Pop quiz: If I told you that at the end of March, I was hospitalized in the behavioral health unit for three weeks what would your reaction be?
When I received my diagnosis in June 2004, I wasn’t surprised. For years, I struggled with deep depression and anxiety without treatment. Once diagnosed, I committed to taking my medications, participating in therapy, and managing my condition with yoga and other Eastern medicine techniques as well as mindfulness. A recent turn of events was an unpleasant reminder that while I can do everything right, this unwelcome disease still comes with unexpected twists. At the end of March, I was hospitalized when hyper mania shot into full blown psychosis. My hospital stay was three weeks. Thankfully, I am on a new mood stabilizer and a higher dosage of another med that manages the highs. Now that I have been on these dosages for several weeks, I feel much better.
Over the last several weeks, there have been moments when I was tempted to wallow in shame over my recent hospitalization. However, when I shared this with my provider, she gently reminded me, “You couldn’t have prevented this mania any more than you could prevent an appendix from bursting. This was just like any other normal hospitalization.” I was grateful for the affirmation. It reminded me that my condition is medical – a brain disorder first and foremost.
For nearly fifteen years now, I have worked to be an advocate for all things mental health. I devote posts on this site to educate others who have a diagnosis, as well as to convince others that breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is imperative. Here are just a few reasons why you should care about the state of mental health in 2023.