So after that last overdose, where I really tried to succeed, followed by a few more overdoses and one attempt of suffocating myself by placing a bag over my head, it was decided that it would be safer for me to move to a secure unit; a 24 bed ward where I could be watched and have what Vicki called ‘respite’. I was told I wasn’t under section, but I would be if I didn’t go. So, I packed my bags and moved into ‘Wotton Lawn’, a hospital on the outside of Gloucester. The first night I was there I cried and cried, I don’t think I had ever felt so lonely as I did at that monent, sat in that room on my own, wishing I was at home. Part of me was glad I suppose, firstly to be in somewhere safe, and secondly, surely this must mean that there was actually something properly wrong with me, that I wasn’t making it up. I was in a mental hospital – did that mean I was special? At the time, I didn’t think about it, but now I am glad I was never sectioned – now I am ‘better’ (if you can ever be better from BPD – it is probably better to say not actively ill) I can hold my head up and say that I was never sectioned, especially when going to job interviews and the like.
The stupid thing is, my feelings on the matter are so changeable. Sometimes I am proud of my scars, proud of what I have been through (and come out the other side). Other times I will go out of my way to hide them, to deny the fact that I was ever ill, I was ever weak.
While I was in hospital, I stopped eating. I drank fruit juice day in day out (not reccomended, you start crapping like a baby), perhaps it was a response to stress, I don’t know. When I arrived, they searched me and took the razors that I had hidden in the lining of my bag, and the one I had stashed in my bra (old habits never die hard!). Unfortunately for me (although I didn’t think so at the time) I met a girl in the unit who had day leave, and brought razors back in with her each time she went out. Being surrounded by so much self harm wasn’t good for me, and resulting in me cutting myself worse than I ever had before.
Because of the lack of ‘activities’ in the ward, I took up smoking. It seemed the only thing to do all day was sleep, or sit in the courtyard with the other patients and smoke. A lot of the time, they sat, took a drag, then burnt their hands. I soon picked up this habit and this is my biggest regret, the scars on my arm can be hidden, the ones on my hand cannot. This is what I learnt from this: I have to be very careful around other self harmers, regardless of what state of mind I am in, I am very easily triggered.
After six months or so of healing time:
The funny thing was, when I was in the unit, the people that helped me the most were actually the patients, rather than the staff. The staff didn’t seem to have enough time in the day to look after us all, so many hours were spent in that courtyard talking through our lives, thoughts and feelings. I still remain in contact with a few people I met in the unit, but I do have to be careful as my mood can be so easily affected by other people.
I also spent one afternoon talking to the priest. I am not a religious person, I never have been. I guess I was feeling very alone, and he seemed to be the only person who would listen. He gave me three hours of his time, he didn’t judge me and neither did he try to force god down my throat. I was very appreciative of that, in fact, I left the unit intent on buying a bible and going to church. It didn’t last long though – as you guys with BPD can imagine, another ‘impulse’ decision relating to my instability of self.
I don’t know if anyone else suffers from this but the largest scar on my arm became very painful, especially when I moved. I had a procedure done where it was re-sected (and also gave me a self harming fix as I had been clean for a while but I was able to watch my arm being cut open my a mad doctor with a scalpel). Apparently I suffer from ‘Keloid scarring’ as a result, although the new scar was shorter, it was a fair bit wider. Since then, I still suffer from pain and itchiness in that scar. Sometimes putting a cold flannel on it helps, if anyone else has any ideas I would love to hear them.
Take care. x