On the mental health ward there are so many stories of loss and despair. Many stories seemed to come from the brain having maladapted or wonky wiring or utterly crap situations that their brain hasn’t been able to cope with.
It was as if the full capacity of human behaviour was there, such strength one day, then collapse. In such a small environment everyone’s manners were highlighted, offers to make others tea, take their empty plates to the hatch etc.
In contrast one unwell inmate leant over another inmates shoulder and spat on his book (try to get that image out your head!)
Another element in the mix are the mental health nurses, some lovely but an unfortunate majority just passing their days in the job, rude, unbothered and demoralised. I wondered what inspired them to choose to work in mental health when they ignored everything but the most desperatly ill inmate, and that was usually because they would be shouting in their face. At times I was treated like fetid roadkill.
Their jobs must be unbelievably challenging at times yet the ones who addressed inmates with respect had a lot less trouble than those who slammed the office door in us inmates faces to bitch about us from the other side of the door.
I guess they used to ride the waves and over time have become increasingly rigid to keep ahold of themselves and survive working on the ward. I hope life doesn’t toughen me up in that way, I would like to see the value of each human being I meet, regardless of how unwell or well they are.