The very first time I was admitted to the psych ward I was in pretty bad shape. On an incredible amount of medication, some of which were prescribed to the clinical limit. I was suffering badly with the PTSD, nightmares, diving deeper in to myself with constant suicidal thoughts. The depression was getting worst by the day. Compounded by the fact I was drinking heavily then too, trying to forget, and mask the feelings, thoughts and urges to harm myself that were haunting me. Alcohol is also heavy depressant but I didn’t know this at the time, so I was effectively making the situation worst by tipping this poison down my neck all day long, and being mixed with copious amounts of medication was a disaster waiting to happen.
I believe this was the point of my first ever break down. I couldn’t communicate, couldn’t get the words out, not because of the alcohol and meds, but I physically couldn’t produce a sound. My head was a swirling tornado of confusion, violent imagery, despair and self loathing. At times I was on the outside looking in at myself tying to figure out what was happening. It was unstoppable. I’d gone to my mental limits and my brain was in meltdown.
Luckily the accommodation manager had found me, lovely chap and I still speak to him now occasionally. He called an ambulance, even rang my mother as she lived locally and he knew her. Anyway, the crew arrived and got me aboard the ambulance, my face was buried in my hands still unable to communicate, crying silently, shaking, scared and by this point with all the attention very suicidal. I just wanted everyone to leave me to it and for it all to end. Even when my mother got there I still couldn’t speak. It’s amazing I can still remember it so vividly to be honest. The ambulance crew did all of their tests and whisked me away to Winchester Hospital. Funny enough the same hospital that I was born in although this time under slightly more drastic circumstances.
I was taken to accident and emergency and assessed by the mental health team, as well as medical team and it was decided that I should be admitted to Melbury Lodge, the psychiatric ward behind Winchester Hospital. Not just because it was my first time, but this place was scary and of all of the wards I’ve been to, this was probably the place I wouldn’t recommend. It was a real eye opener for me, the kind of place that you only ever saw in films or read about in books. The very first thing I saw as we walked in was a lad probably in his early 20’s writhing around the floor, all twisted up as if possessed by something. I later found out his name was Toby and he’d ended up becoming quite fond of me. I’d find him outside my room every time I left it. The first night I’d arrived there was a riot on the ward, all staff vacated as 3 or 4 of the male patients smashed the place to bits. The first night!! Needless to say I locked my door and stayed away, I was suicidal not stupid. After about an hour or so the police entered and took control, with the staff following close behind. This has never happened anywhere else and I’ve never witnessed any violence against patients, by other patients or staff, in any form and I’ve been in a few places.
My stay at Melbury wasn’t that long, on recollection I think a week to maybe ten days. I didn’t learn anything there, all they did was calm me down and prepare me for being handed over to the community mental health team (CMHT). Then add more medications. Which was a shame because had they spent more time focusing on the issues at hand, they may not have had to see me a further few times. Nor for that matter many other mental health establishments.
I was asked about autonomy and human rights. Whilst I’m in no way about to get in to a debate about it. I can say that all of my treatments have always had consent and I’ve always been given options for the best care. None of my human rights have ever been breached, nor have I been pushed to do something I’ve felt uncomfortable with. I can’t speak for other people, especially those under court orders or refuse treatment. Never affected, not my argument. This is purely about my personal experiences.
Today for me has been OK. I cooked Sunday lunch for the guys, sat out in the sunshine for a while and slept for a while. I do have the familiar knotted feeling in my stomach coming on but it’s bed time soon so I’m not too worried, famous last words….
Thanks for reading! I hope you all have and awesome day and i love to hear your comments and suggestions, so go ahead and drop me a line. Also the PM’s are fantastic, so many of you are speaking up and reaching out. I’m very proud. much love!
Till next time