This time last year I was in hospital, I was discharged a year ago on Friday for what would be the 3rd and final time. The final time being I’m now 18 and can never go back to that place. I wanted to talk about the first time I ever went to the hospital. I was 14, it was a few weeks before my 15th birthday. I had attempted suicide and was first taken to A&E. I was in a general children’s ward for a few days before the moved me to an adolescent inpatient unit.
A&E was fine, to be honest, I can’t remember much of it, I just remember a friend of my mums bringing me sushi, and hating the one to one nurse I had. I have nothing against religion, but this nurse was reading the bible to me and telling me I needed to find god. Luckily the lovely paediatric nurses noticed how uncomfortable that made me feel and the one to one nurse ended up having loads of breaks because the other nurses kept offering to have me on one to one. A few days after I was first admitted into the general hospital, i was moved to an inpatient unit.
This was terrifying. I thought it was going to be like a prison and everyone who was in there would be terrifying and would be ‘mad’. At the time I was so angry at my mum (I really don’t know why) and I felt really alone. I arrived there on the weekend (I think) so it was pretty empty. There was one other girl on the ward when I first arrived, pretty much everyone else was on weekend leave. The first day I was there was strange. Very very strange. There was a lovely nurse (let’s call her N) was my first one to one. I don’t remember much of that time, apart from being in a room that smelt like piss. It was horrific. After a night in the piss room, I got moved to a new room with a bright pink wall and a view of the garden.
It’s strange for me, to think back to my first admission. It has got to the stage where all my admissions have blurred into one. Before going to hospital I didn’t think I was ill at all. Even during my time in hospital I didn’t think I was ill, I thought everyone had it worse than me and at times the system made me feel as if I was faking it which didn’t help my lingering sense of doubt. There really isn’t much point to this blog but there is something I’m trying to get at here;
If you need to go to hospital, go. If you need help, go and find it. If you don’t know where to find help, ask. There is help out there, and although sometimes it is hard to access, it’s there. The most important thing I learnt while inside hospital is that feelings are you own. You can’t compare how you are feeling to how someone else is feeling, you are your own person and everyone thinks differently. Please, please, please don’t compare how you feel to how ‘bad’ someone else has it. I can’t stress this enough.
Hospital isn’t a bad place, and although there were some deep, dark, terrible times, some of my best memories were made there. We used to have code names for cigarettes and lighters, and used to go on walks to the ‘dog park’ and walk a few yards in front of the staff smoking cigarettes and blowing the smoke to our t-shirts. I have fond memories of the place and made some really amazing friends there.
Even at my most ill, I didn’t think I was ill. Looking back on it now, and reading the things I wrote and seeing the things I drew at that time I can see I was very very ill, and I could have very easily lost my life. It felt as if I was submerged under this wave of darkness, getting thrown and tossed about and there was nothing I could hold on to, nothing to support me. I also said that I felt as if there was someone behind me, and omnipresent shadow that never left my side. It was haunting me. It was as if the world was so dark, I couldn’t see the light. And when the light did come, it took me a long time to leave the ‘darkness’, because I was afraid, because after so long in the darkness it began to feel comfortable. Even now sometimes I run and hide in that metaphorical darkness just because it can feel comforting, it is an old friend and old enemy, but it was there for me. In some ways me finding the darkness so comforting saved my life, because I wasn’t in such a rush to leave it, I felt comfortable there long enough to get better.
I know this doesn’t really make sense, but I just wanted to write something. There is a lot currently in my mind and I thought that it might be good to air some of it out. Just remember that if you are in that darkness, it does get better, and however scary it may be to recover it is well worth it.