m still quite depressed after 3 hospitalizations last year. I know this, because although it’s only Wednesday, I’ve done three awesome things already this week – but still I feel numb; I just can’t turn the emotion up at all. Even one of my doctors (the infamous medications bloke) speaks as though I should somehow be in a better frame of mind right now. But I’m not. I’m doing all the right things (well, most of the right things, most of the time!) but it’s just taking time to get better.
    People have no idea, do they? Even my medications bloke, who writes the word “chronic” on pieces of paper 🙂
    When I’m feeling good, I tell myself: “Ah, they don’t know any better, just let them go on being ignorant.” When I’m feeling bad, I buy into their bullshit and wonder what in particular is wrong with me, that I’m not yet magically cured. When I’m just numb, like now, I just feel mildly pissed off with them … and mildly indignant that my life sucks so much.
    This has to pass, one day.

    • Exactly. It feels like yet another flaw that I’m not doing as well as expected, which feeds the depression. All of this pressure to get better seems to have the opposite effect. Maybe people should expect us to get worse and our indignant sides can be like, bugger that, I’ll show them!

  2. I think you should tell people around you that you appreciate their concern, but ypu need to have some space!
    Don’t play a role. You are worth so much more and playing roles takes too much energy. Make a plan. For anything….a trip , to buy a pony or learn to play an instrument and go out and research what You like.

  3. I completely get this. I feel like I have to be better now I’m in the real world. Truth is, I’ve been doing worse than I was when in hospital.
    I’m sorry you feel like life sucks. I feel that too. Here’s hoping it sucks less for you bit by bit. ❤

    • Thank you. I hope your life get better too. I am sorry to hear you’re worse than when you were in hospital. I think there is such a huge expectation that hospital will fix everything. One trip, one breakdown and everything will be fine again. If only…

  4. Pingback: Cutely Vicious | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  5. one day one moment at a time Double S. With the hope that the next moment will be a better one. Oh great, kitty is going to love going for pony rides, and then those swooping birds won’t catch you.

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