adolescent, anorexia, anxiety, bipolar, bulimia, challenges mental health, children, children ward, depression, fear, hope, hospital, judgemental, manic bipolar, mental illness, OCD, psychiatric hospital, self harm, stress, unknown, youth
Well.. it has been a week and a half for me! 5 days feeling like 10! I feel wounded inside.
Having moved jobs from a female forensic unit to an adolescent unit who knew working with younger people would wreak so much havoc within. You think the colourful ward, and the youthfulness of the team and the wards occupants would give more hope, more enjoyment, just more of the goodness in life… For me, right now, this is furthest from the truth.
Near the beginning of the week, I really struggled with my feelings. I felt like I was being self centred. How can I keep thinking inside that. “Im struggling, I cant cope, Im overwhelmed…’ when around me there are a group of teenagers that can’t cope, “why can I just think of myself?’. But then I started to embrace these feelings, and started to use them to understand them more, get a bit closer to the young peoples psyche. I realised I was treading on thin ice… Because the more I felt self centred about the way I was feeling, the more barriers I built up around me… my impatience was increasing, I felt myself giving short answers to questions from the young people.. feeling like I don’t like the place, getting involved in negative conversations about the patience, laughing along when an inappropriate joke was made. But, the minute I started to embrace all the sadness my empathising, my understanding, my global perspective started to open up… Still, there was suffering inside, but it was more manageable because I was allowing myself to understand it.
Working with young people is difficult. Not like the adults their emotions are ALLLLL over the place. Just picturing a rubbish bin in the middle of Oxford Street, looking at all the different things that have ben thrown in from different people, different places.. this is what it feels like being on the ward. Just so much unkown emptiness, that once was full!! Multicoloured, multifaceted. Their understanding of the world and attachments just seems like it is everywhere. I met adults on the forensic wards who had been able to in some shape or form ‘fix’ the relationships with their care givers by either disowning or becoming closer… Here, we have young people who love and idealise their parents but are completely hateful and distrusting of them at the same time. Trying to get through to someone with such fragile attachments, at a time where they are trying so very hard to integrate into the world, is a very challenging thing to do.
So here I am now at the end of a very challenging week. Part of me feels completely exhausted, mentally and physically as I wasnt able to get a good nights sleep. Part of me feels like I have entered new territories in understanding mental illness. I have learnt about what its like to work with people with emerging personality disorders.. I have had a helpful conversation with a psychiatrist about manic bipolar and the psychotic or delusional beliefs that come with it (more info in posts to come).
I am no where near feeling ‘better’ about it… but I feel like I am at the beginning of a new understanding. It is both exciting and overwhelming.