This is the second part of my views on inpatient treatment in the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service. To see the first part, covering my Positives of Inpatient CAMHS Treatment, you can find it here. The following post will be focused on what I consider to be the negatives of inpatient care.
The first point I want to make might seem obvious. You are going to be with other ill people. This can be good because you can meet some amazing and supportive people who truly understand what you’re going through. But it can also be hard. Making friends with another ill person can mean you are taking on their problems as well as your own, and this could make your stay in hospital even longer. Plus if you go to a unit where there is an excessively negative vibe amongst the patients you can find yourself with ‘friends’ who will help you to feed your illness. For example I have witnessed people passing sharp items between their friends, if you want a deterrent from doing this: hepatitis C isn’t too great.
In most CAMHS units young people have limited access to mobile phones and internet, if any. This means it can be quite easy to become detached from the real world and people who don’t have a mental illness. I’m pretty sure that whilst in *Heron unit a zombie apocalypse could have occurred and I would have had no idea. In my new unit, more on that in another post, we luckily have more access to devices.
Ward dynamics are everything. At times being in a unit can feel like the front line of a war zone with alarms and screaming people. It isn’t pleasant. But at the same time there can also be a lovely family-like atmosphere. It really is draw of the hat as to which you get, but most people experience a bit of both. There is actually pros and cons to both atmospheres as the family-like scenario can turn a bit pack-like and with that comes a dangerous patients VS staff situation. My advice is the four P’s: Plotting patients produces nothing but problems.
Stomach drop situations are all too common. That gut wrenching feeling when a problem presents itself and you are torn over what to do. I can think of lots of times over the last six months where I have seen things I shouldn’t have and had to make tough decisions. I’ve been the ‘tell-tale’ in a lot of situations where patients could have got seriously hurt or worse. But the sad truth is that on some psychiatric wards you are in a parallel universe where between patients “Hey I’ve just taken an overdose” is worth a giggle and a high five. There is always rule breaking of some sort going on of course, but I just know that in serious cases if I kept quiet and someone got hurt I would never forgive myself.
I can’t quite make an overall decision on whether my inpatient experience has been positive or negative, but I’m hoping that in the future I can make it a positive experience for myself. I live in hope that one day I will be grateful for this time because with it hopefully I will have managed to turn my life around.