The Psychiatric Ward - From a Patient's Perspective.
The problem with mental illness is the number of problems attached to that problem.
People within my periphery seem to favour the analogy of broken bones, especially as I used to be a fixer of those as nurse in accident and emergency. ‘These things take time’, I’m encouraged to be patient as a patient with a mental disease that causes persistent unease, called PTSD.
After ‘being patient’ for over a year, my body and mind has packed up and now I have a new illness to allow possession of me, called depression. They loved to rough and tumble throughout the day and the night, as I’m requested to fight the impulse to give up and give in, resulting in my ceasing to live.
I know, or at least I think I know, from my training that it’s not good or okay, to allow someone with mental decay, who might go on to get better one day, to try and take their life away, regardless of the fact that’s all my mind will say. I have to struggle with my symptoms, no matter how severe so that I won’t be responsible for the damage done to those I’d leave here.
Obviously now, in my weakened state, I find this view hard to take but am just about getting through the days, hoping I’ll be better than this one day. If I can recover, will recover, with my writing, typing, recording and mixing, I hope to reach out and do some helping. Real helping from the heart, which I can say because mine has been bruised right from the start.
I know from my training that it’s not good or okay, to allow someone with mental decay, who might go on to get better one day, to try and take their life away, regardless of the fact that’s all my mind will say.
I don’t wish to bore you with the incessant symptoms that spin around me and my mind and keeping me edgy and sleepless, yet a little insight to those who do not know, may prove an asset. My body and brain think they’re under endless threat and refuse to forget things that reinforce that.
I experienced abuse and violence and witnessed this against my mum too. That sort of thing leaves you scarred, but I continued on, a tough little kid, only a little charred. I pretended to all, that all was well, even though I was terrified of basically everything and everyone. If you ignore terror like that for long enough, it’s bound to leave you at least a little twisted.
Now here I am in psychiatric ward, receiving treatment for the condition that started when I was born and has been pressed deep down to the depths of my person. Surrounded by people who either have a great deal of empathy and a similar but different story to tell, others seem to wander in a cloud of ‘me’, without concern for the larger picture to see.
It goes without saying that everyone has very different but equally challenging issues at hand; it’s just the manner they choose to handle such tribulation that occasionally leaves me in isolation.
I’m scared of the loud noises, confrontation, shouting, crying and over-sharing that appears to be part and parcel of many diseases of the mind that surround me daily, currently. So I resolve to remove myself from that, to focus on quiet contemplation in order to understand better the rhythms and rhymes of my own. Then I begin to cater to my needs for music, writing and reading: poetry plus beats, spoken word art etc.
As on occasion, I struggle with a stutter that seems to begin in the brain and continues to contest with my teeth about whether to talk at all. This is highly frustrating when the professionals are asking me to speak, be candid and honest about the noise in my head in order to provide solution, luckily the stutter has responded slightly to medication, if not the anxiety and depression.
I’m scared of the loud noises, confrontation, shouting, crying and over-sharing that appears to be part and parcel of many diseases of the mind that surround me daily.
The energies within this ward can change so quickly...
...from relaxed, peaceful and amiable chatting to shouting, screaming and a rapidly pacing bedlam. It only takes a matter of minutes, hence why I prefer to set my own limits to avoid involvement with such distasteful performance, usually about medication or cigarette smoke inhalation.
It’s kind of strange to imagine that mental hospitals would be therapeutic, safe I can understand with the frequent observation and absence of items that may cause harm. Yet it seems to me, that the variety and volatility of a mind uneasy fled the memory of those whose responsibility it was to improve mental agility and functionality.
Often in shared spaces, you find some degree of clashes, even in those, not known to be mentally ill. This of course is amplified dramatically when considering the effect of mental ill-health of those who share such a living space.
Some are loud and boisterous yet sweet while others equally impetuous without the greatly needed charm to reduce their threat of harm. Likewise we find soundless people too, some who ponder the big questions quietly, occasionally aloud, several may think of nothing at all but how will we know?
A number remain very still and as such adopt an air of calm, others like myself find stillness impossible and ache with incessant movement of limb and mind. This is anxiety provoking in itself, for fear of irritating an intermittently unpredictable bunch with constantly moving feet, legs and fingers a tapping.
All of this said there have been very few incidents of real theatre, to invoke any fear of repeating or even involvement for that matter as I stay, tucked away, in my sanctuary.
I’m so glad to have the interests that I do that enable me to find solace and waste some time in this place. Until I’m well, then I can enjoy this new hobby of mine as part of a healthy lifestyle.
A number remain very still and as such adopt an air of calm, others like myself find stillness impossible and ache with incessant movement of limb and mind. This is anxiety provoking in itself.
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