Sunday, 23 June 2013

taking the psych drugs when detained in 2002 after going in voluntarily

A short post about my acute inpatient experience in Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, in 2002, following a menopausal psychosis at age 50.  

I had been working full-time as a manager in the voluntary sector, in my home town of Perth.  It was a temporary post, and an enjoyable one where I did a variety of jobs, including independent advocacy for people with disabilities and in the psychiatric system.  There were challenges in the post, including a bullying situation that had been going on for some years in the workplace and resulted in workers going to the union and getting the main bully dismissed.

There were also challenges to do with a family member who became mentally unwell and was hospitalised.  But the main trigger was the hormonal changes occurring in my body as I transitioned between childbearing years into older age.  This caused me to move into a sensitive phase, described as 'psychosis' by psychiatry, where everything sensory became acute.  Visuals, hearing, smell, thoughts.

My sons were concerned because I wasn't 'myself' and took me in their car up to Lomond Ward which is just up the road.  I went in of my own volition.  I knew I wasn't well.  Took a look round the ward and women's dormitory, overlooked by male patients in single rooms.  I decided to leave.  Whereupon I was told that I was on a 72 hour detention and had to take the 'medication'.  Previous inpatient stays meant I knew that if I didn't swallow the drugs then I would be forced to take them.  So I swallowed them under compulsion.

I didn't want to take the drugs, the anti-psychotics make me clinically depressed, and so they did.  However I wasn't 'psychotic' so was released after about a week, depressed and flat, and it took me a year or two to summon up the strength and resilience to take charge of my own mental health, taper the drugs, resist the labels and recover.

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