- Chloe Murray
Being away from family and friends can be hard for anyone. But being without them whilst you're trying to overcome your demons and recover is extremely difficult. As well as feeling homesick, you feel scared and alone, stranded in a hospital surrounded by strangers, all battling their own issues. It can all seem exceedingly daunting.
I've been there; in a psychiatric hospital. So I'd like to share some tips for anyone who is facing inpatient treatment too, in order to make your stay there as short and sweet as possible.
1. Make friends- From personal experience, I found the hospital environment a very caring, supportive and non-judgemental place to be. So make the most of it, and be yourself (not your illness)! You will see other patients at their very worst. You'll laugh together, cry together, and you will undoubtedly develop a bond with others that no-one else can understand.
2. Put yourself first- Yes, I said make friends; they will help you along your journey to health. But, you must always remember why you are in hospital - to recover, and you must put all of your energy and strength into that!
3. Be honest- I know it's hard to talk about your feelings. You might fear being judged but the doctors and nurses in hospital are 100% on your side. They genuinely care and want you to get better and be happy!
4. Do as you're told- Again, I know this is much easier said than done. If your therapist has asked you to keep a thoughts diary - do that! It might seem silly at the time, but you have to make the effort! If your dietician has given you a meal plan to follow, try your absolute best to stick to it.
5. Don't rush- Recovery cannot be rushed. Even if that means staying in hospital a little longer, it would definitely be worth the time in the long run, if it means you can leave happy and healthy.
6. Don't expect a miracle- Recovery takes time. It might even be a lifetime journey of having to fight every single day. You can't expect to wake up one day and be cured. It's a gradual process, and baby steps are the key!
7. Distractions!!- It's so important to keep yourself busy and I found jig-saws were an excellent way to pass the time. They require concentration but are also enjoyable, and can help you to ignore any bad thoughts you might have. I'd also advise trying to keep on top of your studies, to avoid any extra stress when you are discharged and have to face the real world again.
8. Keep in touch with the outside world- Make sure you chat to friends and family outside of the hospital. Try to meet up with them and catch up.