Tales from the Psych Ward Part III

This is a more positive post than the last couple have been. I had my second ECT treatment this morning, and there was no talk of involving security. The anaesthesiologist didn’t make a fuss at all about giving me the anaesthetic that I doesn’t give me side effects, which was a relief.

Yesterday I talked to the advocate who will represent me at a review panel next week to contest my committal under the Mental Health Act. Since I still want treatment and am not trying to get discharged, the advocate suggested that I explain to Dr. Murray what I’m hoping to accomplish with the review panel. She thought he might be agreeable to decertifying me before then so I wouldn’t have to go through with the review panel.

Since speaking is hard (my speech is very slow, halting, and soft), I decided to write him a letter explaining why I wanted to be voluntary. I also explained exactly what happened when I was restrained, because I had no idea if what was in the chart would have accurately captured it. I was surprised that he was actually willing to consider this. He’s going to talk to my brother, who supports me being voluntary, and then he’ll likely decertify me tomorrow, which is definitely positive.

I spoke to the advocate again this afternoon, and she’d had a chance to review my chart. The notes from when I was restrained in ER were wildly inaccurate, which is perhaps why there’s been a lack of recognition of how wrong it was. The ER psychiatrist documented that my speech was very slow, with pauses even mid-word, and so soft that it was often difficult to hear me. The ER nurse documented that while I was initially cooperative with going over to the locked psych area, I then became “paranoid” and “combative” and was “yelling” at the nurse. At that point, she hit her panic button, and when security arrived, I continued to “yell.” The doctor certified me because I’d become “psychotic.” None of those things are accurate. To describe as yelling what the psychiatrist described as very slow, with lots of pauses, and so soft it was difficult to hear is unbelievably absurd and totally inaccurate. It just boggles my mind. And to certify me based on paranoia that wasn’t present is all kinds of problematic.

I called the clinical nurse leader I had complained to last week. She heard how I was speaking then, and I said if staff are calling that yelling, that’s a professional practice issue that needs to be addressed.

While I’m all kinds of unimpressed with that, I’m glad that Dr. Murray will probably be making me voluntary. Fingers crossed that that will happen tomorrow.

Thanks so much everyone for your support. It means a lot to me.

You can also read Tales from the Psych Ward part I | part II | part IV | part V | part VI

80 thoughts on “Tales from the Psych Ward Part III”

  1. I’m so glad this was a more positive post. I hope that you get the treatment that you need in the WAY that you need it – without restraints, with being listened to, etc. So often we’re told that we need to advocate for ourselves, but what happens when we’re not listened to? My thoughts are with you.

  2. Wow. What a different tune they are singing now. Is that because 1) you aren’t giving up and 2) there is a process in place for some staff accountability and 3) the facts (yelling, paranoia, psychotic) are not supported?

    ECT sounds hopeful 💕❤️

  3. I have to say that from the outside, this is mystifying. You posted about going to the hospital so clearly were intentional in seeking the treatment you need and then went there voluntarily. How it ever could be construed by the staff as involuntarily boggles my mind. So glad to hear that it’s going better. And that you got the treatement with the anesthetic that works for you. Sending my best thoughts to you, Ashley!

  4. I’m glad you’re writing a letter, sorry that you have to – you write so eloquently, I hope it gives them pause and the motivation to change their processes so patients are truly listened to. Hope you feel better soon!

  5. I’m glad your voice is being heard. Seeing you do this is helping me gather the courage to take on the providers that made irresponsible decisions during my treatment. Thanks.

  6. I was pleased to read in your update that there is a glimmer of hope Ashley Leia that you will be treated with deeper respect for your courageous choice. You are ever in my prayers. Blessings to you.

  7. I’m very glad. I’m still quite angry on your behalf, but I’m so glad that the second treatment went more smoothly.

  8. So glad that you are being treated better and listenes to. May this continue.
    I hope your records are going to be corrected and not left with inaccurate notes.

  9. Glad things seem to be improving. Here’s hoping for more positives. Congratulations on being an advocate (for yourself and others in the future) when you are actually needing help. That’s awesome.

  10. Thank you for regular updates. I believe that you can handle anything in there, but it’s still comforting to hear from you this often.
    I know from my own experience how it is to be misunderstood when you’re involuntairly in psych ward. Yet I still can’t imagine how unpleasant this might be for you. You’re very brave for writing about this so openly.

  11. I am glad the ECT is going forward as you requested and the anesthesia issue is being addressed. I am sorry the staff notes are not reflective of your experience. I hope you will get the voluntary status that you deserve and that they will correct them / amend their staff notes soon. Lots of well wishes for you here and a speedy recovery.

  12. Keep using your words!!!
    I know that I am pretty sure I am older than you and I have not been inpatient psych since 2008-09.
    But I have had my experiences with inappropriate and inadequate mental health care.
    But I have also have been extremely blessed with exceptional care. Those are the experiences that I held on to.
    I have continued to educate medical staff when I can, at the doctor, at the pharmacy, at the dentist.
    I am so proud of you for continuing to stand up for yourself.
    You are Your best advocate.
    The anesthetic is a perfect example of you doing just that.
    In 2012, for no known reason, my pancreas, basically blew itself up. As a result I ended up in a coma for 2 weeks after I went into complete respiratory failure and coded.
    This caused an anoxic brain injury. I have a very hard time with words, I speak very slowly and what probably looks like is, when in reality I am just looking for my words.
    I also type very slow- this will probably take me an hour to type out.
    But put a pencil in my hand and I’m able to say what I want clearly. I always communicated better in writing.
    There is nothing wrong with writing out what you want to say. It is also a very good way of making it part of the record.
    Sending you strength and encouragement ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

    1. That’s a good point about making it part of the record. You never know how things you say may get made note of, but there’s no blurring of the message when it’s written down.

      1. Right on. But keep a copy for you in a binder so that if a doctor or nurse tries to rewrite history and you keep the original. Also an afterthought- having the Dr’s Sign or initial it.
        I have serious trust issues – but from decades of experience.

      2. An afterthought, you may want to keep the original and even go so far as to have the doctor initial it. And keep a binder for yourself. It depends on how you feel about it and how much doctors screw with you.

  13. It’s amazing to me how they can write whatever they want in a chart when it’s absolutely not true. Oh I hope you get transferred to voluntary. There’s just so much stigma to be involuntary isn’t there? I’ve been thinking of you and am glad to hear things seem to be moving in the right direction…xx

  14. I’m so so relieved for good news, although I’m sorry and angry that what was stated on your chart was inaccurate. Hoping things continue to improve Xx

  15. It’s absurd how inaccurate doctor’s reports can be. I’ve had them write all sorts of inaccurate stuff that they incorrectly assumed from one word I said, and once they wrote the same wrong info after I corrected them three times… I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Restraints and being involuntarily committed is one of my biggest fears. I didn’t know they had actual panic buttons. Hang in there. It seems like things are improving, based on your recent posts. I’m still so sorry this happened.

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