Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.
Coming home from Homewood. After being gone for 10 weeks. 10 weeks that went so fast. Where I worked only on myself. It’s so, well, strange. Being integrated back into my family. With my friends. Into the community. One small step at a time.
I’ve been home for almost four weeks now. Time has once again gone by so fast. As today (October 10th) is World Mental Health Day, I thought it was appropriate to give an update on transitioning home from Homewood .
You know what it’s like coming home? It’s like I had a broken leg that was healing over the summer. When I got home, the cast came off. If this happened, I wouldn’t be able to run a marathon yet. I would need to take small steps. One baby step at a time. Build up my strength again. Move slow, so I don’t have a set back.
It’s the same thing coming home from Homewood. I need to take it slow. Do small things. Build up my strength again. I get tired easily and can be irritable. So I rest. As long as I keep moving forward, one baby step at a time.
Homewood doesn’t “fix” you. Depression and mood disorders are a life long battle. Homewood gives you tools to help manage. Through medication, therapy and all the tools I learned, as well as keeping in contact with my Homewood co-patients, I hope to better manage my bipolar disease.
Thankfully, since I’ve been home, I’ve been able to get out into the community a bit again. And I’m humbled by the support and love I receive.
To understand depression, the World Health Organization created an incredible video called “I had a black dog called depression”. I encourage you to take the 4 mins to watch. During a graduation at Homewood (every week there was a grad for patients leaving the program), one graduate was speaking about his stay at Homewood and giving advise to the new patients that had just arrived. At the end of his speech, with his fist held high in the air, he yelled “Fuck the black dog!”. We all cheered!! We all want to fuck (aka control/manage) the black dog.
Another co-patient and I had a conversation once. This gentleman is incredibly intelligent and it was a fascinating conversation. He mentioned how he wants to change it from “mental illness” to “brain disease”. Think about it. As soon as I say brain disease, as opposed to mental illness, you look at it differently. Don’t you? Huh. Interesting, eh?
As for my transition home, I have good days, and not so good days. I am still taking it one step at a time. Slowly but surely I’ll be back “normal” again. (Whatever normal means!).
If you know anyone that suffers from the brain disease called depression/anxiety, love them. Be patient with them. Learn to understand them. That’s what World Mental Health Day is all about. That’s what every single day is about.