When people think of being sectioned, the stereotypes come out and the prejudice kicks in. And the first thought most people have is that you will be taken away, kicking and screaming in a straight jacket. Well I hate to disappoint you, but when I was put into a psychiatric hospital, it wasn't that dramatic, in fact, it was mainly just boring.
I Was Very Weak
I won't go into the events that led me there, but I was there for 2 nights and 3 days whilst suitable accommodation could be found for me. The crisis team that had been handling my mental health up until that point decided that this would be the best place for me in the short term.
And I wanted to object, I really did, but at that point, I was too weak, too weak mentally and too weak physically.
So off we went, me, Kath and Vanessa, the two brilliant women who were looking after me every step of the way. I wasn't taken in a hospital, in fact, I was taken in a relatively new people carrier (I remember it still had a new car smell which I hate!) I think it was Kath's.
No Padded Cells
When we got there, we walked what felt like a really long way until we came to a section where we had to be buzzed in. The door was pretty heavy and it had one of those coded locks on it. Kath and Vanessa started talking to the woman at the front desk, and she signed a few papers, and that was that. I was officially under the care of a psychiatric hospital, I was sectioned. There was no kicking and screaming. I barely knew it had happened.
A nurse came and explained what was going on to me and she told me I would be there for a few days whilst everything got sorted out. But of course in my mind, that was a lie and I was never going to get out of there. As far as my paranoid mind was concerned, I had been abandoned.
It took me a while to calm down and kind of wrap my head around what was going on, but when I did I had a little wander around. There were no padded cells (I peeked in a couple of empty ones), there was a TV room, a lunch room, a huge garden area, and a room where you could just sit and read or write. There was even a vending machine.
I Was Allowed My Phone
Nurses and doctors would walk around and talk to everyone, and they would spend time with the patients with the most complex psychological needs. There were a few outbursts from those with more complicated mental health problems, but everything was quickly sorted. I didn't once see anyone get restrained or injected with anything.
They gave me my medication, and they watched me take it, but that was about as far as it went for me personally. Other than that, I was free to just be there, I was allowed my phone as long as I didn't take any pictures. I wandered around the grounds and watched TV; nobody talked to me much, so it was kind of lonely. But I don't think I would have been much company at that point anyway.
There Was a Curfew
Everyone had to be in their rooms by 11pm, which was kind of a joke as I think I slept about 4 hours in 2 days. I shared a room with a lady who didn't make much noise, but my room was right next to the toilets.
I Needed to Be There
On day 3 I finally got the call that temporary accommodation had been found for me and Kath came and picked me up. I would never ever want to go back there again, but looking back, the crisis team were right to put me there. I don't think I would be here now if they hadn't. I was a danger to myself at that point, as I had been many times previously, and as much as I couldn't really see it, it was the best place I could have possibly been, for my own safety.