Before we start let me say, these are not tips or suggestions on how to get admitted to hospital, this is purely me sharing my experience and to give a rough idea and time frame of the process for anyone who may be going through something similar. I was extremely lucky that this process took less than a week as it can take weeks or even months at times.
A year ago today I ended up in hospital, for depression. As this was a year ago and I feel I’ve come so far since (so much so that I may soon be fully discharged from the mental health team) I thought I would share how I was admitted, I may blog about my time in the Mother and Baby Unit but that will be for another time.
This isn’t a easy subject to talk about, it is very personal, some things mentioned here no one knew about apart from Jamie. I thought I would break the sigma and talk about the taboo subject of mental health.
I was admitted to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) on Friday the 15th of July 2016, I was an inpatient for 54 days, being discharged on Wednesday the 7th of September 2016.
The process which led to me being refered for a place at a MBU was quite chaotic.
On the Sunday before going to the MBU I just snapped, there is no better way of putting it, it just suddenly happened. We were all sitting in the car and suddenly I felt how everything had built up and all I could think about was how I wanted to be dead, I saw it as my biggest mistake at the time when I told Jamie that I was going to the train station and I won’t be coming back, asking me where I was going my response was just the station, nowhere after that. My intention was to jump in front of a train. Thinking back I see that was my cry for help, the final thread on my lifeline threatening to break, and he held it tightly, thank god he did.
Jamie literally saved me at that point, but I felt terrible, still all I could think about was wanting to be dead. I felt so stupid for telling him what I was going to do. I already felt worthless and useless as a mum; two c-sections in the space of 13 months, unable to breastfeed Monkey, having to stop breastfeeding Koala as despite her latching well she didn’t seem to be feeding so she was hospitalised because of so much weight loss (this still upsets me now as I was unknowingly starving her, I’m crying right now remembering this), having to find somewhere to live. All this and more led to me feeling awful, and then I couldn’t even kill myself properly. I don’t think there is much of a worse feeling than wanting to die, but not even getting that right.
I don’t know why, but from then I didn’t want either of my children near me, when Koala cried I didn’t hear her and when Monkey came over for a cuddle I shrugged him off. At the time maybe this was my way of getting them used to me not being there, in my mind I was preparing them for when I was gone.
The next day Jamie got an emergency appointment for me to see a doctor, I wasn’t exactly happy about it and refused to talk to the doctor, the few times I did speak it wasn’t to anyone in particular, I just mumbled to myself about how useless I was, how fed up with everything I was, how everything would be better for everyone if I was dead, other than that I sat silently as I scratched at my arms wishing I had something sharper than my nails.
At one point it was mentioned that I will be prescribed antidepressants, now I have been on antidepressants several times previously and each time I’ve gotten back to this point, because of this Jamie knows the ‘being given meds and sent on my way’ approach doesn’t work, he wanted more done and I needed more done. I can’t remember if the doctor said something to me but towards the end of the appointment I said aloud “I just want to be dead.”
That was when the doctor asked us to leave the room while he made some phone calls, 15 minutes passed before he asked us back in and explained that he had refered me to the CRISIS team and I had a meeting booked for the next day.
In the waiting room for my meeting with the CRISIS team I was in tears, all I kept saying to Jamie was that I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to go home and then I’ll be fine. We both knew I wouldn’t be fine but I really didn’t want to be there and was saying anything I thought would mean I didn’t have to see them.
During the meeting I stayed relatively quiet looking at the floor and digging my nails into my arms, just nodding or shaking my head to the questions they asked me, Jamie had to wait outside so I felt overwhelmed by the three others in the room, two asking questions and one writing all that was said. I remember them asking how I was feeling, why I was feeling how I was, what let me to feel that way – it felt like a billion and one questions in the space of 10 minutes.
At the end they asked how I would feel about going into hospital for help, I didn’t like the idea but agreed regardless, I was informed it could be a few weeks before a bed space became available and there was no guarantee on where in the UK I could be sent to due to the limited number of Mother and Baby units there are, they would also do home visits regularly until I could be admitted. A home visit was arranged for the next day.
Having a member of the CRISIS team round the next day was pretty repetitive, they asked the same questions and went over what was discussed the previous day. I was told the possibility of a bed becoming available locally and given some leaflets of the Rainbow MBU.
Thursday evening was when we were told of an available bed at the Rainbow Mother and Baby Unit at Broomfield Hospital. I was in tears from the moment I found out, somehow despite this, I managed to pack a bag for me and Koala. No matter how much I didn’t want to go I was as ready as I could be to spend the next few days, weeks, months in hospital.
Friday morning I double and triple checked the bag, I don’t know what I was checking as I had no idea what was needed, I just made sure I had clothes for both of us, and nappies, bottles and formula for Koala. Luckily sterilisers were at the unit as I forgot to pack ours.
When we arrived at the unit it took me about 20 minutes to get out of the car as I begged Jamie not to let me go, I was in tears and terrified, there are always so many horror stories of mental health wards.
Before getting out of the car I had a small prep talk to myself in my head
“I am going to stop self harming, I will stop feeling suicidal. I am going to start enjoying life again, I am going to love my children again. I am going to get better.”
If you are feeling suicidal, or feel like harming yourself or others please reach out. There are plenty of charities and organisations who want to and can help. Please seek help, there is so much more after the monster called depression.