Lesson Six – Saving Your Own Life
When I thought about going into hospital, I thought it would it automatically mean that I would be fixed up and healed. What I had to get my head around though was that there were was no set treatment. A bandage and pills were not going to remove the battle that was raging in my mind. There would be no quick fixes, no predictable timeline and what it came down to was whether I was strong enough to fight to save myself, because no one else could. A psychiatric hospital isn’t a treatment centre, it’s a controlled area to contain a crisis. Risks are managed, medication dispensed and life is interrupted until you can stand on your own two feet again. Yet standing on your own two feet is just the beginning. It takes months or years of struggling, relapsing, knock backs, small triumphs and a lot of psychological work to help you become that fully functioning person you want to be more than anything else. So you have to save yourself, and you have to remind yourself why you are worth saving, and more than anything else you must hold on to the belief that your Mental Health does not define you as a person.
The system has its faults, and being able to understand it and work with it takes time. Hospital is not easy but I cannot say that it is wrong, or that it does not help. I do not have the right to condemn it and the people who work within it, because had it not being for those times in hospital, had it not been for those people who held on to hope when I could not, who saw a future for me when I saw an end, then I would not be here writing this. I would not have survived. The lessons I had to learn broke me, they had me pulling out my hair in frustration, and they clouded me with feelings of anger and bitterness. I wasted a lot of energy fighting people when I could have been channelling that in to becoming a happier, healthier person.
My lessons are learnt, and now they have been shared. I have parents that still get to have their child, siblings that still get their sister, I have a life, and even though it is not easy, even though it’s a battle, I am alive, and for that I will always be eternally grateful to the people that helped make that possible.
© Vanessa Findlay