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!!