The Great Escape

The noise from the TV filled the tiny hospital lounge, almost masking the misery that I was projecting from my corner of the sofa. I gazed intently out of the window, tormented by David Dickinson and his nauseating love of bargains.

I had been sectioned a week ago after trying to leave the hospital. Since then, I had made several attempts to harm myself with various sharp implements on the ward. Anything from drawing pins to lightbulbs, even broken CDs.

My cunning and persistent acts of self harm, ended in my supervision level increasing to 1A. This meant I had to be at arms length from an allocated member of staff at all times. All my possessions were taken away and any unnecessary furniture was placed in the corridor outside my room. I was also confined to a small lounge next to the nurses office during the day and i was only allowed to go outside for a cigarette when two members of staff were available to supervise me.

Now, this particular lounge was about the size of a small garden shed. It had a two seated sofa and two small chairs, which left just enough room for the TV in the corner. However, despite the considerable lack of space and it’s close proximity to the nurses office, when I had to sit in there, everyone else insisted on piling in too.

So as I glared at the TV screen, surrounded by chatty patients and numerous staff members having their afternoon tea break, I felt my hand tighten it’s grip the arm of the sofa. Everyone was talking loudly, slurping their drinks and swapping seats every five minutes. I felt trapped. I think it may have been the conversation about nurse C’s uncomfortable bikini wax that finally caused the red mist to descend.

I jumped out of my seat and rushed towards the door of the lounge, knocking nurse C’s tea flying out of her hand. I grabbed the door frame and swung myself out into the corridor, just missing the grasp of a HCA who had jumped out of his chair towards me. I darted into a nearby consultation room and pushed a desk behind the door to stop anyone getting in. I could hear shouting coming from the staff in the corridor and one nurse was pushing his way through my barricade.

My mind was racing at a hundred miles an hour, but my first thought was to grab a lightbulb from a lamp in the corner of the room. As I tried to unscrew the light shade, a HCA and a nurse managed to push the door open and they both pulled me out of the room, back into the corridor.

I surrendered. Tears were streaming down my face as I was lead back to the nurses office for a dose of lorazepam.

However, my brief taste of freedom was too good to forget so soon.

Just as one of the nurses turned, I ran again. I am not the most nimble of creatures but I sprinted past the staff in the office and outside into the courtyard. I kept running whilst being chased by a HCA, much to the amusement of the other patients. I careered across the courtyard and through another set of doors on the opposing side. I slid across the floor and fell into one of the larger lounges I had now claimed as my refuge.

I frantically looked around the room. i wasn’t sure what I was actually looking for, or what my plan was going to be, but the adrenalin and my new found sense of freedom made me feel like I was some sort of ninja.

Within seconds, the grey haired, middle aged HCA who had been chasing me through the courtyard, appeared in the doorway, panting and clutching onto a nearby bookcase. In a frenzied act of desperation I jumped onto a sofa and grabbed a clock from the wall. I glanced down at the unusual weapon in my hand then quickly looked back at the HCA. Just like a scene in a western, our eyes met and a tense silence shot across the room.

After a brief couple of seconds, in what I can only describe as a moment of sheer panic, I threw the clock at the feet of the unarmed HCA, who jumped out the way and stared up at me with a shocked and confused look on his face.

Realising I was cornered and clockless, I once again surrendered;

“Um, I’ll go back now. Sorry about the clock.”

He shrugged his shoulders and let out a loud sigh. After catching our breath, we both headed back towards the tiny lounge for a cup of tea and a biscuit, just in time to catch the end of Bargain Hunt.

5 thoughts on “The Great Escape

  1. Having enjoyed both private (brilliant, for me at least) and NHS (dire for everyone) psychiatric time-out, this sounds so familiar and real. I don’t sense that you’re saying the care was inadequate (maybe the opposite!) or that you were being mistreated or failed in any way, just that involuntary confinement with overly-intrusive safeguarding is never going to be an effective starting point for recovery from mental illness. If I were granted one wish, it would be that all the many naysayers regarding mental health should spend a month in a psychiatric facility to better understand both the people, patients and professionals, and the system. I think they’d sing a different song afterwards.

    1. I felt like a caged animal at times. The more I was confined, the more I wanted to lash out at myself or others. A lot of the staff were great, others… not so great.
      I agree with you about the naysayers. They should spend one month on a ward with supervised showers and debilitating medication.
      Glad to hear private worked well for you.

  2. Sometimes I forget this was your life – your writing is so brilliant that I feel I’m watching a film, it’s perfect fiction despite it being incredibly real. When I’m at the end of your posts I remember that this was what you went through and not some chapter from a book – you make a topic that more people should be talking about (and I think, are beginning to talk and think about thanks to various mental health campaigns and charities) a must read. People who don’t understand mental health, should be directed here as should thought who going through similar things. I can’t thank you or applaud you enough for your writing, it’s so honest. I have chatted to you on Twitter under my real name (I am sadly not as brave as you to be so upfront about my blog so use an aka) and I stand by my previous tweet that you are the one must read blog I never miss a post of.

    1. Wow, what a wonderful comment.

      I’m very grateful, thank you. It’s words like yours that make it all worth it!
      And please don’t think I’m brave. I also write under a pseudonym!
      Thank you again and I hope you are well x

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