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Leave me be… talk to me, double sided rubber bracelet.

My bracelet leave me be in red and talk to me on green. It’s soft and nice to wear. It’s easy to swap between sides. It’s a large bracelet and as far as I’m aware they only come in inside, and it’s large, even on me and I’m an adult.

It’s a great way non verbal or verbal can express if they want to talk or not.

It’s a great way to express when they want to talk. It’s neutral so it suites both make and female.

It’s great if you can’t verbalise what you want.

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World mental health day. 10th October 2017.

Happy world mental health day!

This is a message to say to all those out there suffering with mental illness that your not alone. Speak out don’t suffer in silence.💙

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Thank you for giving blood, you saved mine and my sisters life.

Giving blood is so important to saving lives, you never know when you or a relative is going to need it to save lives.

Your a hero if you give blood, it’s live saving. That makes you a hero in my eyes.

At 2 my sister was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. (Cancer.) and a blood transfusion saved her many times. So a massive thank you to you!

I’ve also needed a few blood transfusions and without them I wouldn’t be here right now writing this blog post. I thank you from my heart for saving my life.

Even though at times I’ve wanted to die, I’m still 100% grateful for you saving my life. I only had my first blood transfusion under a section, and really resisted it, but it made a massive impact to how I physically felt and then my mental health got better.

I had one a few days ago, and this has made me think about all the hero’s out there. I know I can’t give blood myself but I’m motivated to fundraise for charities and help others in any other way I can.

Im hoping that, that’s my last blood transfusion and I can help others in any possible way.

Don’t worry if you can’t give blood you can still be a hero, there are many other ways to save life’s, fundraising, donating to charity, volunteers, working on research or working for charity’s that fund research.

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What is a day like on an acute psychiatric ward?

I bet you won’t believe this is an acute psychiatric ward, but let me tell you what this ward is like.

It is a secure locked acute psychiatric ward. It’s where you go if you are quite mentally unwell.
At about 7am we all get woken for breakfast, but honestly most of us go back to sleep, throughout the night someone checks on us every hour, it depends which staff do the checks some just look through the glass frosted window others do that and turn the full bright light on. Helpful I know. Sleep is important to recovery. 

Anyway after that its medication time around 9 am, I like getting there early to miss the cue of 19 other patients.

Then if we want escorted leave we can go to a planning meeting, for a member of staff and a time to be set for escorted leave, which means a member of staff has to come with you, especially if your on a section, for your first few leaves.

There are a lot of Alarms going off, basically if a member of staff who’s doing the hourly checks on patients sees something worrying or bad like agitation or self harm, the alarm will be pulled it’s on every member of staffs keyring, and then staff go running to the room where the alarm was pulled. Usually there’s a lot of shouting especially if the alarm was pulled for someone trashing their room. These alarms happen a lot and are very unsettling.

Then there is visiting time.

Then Lunch, which is usually be pre made sandwiches.

Then Medication again. 

Sometimes if the Occupational therapist is in she will come and open the art room, so we can do something creative or if it’s the day the dog comes in we will pet the dog.

There are also Three tv rooms, one massive one then two more private ones. But if you want to change the channel good luck trying to find the remote.

There are Two quiet rooms

To your surprise we have our own bedroom with own shower/toilet/ sink. With a paper curtain, no doors and a shelf for clothes. We can have a personal key to lock it. We can access it at any time day or night.
Windows strong and mental so can’t get out

There is a beautiful garden which can be accessed through the canteen or through the large to room. It’s got really high metal fences, and there are flower arrangements which are so pretty.

Visiting hours are very strict your only allowed in the dinning room, and through to the garden or the Hub which is a oval shaped room in the middle of the ward, there is sofas, chairs, tables and a table tennis table. It’s pretty relaxed in there. There are three visiting hours a day.

I stress so much about ward round, the days and times are changed nearly every week. It’s very unsettling. I’ve also now been told my consultant is off for two weeks, causes so much anxiety. In ward round your able to talk about possible medication changes, any side effects from medications and about possible leave/discharge.

You can come in to the hospital two ways. Under a Sectioned or as a Voluntary patient. The main difference is leave, if you have chose to be here you can go out on leave alone a lot more than if you are sectioned. Also if your voluntary then you can ask to discharge your self, they can say no and if you still adiment your going, they can section you. I feel there isn’t too much difference.

Leave can be given by your consultant if your sectioned and most likely it will be escorted leave, someone with you at all times. But if your in here voluntary then you can just ask the nurses if you can go when you want between 10am and 8pm, sometimes they may say no and if you are still wanting to go they can section you for a few hours/day to prevent you leaving the ward.

Cleaners come round everyday. They are meant to hoover, and mop the floor and clean the bathroom. And also they do the communal areas too.

Everyday your meant to be offered your One to one with your named nurse for that day.

Care plan is given to you when you’ve been on the ward a few days and the nurses, doctors and consultants can have an input on what needs to be worked on while on the ward and things you may need help with.

Observation levels will depend on how much of a risk the staff think you are. These can change from being 2:1 which is two staff with you at all times. Then 1:1 which is one stag always with you, then level 3 this means every 15 ministers your meant to be checked on, or level 4 is when your checked on hourly. These are good opportunities to ask the staff for help if you aren’t brace enough to leave your room.

What you can and cant have here…

They are very strict about what you can and can’t have. I’m not going to go in to detail because I don’t want to give others any ideas.

