A different Christmas, a different life.

These are actual diary entries from 2015, which I spent under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act in a psychiatric intensive care unit miles away from home. The purpose of sharing these entries is to educate others on what it really feels like to be in struggling with mental health in CAMHS unit over the holiday period. 

Sunday 20th December 2015

I’m in bed listening to ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ by Fall Out Boy on my iPod. I’m finally allowed my headphones back and *nurse* put my iPod shuffle on charge last night before everything kicked off with *patient*.

Today was a 7/10. I managed to get out of bed for breakfast in order to have pancakes with OT. I just wish they would make loads because I’m hungry and it’s Christmas time and the food is shit. This morning I wrote some letters and we watched Santa Paws which *support worker* found very amusing and *patient* didn’t understand. Some of the other patients aren’t eating which is worrying because it’s important. However, I declined my dinner today because it was gross Sunday dinner with gross gravy. This morning I also made a leopard and zebra love heart box for my brother’s Christmas present.

This afternoon I read a bit, watched some TV, and drew Evan Peters. I was with pretty happy considering I only had cheaper paper and rubbish pencils. *patient* has been recalled back from their leave and they’re not cheerful about it. Me and *patient* were allowed to go to the IT suite and I printed off loads of pictures off celebrities to draw, however next time I’m going to do it in black and white because it’ll be easier.

We had donuts for dessert – they were very jammy and I ruined my pyjamas. That kind of messy day you know. *patient* talked a lot about not having anything to look forward to anymore and I kind of feel the same. Me and *patient* played Bananagrams. I’m really sad because she’s being transferred soon and I’m lonely enough as it is.

Mum came to see me this afternoon and she bought me some awesome reindeer slippers. Everyone keeps saying how cute and Christmassy they are.

Monday 21st December 2015

It’s the darkest day of the year and it’s certainly been really shitty. I woke up really upset and angry because I have no Christmas leave. I threw my shoes and broke my glasses. *nurse* was really mean to me and *support worker* is really annoyed with me.

Education didn’t go well. *patient* dared me to drink the glue because it looked like milk and I smashed *item*. I think *support worker* now thinks I’m completely crazy because she keeps giving me weird looks and speaking to me really slowly like I don’t understand things.

After that I was temporarily on 2:1 in the low stimulus area, but *doctor* came to see me and I was allowed some PRN and now I’m back on 5s in communal areas but I’m on 1:1 in my bedroom, in the toilet and anywhere else on my own. Which is shit because it means I don’t get any privacy but I also don’t really get the all-round support. Worst deal.

I went to community meeting. It was shit. *patient* really upset me because she was saying indirect things about me and how I’m badly behaved. This afternoon *patients* went to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the rest of us watched A Beautiful Mind which was really depressing.

My Dad came to see me this evening but it was brief because I was really struggling. Mum is coming tomorrow. I’m still really upset with *nurse* and *support worker*.

Tuesday 22nd December 2015

Today has been appalling. This pen doesn’t even work and they won’t give me another one for ‘safety reasons’ so it’s going to be a quick entry. I’m in tears and I feel like I’m at rock bottom. Will I ever feel better? Today I’ve done absolutely nothing other than write letters I’ll never send and do a stupid Christmas quiz. *patient* is really nice. Mum also came to see me which made me feel a bit better. I love her so much.

Wednesday 23rd December 2015

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve!

Today has been another pyjama day. Like every other day of the year HA. I’ve been alright today. I had an incident with *item* this morning however since then I’ve felt relatively calm. Thank you lorazepam.

*Doctor* says because I haven’t shown any improvement since being here and because of *personal reason* they are putting a referral into low-secure, which has scared me. He said that if I reduce my incidents by the time the assessment takes place I’ll be able to turn it around as I’m nearly 18 and low-secure adults hospital is ‘not nice’.

We had a practise Christmas dinner which was rank but *psychologist* sang carols with us which was ‘fun’.

Thursday 24th December 2015

Yuck. I feel terrible. I just want to sleep forever. I’ve been crying nearly all day and playing Bananagrams a bit and writing more letters but nothing’s changing.

Mum came this afternoon with new pyjamas and a present from *relative* – a girlfriend for my teddy. I’ve called her Tumble and she’s really cute.

I get the feeling that *support worker* doesn’t like me anymore but I’m trying not to let it upset me. It just sucks that the one person I was able to speak to is now making it clear I need to try someone else.

This evening they held a ‘ward party’ which I was kind of forced to attend seeing as we are stuck in one room (I’m still down *area* but they let those in *area* join us). I’m going to bed now as I feel like shit and my 1:1 is staring at me.

Friday 25th December 2015

Things have been really rough today. I feel trapped by an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

Last night I dreamed that me and *patient* were friends and I woke up and *support worker* was on my observations which I was really pleased about because she’s really nice. They let me put out a mince-pie and a carrot for santa and left a note from ‘Santa’ which was clearly from *nurse* about being positive and enjoying Christmas.

