Lithium, Orange Badges, and Art Therapy

Diagnoses: Schizoaffective Bipolar Type (hasn’t changed)
Rx: Lithium, 300 mgs

I started my Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) today. It went really well! They signed me in, took my vitals, and I received a PHP badge so I could access the designated bungalow for outpatients. I’m there from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm for 5 days. I was assigned a psychiatrist, doctor, social worker, and psychologist. The days consist of 4 intense group therapy sessions led by the psychologist.

During the first session, she went around and checked everyone’s basic how-are-you-doings, medication issues/concerns, sobriety check-ins, etc. The second group session consisted of processing through areas each person needed to work on.

Side note, they had coffee throughout the day which was available during breaks. I was very happy about that. Third group session was an educational session. Today’s topic was mindfulness and breathing mechanisms. In guided meditation, the psychologist had us listen to the sounds around us, both inside the room and out. After about 5-10 minutes of this, we shared our experiences through the meditation. Then, we had lunch. Everyone was so welcoming to me! I shared some of my stories about the Church of Scientology. We talked about medication, our lives, what it’s like living with our disorders, and music.

Finally, art therapy came around, which is the last group session of the day. We journaled. The psychologist had us close our eyes, and she read 3 quotes about anger. “At the root of all anger is pain…Do not teach your children to not be angry; teach them instead how to be angry….” The last quote is escaping my mind at the moment. For 5 minutes, we were told to write. The only rule was to not stop writing for those 5 minutes. This was the poem I created during that time:

Dear mother, dear father
this anger, sick, sick, reverberates
it pushes and lulls within my marrow.
through blue heroin
you speak, you cry, you birth.
my dear parents, this anger rises
from the silver needles.
my small veins soak with it. and how angry you’ve felt…
4 years gone, dear father,
you vanish. trickling behind you were
photographs of my first birthday,
still wet with ink.
suicides- they don’t always die
yet the great, grave flesh burns and turns.
you have betrayed us.
dear mother, the absence of you has
embroidered itself within my heart,
stitching thoughts of
you were too worthless to be loved.
still, I loved you and had forgiven you.
this unrelenting fury an anguish lingers.
you had given this to me, this sick disease.

We all shared the pieces we wrote. I realized through processing how much anger I have been carrying towards my parents and myself. I didn’t really think about how angry I was for allowing myself to become my parents. I had taken on addiction, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. Now, I am on the road of forgiving myself and realizing that I really need help. It nearly brought me to tears.

It was so relieving to be able to speak freely, unafraid of judgement. It was also wonderful to be with people who understood. We were able to support each other through tears and laughter. I felt really safe and I wanted to share with the group instead of isolating myself.

Tonight I start 300 mgs of lithium. I’m a little anxious of side effects. Next week, I’ll start an antipsychotiic.

I’m also going to give sobriety the good ol’ college try. Irritability, here I come!

I feel better. I still feel wildly depressed and mind-fuckingly anxious, but knowing that I have a support system- my current and new- I think I’m going to make it out alright. PS- Here’s some related humor because without it, everything just sucks

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5 thoughts on “Lithium, Orange Badges, and Art Therapy

  1. blahpolar says:

    Lithium side effects were a breeze for me, and then horrendous after 1000mg. I really regret that total intolerance at 1250mg, because I believe that it’s the best possible treatment.

    Like

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