Firstly, apologies to anyone who was following my #30dayswild blog, I had intended to post something every day, but becoming unwell put paid to that.
I’ve sort of lost track of the days, but around 3 weeks ago I was sectioned. It all feels a bit personal and raw to talk about what led up to that point and the day itself. I initially ended up in the Place of Safety at my local hospital. It was terrifying, I was freezing cold having spent a long period of time outside and the NHS blanket didn’t quite cut it for warmth. The TV in the empty ‘relaxation’ area was deafening. I got into the bed and spent the the next I’m not sure how many hours hallucinating strange things in the room. When people looked into my door to check on me my mind begged them to come in to help, but I didn’t know how to ask or what to say. I didn’t contact anyone initially because I didn’t want to worry them or upset them, despite being at my lowest ebb I still can’t help but worry about others. Every time a door banged it made me jump and I felt too scared to drink or use the bathroom. In all I was there for 3 days, I did eventually make contact with a friend who helped me to make contact with my family. I was grateful to the nurse who came on shift and took the time to support me when I was feeling really physically unwell, I finally managed to drink something with her support.
When it came time for me to be assessed I was shown into a room of professionals, a couple of psychiatrists (I think?), a social worker, someone from the crisis team. I don’t cope well when the focus is on me. It felt like I was on an episode of question time with questions being fired at me from all directions. Eventually it was over and after some time the social worker came back to me and said they would find me a bed in a hospital. Transport took a day to arrange and I was on my way, mentally assessing if I could find a way out of vehicle so I could continue my path of destruction.
I have Aspergers Syndrome, it still feels odd writing that, I’ve only been diagnosed this year, and still feel like a fraud, as if people think I am faking it, or there’s been a mistake. Being in a new place really scares me, in new places I tend to get stuck in one place – I’ve frequently been to events and have been too scared to get a drink or use a bathroom having to rely on the support of others to help me out, or to wait till the end where I can escape to a more familiar place. I initially didn’t want to eat or drink as I was frightened about what was in it. I didn’t leave my room. It was only with support from my family I managed to leave my room and spent the rest of my time in hospital in the garden when my family took me there. I still felt really distressed about being there, it didn’t feel like there was any plan to help me get well and all the anxiety surrounding being around unfamiliar people in a scary place stopped me from eating the limited amount I was consuming pre hospital. At night I just wanted someone to come in and ask why I was wide awake and crying, no-one did. At one point 2 people promised to take me outside, they didn’t return. I started to plan ways to hurt myself or to escape so I could follow through with these outside. I had plenty of things in my room which they hadn’t confiscated. A turn around point was bumping into someone I went to school with, they took time to ask how I was feeling or what was going on and regularly came to talk to me when I was lying in the garden too week to move. A shining light in a confusing storm.
My family took control and contacted my care coordinator who organised a meeting with the Dr’s who accepted that I wasn’t improving and would at least feel less scared at home and perhaps more able to eat and so it was agreed I could go home. Hospital was a strange place, I’ve never felt so alone – I do like to have time alone, but this was a time where I needed to talk things through with someone. At one point I heard staff talking about a previous patient who had spent a month in their room, laughing at how bored they must have been. It makes me sad that there were being spoken about in that way. When you feel like you are on the outside looking in it’s not helpful to feel like you are being mocked. ‘If you come out onto the ward more staff will speak to you’ It’s the old scenario of if you lead a duck to water, they will drink. Sometime’s someone just needs that helping hand to get started.