This is an excerpt of an article from the January/February edition of Mental Health Today - to read the article in full subscribe to the magazinehere. 

In this article, the author gives a subjective, personal perspective on how it feels to be a patient in a medical ward while suffering mental and physical distress:

May 2008  

"I'm not sure if I believe in you but please God, make it stop. Isolation and fear are fast friends who continue to seep through my pores and leave me so frightened and confused. I'm alone in this. Help me, someone. Even though nothing makes much sense at the moment, the screaming voices in my head and the giant insects that I can see swarming over my bed are all too real and hoot with laughter at my attempts to shut them out.

The days and nights spin out endlessly. I have no idea whether I am asleep or awake. I am quietly losing my mind - an easy victim to psychosis and all of its merry friends. I am stuck in the purgatory of a medical ward in a hospital that has an excellent acute psychiatric ward. But right now that feels as far away as the moon. My liver is dragging its heels. It's showing off with a liver function test score of 2,300 - it should be between two and 40 - and a diagnosis of viral hepatitis A

Most of all I grieve for the protective barrier that used to keep the 'bad things' at bay - a barrier that was built on the solid foundations of an antipsychotic, an antidepressant and a tranquilizer. Only Priadel (lithium) remains. Loyal and trustworthy, it is metabolised in my kidneys unlike its dangerous cohorts, which have become abrupt and unsuspecting victims in the battle to save my liver.

But psychosis giggles and leers at my oh-so-isolated mood stabiliser, poking jibes and thinly-veiled threats at its ability to even begin to cope with the vicious maelstrom that is currently waltzing around my head. Yes, I am alone in this. Alone in a ward full of patients, nurses and doctors.

But I am not afraid.

No. I am terrified.

Time passes.

A nurse informs me that I 'really must take my dosage of 3,600mg of Priadel'. I gently croak that if she checks my notes she'll see that I actually take 800mg daily.

Time passes.

Another nurse. I try so hard to explain the car wreck that is my brain at the moment but she just holds up her hands and says; 'Sorry, I don't do psychiatry.'

Time passes.

A senior house officer (SHO) informs me that; 'bipolar is a personality disorder that does not respond to medication' and that I'll have to 'pull myself together and snap out of it.'

I cry for about an hour." ...

To find out how her current views on her experience, order your copy of Mental Health Today magazinehere

Picture posed by models