After numerous failed escape attempts and being chased and brought back to the ward I was becoming more and more agitated. I couldn’t stay in one place and had a torrent of thoughts rushing through my head.
I was preoccupied with these thoughts and didn’t interact with anyone. I tried my best to focus and distract myself by watching TV but I couldn’t concentrate. I would briefly sit in the lounge with other patients but would be lost in thoughts.
There were a few older patients and a couple of patients who were similar in age to me. I spoke to my friend over the phone who advised me to stay calm and wait to be taken of the section. It was good advice but I didn’t practice on it.
When I was called for medication I flatly refused and shouted at the poor nurse for daring to offer me medication. At the time I had no insight into my illness and didn’t even think that there was something wrong with me. I definitely didn’t see the need to take medication.
In this state of mind I went to the nursing office and attempted to grab the male staff nurse who I was suspicious about. He pressed the alarm and about eight members of staff, some from neighbouring wards, came running from every direction and restrained me. They didn’t hurt me whilst doing so.
Injected for the first time
This was the first time I was exposed to the alarm system and the response of staff. As I lay face down on my bed and saw the injection held by the nurse I was scared, I had never been injected before. Within minutes of being injected, I was asleep.
One of the other patients told me later that I slept for around sixteen hours. This incident was a shocking and humiliating experience for me but I now realise why staff did what they did. It was to protect patients and staff and myself too.
Physical intervention is actually quite rare and when it does happen it is carried out without hurting the patient. Staff are trained in restraint and it is used as a last resort.
Have you ever been restrained or injected? Please share your experience.
What is Being Sectioned?
The 1983 Mental Health Act is a law that covers the assessment and treatment of people with a mental health problem. People detained under the Act require treatment for a mental health issue and may be at risk of harm to themselves or others. When someone is detained in a mental health ward under this law they are commonly said to have been sectioned.
A person may be sectioned if concerns are raised about their mental health. Before a person can be sectioned, they have to be assessed to make sure that the section is necessary. Someone can be detained under a section 2 if they have a mental illness and need to be held in hospital for a short time for assessment. I was initially held in hospital under a section 2.
In most cases three people have to agree that someone needs to be sectioned, they include a mental health professional, a doctor who has special training in mental disorders and another doctor.
People detained on a section 2 can appeal to the hospital managers and the mental health tribunal where they can ask for their detention to be reviewed. They can appeal in the first 14 days of their detention and the appeal is heard within a few days. The Nearest Relative is also informed as they have rights including the right to apply for discharge.
On a section 2 a patient can be held for up to 28 days, but usually the detention ends before the 28 days or there is further discussion and the person may be assessed for a section 3. Unfortunately, my section 2 was changed to a section 3 and I ended up staying in hospital for nearly a year.
Under a Section 3 a patient can be detained for up to 6 months. The doctor can discharge a service user earlier if they get better. However if there is a need, the section can be renewed again after 6 months, a patient can be medicated against their will but permission will always be requested.
When I was sectioned, although my rights were read to me, I wasn’t able to comprehend what being detained actually meant in terms of the potential duration of my enforced stay in hospital.
When you were first sectioned and informed of your rights was it clear?