Being voluntarily detained under the mental health act is quite an interesting experience. It’s not as easy as going to hospital with a bag and saying “Hi, I’m here for a little rest”, and there is a necessary yet complicated process one must go through in order to prove they are quite insane enough.
It starts in Accident and Emergency. You don’t necessarily need to have done anything (i.e suicide attempt / self harm / running around screaming your lungs off / beheaded anyone) but you need to be sure that what you’re currently going through is a crisis, and I know very well that this is what I’m going through. I waited for 10 hours before I was seen and I tried not to get angry about this as I understand the strain the NHS is under is not the NHS’s fault. They gave me the lorazepam, and things seemed to calm down from there. I was told they would very much like to admit me, but they had to go through the Crisis Team first. Today, Crisis Team came to my house and we discussed my options.
I’m definitely going in, that much we’ve agreed on. I’m on the list for a bed and apparently you will normally get that bed on the same day, or the day after at the latest, so now I’m just waiting for a call. They don’t want to put me on a mixed ward so we’re waiting for a bed on a single sex ward, which is ideal for me as I’d be terrified on a mixed ward. In the meantime, they’re sending people from the team to my house sporadically throughout the next 24 hours to check in on me, to make sure I haven’t completely lost it, to make sure I’m safe (which I do not feel at the moment, on my own, locked inside my own mind). My mind pretends it’s a part of me and is my friend, but it isn’t. A friend recently quoted I think Dylan Thomas at me: “My friends were enemies on stilts with their heads in a cunning cloud”. I feel like that about my brain.
So now, we wait, again. It’s a wonder I haven’t had a section slapped on me but I think that’s the joy of being a voluntary patient – you’re saying “Look. Yes. I’ve got a real problem. Listen to me.” and then you tell them all the things you’ve been thinking, seeing, hearing, experiencing, and they in turn go “Shit. Yes. You’ve got a real problem” and rather than them having to call an ambulance, you call it yourself. This ounce of co-operation is enough that no brutality (emotional or otherwise) is used.
I asked them what to pack, and they said “just things you’ll need”. I’m packing my macbook with little hope I’ll actually be allowed to use it, some notebooks, my Kindle, my phone, my iPod. I hope the notebooks will come in very handy. The Kindle will have me reading Wuthering Heights and sobbing, my phone will keep me in contact with all of you and my iPod will help me coast through the new medications.
People have been very supportive about this and before the possibility of a hospital trip seemed reasonable to me, my friends have been close by. It’s just now got to a time where I cannot rely on you all any more, as my mental health is not your responsibility. As I said to them today, I need to come in now, before I lose the very little insight and restraint I have, and have to be forcibly detained, after a bigger crisis. I’m losing my mind at such a rapid rate I feel myself standing outside myself watching myself be the person I seem to be these days; constantly up and down, losing track of myself mid-sentence, thoughts falling out of my head the second I’ve had them, obsessive compulsive, anxious to the point of constant panic, driven by intense self-loathing, acting recklessly and impulsively, making bad decisions, never stopping to think, scared of everyone and everything, governed by the hallucinations (audible and visual) that have returned back into my life, lying in bed until 6am waiting to sleep, twitching and jumping out of my skin at every sound, suspicious of the motives of absolutely everyone, including myself. Each of these symptoms I can handle, normally I’m getting by on a few of those. But all of them at once, I can’t, and I won’t.
When I know what ward I’ll be on and what visiting hours are, I will let you all know. Thankyou again for your continued support.