When your kid is in hospital, there begins another round of re-starting the diagnosis, a new round of treatments, medications, it is no wonder that the drugs didn’t work at home because in order to attempt to hold her the level of drugs increases to the maximum, even then PRN is a part of daily life.
You learn to accept that you can give the staff the benefit of your experience of caring for your kid, the warnings that they are extremely impulsive and will turn on a sixpence and it feels they pacify you. You feel you are not qualified to have an opinion, you have earn your spurs. Then later comments that your kid is really impulsive and can change without warning…being vindicated doesn’t actually feel as good as you thought it would.
The favourite activity you develop is decoding the conversations with staff, it is an environment where actually speaking plain English is just not possible, when you are the newbie parent you are treated to more conversations littered with ridiculous phrases than you thought were possible. This eases off after a while and you become accepted and they get to know you but in the early days it is worth remembering that;
‘They had a few difficult moments but was able to get back on track’ – this means they had a wig out, we saw it coming and were able to get the PRN down them quick smart.
‘They are settled in the communal area interacting with their peers’ – this means she had a wig out we got the PRN down her and now we have locked the bedroom.
‘They have needed some staff input to maintain their safety’ – we needed to restrain them as they had found a rogue treasury tag and had chewed it until it was sharp and cut themselves with it.
‘No they are not able to come to phone right now, no I am sure they are not able to’ – the alarms are going off for your kid and several members of staff are now involved in a full body restraint situation.
You hold on to your belief it will get easier and it actually does. First you will get to hear about sides of your kid that you would never have thought they had. This is not pretty, mental illness can be pretty ugly up close. This is the real messy,weeping, snoting ligaturing reality.
You would not have expected that your kid would have the ability to silently, partially demolish a wardrobe in order to get implements for self-harming and you will worry that even is such a closed and designed to be safe environment that injuries are still inflicted.
The level of determination is breath taking. The injuries are worse, way worse, grim though razor cuts are they are clean, tidy readily stitchable. Gouging with wood screws, contraband staples are not clean cuts, this is a whole new level. The damage is bad.
The first ten weeks will be beyond scary and you will question whether you should be trusting the people and do they actually know what they are doing?
Actually they do. This is a good thing.
They hang on in there, she hangs in there, you are hanging in there.
There is talk of a transfer to a more secure environment but they hold on, through the now epic levels of self-harming, worse than at home but the big difference in the plan is it is not about containment, it’s about understanding and moving on.
This is a good thing.