I am a lot better than I was a month ago when I was admitted to the hospital. In fact, I have a hard time admitting- even to myself- how much better I am.
First- it is hard to admit that just taking a break from my life made me so much better. It is almost embarrassing. Second- it is hard to admit that the lithium is working- and I had previously said no to lithium (in fact fled my previous psychiatrist who recommended this). The last thing I wanted was to go on lithium again. But it is true- at low doses it is a much nicer drug. It is not like the last time I was on it.
But I suppose that things had to get so bad, get to a crisis, before I would consider either taking a leave of absence or taking lithium. I thought I could tough it out, as I usually do. I was wrong.
But hopefully this will not just be a break from work. I will go back stronger. In terms of meds, I will have the lithium on board. And I will have the DBT skills I am learning. And I will have some non-work activities in place. And I will have perspective, I hope. Nothing is worth getting myself worked up so much that I put myself back in the hospital. It's really not that fun a place! Pretty boring, really.
If I take time off from work in the future, I hope it is to do something more exciting that to attend a psychiatric day program. Like hike the Appalachian Trail, or volunteer in a medically underserved area, or backpack in Europe. But right now, this is what I need to do. And the program is better than any program I have attended in the past, it is actually useful- not just glorified babysitting. The programs I went to in the past were good for getting you out of bed, on a schedule, etc., but the therapy content was pretty limited- or at least I found it so. But this program is useful. Not always, not all of it- but enough of it.
I think I am becoming a DBT convert!