My life in a year… on a psych ward

As of August 2020, I started self-harming because of the way I felt about myself. I started with bruising then I took an overdose (leading to hospitalisation). Then October 2020 I started cutting, covering my body, neck down to ankles front and back. I was doing it 24/7, to the point, I’d only have a break at mealtimes. It was obsessively extreme that my Mum had no choice but to get me sectioned. November 3rd I was sectioned and put on a section 2 and ambulance driven to hospital.

The same day I got admitted to the hospital I still managed to self-harm. I was quiet, nervous and wouldn’t leave my room, nor would I speak to anyone. I had everything taken off me and I just couldn’t cope. So, I ended up restricting diet and fluids and over-exercising. I ended up losing 1 and a half stone in 2 weeks and I was severely malnourished…

I ended up in general hospital on the gastro ward getting tube fed and put on IV fluids for 3 weeks over Christmas and the new year. Which is where I had some of the worse experiences. I got manhandled by the consultant, I started having pseudoseizures, I saw a patient die in front of me and I was getting accused daily of trying to pull my nasal (ng) tube out. The staff would try and barge into the bathroom with me constantly. It made my already bad mental health 1000 times worse… I was in such a bad place I ended up ripping my ng tube and cannula out in front of them. I was then discharged and sent back to the acute ward at the mental health hospital.

I was only on the acute for 3 days, as I was then moved to the intensive care unit (PICU) where I spent about 10 days. After that, I was moved back to the acute ward but, things starting getting bad again pretty quickly. I was managing to self-harm by cutting all my body and I would lay shaking covered in blood but, when staff did hourly bed checks they didn’t see me until 2-3 hours later. I’d feel so guilty when they found me and I would apologise for doing it because they shouldn’t have to see that. However, when I did have incidents I felt the staff would use it against me as they wouldn’t talk to me after, and they would express how disappointed they were in me. That alone would instantly make me feel like pure shit.

In one of my MDT meetings with the psychiatrist, I managed to blag her into giving me unescorted ground leave for 15 minutes, even though I had the intent to hurt myself. So, I ended up getting an uber to pick me up and I went to Leeds and bought razor blades and rocked up back to hospital 5 and half hours later all cut up…

Not long after my trip out, I ended up back on the PICU. Where I spent another 10 days or so. During my time on the PICU, I experienced a lot of verbal sexual abuse by one of the male patients, some of the stuff he said was vile. However, I took it all in my stride and didn’t let it bother me. Not long after I got told I was moving to a different acute ward.

Change is a massive trigger for me as I get anxious about having to meet a whole new bunch of people so, it didn’t go down too well. I started smashing my fist on the wall busting my knuckles open. I refused to go so, I ended up getting restrained and carried by 5-6 people who then took me to the acute ward.

When I got to the acute I was incredibly distressed because I didn’t want to be there. So, when my Mum came I tried to do a runner with her, which got me restrained once again but, this time in front of my Mum. It broke her heart seeing me like that. Later that night I managed to get my hands on a razor blade and I continued…

The next day I was put on level 3 obs which is where someone stays within eyesight of you at all times. I struggled massively with it at first but, I got used to it. That is until they told me I was getting moved to a high-risk all-female PICU in Darlington and I was dreading going to a new place, with more new people, that I managed to get my hands on more razor blades and cut all my arm open.

The next morning I was getting restrained and handcuffed and put into a van but, the staff failed to hand over that I had open wounds on my arm and still let the transport team rag me about. While I was in the van the transport team were disgusted by the state of my arm, and they took pictures because they couldn’t believe the staff at the hospital didn’t hand it over.

When I arrived at the hospital in Darlington, I was warmly greeted by the staff. I was dreading it at first because I didn’t think the staff would understand my disorder and I struggled with all the restrictions for a while but, the staff were all lovely and very understanding!

I started off doing well for the first few days but then things suddenly turned really bad, I smashed my iPhone glass screen protection into pieces using them to cut into the already open wounds on my arm. Which got me restrained and injected to calm me down. From that point on I was getting into incidents constantly I started repeatedly smashing my hand on the walls to the extent of nearly losing my finger. So I was then out on level 4, 2 to 1 which meant I had 2 people at arms length at all times. I was on them obs for a couple of months until my risk subsided. However, I was still getting in incidents even having 18 a day at times.

When I eventually got taken off level 4, I started smashing my elbow on the wall instead which also resulted in me nearly losing my arm. I never believed it though. That brings me to now, I’ve managed just over two weeks incident-free off obs 9-1 in communal areas and I’m getting my hair cut a week on Tuesday. I don’t know what changed but something has and it’s for the better. I’m handling things a lot better. I mean, I have my days but they haven’t resulted in me hurting myself, which is massive because that’s all I knew for nearly a year.

Malise xx

Finally…

So, after nearly a year in hospital and 6 months on the PICU things have only just started looking up for me. I’ve gone from having incidents every single day, to a point of me even having 18 in one day and I can now say I’ve managed to do 2 weeks incident-free. I’m still struggling and I do have my moments but, with staffs’ help and support I’ve managed to deal with the urges without acting on them and hurting myself.

