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Adjusting to life after a hospitalization


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I took two weeks off between being discharged and going back to work recently. There's no way I could have gone back the day after. When I did go back to work it was still kind of stressful to see everyone so I just did what I could to take it easy and avoid people. 

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What I've found helpful in the past is to talk with the nurses and other staff that work at the hospital and ask them about strategies for easing back into life.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is really helpful as is setting small goals for yourself each day.  Pay close attention to your thoughts and reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.  For example, if you find yourself saying, "I can't do this", turn it around; "I can do this by taking one step, one minute at a time".  Give yourself compliments and celebrate small victories.

I agree with dazed and confused and jalu; it would be helpful if you could take a little more time off work after your discharge.  Can you talk with your doctor about getting a note of some kind that you can give to work?

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I can definitely agree with the others. The transition can be a bitch. My first time being hospitalized I was in for 15 days. I was feeling well, but once out the doors began to feel really overhelmed and unsafe. I had gone in for, among other things, paranoid delusions. I was back inside in 3 days. That time I was in 10 days, and then took a quiet two weeks at home to help ease the transition. Don't rush back to work,

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Last time I was IP (Oct 7,2013 - Oct 24,2013) I had a rough time readjusting. I went in in the middle of a mixed episode caused by meds and a very stressful job, and abusive relationship.

I had almost all of my meds changed, and left on all new meds. I couldn't go back to work. I felt fine in the hospital, I was ready to leave, but going back "home" to the abusive bf, well, it was a lot. I had been given day passes and 3-6 hour passes while IP, so I'd go to my parents, go to the barn, go out for supper, etc, while IP. 

I got adjusted a bit at home, but ended up in the ER in crisis a couple of times because everything was overwhelming, and I crashed. It took about 3 weeks to get my shit together and break up with the boyfriend and find somewhere else to live. I had the support of my parents and my current roommate, as well as a couple people I met while IP. They helped a lot. The first week was awful. 

Most of my IP stays, after leaving I've been fine. After ECT IP, I had a job within 3 weeks. But it can go either way.

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I've been hospitalized seven times, and I find that when you first get out of the hospital, it's a bit hard to adjust, but you get used to being back home over time. I suggest what others have suggested -- take more time off from work if possible. I know I tried to go back to school the day after I got out, and what happened wasn't pretty.

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It was hard for me to transition back home after being IP.  I didn't have that "safe" feeling and routine like I did in the hospital.  It was like going from a "cage" to an entire world of everything.  It was overwhelming.

Like was said in an above post, I took it one day at a time.  I scheduled an appt with pdoc for soon after the discharge so I would feel some sort of connection, kind of like weaning off the discharge into real life.

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I found it helpful to meet with a social worker at the hospital before leaving to set up a "discharge plan"- basically making sure I had pdoc, tdoc, group therapy scheduled for after my discharge.

Also I'm a big fan of to-do lists to structure my day. Since the hospital has more structure than normal life, I try to build some in when I get out.  Even when the to-do list has stuff like "get up, make a to-do list, watch tv" I get a sense of accomplishment from crossing things off. 

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I went back to work right after being hospitalized when I used to work. I did fine for a while but then ended up right back in a state hospital for a year. Well that was the end of my working days. I really loved that job too. 

Did you do any sort of coping skills brain storming while IP? That really helped me. I thought of a few things and wrote down a few things that others had thought of. I still have the list of things that I can do to add structure to my life by using coping skills when I'm having a rough time with symptoms. 

I keep the paper/list on my dresser.

I hope you have a smooth transition! And if you need a few days off from work after you are discharged, then take them IMO! You don't want to end up back IP because of a few extra needed days off. Take things slowly. 

 

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Hi photographygirl,

I've had two in-patitient stays of 3-weeks and 2-weeks respectively . I can tell you I felt ready to leave hospital on discharge, but that hospital seems to create a false sense of security, and there's a 'gap' between discharge-ready and ready-to-deal-with-the-big-world.

I found that coping skills and executive function were both impaired and both were necessary for my rather stressful life.

Time, however, is indeed a great healer. But I echo previous sentiment -- try and work up to going back to work and don't make discharge the deciding moment. And see if there's a way you can get some leeway from your employer to do this.

I have no idea where you live or your employment situation, but where I live (Ontario, Canada) it would be considered a violation of my Human Rights not to accommodate a reasonable back-to-work schedule. Maybe try and find out what your rights are?

Good luck.

-m

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