“Oh! So that’s normal?!”

I’m lucky to be some years on in my recovery journey. But there were a number of years –a decade in fact- of repeated stays in hospital. I think back to that time and shudder. It was awful. When at home, I was on medication that didn’t alleviate the symptoms, I couldn’t make sense of my life and didn’t have enough stability to start attending interest groups in the community. When I was sectioned I was given horrid tranquilisers and antipsychotics that gave me akathisia. I didn’t like everyone I encountered on the ward and there was nowhere to go to chill out. Some of the people on the ward with me I found intimidating and very stressful to be around. Sometimes when I was desperate and at home, I’d phone services asking to go to hospital only to be turned away. It is from this culture that I started to pack my bags, when things got bad, and try running away.
I was speaking to someone recently who related a similar story. I realised I was not alone in trying this approach. My escapes always led me to getting picked up by the police and put into the local NHS psyche unit, then returned to my home town psyche unit. I guess that was fortunate. But during my escapes I was pretty psychotic – travelling to anywhere the bus or train would take me. I was among strangers and I often wanted to rid myself even of the small amount of possessions I had with me. I was incredibly vulnerable.
It is upsetting to think of this now. I feel for my jaded and confused self. I also realise that it happens and is a normal reaction to stress.

Published by Beyond Recovery blog

A collection of creativity, artwork and information by Merseysiders on recovery in mental health.

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