To begin with I was watched every minute of the day for my own and others safety. The two charge nurses were very kind, but not all the nurses were so kind. I guess I’d been refusing to shower. Sometimes healthcare assistants would shower or wash me, but one nurse dragged me with help onto a very hard plastic chair, it was agony I was very bony she left me with my arms covered in bruises. I could hardly walk and needed to hold onto the rails. Not everyone believed me.
It was peculiar the nurses behind the nurse station would ignore you. I thought it was all part of the treatment making us more self reliant. At times it all seemed like a game. It felt like some of the inmates were actors. I tried hard to ” behave myself” the section was lifted only to be slapped on me again. I thought that I would see a lot of the psychiatrist but it wasn’t like that. I had an opportunity to talk to a senior nurse at the beginning I took up far too much of her time by going on and on about my mother’s toxic behaviour even though we had buried her a month earlier. The nurse said we know all about this tell me about your husband. Part of my psychosis was that I thought he was trying to kill me. This wasn’t help by the fact that I got sepsis and had to go to the medical hospital. I was delirious and had to have antibiotics. This happened to me twice whilst I was in the mental hospital. I did have bruises on my body from where I had fallen in the hospital where they thought I’d thrown myself on the floor and from where I thought my husband had thrown me. I now don’t believe that’s true. Photos were taken of my bruises.
It seems that the therapy was conducted mainly through the occupational therapy and self realisation. With the psychosis some weird things happened to me. I believed time was going backwards, that my watch had been tampered with, that daylight was lasting 24 hours, that I didn’t have a room, that I was being punished along with some innocent inmates one of whom I’d befriended,that a male nurse agreed I was being punished. Eventually all this receded. Once I was put on 40 mg of Prednisolone I felt more normal and I felt quite well, but I still wasn’t eating much. I began to wake up. Apparently I hadn’t noticed the occupational therapist trying to interest me in things to do. I started to join in with all the creative things, walks (even though I could just about manage) knitting with bamboo needles because I was afraid I might injure myself on purpose, and relaxation. They had a garden there which I loved. It was a bit neglected, but I would get out there and dead head the roses delighting in the fact that the bushes produced more buds. I made friends with some lovely people.
Night times were horrible. I generally couldn’t sleep until about 3 in the morning and breakfast was at 8. I would get restless and then a nurse would rush into my room to say I was setting the alarms off and I would have to have an injection if I didn’t take my evening medicine. I didn’t want sleeping tablets because I was afraid I might not wake up again. I lived in dread of a certain male senior nurse being in charge of meds at night because he would shout at me if I didn’t take them. I now know one was a tablet to control the psychosis so I suppose I can’t blame him.
Once I discovered the occupational therapist I would spend my days waiting for her as most of the activities I liked were in the afternoon. I had some colouring books and pencils my husband had left me which I sometimes remembered to bring out of my room. I wasn’t allowed to go back to my room on my own. I took to leaving my colouring books in the dining room with the rest of the colouring sheets provided by the ward. My pencils went missing I used the ones in the ward they often needed sharpening. Because I wasn’t sleeping I started showering myself in the cubicle in my room drying myself on the one small towel provided and a nightie that wasn’t actually mine then going to the dining area. First they said I was too early and would take me back. I continued and would say I’ll be very quiet and get on with my colouring. Then as the nurses for the next shift came in I would be kindly brought a cup of tea.
One of the things I found really hard was not being allowed to carry an inhaler with me and having to ask for it. Luckily with the high dosage of steroid my asthma wasn’t as bad as usual. I always received my steroid inhaler at medicine times. I was allowed to have a reliever but I left it in one of the bathrooms and someone stole it. I think I know who, but I didn’t say because i believe it was a lady who subsequently ran away. She must have been helped. I contemplated running away myself, but where would I go to? We were locked in, but at least one other patient was forever getting out of the ward when the next shift of nurses entered.
I tried to behave was polite to everyone praised the staff in the kitchen and the cleaners. They did deserve it, but I thought it would help me get out. I didn’t know to where I told the social worker that I had no where to go. One of the nurses had a husband who was a policeman and assured me my allegations would be investigated. After a while she said are you ready to see you husband I said no! Some more time elapsed and she asked again this time I said yes I missed him and I realised that the police found nothing. It had been part of my psychosis. I wanted to go home. Sometimes I would cry at night, I was exhausted with all the activities and waiting sometimes until 11 at night for the medicines which I was now taking. Things were confusing I was advised not to take the sleeping tablet as it’s effect had now worn off in fact it wore off after about three nights use! I didn’t take the advise straight away.
I tried to rush getting better. I wanted to go home, but I was still ill. My family kept telling me to slow down. I wrote to the patient liaison society several times to say I was being held prisoner and needed an explanation of psychosis and the treatment and finally saying I needed help because I had a serious food eating disorder. I had realised and it was probably something I’d had for a longtime and it was something that manifested itself in more and more so called allergies. I do have some, but not the number I thought.
I had made my own realisation and started to eat more. It was hard very hard because my stomach had shrunk. I put on weight and felt better. I kept telling them that I never weighed more than about 51kg, but of course how were they to know? I had some home visits, an OTC came with me to check I could manage and it was agreed that I would be better off at home with my husband. All along of course this was the aim which was written into the plan of action for me and in fact I found out that apart from when I was sectioned I could have left at anytime!
I’m at home now, but things continue to be difficult… I don’t know whether I will ever feel really physically well again.