I Survived The Night

This morning marks 8 years since I survived my first night in a psychiatric unit of a hospital. Well, an emergency psychiatric unit to be specific. I say “survived” because not everyone is so lucky. My first night sleeping within the cold foreboding confines of a hospital ward, designed to detain those in heightened mental states, was exactly as you would expect. The first 24 hours from the moment I stepped foot into the hospital until the following afternoon were composed of straight horror film scenarios, except it was real life.

Between the tall male that had just been released from prison who was warning me that where we were was “worse” casually bringing up rape, to the heavy-set woman who tried to choke me out in my sleep, I knew shit was f*cked. Worst of all, no one was taking my personal testimony on something as private as my own thoughts, and there were no psychologists or therapists to speak to at all. Just a shrew of a psychiatrist who diagnosed me within 20 minutes of arrival. I spent most of that 24 hours frantic about my new reality, and for the other portion of time I drew “universes”.

I sat on my hospital bed in a communal room where for the first time in my life I was being observed under harsh circumstances, and all I could think to do was draw.

Since that day I have become stronger, not because I was hospitalized but in spite of it. There is a problem with the way our healing system is set up and it is okay to recognize that. In fact, it is imperative to do so. If we ignore that the mental health system has its failings then we fail any member of the public in crisis.

What I saw in those first 24 hours didn’t tell me everything about the journey that laid ahead, but it did show me that I could get through it. I survived that night and many more…many worse.

Since that day I have had to rebuild myself, my reality and almost every aspect of my life.

To all of the psych ward survivors out there: I see you. Even if you aren’t raising your hand to say that you’re a part of the club…

I see you.

London Mind Fit & The Eric Ibey Podcast

In 2013 I told myself, “I can recover”. In 2020 I realized I did recover. All of my prayers for how I wanted to heal mentally had been answered. I then created londonmindfit.com, because I finally felt ready to share the hard earned lessons I had learned with others in a real way. I want for London Mind Fit to be another mental health resource, knowing the caveat that my greatest experience in the field is from the perspective of a diagnosed member of the mental health community.

I started my journey with the mental health field as a volunteer at a children’s hospital when I was 17. On my ward were mixed cases, however there were a lot of pre-teens on the floor suffering from eating disorders. I was heartbroken at how somehow a breakdown from their minds was pushing their bodies so far to the point of needing medical intervention. Physical medical intervention. 

Since my days as a volunteer I have been on the other end of the spectrum, being at one point a mental health in-patient myself, but for different reasons. I recovered from being in a zombie-like state only to discover that, ”My God! In 2013 I prayed to be in a place like I’m at today mentally, thank God I got here!” How did I get here you ask? Medical intervention and a lot of hard work on my part.

You can heal from an injury that you cannot see, such as an injury of the mind, but know that others will not believe you are healed until they see it with their own two eyes. But make sure that it’s your own perspective that you care the about most. I wish that I had the wisdom then to tell those young girls what I know now, but I can do something…

Welcome to London Mind Fit, where the overarching belief and central mantra is “I can recover.” 

One of my commitments for this website is to bring fresh content for people who are struggling but also for those who just want to learn more about mental health. I had the pleasure of being a guest on The Eric Ibey Podcast and knew that the episode could be the best way to kick off London Mind Fit and I believe that it was.

In the episode I discuss my personal journey with mental health, trauma, and all that falls in between. I hope that sharing my story can help someone else.

Click here or on the image below to listen to the podcast.

Thank you to Eric for being such a great host. This is a conversation I will not be forgetting anytime soon!