So my last main blog post was a few months ago (I have written a few poems and posted them) I said I was planning to do the A-Z blog challenge, and obviously that has not happened.
Mainly because I got admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a few months. I got discharged 2 weeks ago, but even so whether I would of done the challenge if at home is doubtful as I tumbled more, and more into an intensly suicidal, and psychotic episode.
This post is kind of light hearted and serious look at what a psychiatric hospital stay can be like (only in brief detail) and how actually coming home can ge overwhelming with the change, and routine changes from the hospital.
So here are nine reasons you know you have recently been discharged from a psych hospital
Plugs and wires have stickers with your name on
One of the signs that constantly reminds me I have recently been in a psych hospital is finding a sticker on my plugs or wires with my name on. Plugs and leads get taken off you and stored in locked cupboards or rooms, and often they get mixed with other peoples, so you get stickers on them with your name.
Some other posessions may have a sticker on with your name, and they include: shoes (or just the laces), wallet, keys, and some items of clothing.
You leave the door open when going to the toilet
Yes I keep forgetting I am allowed to shut the door when I go to the toilet.
This one is probably more likely if you have been on 1: 1 observations (obs), or some form of constant observations (like 2:1). Constant observations involve a minimum of one staff member following you everywhere, and keeping you in eyesight everywhere you are. Which includes using the toilet or shower. When you are on 1:1 obs for quite while, like I was then privacy just disappears, and yes even several weeks after discharge I am still forgetting I am allowed to close the toilet door.
You get confused when alone and begin to look for someone
Yes when on 1:1 you get so used to different people with you 24/7, that when there suddenly is not anyone you genuinely start looking for where your 1:1 has gone. Well I certainly have done that. I find it bizarre to wake up, and not have someone sat a few metres away from me watching me. I genuinely think ‘wait where is the person that is supposed to watch me’ I look around the room for a bit, and then I realise I am not on 1:1!
You expect someone to pop their head into your room very regularly
If you are not on 1:1 observations then you are regular obs from: every 5 minutes, every 15 minutes, to every hour. Basically once every 5,15, or 60 minutes a member of staff puts their head around your door, or checks you where ever you might be, basically to check you are ok and not hurting yourself. The day kind of is no longer about looking at a clock but baseing times of observations whether constant ones, or regular obs. So to not have that person checking you every so often is weird, and disorientating.
You are confused to be able to sleep in the dark
If you are on constant obs then either a light in your room, or dorm will be on or the light in the corridor where you are will be on, so it is never really that dark. So suddenly being able to control the light when you are trying to sleep is both confusing and a luxary.
You are expecting to have your medication given to you in a small paper cup
Medication gets given to you in a tiny paper cup. Whether the nurse brings your medication to you, or you go to the clinic room for it, you always get your medication given to you in this small paper cup. So when at home, and you take your medication straight out of the packet, or from a pill box its really confusing as theres no little paper cup.
The quiet is confusing
Psych wards are noisy places, really noisy. There is general chatter, people having loud breakdowns or episodes (that was me a lot), lots of things going on, staff coming and going.
So the ward is a noisy place. So coming home to a relatively quiet flat is bizarre, I always feel for the first few weeks I am anxiously waiting for noise to suddenly explode.
Having whole days, and nights without alarms going off is a luxary
Alarms go off a lot in psychiatric hospitals, and you can hear the ones from other wards, so even in hospitals that seem to pull alarms a lot less they are still a pretty regular things.
Mostly the alarms are ones staff pull if they need more staff with them to help them keep a patient safe, essentially it means said patient will get restrained, and yes said patient has been me many times. Being restrained is horrible, I even have trauma related pain if I think about it too much.
However alarms can also be fire alarms or smoke alarms.
Being at home and having no alarms is a luxary, especially as an autistic person who severly struggles with sudden loud noises.
You get confused that you are not locked in some where
Most psychiatric wards I have been on over the years have been locked wards. And if sectioned or what some staff call a ‘high risk informal patient’ then you can’t leave without permission. If sectioned it has to be specifically written up leave, and has a set time allowed off the ward, and whether it is escorted or not. If informal then you have more freedom, but staff will at times not allow you to leave if they consider you too at risk, and if you continue to try to leave then they will section you. So to not be locked in some where with more freedom that can be confusing for a little while, whilst you get used to it.