On the bright side

I feel that some of my posts can seem quite negative but I wanted to share one major positive of being in hospital to show you that it’s not all doom and gloom.

In case you weren’t aware, I spent 7 months in a Psychiatric Hospital. This is a longer stay than usual, I remember reading some hospital statistics which stated that the average length of stay was 30 days, so I had managed to times that by 7 – not too great. However, one of the great things I found from being there an awfully long time was that a lot of people come and go. I had what I consider the privilege of seeing many patients come in incredibly ill and leave well, as almost completely different people.

I remember my first encounter with a patient on my ward; she barely spoke to others but constantly muttered to herself and never looked anyone in the eye or really took any notice of other people. I naively thought she’d probably been like that most of her life and I just couldn’t see how she was going to get much better. What I didn’t think about was that underneath all of this, she was just your average human being whose behaviour was severely impacted by a mental illness. A couple of months later, I can recall one evening in the living room, her coming up to me, looking me in the eye and politely asking me questions about my day and various other things. I couldn’t believe that this was the same mumbling individual I had met not long ago. I can remember being shocked but lifted as it made me realise that these horrible demons we face every day don’t last forever and we can get better.

My favourite example of seeing someone recovering occurred more recently when I went back to hospital a couple of weeks ago (just to visit). My friends on the ward had told me about her but I couldn’t quite believe them until I saw for myself. A lady who had come in a while back was incredibly quiet, I had heard her speak few words throughout her stay, she seemed lost as she wandered the corridors of our ward looking incredibly timid and shy. Present day: I can’t even describe the seemingly overnight transformation. She had cut her hair into a sleek new bob, was putting on make up, was chatty with a whole new feisty side to her I had never seen before – and I loved it! She honestly couldn’t have been more polar opposite to what I had originally observed when she was admitted.

I feel lucky to have witnessed so many transformations and, it may sound cliche, but these were different women going out of those doors, back into the world, than those who had come in. I found that it personally helped and motivated me as I had seen so many prime examples of people overcoming their mental illnesses and leaving as happier, healthier individuals.

It just goes to show that, it might not feel like it right at this moment, but things CAN and WILL get better!

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