First of all, I thank you for giving me an e-mail address that I can contact. I find it much easier to type, and then edit afterwards, rather than write by hand; and the concern that I have is one that I would like to log formally.
I appreciate that none of these decisions are yours or seemingly the ward’s, so please feel free to escalate this e-mail if necessary. I really would like to be heard.
I believe that the ward being on lockdown is a sensible decision, we should all be self-isolating. However, I implore the trust to use common sense at this unpredictable time.
I am currently sitting in my room listening to a woman shout over and over again for cigarettes. It is relentless, and it is extremely distressing for me. The courtyard is currently available to vape in, yet not smoke. I understand the trust’s policy regarding smoking, but as I said, I believe that at times like this, common sense should prevail. Her mental health is clearly suffering as a result of nicotine withdrawal, mine certainly is because of her shouting, all because of a rule that the courtyard is not to be smoked in.
I am also certain that my recovery will be severely impeded if I am not allowed to leave the ward for exercise – something which the Prime Minister has said citizens can leave the house for once a day. I am an informal patient, and it is my human right.
I have found that one of the most valuable parts of my day is to go for a walk around the grounds. Exercise has been proved to be good for mental health, and it has helped me to not feel so claustrophobic and ‘observed’, which right now, I certainly do.
I do not wish to leave the grounds, and I certainly do not wish to come in to contact with anyone else. I am severely socially anxious right now – one of the reasons for my admission – and I find that leaving the ward on a daily basis to be alone is one of the most helpful things for my recovery.
The thought of not being able to leave the ward at all, fills me with panic and dread. It is at times like these that I self-harm. Walking is my release. It is one of the distraction techniques that I have been taught. Leaving a situation that I find distressing is number one on my distraction plan.
I understand that there is a risk if I were to touch doors to leave the ward – the same risk that the staff are taking on a daily basis. I am germophobic at the best of times, and carry hand sanitiser with me whenever I go out. I understand that the risk of infecting the ward has to be minimised, but at the same time, my inability to leave the ward is severely impacting my recovery.
I can only see my mental health declining from here as a result of these measures.
Please consider what I am saying. The staff are often talking about risks and benefits. At present, the number one risk that I can see is my mental health declining, and I strongly believe that that outweighs the risk of the ward becoming infected, seeing as I would be walking alone, far from people, and not touching anything except for the doors, which the staff are touching anyway on a daily basis.