How I learned to cope in a psychiatric ward
Being put into in-patient care for any mental illness can be hard. As difficult as my own experience in a Priory hospital was, it was an experience I’ll never forget as it helped me to love life more and help other people with similar difficulties.
I thought it would be helpful to give some tips on how to stay safe, and give yourself every chance to get better in a psychiatric ward. They come from my own expieriences in recovering from severe depression. Obviously, these aren’t law binding. They’re just what I found helpful, and perhaps they’ll help you, too.
1. Do not break anything in anger.
If you are well enough to read this then you are well enough to understand that you can be charged for breaking hospital property. If you need release and you’re feeling frustrated, talk to someone instead.
2. Take part in every opportunity the hospital offers
I found this the quickest way to get better with depression. The more you coax yourself out of your room, and the more you involve yourself in activities and realise there are things to do in life, the quicker you can start to feel more positive (even if it’s just getting involved with a baking group).
3. Do not fake hallucinations for medication
The doctors know when you’re faking and it will be viewed as a reason for concern. Try to focus on getting better instead.
4. Respect other patients on your ward
Going into the rooms of other patients, borrowing their stuff or even questioning them on their mental health is rude and you could end up in a lot of trouble. Everyone is in hospital for a reason, so it’s important to respect that.
5. If you’re upset about something, let staff know
Talking to someone can prevent you from self-harm, suicidal thoughts and total meltdowns. It’s difficult to let someone you barely know inside your head, but it helps. Please trust me on this. Staff will never yell at you, and never judge.
7. It’s OK to be happy
Just because you’re diagnosed with depression doesn’t mean there’s a law that says you have to feel low all the time. Neither does it mean that as soon as you smile the hospital will kick you out; it just shows improvement. Try to live in the happy times as long as possible, and don’t feel guilty about it.