Even a year on, I can still picture my room on Stanage really clearly. And as I write this, I realise that I actually took a photo on the day I left the ward. I haven’t looked at it since and if I can find it I will add it to this post.
First off, I was not expecting to have my own room. During a previous crisis, about a month before I arrived on Stanage, I had been offered a bed on another ward, had looked round it and been scared out of my tree by the cramped dormitory-style wards, and the angry, unhappy people I saw. At that point, I felt that being in that situation would not be beneficial to my mental health, so I declined the place. I guess it shows how desperate I was a month later, on 26th October, that when they offered again to find me a place, I didn’t even care that it might be like the first ward I’d seen. I just knew I needed to accept the help.
In the end, it was a completely different set-up, and this ward (Stanage) had a much calmer, less chaotic feel to it. Purely circumstantial, I’m sure, but I guess it shows just how much of a lottery mental health provision is, even within the same city.
Anyway, I did have my own room. It was very basic, but clean and pretty large. It contained just a hospital-style bed with a plastic mattress, a wardrobe with no coat-hangers, I guess for obvious reasons, and an easy chair that was slung very close to the floor.
The en suite toilet and shower were separated from the room by a thick plastic swing door, and again the en suite was very clean and very basic. The square shower tray was surrounded all the way round by a plastic curtain that liked to adhere itself to you while you tried to wash your hair and the towels were approximately the size of a sheet of A4, but for the time I was there it was all mine.
Along one side of my room was a massive window, which took up most of the wall. Very lovely, except that it looked out onto the outdoor space for the other ward in the building, so I often had my, garishly patterned, curtains closed.
Overall, it may not have been much, but at the time it was my little sanctuary in the middle of the chaos of the ward and my own brain. I’ll always remember it really fondly as the place I first began to feel better, and it makes me extra-grateful for the lovely, comfy home Tom and I share.