So I am on my way home from an 11 hour night shift and it really had me thinking. Some of the other staff don’t seem to ‘get’ the reality of mental illnesses, they try to sympathise but some of the ways they address things, and the comments they make when the service users aren’t present show that they clearly do not. University can only teach you so much, empathy is learnt from experience.
Tonight I heard a staff nurse say BPD is ‘fucking nasty’ and that ‘you’re lucky not to have it’. I do. I do have BPD. I have a personality disorder. But what does that make me in your eyes? Weak, manipulative and demanding; Because in my eyes it makes me strong, colourful, caring, loving, spontaneous and kind. Yes personality disorders can suck, but they also make the world more vibrant, you might feel anger and sadness more strongly than others, but you also might feel joy, love and warmth more so than others. That is why I don’t dislike my disorder. It makes me see the world differently. BPD opened my eyes.
Caring for a girl with OCD who can’t stop ritualing is hard, maybe she needs a hug, a hand to hold and to be reassured. Maybe she needs her parents. Maybe as a professional you should believe in your clients more.
For the ones with anorexia, it’s not just as simple as ‘just eat’, it’s bombardment of guilt, voices, commands, calculations and worry. Accept how hard it is for them, but let them know it will be fine, they’ll be okay, you’re there for them.
You’re a nurse, an HCA, a Dr, a psychologist, art therapist, OT or psychotherapist. You have the opportunity to change lives so stop criticising patients, look at things from their perspective, really look, and then maybe you’ll see the pain they’re really in.