They say prison is like a fishbowl, a world within a world. This is how it felt in hospital. Small dramas that would mean nothing on the outside, meant a great deal to those on the inside. A change in routine or a negative comment could mean disaster and massive set back in your recovery.
I was on a high dosage of anti-psychotics, which made me incredibly drowsy. By the time I had taken my sleeping tablets in the evening, I was out for the count and although I had an undisturbed nights sleep, I found it near-impossible to wake up the following day.
One particular morning I felt as though my legs were tied down with weights, I could barely open my eyes and it was struggle to get out of bed for breakfast at 8 o’clock. I managed to grab a slice of toast before wandering back to my dorm and drifting off to sleep again.
When I awoke around 11 o’clock, I just lay there, staring at the magnetic curtain rails surrounding my bed. The depression hit me square in the face. I hated the drugs and being tired all the time, I hated the hospital and most of all, I hated myself. I felt like a prisoner in my own body and I lashed out at my face and chest in frustration.
I didn’t usually go to the nurses for help but the anxiety was crippling me. The medication from the night before was wearing off and I felt like I mite explode. I wandered down the hallway and knocked on the staff office door.
“Can I speak to someone please?” I muttered.
An older nurse stood up with her cup of tea and sighed, as if I had just asked the world of her.
“What do you want then?” She replied despondently while picking at a loose thread on her sleeve.
I think i need a PRN, I don’t feel great” I mumbled.
She looked at me and raised an eyebrow. PRN means ‘pro re nata’ meaning ‘as needed’ and usually comes in the form of a lorazepam tablet to help calm patients. But Nurse Ratched was not best pleased with this request.
“As far as I’m aware, you’ve been asleep all morning, what could you possibly be anxious about?”
She then picked up her mug of tea and took a sip which was proceeded by a loud, sharp slurp.
I stormed out of the corridor and into the courtyard with my fists clenched. I kicked and punched out at the wall. I then lit up a cigarette and sat down on one of the benches. My body was shaking and my mind was racing, I had never felt so angry. Maybe it was being told no, or maybe it was because it felt like no one was listening, but I took my cigarette and stubbed it out on the back of my hand. I could see another patient in the courtyard run inside to get staff so I got my lighter out and carried on burning my already blistered skin.
A couple of nurses ran outside and grabbed the lighter out of my hand. I started to pull at my hair and claw at my face, I just wanted to tear away the layers of pain.
I was escorted inside and given the PRN, but I didn’t feel better. As I drifted back off into a drug induced haze, I caught a glimpse of how my life could be and tear rolled down my cheek.