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  • Writer's picturelaurasylvv

Punishment for a mental illness?

With that title, you might be thinking "what, why would you be punished!?" Or if you do have a mental illness and have ever been hospitalised for 'treatment' then maybe you can understand where I'm coming from...

*please note this is not my current reality, I'm speaking from experience of many years ago before embarking on my healing journey*

When people go into a mental health hospital maybe for a week, a few weeks, months, maybe even a year or more; people often expect you to come out fully recovered, completely cured. Or at least that used to be the case.

I've had cards which read, 'get well soon' and well, it's really not the same thing as having a broken leg is it?

Whilst the gesture is lovely and their heart is in the right place, it can often leave the sufferer feeling like a fraud when they aren't 'well soon'..

So what does the title of this blog post mean? I don't know where to start to be honest and I can only speak from my own experience here and my experience of being an inpatient in a mental health hospital was with an eating disorder, anorexia specifically.

5 times I've been hospitalised. It's not glamorous, it's definitely not something to boast about either, but I'm here to shed some light on the reality of what it's really like 'living' inside these institutions.

Each admission has been completely different. I can't really say any were better than others, just different.

Let me give you some examples..

In one admission, every Thursday we were given 'chef's challenge' which basically meant it was a 'surprise' breakfast of the chefs choice, which was scary enough seeing as though the 'chefs' were basically that of a greasy spoon. The dietician always had a say in this too, though she was greek and not all that fluent in English, which sometimes made it difficult (she once told me to have chicken nuggets and chips for tea when I told her I was vegetarian)..?

One morning we entered the dining room, feeling fearful as ever and in front of us was a huge buttery, flaky croissant, which you might think "yum!" but when you have an eating disorder it's not quite like that.

The staff that work on the ward, nurses and health care assistants that are there 24/7 for support, always sit with you at the dining table and eat too.

We all sat down at our designated table depending on the level of support needed, completely silent because we were terrified with what we were faced with, not a single member of staff said a word...

Where was the support?

Some of the girls were crying, one walked out of the room, others 'including myself' sat down with terror written across our face. Before we got time to really comprehend this huge croissant, we were also served toast AND our usual bowl of cereal on top of this..?

On an average day to day, who realistically eats that as a standard breakfast before work? Knowing we&