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A Day in the Life of an Inpatient in a Psychiatric Hospital
Posted by amyc
30th Nov 2012

07.15 – Someone sticks their head round the door for morning medication. Their shrill voice pierces me from my nightmare, to the unwelcome knowledge it is another morning.

07.25 – I stumble out of bed and down to the meds hatch, pop a few colourful pills and drag myself into the lounge to make a coffee (decaf of course, caffeinated is not allowed.) I ask myself what is the point.

07.30 – Two other girls and I trek down for a cigarette in sleepy silence. I get the light from the flame free lighter on the wall and pass my cigarette round so everyone gets a light.

07.40 – I return to bed.

08.20 – Cigarette time followed by roughly pulling on the same clothes I wore yesterday, tracksuit bottoms and a vest top that is far too skimpy for this nearly December weather.

08.40 – Breakfast the first meal of the day, always goes straightforwardly for me. A piece of toast and a coffee with honey (my therapist’s idea.) We have a brief informal chat over breakfast about what is going on today, but the meal largely passes in silence.

09.00 – Planning meeting , where a patient chairs and asks everyone how they are, then asks if there are any issues, then behavioural chain analyses (BCA’s) for maladaptive behaviour are read out if anyone has one, then we finish with a mindfulness exercise (today we have to observe the sounds in the room for two minutes.) Then it is time for another cigarette.

09.30 – I return to bed to lie idly for fifteen minutes prior to the dialectical behaviour therapy skills session. I have not done the homework but don’t make any effort to change that.

09.45 – Skills with the team leader, his sessions are always pretty good, but I’m still not in the mood for sitting for an hour discussing DBT. We are on emotion regulation and currently covering “How to let go of emotional suffering” It was an OK session, but not fantastic clearly as I started writing this half way through!

10.45 – Now to start my phone calls for the day. First of all I call a lady from a charity to enquire about volunteering for after my discharge. She was nice and wants to set up a meeting for when I am free …Hopeful! Then my community psychiatric nurse, to ask about getting an assessment for the care home I am moving onto and finally a call to my solicitor to discuss my section 117 aftercare and to ascertain whether he is coming to my CPA.

11.30 – Another cigarette and then back up to my room to listen to my saviour Emile Sande and to write this for a while before lunch.

12.00 – Lunch – Quite nice today which means I actually might eat some. Salmon fish cakes, we discuss what is for pudding and what we can do at the weekend (not much.)

12.45 – Meds again, I take a multivitamin and some procyclidine for side effects from my depot.

13.05 – I return to my room and try to tidy up a little before getting bored and ringing my Mum to whine about the situation I am in and how much I hate it. Then I settle down to read my book “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion” doing the exercises whenever I come across them.

14.00 – A pointless group now, an hour of playing on the Wii downstairs, which barely anyone joins in with. The OT assistant runs it, which is stressful because of how temperamental she is.

15.00 – The best part of the day – my hours unescorted leave. I fill out a ridiculously long form about mental state and a description of what I’m wearing then I collect a lighter from reception.

15.15 – Finally I’m off out on leave. A blessed hour of doing exactly what I want. I walk into town lingering outside the train station whilst having an internal battle as to whether I should get on a train somewhere far away; eventually I decide not to and just to get a Starbucks and visit pound land for a few essential items. I meander back sipping my gingerbread latte whilst contemplating what to do the rest of the day.

16.15 – I return, hand in the lighter and have my bag searched, before being scanned with a metal detector and having my chewing gum confiscated. I then sit down and write a to do list.

16.30 – I put some washing on and make a cappuccino.

17.00 – I begin to read my highly unsuitable new book choice entitled “Hookers”

17.30 – The other girls and I order take away and sit in the lounge watching TV until it arrives.

18.30 – The take away arrives and we sit down to eat off paper plates.

19.00 – I have a long bath in the regulated temperature bathroom, which means the water has a hint of a chill to it.

19.45 – I collect my laundry and gather together my homework for therapy.

20.00 – Therapy time. I love my therapist, we get on really well, she gets me and she really helps me. We discuss what I can do to help with flashbacks and strategies I can use to make being on the ward easier. Sadly the session finishes all too soon.

21.00 – I go for a cigarette with my therapist, which is nice and I take my medication which includes a sleeping tablet so my memory of the rest of the evening is quite hazy.

21.15 – I order some clothes off the internet, but cannot remember what they look like.

21.30 – I get into my bed with the standard hospital bed sheets and the plastic mattress and finally fall asleep.

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