I’ve been on observations since the day I arrived starting on level 3, 1 to 1 then 4 checks in communal then level 4, 2 to 1 then back on level 3, 2 to 1 which I’ve been on ever since but, today they’ve been reduced to 9 until 1, 4 checks in communal areas. I’ve also got leave to go and have my hair cut and I have to be incident-free to go. So, it’s going to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced and I’m very anxious to be having a few hours on the ward by myself as there’s time to overthink everything but, I don’t want to mess everything up when I’ve been doing so well. I think I’ll be okay. I guess time will tell…

I’ve also recently had an assessment for a rehab ward on-site and I’ve been accepted. So, that’s where I think I’ll be spending the next year. Things are not going to change overnight but, I’m heading in the right direction. Yes, I’ll have to work hard and engage in therapy but, I think I’m ready!

Malise xx

Cutting contact…

Dear Mum, Dad and Mace

With much thought I have made a decision to cut contact with you all for a month. Please don’t take it to heart, I’m purely doing it just to see how I cope. I’m not doing it with intent to hurt you’s at all. I’ve cried and cried the last couple of days because I do love you all dearly and if anything bad was to happen because of my decision, I know I would never forgive myself. I love all 3 of you so much but, being in the setting I am when I see you it feels strange and like I don’t know any of you anymore. I know you’ll never give up fighting to get me to the body dysmorphia specialist unit, where I need to be and I can’t thank you enough for that alone never mind everything else you do for me.

Malise xx

My final post…

I look in the mirror and all I see is ugliness staring back at me. Bad skin, bad teeth and just one big disgusting ugly mess. I deserve to be punished for existing like this. So, I’ll always carry on self-harming in any way shape or form that I can. I’m just tired, fed up and I feel like I’m getting nowhere in life.

To my Mum, Dad and Brother and all the people closest to me. I’ve been trying so hard for you all, you’re all the reason I’m still living but, It’s killing me feeling so low every single day. I know I never say it but I love you all so god damn much.

I go to bed every night wishing I wouldn’t wake up, but I do. I know I should be grateful for life as some people don’t have the choice to live. I would 100% swap places with them people without even thinking twice if I could!

I never know what to say to anyone. I’m hurting inside, every day is a battle. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s one I can face anymore…

So, with being in the frame of mind I’m in now this will be my last post… for the foreseeable.

Malise xx

LIVING with Body dysmorphia part 2.

Hey everyone,

imagine waking up looking in a mirror and despising everything you see…

well, welcome to my life. Every day I wake up, look in the mirror and immediately want to hurt myself as a punishment for the disgustingly ugly thing I see staring back at me.

I make sure to wash my face, brush my teeth and do my hair religiously because there the only things that seem to make me feel like I look acceptable enough to leave the house, and be seen by others. If I don’t do any of them things I literally can’t function properly and will refuse to leave my room.

I’m constantly worrying about everything to do with my face, like what food I eat, what skincare I use, how much water I drink etc… it is consuming a big part of my life. It’s got to a point where I don’t see any future for myself either because I feel no one will ever want me as long as I look the way I do.

I find it hard to explain to people why I feel the way I do as I don’t want to come across as being vain and an attention seeker, so I normally don’t say anything. either that or just hide behind a ‘smile’ and say ‘I’m fine’.

Malise xx

This is me… Inside my head with Body dysmorphia!

I wake up in a not so comfy bed to two members of staff sat either side of me. I then prioritise doing my skincare routine and brushing my teeth, before anything! But, as soon as I look in the mirror, I despise everything I see looking back at me. It then sets me off for the day. I instantly feel low, I feel anxious, I feel disgusting and I feel the need to punish myself. I feel that the people around me and those who care about me shouldn’t have to see my disgusting ugly mess of a face.

I constantly see graphic images in my head of ways to hurt myself, and I’m really struggling to fight against the negative thoughts I have on a daily basis. “No one should have to see the state of me”, “I don’t deserve to be alive”, “no one will ever want me”, “how is anyone meant to love me if I don’t love myself”, “I need to carve the word disgusting into my body”.

I literally go to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up the next day, and the bad thing about it is, I feel guilty for thinking that because there’s people who care about me, and the thought of not having me in their lives would destroy them. There’s also so many people in the world who don’t have the choice of living and I would most definitely swap places with them If I could!

I never know what to say when people ask how I feel because I think my problems are stupid, and I feel people don’t always understand. I fear that everyone will see me as being vain and attention seeking. So, i just keep everything bottled up until I can’t deal with it anymore and it gets too much.

How am I meant to see any future when I feel the way I do EVERY DAY…

Malise xx

Chester Ward

After a horrible experience at my previous hospital, the moment I arrived at Chester ward, in my pajamas covered in blood, wet hair and no shoes, I was greeted in such a friendly and genuine manner by the staff on shift.

3 months later and after a lot of up and downs (mainly downs), numerous restraints, IMS, and medication, with staffs never-ending support, I’ve managed to have 4 days incident free. 4 full days without hurting myself. I know it won’t always be the case as everyone has blips and down days, which I am still having but, I’ve got to remember that it’s normal to have the odd bad day.

