“I suffer from depression.” It’s taken me to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital to feel like that’s an acceptable sentence to say out loud. I have friends who are sufferers, loved ones who have battled for years against it, but I absorbed the same stigma as everyone else in the UK and still wanted to believe I wouldn’t go back to being 1 of those 4 – how my perceptions have changed.
If you felt a sinking feeling when you read the word ‘psychiatric’, that’s exactly what I felt when I entered Nightingale Hospital. I was in hysterics and the world had ended in my head when I got into bed at Nightingale Hospital. But within 24 hours I realised that the dead end that I preconceived Nightingale Hospital to be was in fact a warm, friendly and sociable environment that promoted well-being and change. I was able to participate in art and dance therapy for my creative mind, interpersonal therapy to delve into my past intensively, and was surrounded by a great bunch of patients and staff to help ease the process. If it was for a shoulder to cry on that I needed or a session on the piano, there was a space for me to do it at Nightingale Hospital. The nurses were some of the loveliest people I have ever met and the therapists were the best I had ever encountered. What was an initial shock at the prospect of being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, soon turned into a safe and positive place that I was reluctant to leave. I truly believe that I made lifelong friends at there and look forward to sharing good times with them.”