Being in hospital taught me to slow down, and appreciate each day
Emma says that the support she got from staff in her psychiatric unit helped her rebuild her life.
Being admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit for the first time at the age of 55 was certainly a learning experience.
In some ways it was like a bizarre episode of the TV quiz show Countdown, where an unfamiliar set of letters are given to you (PTSD, OCD, BPD) but you can’t make any sense of them, and a series of numbers are given to you (with “mg” tacked on at the end) but they don’t seem to add up to anything you understand.
“For the first time I gained a real appreciation for the skill and care of nurses, student nurses and healthcare assistants.”
I heard multisyllabic words that sounded like gobbledygook and then realised not only were these the drugs I was taking, I needed to remember which ones I was taking, when I was taking them, and at which doses.
For the first time, I understood the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I gained a real appreciation for the skill and care of nurses, student nurses and healthcare assistants in our local NHS hospital. I was cared for by the catering and housekeeping teams and kept busy by the occupational and physical therapists.
Those side by side conversations over a jigsaw puzzle, or while knitting, painting or colouring in (who knew I would come to love colouring in pictures?!) were like being thrown a lifebelt and slowly being reeled back in.
Being in hospital taught me to slow down, and to take and appreciate each day. I learnt new and invaluable skills which have helped with my recovery. As someone who always had her life filled with work and just lots and lots of stuff, I have realised how sitting in the garden, dancing, doing cross stitch, playing the piano, knitting or just playing with a puppy can allow me the time to heal and recover.
“There was also so much comfort in being around other people who were ill because there was no judgement.”
When I was in hospital, I felt safe and I knew someone would always catch me, because they always did. There was also so much comfort in being around other people who were ill because there was no judgement, just acceptance and the freedom to feel what you needed to feel without needing to appear “ normal”.
With the support of my care coordinator and my community team, I have been able to build on the solid foundation of support I was given in hospital. I have been able to start to climb back up the cliff-face, one day at a time, one limb at a time, positive that one day soon I will reach the top again. This is what good inpatient care can do.
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