Harlon Davey, the guy who writes this blog,
was hospitalized from February 4 to February 28, 2020.
Harlon was ultimately admitted to the Adult Mental Health Services ward of Trillium Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
He got himself to emergency on the 7th., and presented himself with a history of depression, anxiety and moderate alcohol abuse and thoughts of self-harm. After an assessment from the Emergency Doctor and a Psychiatrist, he was admitted to the hospital on a Form 1 which meant he was being held at hospital involuntarily for fear that he may harm himself. After his stay in the hospital, he began participating in an Intensive Outpatient Program that focused on Cognitive Behavioural and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, teaching such skills as mindfulness to help improve the moment and reduce anxiety.
A combination of factors contributed to Harlon’s spiral. He was suffering from serious Seasonal Affective Disorder (which seems to be getting worse every year). He went on a new anti-depressant, Effexor, and was having an adverse response which including increased levels of depression and thoughts of suicide, along with hallucinations and hearing noises. Harlon understood that with this class of drugs, that sometimes things get worse before they get better so he pushed ahead to weather the storm and wait for the clinical benefits to kick in. As things got worse, Harlon resumed drinking alcohol. The combination of alcohol and anti-depressants resulted in a complete downwards spiral. These factors, including the fact that he was isolating himself because of social anxiety. The ingredients were there for a perfect storm.
Harlon received excellent care in the hospital. His mental and physical care were treated with compassion and excellence. His medication was reviewed and altered and an assessment of his physical and mental health was achieved. Working with the ward Psychiatrist and Medical Doctor and Nephrologist, a thoughtful plan was put into place for Harlon’s discharge to address his general health and to improve his well-being:
- creating structure and routine
- seeking and accepting help from healthcare professionals, friends and family
- not to isolate himself (sidebar: a little challenging these days, physical distancing does not mean social distancing)
- adhere to medications (he is on a new anti-depressant which is proving to be very effective)
- practice self-care (sleep hygiene, eating regular meals, adherence to medication, abstaining from alcohol)
- practicing mindfulness
and lastly, not doing it alone.
It was an intense experience for Harlon, but perhaps inevitable in the light of the serious hardships he has experienced. However, he is now feeling and looking better than he has in years. Harlon seems to be on the right path and will be OK.