From one giant leap to baby steps
So, I was discharged from the Cassel Hospital specialist personality disorder service, after my nine months of treatment last Thursday. It was a very emotional ending, particularly in the fortnight before, as I became acutely aware of what the place has done for me and how closely I had come to work with staff and rely on other patients both socially and emotionally.
The therapeutic community setup of the treatment is unlike any hospital admission I have ever had and perhaps is why I seem to have made progress I have never seen before too. But it did lead me to make very deep connections with people, which is somewhat of a double edged sword now it’s become time to move on. I have learnt that I am able to make real connections with people, to weather the ups and downs of relationships and see that there is grey in the world - people are not all good or all bad no matter what my eupd ‘splitting’ brain tells me. I have also learnt to believe in myself in a way that I have never been able to before because the staff and my fellow patients, some of whom have become good friends, have had faith in me over the last nine months. However, making deep connections which are then severed abruptly is incredibly painful. I know I can keep in contact with the patient group now that I have left but even doing that is a massive step down from how things were - I lived with these people, did everything with them; therapy, cleaning, cooking, chatting, arguing, having fun! Now that I am home and back living independently, a text conversation or a phone call now and then seems like a bizarre form of rationing. Due to good old professional boundaries, contact with staff is curtailed from their end (although there is a chance to meet up at the summer bbq) so that really does feel as if it has gone from feast to famine and is probably what I have found the most painful to bear.
Pain aside, I am feeling hopeful though. Or at least the most hopeful I have been for a good while. I know it hurts leaving those people behind because I have benefitted from knowing them and made such powerful connections. That means I can make those connections again, in the real world, with people I won’t be forced to say goodbye to after a set amount of time. And I am back home in my own environment, with my lovely dog by my side. I don’t know how things are going to develop in the future, I guess no one does but I’m hoping that if I take one baby step at a time, things just might work out differently after this discharge than they have done in the past. And in that sense, the leaving of the therapeutic community might be the giant leap I needed.