No one wants anyone to become institutionalised. However, the problem is that sometimes a lengthy hospital admission is necessary. The risk run with this is that you can inadvertently become instituionalised and when it comes to the time of coming home, it can be difficult to settle in again at home.
I had this with my last admission. I was in hospital for a month, and when I came home I’ll be frank, I struggled with suddenly having no immediate support. I struggled with having no immediate access to PRN medications when I needed them, and I struggled with settling into the real world where all environments aren’t controlled. It has been over two weeks since I come home, and still I am struggling to settle with the outside world. I become overwhelmed very easily with uncontrolled environments, and outside of my comfort zone. With time though, it is becoming easier and I am starting to settle into working on my recovery again but a few tactics and support networks were required in order for this to happen.
Firstly, I had to really really engage with the home treatment team. Normally I am reluctant to ask for help but in these circumstances I knew that if I didn’t ask for the help I needed it would be worse and I ran the risk of ending up back in hospital. So I phoned them regularly until I felt able to work on being at home on my own.
I saw the Dr, and was honest with them with how I am. She gave me home PRN to use which has helped immensely. I think being honest, which is difficult for me in regards to my health, was an important part of resettling home. I am often inclined to say I am fine when I’m not, but one thing I have learnt is that this tactic is useless and does not work n the long run.
I eased up on my timetable and am working slowly on attending all the activities that I have structured my time with in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed. For me, I have realised becoming overwhelmed is a trigger for me so it is important to be easy on myself. It is important to not expect miracles and too much from myself.
I have been open with my friends who are in the know about my difficulties so they are aware if I am struggling, or if perhaps my behaviour is a bit strange or uncomfortable. My friends know with is going one.
I have been writing more and gotten in tune with that part of myself. This for me is a coping mechanism, method of processing what is going on for me in addition to expressing myself. I have been writing a lot of spoken word poetry and practicing so I can perform which is a very good distraction in addition to giving me a focus that is healthy, safe and controlled in a confined space that is comfortable for me.
Overall, over two weeks later I am starting to settle back into being at home. I am starting to understand just exactly how much effort and awareness it takes to look after myself. I feel it is a slow process in getting back into your normal life and routine after an admission. It is important to bear this in mind rather than diving back into your usual busy lifestyle because although frustrating, it is better to take time in returning to a better level of functioning and to stay out of hospital than to jump in, dive in, overwhelm yourself and become unwell again.