Monday, 9 April 2018

4 Years in Recovery

Four years is a long time, one fifth of my life to be precise. Today marks not only four years since I was admitted to an adolescent psychiatric hospital, but four years since my journey of recovery began and since I met my best friend.

I can remember the 9th April 2014 so vividly, yet some parts are such a blur. I remember being scared and frightened, I had only just learnt that psychiatric hospitals actually exist, let alone that I was going to one. I remember my mum and the nurses debating getting me transport to the unit, my mum begged and pleaded to let her take me. I briefly remember the journey, we didn't speak much and my mind was full of thoughts and worries about what was going to happen. I arrived on the unit and met a nurse, she was so lovely and she reassured me that it doesn't seem like a hospital. I remember them searching my bags, that my mum had packed, removing anything that could be seen as harmful; nail polish, tweezers, razors, aerosol deodorant cans, pencil sharpeners, hair straighteners, my hair dryer and even my headphones. It was a waiting game before I was allowed onto the unit, I had to have my admission meeting which was full of intimidating doctors, nurses, therapists and health care assistants. Finally, the doors unlocked and I was taken to my room. I was confused about how locked it was for a so called open ward, there was a locked door splitting the unit from the reception and another one separating the reception from the outside world, the two doors couldn't be open at the same time. As we were walking to my room, panic starting to set in, I noticed a couple of the patients but I didn't take much in. We arrived in my room, it was very simple; a bed, a window that only opened an inch, disgusting patterned curtains, wooden furniture attached to the wall with no handles. Both myself and my mum sat on the bed, she stayed for an hour or two, different staff members would come in and out of my room, introducing themselves. I was being checked on every five minutes, despite my mum still being in my room. Everything felt like foreign territory, nothing was how it was at home. The taps in the bathroom would only run for ten seconds at a time and had a touchscreen button, the same with the sinks. Plugs weren't kept in the bathrooms and if we wanted to have a bath, we had to ask for a plug. My mum soon left and some of the other patients came to introduce themselves. They wrote on my white board a whole bunch of inspiring quotes and left their phone numbers. I am so thankful that we were allowed our phones because it felt like it was the only part of the outside world I had left. Bar using the bathroom, I didn't leave my room for three weeks. I was being prescribed and prompted to take medication that I hadn't even had discussed with me. It felt like hell, but I knew it was where I needed to be. I could go on about my admission for days, but in reality, it was only the beginning of my recovery.


I'm not going to lie, the past four years have been a struggle and a half, there has been constant ups and downs and I am still trying to find my feet within the world. I have been in recovery for four years yet I have battled for eight and I still struggle, I still have numerous days where I want to give up, I still have slip ups and relapses and I still have a hell of a lot to work on. I am still in Mental Health services, I am still on medication and I still have a lot of bad thoughts. I have been lucky enough to escape further admissions which I think is a good achievement. Recovery is difficult, it takes absolutely everything out of you, it is exhausting, it is stressful and it isn't a quick process. If I had seen four years ago where I am today then I think I would have given up before I had even begun because I am not even half way there, I still have so far to go and I wouldn't have seen the point. However, when you've been in recovery for four years, you realise that you've put too much effort in to lose everything now and although it doesn't feel like much, you have come far enough. In order to make steps towards being well, you need to want to get well because a self destructive mindset will only put you back.

Within the past four years I have sat through three years of Sixth Form to then drop out, I have had two jobs; one of which I have been at for over two years, I have completed a skydive to raise money for Mind, I have found the love of my life and have been with him for over two years, I have looked at going back into education, I have kept up contact and trips with my best friend who I met in hospital, I have met people and lost others, I have watched my relatives grow up and blossom into young adults, I have gotten a recovery pet who I wouldn't be without, I have had trips to A&E regarding my mental health, I have started this blog where I openly talk about Mental Health, I have done DBT, I have tried new things, found new hobbies and I have grown up. I have realised that I am not defined by my illness and that life is never straight forward, there are always going to be set backs and stresses but it is all about learning how to cope and deal with those situations. Recovery is not straight forward but I am sure that when we all get there, all the tears, pain, worries and stress will have been worth it, and we can start living even more.

"I am in repair, I'm not together, but I am getting there"

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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