So I've been in hospital for three weeks now. And I have to say, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Before I was admitted, I thought it was going to be like a prison. I guess it doesn't help that I watched American Horror Story: Asylum not long before. In my head, it was going to be that we had to be up early everyday, lights out and sleep at the same time, forced group activities... I thought the staff were going to be super strict and the ward would be cold and depressing. However, that could not be further from the truth.
On my first night - when I was admitted - I had a lovely nurse show me around. It was around two in the morning, so everything was dark, but it was nice to try and get my bearings ready for the morning. She showed me around the ward, where there is a gym, a quiet room, an art room, a laundry and kitchen and a communal area. There is also a lounge with a TV and a DVD player, and a dining room for when it is time to eat. It was warm, cosy and didn't feel like a hospital at all.
When she showed me my room, I was even more surprised. I was expecting a cold room with literally just a bed and nothing else. Again, I was wrong. The room was super warm, with a desk and a
small area to hang up clothes. I also had my own en-suite. I didn't have a chest of drawers at first so I just took some that were in the corridor outside my room. It literally felt exactly like a bedroom. My nan had packed me a suitcase while I was at A&E, and my dad collected it for me, so I had some of my own things with me. I spent my first night watching The Big Bang Theory, which is my comfort programme, and slept pretty well.
On my first day here, I was woken up at around eight-thirty for morning medication. They do this everyday. If you don't have medication in the morning , you won't get woken up. They also
have evening medication, which is had at six in the evening, and then night time medication, which is had at ten at the night.
The only other thing in hospital that is a set time everyday is breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is always at nine, lunch is always at twelve and dinner is always at five. They also do a toast supper and Galaxy Hot Chocolate at eight-thirty every night too. I was expecting the food to be typical hospital food with little to no choice, but I was pleasantly surprised. We have a choice of three meals, and there is always a desert after lunchtime. Today was either macaroni cheese, steak and kidney pie or chicken steak for lunch, so there
is something for everyone. My personal favourite has to be spaghetti bolognese. The portion sizes here are also huge, which is perfect for someone like me who eats copious amounts.
I've settled in to hospital quite well. All of the nurses are lovely, and are always on hand if you need help. I also get regular one-to-ones which means the staff will approach me for a chat to make sure I am doing okay as I struggle to approach people myself. They're all super lovely and listen to you - they make you feel normal. My main nurse is an absolute gem and always looks genuinely happy to see me. She checks up on me regularly and makes sure that I am on the right path, and if I am having an off day, she is there to help.
I'd say one of the only things I dislike about being here is that sometimes it can be quite noisy. There are people here with all sorts of mental illnesses, from bipolar to schizophrenia, so some days are extremely loud, and others can be super quiet and peaceful. When it gets too loud I usually just disappear to my room and do my own thing, because I don't like loud noises and it sets my anxiety off.
I'm on a ward with people of all ages (I'm the youngest, and the oldest is in her sixties). It's also an all female ward which is perfect as we can basically talk about anything. Most of the staff are also female, aside from two male nurses.
Another thing I like about hospital is that we get freedom - to an extent. We can order takeaways (we've ordered six in the past week!), go out when we want providing there are staff, are allowed our phones/laptops and can have music on if we want. It's basically like a home away from home, which is the perfect way to run a psychiatric hospital, as vulnerable people do not like being in uncomfortable environments and need as much normality as possible.
Visiting hours in a hospital are also really good. They start from 10-8 and visitors are only not allowed from 12-1 and 5-6. Usually lunch and dinner times are “protected” ie you’re not allowed any visitors. However if you’re already sat with your family or friends, they will usually let you take your food in to the room and eat it with them, instead of the leaving and coming back.
I'm unsure how much longer I am going to be in hospital but I am so incredibly grateful to have been put on the ward that I am in. I have met some wonderful people since I have been here, and could not have asked for a nicer environment to be in whilst I am in crisis.