It was also during this episode that I voluntarily signed myself into a local behavioral health facility. Initially, I thought it would be best and I was willing to follow through with inpatient treatment. However, as soon as I was admitted, I became incredibly anxiety-ridden. I recall it being nighttime and I didn’t want to go to my room to sleep. I ended up pacing the floor until the following morning. It was at this time that I signed myself out AMA (Against Medical Advice). I can still remember the attending psychiatrist and his angered reaction to my decision.
But I just couldn’t stay there. All I wanted to do was to go home. Mind you, I was married, however I wanted to go to my childhood home (which happens to be in the same town—and where I live now; but I’ll get to that later).
So, my wife (who was amazing considering we’d only been married only about eight months) and I moved temporarily in with my parents. It was a strange time. I was very fortunate to be given a three-month family medical leave from work so I could recuperate. It was during this time that I slowly went from my manic state into the inevitable depressive period that follows.
In the end, it was the idea of being in a “safe space” that provided me with the comfort I needed at that time to be able to recover from this episode. Fortunately, my parents were supportive, as were my in-laws. I cannot express enough how important it is to have the support of family. I know this doesn’t always happen, but research shows that this kind of assistance can make a huge difference in a person’s recovery.
Eventually my wife and I moved back to our own place and I returned to work. The following year my mother passed away. This was an extraordinarily hard experience to go through. This did, however, allow the our young family the opportunity to move back into my childhood home with my dad. This was in 1996.
It’s amazing to think that I’ve spent 39 years of my life in this house, and still live here now. This was where I endured years of pain and struggle with my bipolar condition. On the other hand, this is the same place where many great things have happened. I’ve seen my two daughters grow up in the same home I did. I also had the good fortune of my father’s presences for nearly 20 years as a father, grandfather and friend.
Over the years my wife and I have given the home a whole makeover with a variety of home improvements and furnishings, although there is still a vibe about the house that will never escape me. So many memories. Not many people, especially nowadays, can say that they live in the home they grew up in.
For those of us living with bipolar disorder, a safe space is so valuable. It’s like having a sanctuary where we can (hopefully) get away from the world, albeit temporarily, and unwind from many of life’s daily stressors.
There are many things you can do to make your home a safe space: allow time to engage in an activity you enjoy, take time to sit in meditation, take a bath, cook a favorite meal, or spend time with a family member, close friend or even your pet.
One consideration to keep in mind is that if you live alone, you may want to consider balancing your time at home with outside activities. While it’s healthy to have alone time, it’s important not to isolate. In the end, it’s all about balance and interacting with others is a very healthy thing to do.
Your home can truly be your castle. It’s all about establishing habits and routines that foster healthy living and a better quality of life.
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