Staff have been absolutely amazing with me especially the last few days, they’ve helped fight and get through any urges I’m having. I’ve broke down numerous time’s because it is so hard and I get mad at myself when i’m struggling because I hate disappointing people. I know i shouldn’t feel like that and as the staff say, I should give myself more credit as i’ve gone from having 13 incidents a day to just 1 or 2. But, I don’t because I put too much pressure on myself most of the time.

I have just got to find a way of dealing with the strong thoughts and urges when they arise.

I am trying…

Malise xx

THIS IS ME…

*Possible trigger warning.

Hi everyone, I’m about to be 100% honest with you all. So, here goes…

My names Malise and I’m a severe self-harmer. I suffer from Body dysmorphia, ocd, anxiety, depression and recently eupd.

From October, I started cutting myself to a point where I was covered neck down to my ankles, front and back. It was and still is, a form of self-punishment for looking disgusting. It’s also a distraction from the thoughts of actually ending my life.

I can’t describe how I feel about it because I don’t think people fully understand my body dysmorphia.

For those who don’t know, Body dysmorphia is where you have a strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you ugly and you spend a lot of time worrying about ‘flaws’ in your appearance, which others don’t see.

I get asked frequently when people see my scars ”if you’re bothered about your face and how you look, why are you cutting the skin on your body” I always never know what to say, do I cry? Do I try and explain myself? Or do I stay quiet?

It’s horrible because in my head all I see is my face being a horrible, disgusting, ugly mess. So, then I punish my body for how I see and believe my face looks, even when others say they don’t see anything wrong with it.

yes, I’m covered in scars and yes I think if I was to have access to something that could cause a great deal of harm to me I would use it, there’s no doubt about it. But, I haven’t so unfortunately I can’t.

I mean, I’m not saying I haven’t tried other ways to harm myself because I most definitely have. But, regarding the cutting, I haven’t done it for nearly 11 weeks. I’m not going to lie it’s been the hardest thing not being able to do the damage I want to do to myself. As I’m still really struggling with the intense urges and graphic images in my head of how I want to hurt myself 24/7.

I don’t know if they’ll ever go and I don’t know if I’ll ever get better…

Malise xx

To my Mum, Dad and Brother…

I’m sorry for putting you all through everything I’ve been going through. I’m also sorry for pushing you all away when I probably need you the most. I just feel like I’ve got to deal with everything on my own. I love you all dearly and I appreciate your constant support. However, I think because it’s been so long when you do come to visit I feel so detached from you all and like nothings the same anymore.

I am struggling massively and in all honesty, I don’t know how much I can take. I just feel stuck and like I’m getting worse and worse as the days go on. I promise I don’t mean to be so cold-hearted. I didn’t want you to get used to seeing me all the time when anything could happen. Especially with how I’m feeling on a day to day basis. The only reason I continue to struggle is because of you 3. I know you’re fighting to get me the help I need and I know you will do all it takes to help me get better.

In my head, I just always think that constantly hurting myself in various ways is better for you all because at least I’m still alive (unfortunately).

All my love,

Malise xx

Nothing but the truth!

Hi everyone, after posting my last post, I felt like I missed a few details out about how i’m actually feeling.

So, I’m struggling every single day. I wake up, look in the mirror and see a disgusting ugly mess staring back at me.

I’m constantly trying to find ways to punish myself for it. Being in a high restrictive Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit means it’s more difficult. But, I get so frustrated with feeling the same way about myself all the time, I’m literally stuck in a self-destructive mode.

It’s emotionally draining, I’m tired, and I’m constantly trying to harm myself. Repeatedly hitting any wall in sight as that seems to be one of the only ways I can cause damage to myself while being here. But, the staff are having to intervene by restraining me as they have a duty of care to keep me safe. My natural reaction is to get out of the holds so, I wriggle and make things hard for myself and the staff but, I never intentionally try to hurt anyone. Only myself! If staff do get hurt, I feel so guilty and feel like I need to be punished.

My appearance is the biggest trigger for me. I feel worthless, depressed and suicidal because of how I look and feel about myself. If anyone was to make even a harmless comment regarding my image I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. I always fall straight back into the impulsive and self-destructive behaviours. It’s the same with feeling guilty as that’s another big trigger also.

When people give me reassurance and compliments, I never believe them. I never know what to say because I feel like i’m not being genuine if I say thank you when I don’t see it myself. But, what else am I meant to say?

I’m fed up, and I just don’t care what happens to me anymore. I’d like to say the only thing keeping me alive is my family but, I’m ashamed to say that in reality it’s the staff in Darlington on the PICU that are…

I’m not living, I’m just surviving! I don’t know if things are going to get any better, and I don’t know if anyone will be able to change the way I see myself or if I’ll even be able to see myself differently. However, as long as i’m in hostpital I’ve got to keep going and, it’s so bloody hard and I’m really really struggling but, unfortunately I haven’t got a choice.

Malise xx