Hotel California

Am I ill?

This question is so much on my mind. I came into hospital because I was having detailed suicidal thoughts and almost took my own life, but at my core I still don’t believe that in the face of what I have lived through that is so unreasonable. Some part of me didn’t want to die though, or I wouldn’t have called for help that Friday. Or maybe as I’ve said before, I simply decided voluntary admission was preferable to involvement of the emergency services and detention under the Mental Health Act.

When you arrive as an informal patient you’re told that you can leave at any time, but as the wife of someone with detailed knowledge of the MHA I’ve always known that’s not strictly true. If the risk levels are high, staff aren’t going to just let you waltz out of the door with all your possessions. I doubt most informal patients are aware of the limited powers of nurses to detain a person at risk until they can be formally “sectioned”. Last time I discussed my informal status with the doctors I was deemed not sectionable but I’ve always been very aware of how quickly that can change.

My distress has eased over the past few days. This morning I had a hefty dose of bog standard depression, but this is something I at least know how to deal with (if hiding in bed all morning missing breakfast and gym equates to “dealing”). I think the fluctuations are much smaller and less frequent now; I also think I’m kind of bottoming out into low mood. I guess that makes sense since another blood test has show my levels of lamotrigine are lower than they should be. We can go ahead with the increase starting tomorrow morning.

A few days ago that was the treatment holy grail. Now I feel pretty meh about it. I just don’t feel ill. Well, a little bit maybe, but nothing I haven’t weathered a million times before. I know I am having a lot of very dangerous thoughts, although I conceive of them as dangerous only in that they would have mega repercussions if I was found out/located. All that escapology stuff for example. I have the chance to get the big med change I’ve wanted for a very long time, yet I seem to seek self-sabotage.

As ever when I get a case of The Sneakies, part of me wants to stop but the planning escalates and becomes ever more devious. I managed to say a bit of this to a nice nurse, a kind of warning that they think I am a pleasant lady and therefore a compliant patient, but I’m not. I am devious and always looking to exploit any cracks in the system. Nice Nurse was there when I was called to speak to the doctors they had been given an idea of my mindset. I told them I have been thinking that maybe there is nothing in here that I need, that I could discharge myself and just go home and sleep off the depression and forget about the whole med change crapola.

Except… You know what’ll happen if you try to leave, right? Asked Beardy Doc. Yup. As my friend Bunny put it: Hotel California. As an informal I can check out any time I like. With ideas like these I can never leave.

Such stupidity, all this self-sabotage; why? Why am I compelled to behave in ways that have increased the likelihood of being sectioned and stuck on 1:1 obs (observations) with a nurse tailing me everywhere and sitting in my doorway as I sleep? Abscond and I could end up on a different ward with tighter security after being pulled out the back of a police van.

Sectioned, even on a 28 day s2, I miss chances to spend time with my children. I just spoke to my daughter, who is a treasure and a delight as ever. Why would I want to spend even less time with her than I can as an informal? I’d be away from Tom and home for a whole month on top of the 2.5 weeks I’ve been in. I’d lose out on brilliant work opportunities. I risk not being in the community for our much-anticipated holiday to Germany.

So why the fuck would I want to do anything that could lead to all that? Why can’t I stop? I’m crossing little lines here and there, but little lines add up. I can’t stop. But I don’t feel ill. Except sometimes I know these thoughts are the thoughts of a crazy person. And I’m now more unwell in the eyes of staff.

I don’t know what to think/believe anymore.




About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Crisis care, Depression, Family issues, Hospital, Inpatient care, Medication, Mental health services, Mood disorder, NHS services, Psychiatry, Suicidal thought, Suicide, Treatment planning, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Hotel California

  1. BrizzleLass says:

    Huge hugs. I think wanting to escape and get home is natural. Nobody wants to be in hospital even if you did put yourself in there voluntarily. Sending you lots of love and I hope you start to feel more like yourself soon.

