“Suicide is not about wanting to die, it’s about not wanting to live.”
Psychiatry is tough. Very sad and very intense- on arrival on my first day at the hospital with Mental Health Liaison, I didn’t even get a chance to take my coat off before we were told that we had to go do a suicide risk assessment on a patient that had been referred to the team. Yikes.
We’ve only practised on actors, so to be told to do a proper assessment on an actual patient was quite the challenge. I’m not going to say it went okay, because confirming for yourself that yes, someone does want to kill themselves is never okay, but we were direct with our questions, and documented our findings in the notes, so we did it to best of our ability.
The remainder of our first week was pretty much more of the same- get there in the morning, given new patient to go see (usually referred to psych with low mood), assess their mental state, and present findings to the team. By lunch time we would be quite drained, so we were allowed to call it a day by about 2 in the afternoon, so that was good.
This week I saw a patient with schizophrenia for the first time, and what an experience it was. As we were talking to her, she seemed quite distracted and kept looking to the side, and it was only midway through the consultation that it dawned on me that it was the voices she was hearing that were distracting her. So it was really interesting to see how auditory hallucinations actually present in real life.
On a positive note, I’m walking without crutches now! Physiotherapy is tough but it’s going well, and it’s so great to be on two feet again, especially when my lasting memory placement at this hospital last term is the exhaustion from hobbling around the paediatric department… ahh, what a journey it’s been. Thanking God for progress, determined to be able to walk without a limp with time!
(If you, or anyone you know, needs help, has been feeling very low, or just wants someone to talk to, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (UK). Please don’t suffer in silence; there are options, you are not alone.)