Diary of an Inpatient
Following the livestream with the Grassroots Gazette and Hay Campaign last week I found myself reading some personal entries I wrote while at my absolute lowest inside a psychiatric hospital. This particular article stood out to me and I feel by sharing it I can really help someone who may be feeling low and afraid to reach out. Getting help was the best choice I ever made, and here I am, getting my life back on track.
23 November 2020
The hourly checks get a bit annoying after a while. You’ve to strategically plan when you can shower, go to the toilet and get changed without being disturbed. The draft from your bedroom door opening sends your white frosted bathroom door swinging open for the world to see everything. I found that I really had the system down to a tee after the first few months. Not everyone is here long enough to catch on. I almost consider myself a long term resident of this ward.
I like to live a life of luxury so I stole a beanie bag from the common room and placed it neatly in the corner of my en-suite master bedroom and that’s where I sit and contemplate the meaning of life, and whether or not I deserve yet another tub of Ben & Jerrys. It also allows me to see the shadows of people if they are going to knock on my door. One nurse in particular likes to bang really loudly with her key fob, which I’m not even going to elaborate on or I’ll only wind myself up.
When I initially came in it was a rollercoaster ride to say the least, trying out different medications. Dealing with the horrific side effects of nausea, vomiting, tremors, headaches and a racing pulse to name but a few. The insomnia was the first point of call to address, as everyone knows sleep is very important for your mental health. My body simply said ‘go fuck yourself’. Even after a toxic combination of drugs that would have been enough to knock a horse, I often found myself twiddling my thumbs in bed at 2am, having only been knocked out for 2-3 hours. It was then that I would discover I had recorded and sent snapchat videos that I had no recollection of. I could never remember the hour before going to sleep but after watching these videos back I truly apologise to any poor misfortune that had to endure such a sight. Must admit, I have a funny sense of humour when I’m not wound up or on edge. If only it was easy to constantly be in that drugged state and still function properly day to day.
Still now 4 months on the sleep has not improved so I guess it’s just not meant to be and my body is stubborn to prove that it’s capable of surviving on the bare minimum to keep me alive. If only it could apply the same stubbornness to help me cope with this fucker of an illness that’s testing my patience big time. I’m in sheer desperation to feel. Just feel happy, feel content and feel that I actually want to live. Just existing in life isn’t enjoyable nor is it sustainable. The reality is I wake up every morning wishing I didn’t. Wishing that I could just close my eyes again and never wake up. Wanting to die but not wanting to do it yourself because you know the hurt that it’s going to leave behind for everyone who cares. But there comes a point where for a split second you forget about everyone and you forget about the guilty feeling that’s constantly in your chest. All you can hear is that absolute gowl of a voice in your head reminding you of how the world would be better without you, how you’re a burden on everyone around you while continuously saying ‘Just do it already’. It gets pretty exhausting and it’s understandable how people give in to the pressures. But at the end of the day, your inner critic is only an absolute wanker who doesn’t deserve the time of day. Through psychotherapy and in some situations, medication, you can shut that bastard up and take back control of the life you deserve to have. You only have one life and it’s up to you and only you, how you live it.
With proper help it’s possible to make a life that you wake up in the mornings feeling motivated and content with what you have. Of course bad days go without saying, that’s part and parcel of life. It might be a bad day, bad week, or bad month but it’s not a bad life. You have the ability to make it what you want. This statement is coming from someone who still feels the urge to die multiple times a week but where there’s hope there’s a way. If you can manage to hold onto a bit of hope, fighting these demons are possible. If you feel like you can’t hold that hope, give it to someone you trust. A family member, a therapist or a friend. They can keep a hold of that hope until you’re strong enough to take control of it yourself, they’ll root you on and keep motivating you to keep fighting.
Somebody somewhere smiles when they hear a song that reminds them of you,
somebody somewhere laughs when they recall a joke you once shared,
somebody somewhere feels good when they see your name pop up on their phone,
somebody knows they have a safe place to go should they ever need it,
somebody is comforted by the thoughtful little gift you bought them,
You have created an invisible network of thoughts, emotions, feelings, love and friendship which spreads so much further than you realise.
THAT’S ALL YOU.