I appreciate some people find medication a helpful way to manage their emotions and I have found it helpful at times of very acute distress, but it resolves nothing and can impair an individual’s ability to gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
I have felt I have been given it, sometimes in large quantities, as a method of control and containment rather than as part of any sound and holistic treatment plan. Some of my worst experiences have been because of medication side effects.
The lack of recognition that my psychotic symptoms have an inherent meaning related to my past rather than being a result of a chemical imbalance in need of pharmacological correction in short-sighted and did nothing to help me make sense of them. The voices I have heard said negative things I feel about myself or sometimes even nasty things my mother said to me as a child.
It is interesting that an individual’s self-medication with illegal drugs or alcohol is considered problematic but inducing the same effects with psychiatrically prescribed medication is therapeutic.
My behaviour escalated to include presenting a risk to others. In my mind, this escalation was to try to force others to take how I felt seriously and to prove to everybody what a bad, unlovable person I was. I wanted it to look like I was dangerous rather than be dangerous.
Whilst I accept that I am responsible for my behaviour I can’t help wondering if I had felt my distress was validated and responded to sensitively earlier on whether I would have felt the need to go to these lengths.
Eventually, I committed a serious criminal offence and was briefly admitted to a medium secure unit followed by spending time in prison and following numerous psychiatric assessments and court appearances given a mental health act order and detained in a high-security hospital.
My first short experience of secure psychiatric services was particularly negative. I was in a ward with only one other female patient amongst fourteen acutely unwell and sometimes violent male patients.
It was a time when I was particularly vulnerable, scared and distressed as I began to realise the consequences of what I had done. The support I received did not recognise or show any sensitivity to this.
I was treated as a bad person whose every expression of emotion was manipulative and needed containment rather than understanding. I was restrained and secluded and had to sleep in a side room where I had to come in and out in my nightclothes in front of male patients.
Continued in Part 7.
Written by Anonymous