For the last month I have been living in a psychiatric hospital. Let’s rewind back four and a bit weeks ago, when unbeknown to me I was not OK.
I had a normal day of seeing family and spending time with my nephew. I had been fighting a never ending battle with demons in my head such as ‘your ugly, your fat, your worthless’ for a while at this point and on the 20th September it all came to a head and I had a breakdown to the point where I could not speak, move or concentrate. I was in hospital for a good 6 hours before I saw anyone, still in a complete state having panic attack after panic attack. To cut a long story short the psychologist referred me to Oxleas House mental hospital.
Now I can truly say this experience has shaped me for the rest of my life and has opened my mind to mental illness and the suffering people are going through all year round. I was admitted and treated with care by the nurses and doctors. It was my first time being in a mental hospital and I can say, first hand, it’s the scariest experience ever. I was so naive to mental illness that even somebody talking to themselves scared me, but in fact the person is just like me except the demons they face may be different. They are still a human being though.
Everyone admitted to a psychiatric ward has to stay for 3 days before they are seen by anyone including doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. This means that for the first three days I was so scared; I had no idea what was going on, or what was wrong with me. It was genuinely the toughest three days I have encountered so far. The Wednesday after my 3 days of hell, I got to see the doctor who at the time was not much help, he just advised I stayed in longer. The following day I was seen by a psychologist who within 50 minutes had diagnosed me with BPD unstable personality disorder. For me this was a big shock, as I had only been diagnosed with depression in April and obviously my doctor had no clue of the signs of BPD.
The diagnosis is still hard for me to understand as I feel no different with medication and treatment. It’s hard to accept that the way you feel is the effect of having such a disorder. For me, I experience chronic emptiness and numbness to the point it causes me to self-harm or even want to take my life. I had no clue these feelings could be linked to a mental illness. During my time spent in hospital I took any opportunity I could to take part in activities to keep myself motivated, the only problem was I still felt like giving up and giving in to my depression. It was a long old battle but I feel I have come out on top.
I have been discharged and thrown back out into society and its scary allure. People who suffer from mental illness feel a certain stigma attached to it. I will be the first to own up that I was one of many who thought mental illness was all blown out of proportion, but I could not of been further from the truth. I have met people with schizophrenia, bi-polar, depression, BPD and many more. I thank god that I have met these people because they are just the same as everyone else, except they’re fighting demons others find easy to defeat.
Overall I am grateful to the experiences I have had because it has made me a better person and I urge more of you to share your stories of mental illness and your difficulties as it may help others.