9. Time to Reflect.

So probably quite surprisingly psych wards are incredibly mundane places.  You’d expect lots of group therapy sessions, mindfulness and just generally a barrage of lovey dovey lets all share our feelings type events, but it’s not like that at all.  There are off course the odd group activities, some of which they pass off as group psychology but in reality they’re 30 minute discussions on what negative thoughts are.  I’m here aren’t I, I flipping know what negative thoughts are.  How can we challenge those negative thoughts?  Again I’m flipping here aren’t I.  I’m an intelligent (honestly not boasting) lady with a PhD.  If we could all just challenge our negative thoughts many psych wards would be empty.  it’s not that flipping simple!!!

So what I’ve had is an abundance of time to reflect on my past and how those past experiences have probably shaped the person I have become today. So let’s look back at childhood shall we.  Well the truth is, I don’t actually remember much of my childhood.  It was neither overly happy, nor overly sad.  I had loving parents who worked hard to provide for us.  We were never rich but my folks always splashed out at Christmas.  I now know that that must have put an incredible strain on them, but every year they made damn sure that our Christmas mornings were filled with toys and games and goodies.  It was one of the ways they showed us that they loved us.  We didn’t really do emotions in our house or feelings, but every Christmas morning the house was filled with excitement and hugs.

As for the rest of my childhood and adolescent years, sitting here now, all I can remember are the flashes of bad times.  Growing up with a genetic condition that makes you stand out like a sore thumb is not easy.  I can remember one day running, and mucking about down on our local GAA pitch and a complete stranger deliberately tripping me, because they thought it would be funny. Tripping a visually impaired kid, yep that’s hilarious, you utter wanker.   I used to hang around with boys quite a lot, I was a tom boy but I’m also starting to think that perhaps evolutionarily, I did it to survive.  Boy’s are less judgemental and bitchy.  One mate in particular was PF.  I’m from a village that gets swamped with visitors every summer and every summer these young blow in’s would spot me, and although I could largely bear the stares, the odd comment about me being weird looking would cut quite deep.  PF stood up for me on many occasions even threatening to beat them up.  I’ll always have a fond place in my heart for PF for those very reasons.

As for adolescence and negotiating my teens years.  Well lets just say, being as pale and weird looking as I am, and with a mum enforced crew cut, I wasn’t exactly a hit with the fellas.  Oh and thank you UMcG for that day you poured coke in my hair to add some colour. I guess I’ve never really got over that one.

Do events of the past shape who we are today.  Probably.

If we were all the same life would be bloody boring.  Embrace your differences.

Love Loopy x.

8. To talk or not to talk?

Talking; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do, once you’ve mastered it off course.  And pretty much all of us do from a young age.  As babies we cry and our caregivers instantly know that we need something, food, fun or love, but as adults it’s not generally acceptable to cry when we want stuff, or indeed when we need stuff so what is a person to do when their words fail them, and they constantly gesture with their mouths but stop immediatley for fear of critisism, or worse still that their thoughts are pathetic, almost as pathetic as they are.  I have a real fear of rejection, I’m starting to realise. I also fear that once those thoughts are out there, people will scorn and mock me behind my back.  People wil hate me.  I also fear that my thoughts are invalid or that people may think I’m just attention seeking.  In reality my soul is screaming out to be loved, to be tod that I am a worthwhile human being on this earth, that my contribution to this world is important.

But right now, I want to run away.  I still want to die if truth be told and I don’t know how to go on if I cannot talk.  So please please please words, just spill out and hopefully they land on the ears of someone kind.

Night Night

Loopy x.

7. PRN

That magic little pill that differs for everyone.  My flavour is lorazepam. I asked the nurse what it stood for.  She didn’t know; “something latin about calming I think”.  It turns out that yes PRN is latin and it stands for Pro Re Nata or As the circumstance arises.  Basically it’s medication given to us loopys as needed.  It’s non scheduled but it seems to be the go to response when staff see you having a rough moment.

I was caught beating the crap out of my bedroom matress.  “Have you had your PRN today?”.  Yeah because that fixes all of life’s problems, let’s drug everyone.  Admittidely I have now become less ashamed asking for it.  It takes the edge off.  In a world where I am monitored every 15 minutes and can no longer self harm, PRN has become a bit of a savour.  But hold on, When will you actually start fixing me?

