Welcome to day 27 in the #Write31Days challenge on mental health. Today, I will describe what a typical day is like living with my mental illness and as a psychiatric inpatient.
Usually, I am awoken by the staff at around 8:30 AM. They give me my mornign medication. My morning meds consist of my antipsychotic, a capsule of Prisolec for my reflux, and vitamin D. I get dressed and go to the living room for breakfast. The nurses usually prepare my breakfast, because I cannot put topping on my bread or mix yoghurt and muesli without making a big mess. I usually drink a cup of coffee and then go to my room to check my E-mail. In the institution, we have WiFi only in the front room, but I have subscrption Internet access in my room.
I generally go to day activities at around 9:30. Some people in my institution have fixed times when they have to go to their workshops, but I do day activities on the ward across from mine. You can dorp in there whenever you want (provided you don’t have to go to work elsewhere). I often stay for about an hour.
Morning coffee break is at 10:00 AM. At around 10:30, the domestic service worker usually delivers fruit, bread and other foods to the living room. On my side of the unit, the cupboards for getting food are not locked during the day, so you can get bread whenever you want. On the other side and on most other units, the cupboards are locked. There are pros and cons to each. A pro to keeping the cupboards open is it allows patients more freedom to eat when they feel hungry. A drawback is many patients make a mess out of the kitchen when they get their food. Another reason cupboards are locked, according to the nurses, is precisely to prevent us from eating whenever we want. I honestly believe this is a stupid rule: you shouldn’t have meal times enforced in the outside world either.
Lunchtime is at noon. Usually again, a staff member prepars my food. We used to have hot lunches, but the microwaved meal got moved to the evening. I remember at the blindness rheabilitation center, the patient councilwould have to be consulted on such decisions, but patients were not involved in this decision here.
I usually sleep for about an hour after lunch. At 1:45 PM, the early evening shift comes on. There are three nurses on the morning shift and two on the evening shift. When the early evening shift comes on, there may be time for me to be taken on a walk. I am trying to unlearn my habit of going to the town store everytime we go for a walk, but I’m so far not too successful.
I may go to day activities in the afternoon again. Day activities close at 4:00 PM. I will then go on the computer for a bit before making coffee for my fellow patients at 4:30. I get help making coffee, but do most things myself.
At 5:30, we have dinner. We used to be able to choose between about four microwaved meals that were served individually. Probably because of budget cuts, the unit moved to meals delivered in bulk. I cannot say anything good about the bulky meals. The biggest reason I hate them is that I’m a picky eater and all choice is gone. This evening, I forced myself to taste some mashed potatoes, but I could hardly keep them down.
In the evening, I usually go on the computer until around 7:30. We then get coffee again and watch the news. That is, when the unit’s soap opera binge watcher hasn’t switched the channel to some cheap series. She usually does. We have two TVs, one in the living room and one in the front room, but at 8:00PM, except when the head nurse works, they’re both tuned in to the Netherlands’ top soap opera. When the head nurse works, she insists on watching the eight o’clock news.
I usually have a chat with the evening nurse at around 7:45. This is so that, if I’m stressed during the day, I can vent off my issues before it escalates usually early at night.
Evening medication time is at 9:00 PM. We often get coke then too. At my former unit, we only got coke on week-ends, but here we get it pretty much everyday. On some days, we get chips or other snacks. Most people eagerly await their evening medicine even if there aren’t any snacks. My evening medication is only my antidepressant. I should be switching birth control, which I take with dinner, to 9:00 PM, so that I have the two pills at the same time.
I go to bed at anywhere between 9:30 PM and midnight. Today, I was on the phone with my sister for hours and had yet to complete this post, so it’ll probably be past midnight that I’ll be in bed. The staff sometimes have to remind me to shower before bedtime, but usally now I can think of it myself.