Being in the Ethnic Minority on a Psych Ward

Woah. Just woah. It’s one of those days. Had a great sleep, but I’m really sad that I can’t be home. Home-sick. I’ve learnt to know now that it’s not the doctor’s say-so here now, it’s back home. Bed management on the acute ward. So that I guess gives me hope but disappointment too. I need to ‘radically’ accept this is not in my control and that I have to focus what I can control – how I choose to spend my days and also behave.

I suppose the structure of the weekdays here are getting me through. Weekends can be a drag though because there’s no activities, less structure. It’s also just become ‘that time’ of the month for me so I’ve had some pains and the thought of seeing to all that is all an extra bleurgh.

This morning’s ground leave was great though. The photo on this post, is one I took outside during it. Now I’m on 1:1 I have to rely on there being a spare member of staff to come with me, but fortunately one man said he was up for it. And you know what? During the walk he was so interesting to chat to as we power-walked together, and encouraging. Reminding me that I’m still young to achieve lots of things in life, that it’s just a number and it’s how you look after yourself. He was asking me about my ambitions and it was nice to be reminded of them. Take up my portrait art again, complete my sociology course, train as a mental health social worker, write a book and do a ‘TED Talk’.

But when I get back inside this secure, locked place that feeling deflates a lot. I’m so ready to be back home, and I’m finding it difficult not to be negatively affected by my environment.

Last night the new girl was kicking off (she does a lot), which was then upsetting another girl and setting her off. Once things had settled I used my assertive skills (which are minimal) to tell her it was unfair the way she is acting. That she needs to follow the ‘smoke/fresh air’ break rota, and also that she was affecting other patients. I felt nervous doing this as she is quite a boisterous person at times when she shouts, but she listened and she was calm. That felt like a recovery win.

You know, the newest experience I’ve possibly had here, is being in the ethnic minority (staff-wise). I’m not going to lie, at first that was daunting. It kind of felt like the majority had their own sense of community together, so I worried I’d feel very alone. Them against me. But it has been great to be honest to experience that and mix with a wide range of people with different back-stories and accents, and general life experiences. It doesn’t have to be a negative experience, being in the minority. It’s how you’re treated and respected that’s important.

Saying that, on our power-walk, as we did our laps, we passed a little window where an old lady was sitting. She shouted racial abuse at the male member of staff, calling him a “black bastard” and I was so in awe how he reacted. I tried to be protective and then avoided us passing that window again. He said it’s totally fine, he understands people are unwell and he is also not a bastard, but proud to be black. I’m very privileged not to experience this kind of abuse. I feel you have to have a tough heart to endure this. What a guy.

Take care,

Yaz

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