"Going into hospital?"

So I've mentioned before that when I was 16 I spent a month in a child and adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit. This was due to the fact that a psychiatrist (who I only ended up seeing once) felt that I was unsafe at home and I was incredibly mentally unstable. I now have the benefit of hindsight and maturity, which means I know that this particular person's actions were not necessarily beneficial in any way. Not only that, but the action of hospitalisation came about 5 months too early. My major breakdown didn't occur until December.

Now, that's my experience, but what about you?

I know that it's terrifying going into hospital. You may believe at the time that it isn't necessary. That's the tricky part. I didn't think I needed it, but I was also in a tough situation whereby I had to go to hospital voluntarily, because I'd been told outright that if I didn't then I'd be sectioned. Sometimes, just because you think you don't need it, it doesn't mean that you don't. The thing about mental illness is it messes with your perception. It's only with hindsight that I know for sure that I didn't need hospitalisation at the time and that, if anything, it was actually a damaging experience for me.

What I would say is take something to do. For me, I was a big reader at the time, and read about 6 books within the first week. I was so incredibly stressed, I needed something to focus on, and reading helped me escape. If music's your thing, try to take a personal music player like an iPod with you. I went a bit stir crazy while I was in hospital - a month without music was pretty tough.

Don't fight the staff. It's not worth it. You'll get stressed out, and so will they. I regularly fought the staff, especially at meal times. I'm pretty sure that's contributed to some current issues I have like extreme nausea at mealtimes. The staff are there to help you maintain / develop healthy behaviours, like sleep patterns and eating well. Please don't push them away.

Basically, the only advice I can give is roll with it. Engage in any activities on offer. Interact with other patients. Talk to the staff, tell them if you're feeling low or upset. That's the only way you'll be able to benefit from your hospital stay.

Stay strong! x