The first thing I did this morning was pack my bag, even though it was still a day before going home. I am struggling to tolerate this, even though I know it’s not for much longer. I am so very grateful I don’t have to. I’m permanently in a state of slight anxiety, constantly waiting for danger. All that adrenaline is not at all good for my system.
When I got home for my visit last night I pretty much passed out. Yes I am exhausted from sleep deprivation and all the emotional stress, but somehow on the ward I go into survival mode. The chemicals in my system are keeping me awake and alert. I was only home for about twenty minutes before I was out cold. It was like my body breathed this huge sigh of relief at feeling safe.
There are some new patients on the ward who I find very challenging. One is an older gentleman who either shouts a lot or sleeps with his head on the table. He is so filthy, the whole room smells when he wanders in. He stinks of stale urine and just general long term neglect I suppose. It’s really sad to see someone in such a bad way. And for a clean freak like me, the hygiene aspect triggers big anxiety.
The other is a very physically disabled woman who has no idea who or where she is. She’s bent double in her wheelchair, moving it around uncomfortably by shuffling her feet. When she speaks, it is really hard to figure out what she’s saying. I don’t want to avoid her, but it makes me very uncomfortable not being able to understand her. She keeps asking to use my phone and claiming that the staff haven’t told her husband she is here. The staff have told us not to allow her to use our phones. It’s just difficult.
It is constantly difficult here. People tell you horror stories and have no boundaries about personal space, sharing things you might not want to hear, or asking questions you might not want to answer. So I hide in my room, but then I start pacing and feeling stir crazy and wanting to smash my head against the walls.
Another of the patients has really latched on to me today. He hears voices and is sectioned because he flew into a violent rage, put his hand through a glass door and was threatening people. He’s decided I want to hear him talk about his various theories on feminism and what it means to be an alpha male. Whenever I go into the communal area, he immediately sits beside me and just talks at me endlessly. He keeps asking for my phone number so we can meet up when he’s out of here and I keep changing the subject like the excellent codependent I am.
I am so tired of this. It’s bloody hard to try and be compassionate and non-judgemental when I am continuously in these challenging situations. I just want to scream at them all to fuck off. Which feels harsh when they are all so seriously ill. I feel sad for them, but I desperately want to get away from them too.
The good thing is that it seems more than likely that I am going to be released tomorrow. So I just have to survive one more fearful, sleepless night and hopefully this ordeal will be over.
I will leave you with two things that amused me today. A cost effective Christmas tree compromise and an appropriately off kilter compass…