Glad I waited so long for this advice!

27 Jan

I’ve not posted about how I felt coming in to the ward and maybe I’ll go back to that at a later point but for now I have to vent. A quick (or maybe not) update:

During the night there was an incident with a violent male. All I heard was him shouting and this is an extremely bad trigger point for me and set off a myriad of flashbacks. I couldn’t get to sleep and when one of the staff came to check on me (I was in tears), they apologised and said it would be over soon. In the nicest way, I wasn’t bothered about him, it was the effect this place is having on me.

I try so hard to see things from their perspective and the reason I am here – if I can do that then I think it will be an easier journey. But the benefits of me being here are being far outweighed by the negatives at the moment. So in the night, I decided I was going to ask to see a psychiatrist in the morning to see if I could be let home. These are the reasons I wrote down:

1 – It’s a mixed ward. After being raped I struggle around men – it’s that simple!

2 – I really struggle to leave my room. I’ve not even been seeing friends at home so going out in to a ward full of strangers (staff and patients) – no way!

3 – Because of number 2, I’ve not eaten in dining room which again is full of strangers (and you have to share tables)

4 – last night a male patient kicked off and was screaming and shouting – this triggered a huge flashback for me!

5 – my safe place at home is in a dark room and no noise. In my room here, there is always a light on (dimmed but they won’t switch it off completely) and lots of noise.

Back to last night, I fell asleep around 4.30am and woke up at 8am. All morning I worked myself up to go out and ask one of the staff for some one to one time. I went up, under the guise of getting some water outside the nurses station, but when I went to the door everyone just kept walking right past me so I lost confidence and came back to my room.

I ended up ringing my cmht (community mental health team) at about 11.30 am to speak to my care co-ordinator (cc) but she wasn’t in. Normally I’d just say ok and leave it there but instead I asked for the duty worker. I told him my issue and he said he’d call the ward and ask someone to come and see me – great, I could deal with that.

Two and a half hours later I hadn’t heard anything and was aware that a psychiatrist was looking extremely doubtful at this point, I knew my cc shares office location with my psychiatrist so decided to call her again. I managed to speak to her and explain and she said I just need to ask someone when they next checked on me. Whilst she was on the phone, someone came in so I asked if I could speak to someone and the response….”Not really, we are really busy at the moment so ask again in a few hours!” Well it’d only taken me 3 days to build up courage to ask that time – arrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!

Luckily I was still on phone to cc and told her and she said she would come up and visit on Monday and if I could just give everything I could until then, then we would look at re-assessing things. So that’s a positive I hope!!

About half an hour after the woman said no, someone came to my room (assume it’s my nurse) and as soon as she started I wanted to tell her where to go!! Apparently I just had to stop letting them win, go up to the dining room and get on with it. Why hadn’t anyone told me that before (yes being hugely sarcastic!!) It really disappointed me that this was her attitude. I explained how I had flashbacks and how I started with racing heart and sweating etc and she told me again that I just had to do it. The panic attack would only last an hour or so, so I should be able to deal with that!

Next, she told me I had a rule a day and todays rule was not to blame myself. Does she think telling me that is gonna make me all of a sudden go oh yeah it wasn’t my fault – I believe therapy will help me with that but not just her saying it to me today.

I could go on forever, but in the end I’ve realised the one thing I need to live by if I’m going to get out of here: it’s their game and I have to play by their rules!! What this means for my actual mental health doesn’t really come in to it!!


Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized



8 responses to “Glad I waited so long for this advice!

  1. Dee Speers

    January 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    This is horrendous and goes to prove that the system will exhaust you before you can exhaust it!
    It appears the same old “when we said it we have dealt with it” is in place….happens in Parliament too!
    How dare they……so sorry you are having this battle!

    • femaleptsd

      January 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      I just wish they’d understand about me being scared of raised male voices. Not only to do with the recent events but also when my dad used to hit my mum. If they understood that then I’d feel happier!!

  2. theWriteRach

    January 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of you for making that call to CMHT, not once but twice. I’m saddened that the ward staff don’t appear to recognize the effort that you are making.

    “Apparently I just had to stop letting them win, go up to the dining room and get on with it.”
    That’s a pretty callous response. Oh that it were so simple. In fairness she probably was trying to help but doesn’t have enough understanding – or possibly time/energy, given how resources are so often stretched – to do that effectively.

    It’s heartbreaking that the system can do more to hinder than help.

    Unfortunately it’s often impossible for those who are in the midst of it to effect change, simply because they’re too unwell. You’re making every effort to make the best of a very difficult situation.

    You can do this! It will get better, tiny step by tiny step.

    There’s a quote – M. Luther King, I think – I used to carry it around with me. It goes something like …

    You don’t have to see the top of the staircase, to take the first step.


    • femaleptsd

      January 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Rach – it actually means a lot to know that someone (and many others from response on twitter) understands how much of a big deal that was for me – especially to call back when nothing had happened. I need to get through this weekend now (got lots of work to keep me occupied) and then hopefully when I see my cc on monday i’ll be able to show her the effects and why I should be at home – well I can only hope can’t I!!! I really like that quote – thanks xx

  3. acarerseyes

    January 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I can only second what everyone else has said, your doing so well. I thought of another quote you might like ‘every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day’
    Thinking of you and you CAN get through this.

    • femaleptsd

      January 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Thankyou so much – you’ve been a great help to me!!!

  4. Becci

    February 2, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Hi there dignified lady (sorry, don’t know your name and girlie is inappropriate)

    I get where you’re coming from. I understand you wanting to, and having to play by “their” rules, and I completely understand your reluctance to place yourself in harms way by exposing yourself to the dangers of a mixed psychiatric ward.

    I understand your rant, and I guess I want to say its ok to feel that way, ok to manage your own anxiety by staying out of the way.

    When I was on a unit (back in the 90’s) I felt pretty much the same, and took to self harming to manage my stress. There are many less destructive ways of handling stress, and you seem to have found the most dignified.

    I find it so so sad that things haven’t really changed, in that staff don’t make themselves available to all inmates and those who shout the loudest or make the most fuss get the lions share of attention.

    I really want you to know that it does get better, that this is just a chapter in your life, that things will improve, but please don’t forget that what you have been through would have derailed even the happiest of the happy, sanest of sane.

    You are allowing yourself therapy, you’re giving yourself time to work this out, you’r

    • Becci

      February 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

      (Sorry, posting from phone)

      You’re shaping your future, give yourself time to do this.

      You are dignified, your whole demeanor screams it, you should be proud of how you are handling things.

      Sorry for the early morning ramble, hope you slept well? Hope things go well today and you experience the ward in a better way.

      Respect DL


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