Mental Illness and Hospitalisation
So the dreaded ‘H’ word has just been lobbed at you like a live hand grenade and has you ducking for cover while you work out what happens next.
Hospitalisation generally happens when one of two things occur:
- You said the magic words to your GP / Psychologist / Psychiatrist. These magic words, however, are something entirely different. If you have suicidal ideations and have something that resembles a plan, and you can’t guarantee your safety, then you most likely need to be hospitalised.
- The Doctor treating you feels it necessary that you are admitted into a facility so that they can get you sorted out from a medication and therapy point of view.
Different thoughts, feelings and emotions may be going on for you right now. Let’s talk about what are some of the common fears, thoughts and feelings of being hospitalised with a mental illness are. You will notice I say we, instead of you. That is because these are also my fears, or have been at times in the past.
- First and foremost, let’s address the stigma associated with being hospitalised. It happens to a lot of people, but not many will willingly acknowledge or open up about their hospitalisation out of fear of being judged. Most people would be worried about what family or friends are going to think about us.
- We worry about the impact on others that our hospitalisation will cause. It might be the worry about the added stress to our loved ones like our partner or spouse and children. Will this be the straw that broke the camels back? It might be because of our work, and we worry what will we say if they ask what’s going on.
- We might worry about the undue financial strain that it will cause on both us and our families/partners. Annual Leave and Sick Leave only last so long before they run out.
- We might be worried about being placed on an involuntary hold order, known as ‘sectioned’ in Australia and medical procedures being carried out without your say so or agreement.
Stigma Associated With Hospitalisation
Lots of work has been done on reducing the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. While there is plenty more work to be done, it’s a good start. One thing I’ve learned throughout this life is that you can’t control what other people will think about you, and while it’s easier said than done you need to focus on you and your recovery. People will believe what they believe, regardless of what you feel – so why give yourself an ulcer about it?
Impact on Others being Hospitalised
It’s only natural to worry about the burden you are going to be placing on your partner’s shoulders while you are out of commission. I often fear that it will be the straw that breaks the camels back, and my wife will want out of this madness. Of course, she never has said anything like that to me and has never indicated it’s an issue – but you still worry none the less.
It comes down to you, leaning in and trusting your partner/spouse has your back and wants you to get well again.
Financial Strain from being Hospitalised
Many households today have both partners/parents working, so the loss of one income can have a significant impact on the budget. It’s even worse when you are the sole income earner in the household. You might have some annual leave stored up and have access to sick leave for a while, but eventually, it dries up.
The thing to remember with being hospitalised is that it won’t be forever, maybe you will only have a short stint. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and if you need a hospital, well you need it. Imagine just how much more devastating it would be if something happened to you for your partner/children.
Sectioning / Sectioned
While it sounds super scary, in a lot of instances >75% you can avoid being sectioned by agreeing to go to the hospital voluntarily. If you have the choice, and your Doctor is not taking no for an answer, then your most prudent course is to go willingly. Never be sectioned if you can avoid it, as mentioned some of your choices are then removed. Of course, there are checks and systems in place so that this power is not abused.
So while hospital sounds scary, sometimes it is for the best and needed to help get you into the right place to live the best life you can.