You have a beautiful soul.

Loopy. x

6. “There were no donkeys in your day!”

“There were no donekys in your day, it was the apocolypse!! Laura Lacey, Laura Lura Lacey go home to your son Arthur. ”

Such ramblings echo through the halls, an affirmation of the devastating effects of mental ilness.  Surely I’m not this bad.  Surely I don’t belong here.  Do I?

A Psyciatric Hospital is a very difficult place to be when you have all your faculties.  I’m depressed; Yes, but I’m also in the minority here in that I am acutely aware of my situation and the meaning of it.  A staff member asked me soon after arrival, the old favourite; Do you know why you are here?  He was shocked when i answered him coherently and with thought.  He’s on rotation at the moment, with a view to gaining experience in mental health to better equip him to work with acutely mentally ill patients in A&E.  I should state that he will be excellant at it.

So what are the patients really like in a pyciatric hospital.  The truth is we are all just human beings trying to make sense of the world around us as we navigate our own paths.  B is awesome; a lady who pretty much beef boxes to herself constantly and seems to be stuck in an eternal rave!.  Whatever she is on, I’d love some.

J is quiet, unassuming and appears about of her depth.  But this is false as i found out when sharing a wellbing class with her.  She is remarkably aware of her emotions and the needs of others.  I just want someone to look out for her.

N, another raver who turned a one hour leave into and all night expidition.  They had police an all sorts looking for her.  I was glad that she came back safely.  “Just saw me mates”, and why not, I thought.  Although the world can be a dangerous place for those of us who are vunerable like N.

There are also those in here who break my heart, abused, neglected, mistreated and alone.  I cannot begin to imagine the turmoil that lead them to this place and i just cannot see a brighter future for them.  But i shall remain hopeful.

So do I belong here? Was i mistreated or abused? No!,  Do i have a family who loves me? Yes. On paper infact i probably have it all.  The career, the loving partner, the beautiful child, loving sibling, parents, and friends and yet all i want to do is kill myself.  I’ll keep the reasons in my head for now, as their triviality would probably shock and anger you.  I’m pretty pathetic really.

Do something you enjoy today.

Loopy x.

 

5. Carted off to Psych!

So alot has been happening in the past few days but I guess the biggest and most overwheming experience was being escorted from the AMU to my hopefully temporary new home in our local Psychiatry hospital.  Clock View is by all means a modern interpretation of a pysc hospital, newly built and all glass and airy.  Good for the mind I guess.  Like everyone of us I had preconceptions about what to expect admittedly largely based on movies and TV and anechdotes of people from home who have been carted off these places.

Let me tell you that my first imprssions were everything you might expect but also nothing you might expect.  I arrived and was buzzed into the ward.  Several passages through locked doors lived up to the sterotype and certainly got my heart pumping. There were no white coats, but only lovely ladies casually dressed in t-shirts and trainers distinguishable from patients only by their lanyards.  I was met a lovely lady who could clearly tell I was nervous.  The first thing we did was go through my bag.  I had little with me, as I hadn’t prepped for this.  I was glad off that as we looked at every item and assessed its lethalness.  I could pose harm to myself so my twezzers and phone charger were whisked asway to a locked room for usage when I requested and was accompanied. Every shampoo bottle, liquid etc was sniffed for alcohol content. I could keep my clothes, what little I had with me, and I was qucikly given some charming NHS pjs.  I was allowed to keep my phone though which was both a surprise and a huge relief.

Then the tour of the ward began.  it’s a square corridor with a courtyard in the middle for fresh air (I hope you like cigarette smoke!!).  Here’s the kitchen, laundry room, TV room and chill out rooms.  it was all a haze.  I couldn’t remember anything except the ramblings of other patients as they walked by us.  Once the tour was over it was time to settle into my room.

