CW: this blog and poem contains mention of suicide attempts, restraint, forced medical intervention, trauma and abuse.
In my last blog, which can be read here, I mentioned how accessing support for mental illnesses isn’t as simple as people think, there are so many reasons why people can’t access support.
This blog post, which includes a poem, is to highlight one reason, and I talk about this reason from a perspective of psychiatric wards/hospitals, there are many other areas of services where people experience trauma, and abuse. This blog focuses on one reason, in one area so as to not overwhelm readers, or me in writing it!
Many of us have bad experiences with mental health services, so bad we develop PTSD due to them, or the traumas become part of our already existing PTSD or CPTSD.
There is stuff that has happened to me on psychiatric wards that very few people know about, things that affect my life constantly now, things I couldn’t talk about for years. There are things that I still can’t talk about.
So when people tell me to go to A&E, of course I say no, of course I resist. I get that they are trying to help, and are worried and caring about me. Although realising that is only likely afterwards, in the time I don’t and can’t realise that. However, even when I can recognise why they say it I still say no, I still say that I will not go, because it is safer and more accessible for me to not go to A&E for mental health reasons, and potentially a psychiatric ward.
I am more likely to survive in the community.
In a 4 month admission a few years ago where I was sectioned the whole time, on 1-1 observations (someone following and watching me everywhere) for about 10 weeks, in that time frame I attempted suicide more times in those 4 months (including when I was on 1-1) than I probably had in the previous year before that admission. One day there were 3 attempts.
There were other reasons other than the trauma from previous admissions and trauma from the current admission I was on, but I will write another blog about those, because they need a separate post.
For now though here is a poem I have written about being sectioned.
Months go by and never allowed outside.
Rights taken off you.
Medication forced upon you.
Clothes stripped off you.
Possessions hidden away from you.
Lights always on.
Never can sleep,
Nothing to eat.
Forced to talk,
Even though the words fail.
Jokes made at your expense.
Nothing to do,
Except stare at walls.
Plotting your escape
Is all you live for.
With joints twisted up behind your back.
Then suddenly head against the cold floor.
Held down by 4 men, and forcibly injected.
Made to go to meetings.
You’re discussed, but your voice is not important.
They talk numbers and debate what to do with you,
As you sit there rocking.
You’re a list of diagnoses.
They tut as they hear BPD.
And then they question if you are faking for attention.
You scream ‘no’, yet all that does is cause an alarm to ring and pound your ears.
You need to go outside.
But until you’re deemed ‘good enough’
Trapped inside as the days and nights become one.
Like a zombie
You shuffle around,
As do the other patients.
You are expected to survive this.
You are expected to not want to run away.
You are expected to remain calm.
‘How can I?’ I think.
For I am in living hell and I can’t cope.
That’s what it’s really like, a living hell.
So when someone is telling you that hospital, or going to A&E is more dangerous for them, try to understand. I understand you want to do what is best for your friend/partner/family member etc, but for some of us the best is to avoid hospital. For some hospital is a dangerous, unsafe, and inaccessible place for so many reasons. This post highlights just one of those reasons.
Instead ask someone what can be done to help them, and to keep them safe, don’t assume hospital is right for them. It may help some, it may be a neutral experience for others, and for others it only makes us worse.