Trapped, alone and scared - a first hand account of life inside a psychiatric ward
I didn’t know her story, only that she would pace. Pace the corridor all day only stopping for a small bite to eat or the bathroom. Her expression remained vacant, as though the person inside her had gone and her body was merely existing. I was jealous of her in a way. Jealous that she was able to remain in such a state of emptiness where there was nothing. No need to speak, no need to feel, only a reflex to breathe.
The alarm was ringing. They came bursting through the door. She was screaming and thrashing around doing everything in her power to free herself from the grip four large men had on her as they carried her down the corridor like some wild animal. They pinned her to the bed opposite mine. I could see her face was distorted and angry. Her eyes met mine and I saw the same desperation in them as I felt. She didn’t need this, she needed help. Just like we all did. I wanted to shout at them to stop but I knew it would have no effect and I would end up in the same situation as her. Then they injected her. Her grip on the men loosened and she sank into the bed, her body limp. It was at that moment I realised where I was and I was terrified.
There were days where I was allowed out on my own. They called this a ‘privilege.’ I wanted to run and leave that awful place behind but I stopped myself. Out of all the times in my life, the right time to run was not now. I’d only be running myself into imprisonment. I was already a prisoner. A prisoner in my own mind. They had taken enough from me; they weren’t having my freedom as well.