Friday, 14 April 2017

Rehabilitation and Recovery: New Approaches with Cygnet Healthcare | Ad

Some photography credited to Vicky McNally and Cygnet Healthcare, with all editing done by me via Moldiv

I never thought I'd say that I was excited for a conference-style event... But the New Approaches conference was being held in the same venue as a previous one, and it meant that I was staying in the same hotel; and I found all of that quite comforting. I was also looking forward to some of the talks after receiving the agenda; and the thought of meeting new people is always exciting!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

You CAN Get Through Reporting Your Trauma

Note: This post discusses aspects of sexual abuse and rape; some parts may be triggering or upsetting.

Some photography credits to RJ Photography - with all editing done by me via Moldiv

The reason I wrote this post is to illustrate that you can overcome the fear and tell someone - anyone, about what has happened to you. And even if you're battling against the fear that no one will believe you or that nothing will be done - that the person will get away with it; then know that even if that happens you can and will still get through it. 

As is typical in a lot of sexual abuse stories, one of my main reasons to go for three years before disclosing it to anyone; was the fear - conviction, almost - that I wouldn't be believed.

In the late part of 2009 I was in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and after having just come out of the seclusion room that I had been restrained and sedated in, I was sat in a room with a nurse; about to tell her my deepest, darkest secret. Immediately after returning to the female part of the PICU I had sat with a woman - an amazing, special, and kind woman who I'm forever thankful I had the chance to meet; in the walled outdoor area and she was asking if I was ok and what'd happened because she was in the next room to mine and had heard the emergency assistance alarms and other commotion.
She told me some of her own trauma story, (which hadn't been disclosed until that moment) and how she thought that if she'd reported it things mightn't have got so bad; and she might not be in the position she is, feeling that it was too late now. Telling people now wouldn't make a difference. "Nothing, could make a difference," she said. And then she told me a, LOT of her mental health story. The things she'd done. The things Services had done. The things Services hadn't done. The Hospitals she'd been in. The treatments she'd had, and the amount of years this has all been going on for.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Cygnet Hospital Coventry Grand Opening - A Tour | Ad

[Note: all photos are credited to Vicky McNally and Cygnet Healthcare and Raf Hamaizia with all of them edited by myself via Moldiv]

Read the previous post about the conversations that were had at the Grand Opening here
Watch my vlog from this event here
Read Cygnet's piece on the event here

 [a fellow Expert by Experience: Hannah]

Having arrived late to the Opening; I joined a few people (including the legendary Raf Hamaizia) on an impromptu tour of the Hospital; led by Bronwen Corby, Operations Director.
Like most Hospitals (perhaps a helpful tool in dispelling mental health stigma specifically towards Psychiatric Hospitals) Cygnet Coventry was - or at least seemed to be to me - a rabbit's warren maze! I was frequently asking where abouts we were in relation to other parts of the hospital... Bronwen was incredibly patient! Because of this, I'm not going to be the greatest in my descriptions but I'm going to give it a shot!
Cygnet Coventry is specifically all-female and for those aged 18 and above. It's services include:
Dunsmore Ward - a female Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit [PICU]
Middlemarch Ward - Locked Women's Rehabilitation
Ariel Ward - Female Personality Disorder
Ariel Court - Transitional Living Units

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Cygnet Hospital Coventry Grand Opening - A Conversation | Ad

[Note: all photos are credited to Vicky McNally and Cygnet Healthcare and Raf Hamaizia with all of them edited by myself via Moldiv]

Watch the vlog from this event here
And read the second blog post from the Grand Opening here
Read Cygnet's piece on the event here

As my car took numerous lefts and rights through a housing estate, I thought that maybe the driver was lost; Cygnet Hospital Coventry was so new that there wasn't even any signs to the building, and the driver had to use Google Maps after discovering we'd been driving in the wrong direction for ten minutes!
After yet another bend, I spotted the top of a modern, and clearly well-designed building that stood out among the terraced houses. And although, saying that the Hospital stood out and was completely different to it's surroundings, I don't think of that as a negative thing. Personally, I found that having Cygnet Hospital Bierley (where I spent over two years of my life, and 1 of the 21 Cygnet Hospitals in the U.K.) in the middle of a housing estate - but at the same time, with easy access to the motorway, supermarket and a woodland area - very motivational. For me, seeing young people in groups pass by, laughing and on their phones, was a healthy reminder that not only did life exist beyond the Hospital walls, but also; that it was reachable, in the deepest sense of the word. When freedom; from thoughts, hallucinations, and urges to self-harm, felt so far away and impossible, I could see that it actually wasn't too far.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Things Turning 26 Made Me Think About [MY BIRTHDAY]


Turning twenty six kind of caught me by surprise...
Obviously I dont mean that I forgot it was going to happen! It was just that I was hit with the realisation that it would be completely normal for me to start thinking about - and talking about - time frames (not sure if that's the best way to phrase it) for a lot of the important milestones in life: a house, marriage, and babies!

I think that a huge factor in making this such a shock, was the amount of time - years; I've spent, being convinced that I had no future because there were so many times when I'd do something that could, potentially, make it impossible.  

All of these professionals; Psychologists, DBT therapists, Occupational Therapists, Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs), and pretty much every member of staff whilst being an inpatient with Cygnet; would be asking me to think of goals. They'd have this generic 
form that demanded five short-term goals and three long-term, how they could be achieved, and by when I would like to have achieved them. Of course I understood that the purpose in doing this was to give you motivation on days when you felt hopeless; but, realising that for me, at that point in my life, 'short-term' meant however many hours were left in the day; and 'long-term' was within a week, it made me feel even less hopeful
My life was like that for such a long time that finally being able to say 'in the next few months I'd like to...' or 'in a years time I'd like to...' was overwhelming! This might sound strange to some of you, but; accepting that you have a future... It's - not hard... But... It's not how some people might imagine that straight away it's like 'yay! This is so good!' I feel like this is an aspect of mental health recovery that you might never think of or consider unless you're told or you experience it; because, in all honesty, it threw me off a little bit. It made me embarrassed; feeling that I now had to almost play catch-up with my friends. Those I'd studied my A Levels alongside were on the verge of becoming fully qualified Lawyers [the career path I'd planned to take] and those who'd gone on to do an apprenticeship were now permanent and full-time employees. And if I wanted to stick to the whole 'Law-route' thing then I'd need to re-sit all of my A Levels before I could even start considering University.