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 put 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

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