Around the ward there are really nice pictures. I think there meant to give hope and to show you beauty.

The ward I was in your allowed to have phones but they get charged in a cupboard.

I know all wards are different, so there may not be the same things I’ve described.

I hope you all stay well and I’m here if you need to talk.

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10th September suicide prevention day.

10th September is suicide awareness day, but it’s also my birthday.

I feel really passionate about it being suicide awareness day, I’ve attempted suicide many times, as you’ve probably guessed I didn’t succeed.

I want to help others who feel they need to attempt suicide or are thinking about it.

I can’t say your life will be smooth and that there won’t be struggles because that’s unrealistic, but I can say your not alone. There are loads of charities out there that want to help YOU! And I’m here if you want to talk through how your feeling.

I care.

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Mind mental health booklets.

Mind do these amazing booklets with lots of information that I think is really important to know.

There about Anxiety, Personality disorder and Schizophrenia. Although they do more, I have these ones as they are the illnesses that I have.

Mind is a charity in the uk which have many ways of supporting people with mental illness, check out there website…

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Blog post on schizophrenia for Rethink.

Rethink is a mental health charity mainly based in the uk.

They were asking for information and being able to speak to people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, I thought I’d share my story, with all the good and bad.

I remember I had been sectioned under the mental health act. I was 21, and this wasn’t the first time or the last time I was sectioned. I’ve lost count of which admission it was.

I was sat on my inpatient bed after a ward round. I was so confused about what had been said. A nurse doing the 15 minute checks on me could see I was distressed. I thought I had spiders crawling over me, I was trying to shake them off, then the nurse came and asked if I was okay and what was I distressed about.

She was trying to calm me down by saying there were no spiders, and I was seeing them because I have schizophrenia. Honestly, I really wasn’t sure what was real or not. She could have made it up but it turns out it was the spiders that weren’t real. The nurse asked if I wanted any information on it, I said yes and asked when was I diagnosed?

She said don’t you remember, you were just told in your ward round. I honestly couldn’t remember.

The nurse brought in some information and sat on my bed trying to explain it, I can’t remember any of it. I was so disconnected that I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Looking back on it now I must have been really scared.

Since that day the label of schizophrenia has been pulling me in every direction possible.

There are good and bad days. I speak to God which I see as positive, I feel special and I feel it’s an extra layer of protection from the experiences of being spied on (which I have been told is a delusion and that no one is spying on me, but I don’t believe them).

Some of the other spymptoms I experience due to this illness can be really scary, This makes me feel that I no longer want to live. I won’t go through them one by one as there’s loads of information from charities and the NHS about schizophrenia.

Writing this is taking a lot of concentration and confusion, in trying to work out what’s me and what’s the illness. I’m confused about what are symptoms and what is real life. I’ve had to ask for help from family to help me explain what goes on and what’s symptoms of the illness.

Is it like some physical illnesses where treatment can make you better or worse? This is the question I ask. But recently I was told to prepare to be on medication the rest of my life. I feel this is a major setback but I’m trying to get used to it.

It all started before the age of 21 when I was diagnosed. My symptoms have been going on for years. I’m currently 24 and still getting to grips with medication, and struggling with how to deal with every day situations. However, I have learnt that medication plays a big role in recovery for me. It helps dampen down the psychosis, which means I’m able to tell more what’s real and what’s not. It has taken me many years to figure out what medication to take, it’s been a lot of trial and error. I’ve tried alot of them. Some had really bad side effects, some were okay but didn’t help me enough. I’m currently on quetiapine XR, which is the slow release one. It only has a few side effects and works well for me, although I am on 1000mg which is above the recommended amount. The main side effect which affected me was weight gain. I put on 5 stone, this may also have been because I wasn’t getting enough relief from the medication so I started drinking alcohol to help me deal with it. It worked short term but contributed to me putting on loads of weight. I’ve managed to loose almost all the weight I gained.

Even now four years later my medication is starting to have less effect but I know that if I stop it I will get all the symptoms back. I hear voices, see things that aren’t real. Basically the life that I’m living I’m not sure what’s real and not, like a nightmare which you can’t wake up from or always being on high alert, with fight or flight working. It’s so scary, you think what you’re thinking, seeing and hearing is real, and you lose time. I sometimes can’t remember days or weeks at a time. You don’t question it not being real, there’s no explanation to show you that what you’re experiencing isn’t real. It’s terrifying. It’s a living nightmare, and the worse bit is I know the medication helps me live a more normal life yet I still stop taking it, from listening to the voices or my thoughts thinking it’s not what I’m told it is.

My family and friends really haven’t been that supportive. I think they just couldn’t get to grips with the whole concept of being mentally unwell and how it affected me. This lead to me not being included in a lot of things. And also I started to isolate myself more and more. I’m currently trying to build my relationship back up with my family. Throughout all of this my cousin has been my carer and helped me at times when I’ve pushed my family away and was very unwell.

They don’t know how to act or how to talk to me. I feel pushed out of the family, and events. But I’m working on that.

Although being diagnosed was horrible it’s not the end of the world. I’m getting better at knowing what I need to do and how to accept the help from my local mental health team and family.

I’m looking forward to the future, where I aim to hold down my dream job of helping others with special educational needs and mental health difficulties.

I can see a future now it’s all getting better and under control.

Image shown is from the rethink website.