My Nightmare At The Secure Unit

TRIGGER WARNING: mentions numbers

Okay so I wasn’t going to write about this for the sheer fact that the unit is still open and my experience doesn’t mean everyone’s will be like mine. For these reasons the unit will not be named.

I went to the secure unit in May 2016 because my personality disorder made my self harming behaviours too dangerous to remain on the acute ward or to go to the retreat like we had planned. It was a nightmare. My memories of it are blurred due to the effects of starvation and the lifestyle I had to lead there.

I had begun restricting my eating just before I left for the unit and it continued unnoticed whilst I was there. Then in June 2016 I stopped eating completely and as a result my family visits were stopped. I felt punished and still feel this was unfair and my parents had to fight to be able to visit me. My dad turned up for his Father’s Day visit only to be sent away which was heartbreaking for the both of us.

They began monitoring my weight and bloods and these slowly decreased. In September I was admitted to a general hospital for refeeding through an NG tube and I then returned to the unit where I continued to lose weight and was admitted again for refeeding via NG tube in November.

I hit my worst point in December. It was my mum’s birthday and I walked into the visiting room singing ‘happy birthday’ and mum just burst into tears at the sight of me. A week or so later my ECG showed problems with my heart and potassium levels and I was admitted to a general hospital again for refeeding and heart monitoring and I was put on a potassium drip. I returned to the unit. A couple of days later I was called into the quiet room in the evening. I was told I’d be seeing an eating disorder specialist at 8am the next day.

I was woken up at the crack of dawn and assisted to the shower. I was so weak and hasn’t showered in weeks, I had to sit on a chair whilst the staff member washed me. I then was assisted to the visiting room to see the eating disorder team from my local health board. They felt it necessary that I come into the general hospital I am in now as a matter of emergency. They weren’t sure I was going to survive at a weight of just 32kg. I had no phone or iPad at this point and the thought of taking a picture of myself didn’t even enter my very poorly and starved brain so  to the haters, no I don’t have any proof of how poorly I got physically just the memories that are left with me of that time. The times when I couldn’t walk to the toilet on my own or straighten my legs and my body hurt so much.

It wasn’t just the starvation side of things that made the unit I was in a total nightmare, a lot of things happened. I never went outside, the whole 8 months I was there the only times I went out of the tiny ward were to go to hospital. I wasn’t allowed anything in my room, not even cards people sent me, I wasn’t allowed a pen or cutlery or access to the Internet or my phone or iPad or computer. At one point I wasn’t even allowed my clothes and I wore anti rip smocks for months. One time early on in my admission when I was still having periods I wasn’t allowed a sanitary towel and I literally had blood running down the insides of my legs.

We were often locked out of our bedrooms leaving us with a little room with a tv to spend our entire day in with very few activities going on. We were never allowed in the toilet alone and were  given toilet tissue one square at a time.

I had to move rooms during my admission after another patient tried to strangle me and I have to admit I didn’t resist. I hoped she would kill me.

The first night in this general hospital when I had brought all my belongings from the unit knowing I would not be returning I was distraught. I phoned mum and sobbed on the phone to her telling her I felt like I was in a living nightmare.

I was so poorly I couldn’t do anything so there are no posts or photos from these times just my word which seems to be questioned often and that does upset me. So please think before you comment to or about me that actually you don’t know the full story. This is the last time I respond to hate.

5 thoughts on “My Nightmare At The Secure Unit

  1. I know many people who have had identical experiences to yours in secure units. *hugs* I’ve also worked in one, and while ours had a very kind nursing team, several patients still had bad experiences because it was the wrong placement for them and nowhere more suitable was available. I think the only people who disbelieve this kind of story are those who are lucky enough never to have been in secure care or anywhere near it.

    I know it’s difficult, but if you’re aware that strangers are writing negative things about you online, try not to read. Block those site on your laptop if it helps. One of the most horrible things about eating disorders and personality disorders is the belief that you’re unworthy of care, and reading random strangers questioning your problems might reinforce that thinking and make you feel as if you have to prove yourself. You are very ill, your doctors know it, your family knows it, and you know it – what strangers think on the Internet is relevant. They’re not the people you’ll be sharing your life with when you’re better. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are unfortunately cruel people in the world and some are sick who knock down ill people. As the person mentioned above, avoid reading these negative comments while you battle to get well. They are not worth your time and block them if you can. Focus on yourself. Take care of yourself.

    It is sad to hear of the experiences you had in your other unit. To be witheld a sanitary pad was not respecting your dignity. And why on earth were they doing that with the toilet paper. I have never heard of a unit doing this, till now. It’s another lack of respect for dignity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guessed that they couldn’t cope with your eating disorder and I am very disturbed ( but know it’s often the case) that it was treated as something you would stop doing if you lost things you value. Hopefully your home team ( and the hospital) have learnt from your experience… not that that is much comfort to you. It sometimes seems that hospitals will accept people even when it is fairly clear that they aren’t the right environment. Again no comfort to you, but it seems that trying to get a long term placement outside the forensic system is virtually impossible, as the theory is that local acue wards should be able to treat everyone – when this is obviously not true.


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