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partners of those who suffer from a psychiatric disorder
Hi everybody. I hate to bring bad news, but i really wanted some… 
26th-Oct-2006 02:15 am
red X
Hi everybody. I hate to bring bad news, but i really wanted some feedback from some people who might know. My girlfriend, who I've referred to before by name, but who i'll just call V to keep with the trend here, has been feeling steadily worse over the last couple weeks, and everthing just kind of exploded last night. She was talking about going to the railroad tracks near my apartment, and I made the mistake of trying to restrain her from doing so, which only made things worse. She ended up storming out and coming back with her arm pretty well gashed up from broken glass.It essentially led to us calling her mom, and coming to the decision that she needed to be hosptalized and try to work on getting better in a professional environment. We went that night and they said they had no beds for her, but if we could keep her safe overnight and come back the next morning, she'd get in no problem. We went back the next day and it took a good 9 hours to finally find out whether she'd even be admitted (which we think they only did because they called her psychiatrist and he suggested it) and get her in a room. The problems with this are that without her, I'm miserable, and it's made even worse by the fact that I feel like it's all my fault. I made the call,and the suggestion, so even though we'd been discussing it, it all feels like it fell on my shoulders. I feel like I sent her away, had her locked up, and abandoned her. I know it's for her good, and she said as much, but still...I left her there. Alone. I can't call her or text her, and the fact that I dont drive and will be working makes it hard to get over for a visit. i dont even understand how this works. I dont know how long she'll be gone. I just want it to be a few days, but if her doctor says otherwise...I dont know what to do. i cant do anything. I cant do this. I hate being without her, i hate not being there to help her, I hate myself for what I've done. She's never had to be hospitalized before, although she's been much worse off than she is now. Can anyone offer some insight as to how long these things take, whether we took the right step etc? I just feel so horrible for leaving her there :(
26th-Oct-2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
I know what you're going through -- if you want, I'll friend you and point you to entries I made earlier this year, when I went through exactly the same thing. My husband od'd on pills, and once they got him detoxed, we jointly decided to do a psych admit for him. Scary, scary step. I know the guilt, fear, and big frustration of dealing with a hospital system that generally isn't good at keeping families & partners informed.

My partner spent a week in the hospital the first time (went in Thurs for the pills overdose, was medically treated over the weekend, and released to psych on Monday -- took most of the day to get him processed, so Tues was his first 'full' day in psych). They move sloooowly. Which is frustrating, when you're missing your partner and want them to get help and do not want them to spend extra time in the hospital basically just waiting in queues. But so it goes :/ That first hospital visit, they started D on antidepressants (the first time he'd been formally diagnosed with depression, and the first time he'd had meds for it.) By Wed., when D had been in the hospital for almost a week (including the days spent in the medical part), we were both chomping at the bit for him to come home -- he still needed help, but at that point, it seemed outpatient would be the best way. But once someone is in the system, it moves at their pace, not yours. (This admission was voluntary -- but once you're in, it takes a few days to cut yourself loose, even on a voluntary admit.) D came home on Thurs, which I suspect was the absolute fastest we could have gotten the system to move.

He went back to the hospital again in April -- and then, it was even more like your situation, with a borderline call I had to make. (With the OD, it was pretty obvious I did the right thing calling an ambulance. This time, he got really upset and stormed out of the house -- then text'd me an hour later with the message "Goodbye." He then wouldn't return calls or anything. I freaked. When I eventually worked out where he was, and couldn't persuade him to come home or tell me if he was planning to hurt himself, I called 911 and sent the cops after him. That landed him in the hospital again, a different one this time. We're in NYC, as a reference point.) That time, he was admitted Sunday night. Took till Monday to get him a bed in psych (I think that time the admit was technically involuntary), and although I started pushing around Wednesday for him to come home, he wasn;t released till Friday.

In NYC, I'd say a 3-5 days is the absolute minimum. I imagine that varies a lot by place, busyness, etc. Also, of course, by the case. the thing with my partner is that when he loses it, his reactions are way extreme. When he calms down, he is model psych patient -- articulate, helpful, honest, has a steady job he does well at, etc. So that makes things go faster in the hospital, I suspect. He passes the hurdles for release fast.

Please *don't* blame yourself for doing this. It's really hard to know what the right call to make is, especially when you visit the hospital and see the stark environment and you miss your partner and you end up feeling wretched and like this was all a bad overkill mistake (er, ok, that's how *I* felt) ... but if your partner is seriously making suicide threats, acting suicidal, or causing themselves physical harm, it's better to err on the side of safety. Even if the consequences with the hospital are then daunting. For two big reasons. 1) Guessing the wrong way is catastrophically worse. With the April hospitalization, it eventually turned out that D. was not actively suicidal -- he says he wouldnt have hurt himself that night. But y'know what? *I couldn't tell.* And in the end, if I'd ended up with a dead partner, I would have felt a million times worse. 2) Being in the hospital is generally sucky. I feel bad when my parner has to deal with something sucky. But it is sufficently sucky that he's keen not to go back -- which has helped in curbing the suicide threats that used to fly around whenever he got really agitated.
26th-Oct-2006 12:29 pm (UTC)
huh, lj has a comment maximum? anyway, here's the rest of what I intended to post:

It drives home the 'actions have consquences' and 'this is a really serious illness, you need to acknowledge that and deal with its symptoms' aspects.

Good luck. I hope this ends up being helpful, even though I know it makes for a miserable few days.
26th-Oct-2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much. I'd appreciate the friending if you want to, and i'm extremely thankful to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. She actually just called which helped cause I got to hear from her, but now I'm all upset thinking about it. double edged sword, that. Anyway, thanks you very much again, like she just told me, we're both strong, and can get through this, even though we may not want to.
26th-Oct-2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you got to talk. If you flip back in my journal to the entries in early Jan 2006, that's where I talk about all the logistics of D being in the hospital
27th-Oct-2006 07:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, i can totally feel the frustration in those entries :(. There is some good news now though. I got to talk to her again while i was at work and aside from being homesick she seemes to be taking to it rather well. She made a statement about wanting to try to find some self worth, which i told her she deserved because she's amazing. She also mentioned that it's her mission to share something in group tomorrow, which made me happy because she is actively trying at this. Anyway, I again really appreciate your comments, and i'm sure she would too. You helped me out alot. :)
30th-Oct-2006 03:53 am (UTC)
I've had to do this twice in the last year...

Rest assured that you did the right thing for her.

You love her.

You want her to be safe.

And now she is.

She was desperately ill. You took her to hospital. They will help her get better. She will be released.

Would you feel so guilty if you had had to take her to hospital after she had been hit by a car while walking down the street? No. And this is no different.
30th-Oct-2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it :)

We're both feeling much better about the situation. There's a good chance she might be coming home today actually, but she mentioned kind of feeling like she wasn't sure if she should yet, so it's kind of all up in the air.

Either way though, she's feeling better, and I've sorted my thoughts enough to just being content that she's safe and loves me wherever she is :)

Again, thanks for the comment ^_^
30th-Oct-2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
No probs; anytime.

As a footnote, I realise you are in the US, but would still like to say that if you/she can afford it/has the insurance, that she should consider staying until she is positive she wants to leave. (Big difference between wanting to come home and wanting to leave - not mutually exclusive in this case)
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