A recent death of a legendary actor and comedian has really sparked a lot of debate about depression and mental health problems in general. It never ceases to amaze me how suddenly everyone suddenly wants to talk about mental health and encourage those of us who do have a condition to speak out and get the help we need but have either been trying to get (but can't due to NHS budget cuts or social reasons) or have been denied for one reason or another. Mental health matters. It should be taken seriously and there shouldn't be any kind of stigma around admitting it when things are really bad.
It's no secret that I have suffered with mental health problems for many years, ever since I was about 7 years old. I had severe depression as a teenager and ended up having to see a psychiatrist as well as being offered antidepressants at the age of 13 (we never took them because we didn't want me to have to fight a drug addiction as well, it was the right decision at the time) and my adult life has been fraught with mental illnesses. I have been sectioned before (luckily it was only a couple of nights so I could clear my thoughts and get some rest) and I am on a number of medications to help me, including the antipsychotic medication Quetiapine (Seroquel). I suffer with bi-polar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, borderline personality (schizophrenia) and have battled against eating disorders (at one point, I was just 7 stone and my bones poked out of my skin), self harm and have even made several attempts at suicide. I am not ashamed of this though and I am very open and honest when people ask me about my mental health.
I know there is a stigma about mental health and a lot of us are made to feel ashamed of our conditions. Maybe it stems back to the times when people with these kinds of problems were locked away in prison-like asylums and treated like animals by the "attendants", subjected to cruel "experimental" treatments and generally abused because no one really cared enough to say "Stop it!" I have read stories about how some patients were abandoned by their families and locked away, made to undergo cruel practices like ECT. People who had confessed to alternative sexuality and were made to undergo a "treatment" for it. The things I read were horrifying and it made me wonder if things are really much better for people with mental health problems now? Unfortunately I can't really say as I have only had few dealings with the mental health teams directly, including a crisis team when I was going through a lot all at once and needed help.
I am more experienced in the care of physical illness and often require hospital admission and care. I see a lot of people whose mental health has declined over the years and have developed severe dementia. It isn't their fault and they don't understand what they're doing but I do feel that better provisions should be made to care for the elderly, the senile and those with other mental health problems instead of shoving them on medical wards to run the nurses ragged and be detrimental to the recovery of other patients. The other issue here is that an elderly person on a ward full of sick people is at risk of contracting an infection. It's kind of a cat among the pigeons really.
Some patients don't need to be here and are only here because of "granny dumping", where families take their elderly relatives to A+E and leave them there and refusing to take them away again so they end up stuck on wards, bed blocking. It is one of my pet peeves admittedly because I have seen it so many times and have been stuck on a ward with an old person who doesn't know what they're doing and sometimes they tend to wander, putting themselves in all kinds of danger so the nursing staff have to run around after them instead of caring for other patients. There is a patient on the ward I'm on now, shes been shouting "Nurrrrse!!" and a load of other things (some were rather unpleasant) since 6 this morning, waking everyone in this room up. She kept saying about how she wanted to go and find her children and the poor dear doesn't understand that she is actually in a hospital and she got more and more abusive towards the nurses, especially when they told her to hush up as she had woken up all the other patients.
On MAU, I had a run in with one lady who had decided that my blanket and Sephy were hers and that she had had them from the start, luckily the nurse recognised my belongings and said to her not to touch other people's things. She also had her eye on my tablet and my oxygen bag so I had to hide them away! Her other habit was wandering off so the nurse had to keep a very close eye on her, despite being run ragged by other patients. I felt so sorry for the nurse, she was lovely and she had so much to do all at once. It can't be easy.
I saw the doctor again today, it's funny that years ago, the doctor was my consultant and we didn't really click but now we get on really well and hes really changed his mind around asthma and how it should be managed. He was a bit worried as my chest really played up last night and we had an unsuccessful attempt to reduce the oxygen I am on. We are trying to get me back to my usual flow of 2l via the nasal cannula from the 8l through a mask. We have also added another antibiotic in to the mix and we aren't having issues regarding my lorazepam anymore. I had to explain that I have it as a part of my asthma treatment as it helps to relax the muscles around my airways to stop it all from getting too stiff, the side effect of it though is that it can make very sleepy which can be a problem as I was admitted because of my asthma being a pain. We also added another antibiotic to the mix to help me really fight this infection off, still. The worry was that I coughed up a bit of blood (because of all the coughing, I upset something inside) but they're keeping an eye on me and things should start to move forward soon.
I really hope that everyone else is having a good weekend!
2 years ago