I still haven’t been able to shower. It’s been a week now. But I was allowed my deodorant for a minute out of my cupboard and I put my new pyjamas on, but I’ve kept my dark pink blanket on all day to feel safer.

*support worker* was wearing actual pyjamas which looked funny because she still had her belt and security thing on, and *support worker* was wearing a pyjama top over normal clothes. Yesterday everyone had their face painted and most of it still had it on because we’re too depressed to watch. Patients that is.

I was greeted in *area* with a huge hug from *patient* and *patient*. I’m really excited for *patient* because she has overnight leave tonight. *support worker* then gave us presents which were really weird pyjamas from Primark, and some chocolate.

I played Bananagrams on my own until my family came. The *ward* manager dressed up as an Elf and brought the camera up so that me and my family could have some pictures taken.

Oh my god my presents from *friend*! She bought me a colouring book, teddy, galaxy hot chocolate, nail varnish and fluffy socks. I got everything taken off me straight away but hopefully I’ll be allowed the colouring book and teddy.

During the visit I opened my presents and ate chocolate and we watched shitty TV in the visitor’s room. However something funny came on TV which caused me to panic and I ended up being taken back onto the ward and having a huge incident which I now feel awful about because if I had known I was going to see that I could have prepared.

After that happened I hid under the blanket crying and refused my Christmas dinner and my blanket was taken off me because *support worker* and *support worker* were worried that I was *dangerous behaviour*. *nurse* took me into the *area* and I just cried more and dropped a chair on my face and gave myself a nose bleed and cried even more.

After I calmed down *patient* and me talked and they said that it didn’t matter that I had missed dinner because it was shit anyway. I wrote some thank you letters and we all had a laugh with some beer face mats that *relative* bought for the ward. *patient* did mine and *patient*’s make up. *patient* looked so beautiful. We were allowed the ward camera and took pictures which *support worker* is going to get printed for us.

I won some slippers in the Christmas quiz and we played pass the parcel. I was allowed in my bedroom at 6pm with my 1:1 provided that I ‘behaved’ so I’ve tidied my room (not that I have much in it seeing as it’s been stripped recently and it takes ages to get each and every item back) and now I’m going to sleep.

Saturday 26th December 2015

I keep thinking back to this time last year when I was happy and stable and had a boyfriend and was doing well at school. And now I’m in psychiatric hospital and my face is cut up.

I miss home really badly and I’m slowly beginning to realise that they’re not going to let me die in here and I need to at least give recovery a shot. Life is short and fragile and none of these other patients deserve this hell, so why do I tell myself that I deserve it? You miss out on so much being here.

I’m scared about my birthday. It’s four months away and staff are already feeding me horror stories. I’m not ready for the responsibility. I just want to hide. It’s all so difficult.

It feels like Christmas never really happened here, because it didn’t. I was one of few to get a visitor and one of few to get any presents. I’m still keeping up my Christmas cards because they have nice messages in them.

I still haven’t managed to wash or dress. It’s too embarrassing when I’m on high observations. *nurse* offered to wash my hair for me and be discreet but I still didn’t want to.

Me and *patient* had a table tennis tournament organised by *nurse* and *support worker*. I’m rubbish at it but they’re nice about it. The ward have made a massive effort today, I think they know that everyone’s struggling extra. They organised lots of games and made a buffet but most of the other patients are still striking. I played Bananagrams with *patient* and she won but only because *support worker* was helping her loads. Everyone else played this awful game where you randomly get cream in your face.

Mum and Dad came this evening and they brought me some more pyjamas and presents that I didn’t open yesterday. I showed them some of the print outs of me with make up on and we watched a film and ate chocolate.

I could have had a shower this evening but *patient* wanted to borrow my shampoo and I didn’t mind.

I’ve just been on the phone to Mum but *patient* was getting annoyed because I had been on the phone for ages so now I’ve got off and my 1:1 has taken me to my room for bed. Good night.

Notes found in diary from 25th/26th December 2015:

What do I not want in life?

  • To be selfish
  • To self harm
  • To be socially awkward
  • To care about what other people think
  • To have rock bottom self-esteem
  • To be sectioned in hospital
  • To be ungrateful
  • To lose my life to suicide when I’m not even old enough to have known what life is yet.

What do I really want in life?

  • To give back to the world
  • To write a book that changes the way people think about kids with mental illness
  • Not have depression anymore
  • Help homeless people
  • Help animals
  • For someone to love me as much as I love them and get married
  • To be able to come off anti-psychotics
  • Learn to drive
  • Finish my A Levels
  • Go to university and make loads of friends*

*Gosh. This has me in near tears. If only I had known how good things have got. Yes, I’m still struggling now but it’s different. I’m so much more aware of how much things can get better. Two years ago I was sat miserable and hopeless wishing the hospital would just let me leave or take me off observations so I could end my life, thinking that I would never finish education or go to university. I wrote my life off age seventeen and here I am. 

These entries are hard to write-up and hard to publish but what I’m trying to say is that life gets better. It’s not a fast and it’s not an easy process but it’s not over until it’s over. 





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