“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown
So here I am, almost at the end of my 8 week Homewood Health Centre – Integrated Mood and Anxiety Program. Let’s just say, it has been A LOT of work. Definitely not “summer camp”. (Since my kids go to summer camp, we joked that I’d be going to “summer camp” for the summer, too) To try to explain how the program works, courses I took, the team working with me and living in community with co patients, would never do it justice. Words cannot describe the last 56 days. I’ve cried (a lot), I’ve laughed, I’ve experienced every emotion possible. Only those of us on IMAP (Integrated Mood and Anxiety Program) can truly understand the depths of emotions, pain, inspiration and encouragement that this program brings.
So, I will do my best to give you a very brief description of my stay, so far.
There is a team of professionals that work with each patient. That team includes psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists and social workers, as well as recreational therapists, horticulture therapists, art therapists and music therapists. Some of the classes I took are: communications, boundaries, re-scripting your life, relationships, managing your emotions and behaviour, behaviour activation and exposure therapy, mindfulness, leisure and self care, horticulture, arts, preparing for discharge, and more.
As incredible as the professional team is, part of what makes Homewood work is community. Living with 42 co-patients; sharing our stories, meals, and time together is phenomenal. We all have our own individual diagnoses, and yet we understand each other on a level that others who do not have a mood disorder can’t.
One of my main questions I get is:
“How are you?”
It’s such a simple question, and yet there is no simple answer. Depending on the day, sometimes the moment. I could be good, or I could be not so good. However, I am way better than I was. I am getting stronger every day. I read a book for the first time in months (this may not seem like much, but when you loose the ability to concentrate and you’re an avid reader, it’s horrible. I was thrilled to finish my first book in months!), my decision making ability is starting to return, my smile is slowly returning. But all of this takes time. Overall, I am doing well and improving. That’s the main thing.
My original discharge date was August 30th. However, with medication changes and ensuring my mood is stabilized, the team has recommended to extend my stay for 2-4 weeks to be sure that I won’t relapse, . As my wise mum said, if I was in the hospital for something physical, and the doctors said I needed to stay, I would simply trust their decisions. And I fully trust my team here at Homewood. As I write this, I don’t have a set discharge date.
Know that I truly, truly appreciate all the cards, prayers, letters, texts, messages,, etc. that I have received over the last few months. As well as all the help and love you’ve provided my family. I’m overwhelmed, humbled and honoured to be in so many peoples thoughts. Thank you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your path straight