Have you ever been to university?  That’s what this is like, a dorm room with a single bed, desk and basic shelving.  I notice the curtains hanging of the rail.  I move them and they pull away completely.  They’re meant to do that so that I can’t hang from them but bloody hell its frustrating.  I’ll be fixing those daily.  Staff show me the slots on my door window and how to close them for privacy, but there is no privacy in this place.  I may close them but they will be opened every 15 mins or so throughout the night to check I’m still alive and not doing anything daft in the sanctuary of my room.

I need a shower, i stink!! but my ensuite has no door and its visable when the room door slats are open.  Perhaps I’ll brave that tomorrow.  I need a wee but again I’m petrified to go for fear of intrusion mid wizz.  I hatch a plan, as soon as I’ve had a check, i’ll quickly pee before i think the next one is due.  They are deliberatly rather unpredicatable so this will make for a fun game over the next few weeks.

Do i really belong here?

Let’s find out tomorrow.

Remember you are loved and an assett to this world.

Loopy x

 

4. The Gobby One

Before i talk about the next few chapters of this little saga, I need to give a special mention to The Gobby One.  I’m currently writing these blogs from my bedroom in a pyciatric hosptial; the one they found me a bed in.  Just this evening a member of the staff here returned from the AMU with a message for me from The Gobby One; “Hope you;re doing o.k and don’t forget my letter.

This both lifted my heart and brought me to tears.  There was one stand out amazing lady in the AMU that i was in.  A lady who is grossly underpaid and undervalued but one who made my life bearable for those few days in the AMU.  She allowed me supervised respiete from the ward in the relatives room, gave me a shoulder to cry on but more importantly she chatted endless rounds of shite with me.  We talked about Karate and Judo, Dog walkers, Crappy Tv and Poo!!! in fact we had several conversations about poo, but when all you can think about is escaping, giving up completely, doing it right next time and not phoning 999, Believe me when i tell you that talking about poo is a tonic for the soul.

So if you ever see this, please know that for those little moments you spent with me, life was bearable again, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart.  YOU WILL GET YOUR LETTER!!!!!

Much love

Loopy x

3. Picking up the pieces

So after a night of rest i lay awake in my bed and studied my canulla wondering what it was used for.  i then noticed that both my wrists were very badly bruised.  I knew I would have had a plethora of blood tests but where on earch did the bruising come from. I  worried that in my drugged state I may have kicked off and been restrained.  This bothered me and I had to know the answers.  A lovely male nurse agreed to sit down with me and my notes to answer my questions.  I wanted to check everything was functioning as it should be; “Did you do LFT’s, Kidney function, FBC’s the whole lot and what were my results?  All came back normal thankfully.  A lucky escape I guess but lets be honest this could come back to haunt me in the future. As for the bruises on my arms, no I was never restrained.  it was most likely due to me having blood gasses taken.  Going deep for the arteries can definately bruise.

That was such a relief to me as I really didn’t want to imagine me being horrible to the poeople who were there saving my life.  So now I become more inquisitive.  I’ve noticed staff following me around, checking on me excessively and it clicks, “oh shit have i been sectioned?”  I was admitted Friday night and on Sunday evening I found out that yes I was being detained there under a section 1 (72 hrs initially).

So lets explore that for a minute.  What happens to you when your under a section 1.  Obviously i could not leave, but oh its much more than that.  I was essentailly stalked, nurses and HCA’s watching my every move. i couldn’t pee, shower or brush my teeth without someone knocking on the door to ask am i o.k. Off course what they are really asking is are you doing anything stupid in there? it was horrible.  I was not delusional, or incoherent, i knew exactly what was happening and could feel the gravity of the situation even stronger with every staring eye.  When my sun and parnter eventaully came in to see me we weren’t even allowed to leave the ward.  I had to entrain a toddler in a cubicle, but make sure your curtain is open.  I felt so helpless and pathetic and angry towards the staff, but i knew they were only following protocol.

A couple of days of staring, increasing frustration from me and some heart to hearts with nurses did mean that they loosened the reigns just a little, but it was so important to my self esteem.  So what would happen now?  I’m out of the woods in terms of drug effects but would i be allowed to go home?  A team of mental health assesors would decide my fate.

“We’re detaining you under Section 2 of the mental health act and we are looking for a bed for you right now”

oh joy!!!

You look beatiful today.

Loopy x.