  2. NiaLisabeth says:

    Buckets o’ hugs. I think you’re amazing, even if you don’t feel it right now.

  3. Hugs from me too and my fingers remain crossed for you. You made a brave decision to go to hospital and hopefully your unhelpful feelings will go away soon.

  4. BrizzleLass says:

    I’m so sorry you have felt that low. I really hope things start to turn around for you xx

  5. Leslie says:

    Prayers to you for peace and strength

  6. luvintheprof says:

    I’m just glad that you’re managing to share these thoughts with some of the “nicer” nurses, Charlotte. I’m also very glad to hear that there are, in fact, some of them working there. I still have hope for you and think of you often. Much love. xXBrendzXx

  7. Judy says:

    Just a quick comment for anyone not familiar with sections. Just because you are on a section doesn’t mean that you don’t get any leave. It just means it has to be formally written up as section 17 leave by the responsible clinician (RC). You should end up getting as much leave as your RC thinks is good and safe for you at the time. It might be escorted, accompanied or unaccompanied and even overnight or longer. Also while a section 2 can be for 28 days, your RC will be planning to get you off it as soon as possible, and you can appeal as well. A section 3 can be for 6 months, but equally your RC will remove it as soon as they feel it is right to do so. So in essence, I always think of it as on a section your RC has legally taken over the management of your care until you are in a fit state to look after yourself again. It doesn’t mean that your care will be any different or last any longer. Sorry that is quite long, but I have heard peopele assuming that they won’t get any leave as they are on a section.

  8. Viktoria Kay says:

    Hello Charlotte,

    I just wanted to tell you that I’m hearing what you’re saying. I’ve favourited quite a few of your tweets, which feels like the wrong thing to do, and just wanted you to know it’s an acknowledgement I’ve ‘heard you’ as opposed to the more positive term ‘favourite’.
    I genuinely understand your difficulties and I totally relate to the inibility to trust new professionals as I have significant difficulty with this – even in a non-mental health related hospital/doctors environment. I mean let’s face it always get brought up anyway.
    I hope you keep posting so we can all be with you in this time; however virtual most of us are to you.
    Thinking of you with much love and support.

    • Thanks Viktoria, yeah, the new Twitter “like” function is a bit weird, isn’t it? I usually take it mean that someone wants me to know they have heard me, so don’t worry! In the end I feel my stay was necessary, even if frustrating and upsetting in some ways. It did turn out to be therapeutic – but the virtual network I am so lucky to have was also very important x

  9. bpukblog says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    Sorry to hear you are still unwell. I know how difficult it is but I think you are likely to get the most benefit out of being in hospital – and thus get better and released sooner – when you accept it’s the best place for you to be at the moment. You’re amazingly intelligent and that’s great most of the time but it means your mind can go 100mph and you almost need to turn that off for a fortnight. Let the hospital cook, clean, look after you. Give your mind the first proper rest from keeping you safe it’s ever had.

    I know it’s easier said then done. When I was sectioned I missed my daughter more than anything, and cried when our “family time” was over. But you’ll look back in a month or two, with meds sorted and mind rested and realise how therapeutic this time was.

    Will keep everything crossed for you 🙂


    • Chris, thank you, I’ve only just been able to fully access my comments but you were absolutely right. I needed to let the hospital take responsibility for almost everything, and that meant not ever going out of the ward for the first couple of weeks. I needed to be cocooned. And I totally feel it was therapeutic. Going in was such a hard decision but was 100% the right one, and I’m grateful now that it was offered to me x

  10. LucyG says:

    Thinking about you lots and sincerely hoping that you are beginning to feel better and the medication changes are proving to be a success. I too send you big hugs as I think you are an amazing honest person who relates things as they are and you are a very important part of the lives of other bipolar sufferers. Take good care.

  11. manyofus1980 says:

    Brave of you to speak up and tell them how you felt, sending many hugs your way! x

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