Sunday, 26 April 2015

Postcards from the psych ward

So hello, time for a (hopefully not permanent spot), a postcard from the psych ward.

The ward right now is particularly volatile there are 5 patients who I find a little scary because they are so unpredictable. One moment they are flirting with the nurses (oh in psych there are far more male nurses) and the next they are screaming as if they were begging for their lives. Oh and the swearing is class A, epic. I’ve never heard an old lady use the c-word so much and I’m very use to having patients swear at me.

The on-call doctor has almost been camping on our ward over the weekend. Usually you wouldn’t see the doctor, they’re far too busy in A&E but these past few days it’s been so out of control there have been more staff on the ward than ever. (In my limited-ish experience).

The screams continue, the manipulative demands persist. There is no rest for even the non-wicked. I feel for the nursing team, they really are trying and I understand mental illness is incredibly difficult to control especially on an acute ward where patients are suffering from psychosis.

It’s just it's very hard to be a patient too. If you’re not screaming or trying to harm yourself, it’s likely that you can hide away and not talk to anyone. It’s very easy to be forgotten and when you know one patient has to watched by three staff at any one time, it does make you feel as if you invisible and voiceless. It often feels as if the needs of the few very much outweigh the many. Nevertheless I’m in this locked ward for a reason but the therapeutic atmosphere is somewhat lacking.

So I guess you look toward other patients for support. Supporting each other seems like a good premise. Yet you really know nothing about the other patients. You assume that they aren’t mass murderers and thus I presume they are the same as me. Broken but trying to look for some hope.

However, I never know if on the ward you’re meant to form alliances or acquaintances. Always. there are the odd surreptitious eyebrow movement or the sly half smile which signifies the unspoken, “yeah we have issues but man that lady is proper insane and I really wish she wasn’t on my ward because I want to sleep.” Yet I find it difficult to talk completely candidly about myself and my life. 

I find it invasive when people just come up to me and ask for my life story. I politely move them on. It’s bad enough I’m in here I don’t want to drag my poor family in here too. I’m as nosy as the next person but I tend to wait for someone to start talking about themselves before I launch into a torrent of questions.

So I shall sit in my room this evening, I’m snobbish enough not to want to sit and watch Britain’s Got Talent which is blaring from the tv, perhaps I shall watch the last Poirot. Although I’m not sure my heart is strong enough just yet. I always envisioned I would be in a boutique hotel next to a roaring fire in a club chair with a non-lit pipe when I watched Curtain. It’s not quite like that here. 

I'm not sure why I am writing about being on the ward, perhaps it is simply cathartic for me? Or perhaps I want to share my experiences for those in a similar position. Perhaps I just want to write something? I'm not sure.

So I shall take my leave and wish you a goodnight. I can only hope the alarms do not ring all night long. 

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