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How I took control of my independence after being in hospital

Monday, 12 March 2018 Poppy Lee

After being sent to an institution centre, Poppy gets told that she will never live at home safety again. Read about how she proves them wrong.

Poppy is from Somerset and absolutely loves turtles, sharing her recovery story, and hoping to show recovery is possible and so worth it.

Looking back, I was about 12 when I first started to notice something wasn't quite right. It wasn't every day, but I started to lack motivation. A lack of motivation to go to school, to eat, to talk to people and sometimes even getting out of bed.

"Things went from bad to awful and I hit rock bottom."

Slowly over two years things went from bad to awful and I hit rock bottom. I didn't understand why, but just functioning like I used to wasn't possible. I would rock up to school and make my way around somehow but once I got home I could barely remember a single thing I'd done. Once my parents started to notice my struggles they dragged me to the GP and I was quickly seen by CAMHS. I received very little help until I reached crisis point. I was then admitted to general hospital. A few days later I was starting the four hour drive to an inpatient unit, 163 miles away from my home and family.

The day of my admission I had no idea what to expect. In my head I had pictured so many things but what I walked into was nothing like I had imagined. When I arrived my bags were quickly taken off me. After lots of questions and paperwork I was shown my tiny bedroom, which had none of my stuff in it. I was asked to change into a short sleeved top and to remove my socks and bra, and then I was left alone. It was a massive shock to be thrown into this environment so far away from the comforts of home. The closest thing I had to going outside was putting my hand out of a slightly open window.

"The ward was noisy and scary at times, and often I felt really unsafe there."

The ward was noisy and scary at times, and often I felt really unsafe there. I would go into my own little world. My world was quite often scary and I would disconnect from everyone and everything. I would get completely stuck and unable to get myself out of it. I was watched changing, showering, taking medication and even going to the toilet. Sometimes a member of staff would watch me all the time, even when I was asleep.

However even with this level of observation there wasn't much care and compassion. Many of us were shouted at, hurt in unnecessary restraints or simply left in a moment of crisis.

"I had enough of being trapped inside four walls and behind locked doors."

Often during inpatient treatment I felt completely let down by the medical team at the hospital and also from my local CAMHS who made no effort to try and help my situation. I felt like nowhere could help me, like there was no hospital ward that could treat all of my struggles. I felt completely trapped in the inpatient system with no way out. I was often told by my doctors I would never be able to manage to live safely at home and the sad thing is I was told it so often I started to believe it. I had to make the change, it had to come from me in the end. I had enough of being trapped inside four walls and behind locked doors, it started to scare me how normal hospital life had become.

"I'm learning to enjoy my life again."

With the support of my wonderful family I managed to prove everyone wrong. Now six months after my discharge I'm learning to enjoy my life again. I now have so many reasons to keep going, once I started allowing myself to have good days they just kept coming. It's took me three and a half years of hospital admissions to realise recovery had to come from me. No one was going to be able to do it for me, hospital purely gave me a room to keep me safe in. It was only once I decided to make a change could I really benefit from the support that was being given, most of which came from my friends and family. It helped when I found my voice. I started to speak up about my care and actually ask for the support I needed. Please don't stay silent if you need more support because it might not always be given to you if you don't voice what you actually need. Looking back to that month before I was taken to hospital, I wish I had spoken up and been honest about the true extent of my struggles inside. Maybe I could have avoided such a long hospital stay, who knows. Just please never be afraid to ask for help because recovery is so so so worth it.

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