Depression: ‘At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.’ – MIND
It’s been 3 weeks since I was discharged from an inpatient Psychiatric Hospital, after a long 7 months with just one week at home halfway through my stay. After finding life simply too overwhelming to continue I attempted suicide by taking a large overdose. I was rushed to my local general hospital, put on a drip and 24 hours later I was being assessed by a Mental Health Nurse and advised to go into a Psychiatric Hospital. Over 7 months later, I am still battling with mental illness but learning better methods to help me live with it.
Being admitted onto an adult Psychiatric Ward aged just 18, the youngest patient by far, I was terrified to say the least. The only things I knew about these places were the (very inaccurate) portrayal of them in the media such as films like ‘Girl Interrupted’, and the unhelpful opinion of the Mental Health Nurse assessing me who informed me how terrifying her experience working on a similar ward had been for her. Not a great start when being thrust into a completely strange environment, already feeling incredibly anxious and depressed.
After only leaving my room for meal times for the first few days, I began to venture out as far as the TV lounge to socialise and what I found surprised me. Everyone was incredibly friendly, empathetic with how I was feeling, and so very ‘normal’ – not at all conforming to what I had been led to believe. I will go into more detail about my illness and hospital stay in future posts. However, fast-forward to present day, I have some fantastic friends from my time on the ward and we often see and support each other now because they are the people who most ‘get it’ when it comes to our Mental Health. These past 7 months have been a huge challenge but having the support of others in my position who completely understood has helped me massively. So yes, it can be scary admitting you need help, and the possibility of going into hospital daunting, but once people realise that the stereotypical beliefs about Psychiatric Hospitals and Mental Illnesses couldn’t be further from the truth, hopefully more people will reach out.
Fight the stigma. Speak out.