Notes from the ward

When I spent 80 days on a mental health ward after my suicide attempt, it was the longest time I’ve been without a computer of some kind since I was young. I’m really bad at writing by hand because my mind jumps from one place to another really quickly. Also my handwriting is beyond abhorrent.

Still, I needed an outlet. I need to write, that’s just how I am, so I have a notebook full of ramblings of a lunatic little notes about life on the ward. In a typical fashion to myself they’re mostly rants about things that would wind me up. Reading them makes me laugh at times, especially when you can see how my writing gets worse as I try to write my anger down as quickly as possible.

Anyway. I thought someone might be interested in reading some of them.

In another typical fashion to myself I haven’t dated any of the things I’ve written. I was really unwell at times while writing them and sometimes the handwriting is almost illegible.

I know that some of these things make sense in security perspective and they seem whiny but as said, I was really ill and at a ward 24/7. Your perspective isn’t exactly diplomatic. Still I’m not going to change a word from these notes. This was my life at the time.

From a list titled Ward Peeves

1) When the nurse forgets to turn off the fucking light with a switch only they can use so you have to get up and go into the office to ask if one of them could kindly turn it off. Would they like it if I came into their bedroom and turned on a light they couldn’t turn off?

2) When the night watch nurse shines the fucking torch in your eye to check if I’m asleep. Not anymore!

3) When the night watch nurse leaves the blinds on the door open. It’s not like everyone walks into my room like a saloon as it is, now any passerby can just look straight in while I sleep.

4) The night watch in general.

5) When the people who eat meat decide they prefer the vegetarian option instead and they’ve run out by the time I come to the canteen. I’m a vegetarian. I can’t opt for the meat option in case I happen to fancy it, you thick motherfuckers.

6) When someone does kick off and we lose things like chairs or hot water. Fucking hell, even in prison the troublemakers are put in segregation. Do they think for one second that a mental is going to give a fuck about communal punishment?

7) ‘Eat those first and then come back.’ Am I fucking five years old?

8) ‘Are you finding the mattress uncomfortable?’ Mate, if I had spent two months whinging about insomnia to the consultant psychiatrist because of a fucking mattress, I’d deserve to be branded a fucking loony.

9) Some medicine ‘isn’t licensed.’ This is a fucking hospital.

10) When the milk police decides that you should use the disgusting lukewarm half-empty pints with your cereal before they’ll fetch a new one from the fridge. I know it won’t be enough for the cereal, so I’m still going to ask for a new milk. Why can’t those lukewarm ones be used with tea or coffee where it doesn’t matter? Would the nurse who decides that the NHS crisis depends on this particular half-empty warm milk enjoy it if it was served in her cereal?

I’ll do another post if people find these entertaining, there are loads.


  1. I would love to read more of these. I’ve always had an interest/fascination with what life is like in these places, so I’d be really interested to see more. Plus, with your usual wit and brutal honesty, they are quite entertaining.

    Do you have enough to fill a book? 🙂 If so, you should make it so I can buy it!

    Truthfully, though, I do feel a great deal of concern about the way some of the nurses behave on the mental health wards, and the way people are treated. I know very little about them, but what I’ve heard just doesn’t seem right. These are surely the people who need common decency more than ever, and they think it’s okay to treat them like 5-year-olds? You’re mentally unwell, not stupid.

    In fact, I have a theory that a lot of people with mental health illnesses are the very opposite of stupid. They’re highly intelligent, and therein is part of the issue. The constant desire to process information and take everything in and feel so deeply is bound to cause hiccups. Most stupid people I know are blissfully unaware of the real problems in life, or don’t have the capacity to understand them.

    Ruth |

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ruth! I actually do have a dream of publishing a book, now I just need someone to publish it! It’s something that’s definitely my dream and goal.

      Even though my time at a ward saved my life, I have to say I’ve heard my fair share of horrible stories and also faced unprofessional treatment at times. That’s why these stories need to be told, so that public bodies can be held accountable. At the end of the day it comes down to treating the other person like a human being.

      I really agree with you. Also I never once met an unkind person at the ward. Not one. They were all lovely people, who just have had a horrible time. Cunts are the ones who are still out there, causing immeasurable damage to countless people with their insensitivity and lack of care towards other human beings and will never be diagnosed with anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The night shift are just awful some places. I was at one where they’d wake me up at 4am for vitals by turning on the light and TOUCHING me and then wondering why I had high BP. Thankfully they’re not all that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list, I look forward to seeing more. You are so brave for sharing your experiences so candidly so we can have a betted insight to the realities of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you lovely. I haven’t looked at the notebook in ages and have now realised that being in hospital for a long time is such an all-consuming experience. Where do you start? So starting with these lists makes it easier xx


  4. I spent three months on a mental health ward this year and can 100% relate to all of these. The night checks were the bane of my life. You would just get settled and then either the main bedroom light would go on or a torch would be shone through on your face! Especially when you are on extra observations which can be three or four times an hour. (I should say overall I had a good hospital experience and it was definitely
    the right thing for me but it is a weird and difficult place to be. You can’t understand unless you have been there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely not! I still haven’t been able to write about the ward properly because it’s so all-encompassing, its own little world. You summed it up perfectly: guess I had a good experience, def necessary at the time but it’s such a difficult and weird place to be. When I’ve met people I knew at the ward they always remember my name. I think it’s one of the most bonding places you could ever be at.

      Liked by 1 person

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