The police took me in a van to a psychiatric ward in Rochdale. The inside of a police van was familiar to me, but the journey was still sickening. On reaching the hospital I noticed that the ward was an L shaped corridor with one section for males and one section for females. On my first night I was exhausted and went straight to my room and slept.
The next morning I went to the dining area which doubled up as a lounge and had breakfast, I noticed straight away that there were no male members of staff. I found out later that there was only one male nurse on the ward.
The staff were nice and welcoming, but we didn’t have en-suite showers and toilets in our rooms. There were about ten male patients and ten female patients. At the time, my voice was loud and constantly swearing at me, I literally couldn’t hear myself think.
There was an Asian lady who would sit down for hours with her eyes shut. She asked if she could borrow my prayer book which I let her borrow but she didn’t return it. I met R there, a nursing assistant who brought in books for me. I remember reading one of her books about gangsters in London.
There was a really kind support worker from the hostel who visited me in the Rochdale ward and brought my belongings, snacks and books. I was concerned for my sister and my family so I would call home everyday to check how everyone was.
I stayed in Rochdale for a few days before being transferred to Oldham. It was nice to be back in a familiar place closer to home but I didn’t know any of the other patients. When I was admitted onto the ward my sister had been discharged.
I talked a little with other patients as I was preoccupied with my thoughts so it was hard to have conversations. Four people I knew from the hostel were also admitted onto the unit. My friend from school HS was also a patient on the ward. We would pray together and order food from the takeaway.
I noticed that there were a lot of Asians detained there, I wondered at the time why Asians were over represented on an acute mental health ward. I haven’t found an answer to that question yet.
My voices didn’t calm down, they tormented me throughout the day and the medication was having no effect. I settled down to hospital life and gradually got to know my fellow patients. I met some interesting people, including an ex- professor. This time was one of the most difficult and stressful times in my life as I had to learn to cope with the voices in my head and being sectioned for the second time. My family continued to visit me and two of my friends also visited regularly.
My friends would encourage me to study Arabic and we would revise together then order a meal from the local takeaway.
What is your experience of relapsing? Please share.