I will always remember my first experience of going to the hospital after a suicide attempt.
Honestly, I had no idea to expect, it all happened so fast and to be frank, I was feeling pretty high, must have been a response to the OD.
I met my doctor, the same doctor who said “So why did you do it, was it over a boy?”, and proceeded to guilt trip me and say that his life was bad but he didn’t want to end his life. I was rattled, I didn’t care for it, so I spent the time he was lecturing me staring at a clock.
I don’t know how long passed but I know I was looking at that clock for at least three hours, it relaxed me and offered me a twisted game as to what the time would be if I did die, would I die? I remember these thoughts vividly.
A young male nurse then came to me and did a bunch of tests, there was a lot going on and apparently, I had a seizure but I have no memory of this, only a permanent feeling of coldness.
The young male nurse on the fourth or fifth visit put in a cannula and I asked as to how long I would be here, he told me “As long as we decide to”, it was in such a tone I felt imprisoned and it caused me to panic.
I think I assumed I’d only be in the hospital for a few hours and then would be sent on my way, It was then I realised I was at risk of being sectioned.
I was only at the hospital for about 12 hours, I spent some time on a ward and then was prematurely discharged by a nurse, not a doctor, which was a mistake as I vomited the moment I got home. I passed out in the shower not long after, and the following week, I was, as a friend said, on my death-bed. It’s hard to admit, but there was malpractice.
I was visited by the crisis team and by the man who was responsible for my fathers care before he died by suicide. I felt like this man let my dad down and maybe contributed to my father’s death, so I didn’t trust him, I just said anything to get him to go away. Of course, I now know that no one is to blame.
Before I left, I was asked me if I wanted to stay in the hospital for treatment, I refused but then he told me something that stuck, his last piercing words “If you do this again, you will be sectioned”. I just can’t erase that fear I felt in those words.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s that if a person tries suicide more than once that they are sectioned, as they are in danger. But my response in my head and even still now is that if I want to end my life again, it makes me want to succeed.
I pledged I would never get help again from the hospital if I tried to end my life; this thought did not stick and I am glad for that, as it’s saved my life multiple times.
Nowadays it worries me if they still use that language, that kind of threatening wording, intentional or not. I know I won’t be alone in this reaction, it was a careless phrase that didn’t encourage my desire to live, only to avoid ever being sectioned, at whatever the cost.
I have never been sectioned, I have considered it for my own safety, but It isn’t the ideal place for me.
I can’t lie in the fact I haven’t thought about having a few months being sectioned. I have had moments of intense fear of my own self but then, I would have never got married or gone on holiday and all the things I already had planned, I wanted these experiences more than my health.
I am lucky I had the help outside of the hospital, but it was dangerous for me to avoid treatment for the sake of missing out.
The problem I have with being sectioned is that I know for sure that it would make me worse, I need my husband and dog to keep me sane. The fact I break down if I don’t see my dog for a few days, gives me no hope for months.
My husband is supportive though he still is learning to understand my mental health, but that’s ok because he tries. My dog makes me feel so much love and responsibility that I couldn’t end my life while these two perfect beings exist.
This fear I have of being sectioned does affect my care, I find myself downplaying issues or reciting things in my head before I say them to make sure I don’t sound crazy.
It’s difficult because I want to be able to get the right help and treatment however I don’t want my life to be ripped from under my feet.
Maybe if I understood what it was to be sectioned and if I knew of real experiences. Even knowing what happens in a mental hospital would help, Awareness helps with fears.
I do feel that most of my fear is from false information, the media is horrendous for scaremongering the idea of hospitalization for mental health.
I think the most important thing is this: We all deserve help, we all deserve dignity and respect from our society and from our care providers. Sectioning should not be a scary thing, it should be something that gives us a new chance at life.
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