Well I know a few people have been blogging about their stays in hospital recently, this has led me to some deep thinking about the eight/ nine weeks I spent there last year. So much so that I couldn't sleep at all last night with the thoughts and trying to remember everything going around in my head. So I have decided to write about my experiences here to get it out of my thoughts and to document it whilst I can still remember most of it.
I had been detained under Section 136 of the Mental health Act by the police, for being loony in a public place. (PS- must only be mentally intersting within the confines of ones home). I had spent around six hours in a police cell and had agreed to go into hospital voluntary to avoid being taken there under a section 2 which I was told would be placed on me. Having spent so long in such dirty, cramped conditions (They had put me on cctv with someone watching my cell at all times, and I was supposed to use the toilet in there which was just plumbed next to matress which had been slung ot one side of the shiny stone floor.) I was actually happy to be getting out but scared, I did not want to go into hospital.
I had no experience of psychiatric wards other than what I had seen in films, so expected men in white coats and deranged patients who would attack you at a minutes notice. I remember the ride in the police car which escorted me, policeman and woman trying to make idle talk, assuring me I would get the help I needed. I wasn't so sure. I remember wondering how it had gotten this far. I had been to the hospital block before, to visit the Crisis Team, but never the ward. The police came with me in case I did a runner on route. They carried my belongings in a big clear plastic bag from when I was searched and had everything removed in the police station. (I even had to remove clothes down to underwear for search???). They were swiped into the ward and met with a nurse who took my bag and told them they could leave. They said a quick 'good luck' to me and dissapearred back through the locked doors.
I was greeted by what I now know was a Healthcare assistant (thankfully one of the few that could speak English) She showed me around the ward. People had gathered in the communal areas to watch the latest intake, especially one who had been brought by the Police!. The ward seemed very basic, but clean and tidy though rather noisy. I was given one of the two private rooms at the end of the corridor and told I could settle but would be seeing the doctor soon. It was probably about 8pm. I was so scared being away from my family, in such an alien place and with unknown people. I sat on the window ledge and pushed myself into the corner, knees bent to chest, looking out through the secure/ unbreakable glass, wondering what would become of me.
It didn't seem real, this wasn't supposed to happen to me, I was the high achiever, the sound, dependable, stable friend, daughter, sister, mother etc. But now I was a psychiatric in-patient. The Healthcare assistant kept looking in on me not sure why I was hid in the corner of the window, maybe she thought I would launch myself through it. She eventually came back with my belongings from the police. I had to hand over my shoe laces, some perfume(glass), some tweezers, and my belt but was given everything else back including the photo of my son(20 months at time) which I was relieved to have with me.
A patient came to tell me they had put sandwiches out at 9pm, I had not eaten at all that day, but couldn't face anything. I thanked him but quickly turned my head back to the window, and towards the hospital car park. How i wished I was out there.
I was just starting to settle on my bed when I was called to see the doctor at about midnight. I can't recall all of our converstion, I remember her telling me I would be staying for 'just a few days'. I had to have a physical examination (reflexes, sight, hearing, pressing on stomach). Had my height and weight taken. I was then escorted back to my room. I had been put on ten minute observations, which was standard for new patients.
I spent until about 3am sat in the area just outside my room. The ward was dark and quiet at night. I had a chat to one of the African HCAs though she had trouble understanding me. I had my ipod and I remember listening to some music in what I found out was the TV area. I hadn't eaten for over 24 hours and hadn't slept for at least five days but had sudden burst of energy. I was dancing with my ipod when the nurse on duty, H came to see if I was all right(displaying unusual behaviour not encouraged in psychaitric wards at night) and was offered some drugs to sleep, which I refused. I instad went back to my room to wait out mmorning.