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.
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.