Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tricky subject

As the title suggests, I plan to primarily write about my husbands illness, and the experiences we have both had in dealing with the mental health system. I say "I plan to... ", because it is a subject that I find very distressing to talk about, although at the same time I want people to know how poorly patients and relatives are treated by staff in Psychiatric wards. I also hope that by writing this blog I can help to dispel some of the misconceptions that some people have regarding Schizophrenia and maybe mental health issues in general. Although this is a serious issue, I hope I can also share with you some of the laughs that my husband and I have had about his illness.

It's really hard to know where to start and how to put things into words, partly because so much has happened, and partly because it's a very sensitive subject for me.

I got a call recently, and then also a letter, from a lady that had got in touch with me through the carers group I had been going to. They wanted input from carers who's relatives have had to stay in the psychiatric wards in the area. They were going to use our input to train staff better. I thought it was a good idea, and I said I would help. I tried to think about what I wanted/needed to say at the meeting, but it was harder than I thought it would be. Not really hard to remember, but hard to put into words because it's still so upsetting. I started to write down how we had been treated in the past and I could feel myself starting to get really stressed again. I hadn't thought about it all for ages, and I thought I had "recovered". Obviously not.

I told the woman that I probably wouldn't be able to cope with the final meeting, because that's when the staff were going to be there, and there are certain members of staff that I never want to see ever again. That was partly why I was trying to write down notes. I felt like I really should have done it, to prevent others from going through the same thing, but I just couldn't. My husband nearly died when he was in their "care", and the reaction I got from the staff was "But he didn't die did he? So why are you so upset?" Considering they are supposed to be psychiatric nurses, I wonder if they even know what the term "psychological trauma" means.

So I'm going to try to take this slowly. I'll try not to pressure myself to explain the whole story within a week, I'll just take things one step at a time. And I now have my other blog as a light hearted distraction for when things get a bit heavy. I really do want people to know what happened. When you have been wronged there is a strong desire for justice. I know this won't be found by complaining to ward managers and medical directors and the like; I've tried that route. And I want justice for all psychiatric patients and their families, not just my husband and I, because believe me, ours was by no means an isolated case.

Maybe this will give me "closure"? Maybe people reading this blog will be inspired to write about their own experiences? Maybe this blog will strengthen families so that they won't tolerate poor treatment of their sick family member? Maybe more people will speak out, and something will get done?

Maybe now is the right time?


FlyAway said...

Hello again, I figured I'd try to start somewhat from reading the beginnng of your entries. My feeling are so much the same. I really believe that someday the "professional" will somewhat understand. This is one of the reasons why I'm going back to school and majoring in psychology and social science. I figure if I want to see changes I'm going to be one of them to make it happen. Also in this line of work, they do not listen to you unless you have some sort of degree-not as if life experiences mean anything to them.
I'm still so excited that I found your blog!!

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you FlyAway! Welcome to my blog, and well done for taking the bull by the horns to make a change!