Tuesday, September 8, 2009

People you meet on the inside

My first instinct upon being admitted into a mental health ward was to hide in my room. A) Because I was too messed up to deal with people and B) Because of that niggling belief that, whilst I am in here too, locked up for my craziness.... I'm not like THEM. I quickly realised 'they' and I had a lot in common, not just our mental health issues, but just in general as well. I've had great conversations, I've heard wonderful stories if strength and resilience, and of course heartbreaking stories of the dark side of man kind. I've met people I wanted to wrap up in cotton and keep them safe, and others I wanted to king hit on the head when staff were'nt watching. And I've laughed.....oh, I've laughed! You would be suprised how much laughter there is on a mental health ward.... there has to be....there is always a fine line between laughter and tears.

The other patients in someways, facilitated my 'recovery' process better than the doctors or nurses ever could, because they can understand what you are talking about. What it feels like. And they can respond to you as a human, without the clinical difference.

After this most recent hospitalisation, I have befriended two particular women. One was released a few days before me and we have caught up for coffee since, and the other will be released today and we will hopefully catch up for shopping and coffee on friday. These girls offer non-judgemental support, and also a way to fill those days when my 'normal' friends and family are off being productive members of society.

In-patient friendships can have their pitfalls. You have to be able to take a stand for what's best for your own recovery, and offer support within that framework. One of these woman (C) befirended another woman (M) on the ward, who, whilst on day leave, called C who was still in hospital and told her she was going to kill herself. I myself, endured a similar situation during my previous hospitalisation in 2006. I mean, wtf? I'm in a locked mental unit, how can I help you other than to notify staff. Interactions and constant dramas like that, can pull you back into your own dark place. My gran has always told me I collect strays...and I guess what she means is I like to try to help people, and sometimes I have to sit back and remember it's me that needs helping.

It's like they say on the planes, apply your own oxygen mask first!


  1. Hello! I saw your comment and post over at ‘Mental Nurse’ welcome to the crazy world of blogging as a form of therapy you’ll love it trust me... I could relate to this post, only after my recent three week stay in the psych ward I couldn’t lock myself in my room and hide we were aloud in between certain hours and I spent most of my days sat in the lounge watching the clock, I swear I could have gone insane! Still I’m still here... I hope the therapy works for you. I spent 10 months in group therapy in 2008 / 2009 it really helped me (okay we ignore the bit about the three weeks in hospital...) I’m kind of on a leave from there and am hoping to return after six months! As well as that I’ve just started college, so much has happened this year it’s been rather unreal but writing keeps me sane I think!

  2. Thanks Alison... I hope you manage to get out soon... I can 't imagine not being allowed in your room at certain times... I definately needed some alone, quiet time while in there. Good luck with everything!