My Experiences of the Mental Health System by ‘N’
Good, bad, ugly, sad, hopeful.
It’s sad to anyone to have to visit or work at ********* *****, not an ideal place for anyone to spend time in.
An ugly building with rooms like interrogation rooms, with the odd cushion. A bit like how the DSS signing on offices used to look in the 80’s.Horrible lighting and old magnolia old painted walls.
Not a plant or ounce of colour or life in sight.
If architecture and interior design affects how one feels, then this is not good.
No modernisation about the building and it looks as bad from the outside as in the inside.
It didn’t feel me with hope. It made me feel like I didn’t matter. The staff there-do what they can do and more with what they have. But the building and lay out is dismal.
No money invested or cares here then, for workers and out-patients alike.
Lets Go Inside Gadgets or apps
Personally I am aware that there is no real easy way of communicating to others how I feel, when I’m feeling unwell. Whether that be a depressed episode lasting weeks/months or an anxiety attacks that lasts between 1-60 mins.
Whether I’m feeling really ill-can’t go out, slightly delusional, etc-people can see how that manifests (from their point of view) in terms of my outward behaviour. i.e: I might walk about agitated or mumble to myself.
But what really matters to me is how I feel. If I could only communicate this to people, it would help with the suffering and feelings of isolation, and give instant relief.
It’s this inner feeling that I can’t convey or communicate to others that makes me feel less good. This frustration of trying to explain-the anxiety and panic that appears to appear out of no-where, I care not so much how it got there, but how to express it to another living being while it is there.
I believe for me the key to recovery is defining another language, or way of expression-not so much for mental health to be viewed differently by different people, but firstly from the patient’s mouth. If a patient cant describe or convey how they are feeling, right then at that moment of mental pain-then how can anything really be changed in society if not from the Inside of the person first.
When I was a child,I broke my arm, and when the doctor asked me-how did it feel,I felt a bit pressured but glad too that he wanted to know, but I could just not explain the pain.
Because he couldn’t see the break just yet, he had to prod around slightly and that hurt. But there was the knowledge that he would find out through prodding and x-rays.
My experience of mental health local help is that, you are expected to explain your feelings, symptoms (which don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for), this is hard when you are in mental pain .and near impossible.
If you are feeling low due to a relative dying in a car crash, then people might say-how are you? You only need say,’ not good’ and they know how you are feeling, why and usually have an idea of what you need. There is great comfort in that, there is less explaining to do.
But when I am sat fairly contently with a friend having lunch at home, eating a healthy meal and a panic attack appears out of no-where, and my friend is urging me to express how it feels so I feel less frightened, and so that she can then feel a slight connection with me , throughout the ordeal which may last 1-60 minutes.
There are two things that need to be addressed here
1) When you are feeling unwell (in your opinion), you need something, an app or gadget, that you can access to convey information to explain people around you as to what’s going on in your head.
This would help with feeling of aloneness and fear, whilst you are experiencing, anxiety, depression, psychosis etc
It has to be personalised for you. It may be a section of a film that is repeated to produce similar effects to how your feeling, not to disturb anyone-but just to give them a brief glimpse of how you’re feeling the sensations you are experiencing etc
For example, once when my cpn asked me how I felt, in particular how my anxiety felt..my example was..
If you can imagine that you have been made to watch a ’Hellraiser’ film over and over for two days solidly, without moving from the chair, with your curtains shut, alone, and you feel quite detached from the outside world, and frightened, even though there appears to be no logical reason to feel scared (as it was just a film, right?) Despite no logical explanation for the feelings that linger of anxiety-they are there regardless.
So, I would like to design a few films of a collections of films or acts to explain to people how I’m feeling, so I could relax and know that they are ‘getting the picture’.
I honestly would feel as though I would not slide down that black hole quite so often or alone, in the sense that someone is aware of how I’m feeling but equally detached to assist where and when possible.
Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I’m ill ,in whatever way, with Flu, or depression, I simply want someone to watch a bit of telly or lie with me and read a book and just be with me, even for 30 mins.
I don’t expect them to find a solution, necessarily, but just to make a connection with me.
2) When someone has been given a diagnosis, then they also need to be given
- 2 Graphic designers
- 2 Video producers
- 3 performance artists or dancers
- 2 digital interactive specialists
- 1 film editing specialist
- 1 Personal assistant that takes care of the practical side of life as well as helping to arrange production.
So, dance or film or a mixture of images to represent how you are feeling, that you have individually produced to convey your feelings ,if not able to do this easily,I am left in a sense-dumb, and others are deaf.
Words don’t yet exist to explain properly the ill feelings, or at least, they are not able to be spoken whilst experiencing mental pain.
The empowerment would be massive, just being able to press a button or pull up a video to show someone how I’m feeling.
I’m working on this, how it could be done etc. I believe it could be done in an interesting way in which interested parties, students, medical profession could really learn about communication aspects of mental health. It may work out as a pro-active and empowering aid.