Tracey Hayes


When you require in-patient treatment you are assessed and treated depending on what symptoms and behaviour you present with. This appears on the outside as perfectly logical and acceptable; in reality, however, it is very different.

The behaviours we display and present with are very often not representative of our true distress and are therefore misinterpreted which effects treatments and outcomes.

There is a lack of professional engagement from staff as they mainly rely on medication and there own observations and their interpretations which ultimately influence our treatment and length of in-patient stay.

We need to be fully engaged to gain the insight into the cause of the distress before anyone can treat accurately the effect. We are mainly authors of our own misadventure

(not knowingly but through ignorance and lack of self awareness); multi-faceted personalities with multi-faceted dimensions to our own unique set of circumstances, not one size fits all or shoved in a appropriate box to define our treatment.

The key word for patients who access in-patient services is ‘loss’; we might have lost our homes, our relationships, our job/career, a loved one, our way and ultimately our minds and our liberty. The treatment as an in-patient feels more like a punishment than a helping hand back to our former glory.

We present with behaviour which is as alien to ourselves. The professionals need to see beyond the displayed behaviour and focus on the cause, through sensitive communication and positive dialogue, insight and clear effective care pathways can be achieved.

I have misrepresented myself on a few occasions, being diagnosed with hypomania, perceived as being euphoric, over active, erratic, inflated self esteem the list goes on. My reality was very different. A rabbit caught in head lights comes to mind, unimaginable fear, total loss of control, desperation, anxiety, listless with suicidal thoughts as my life was in bits. I masked my true thoughts with over the top behaviour, playing to my audience with jocular outlandish pranks, regularly absconding to try and escape my unbearable reality.

As my behaviour and symptoms was characteristic, I was perceived and treated accordingly. I was not encouraged or engaged to discuss the root cause of my distress. We don’t need glorified baby sitters, we need staff who will empathize with our doubts and fears without judgement. Any in-patient treatment should be based on communication with positive empowering dialogue from staff, with nursing staff taking a positive roll rather than hiding behind paper work or in the office.

Having very recently chatted with my peer’s, all felt that with better communication, from both doctors and nursing, suicides and attempted suicides, would have been substantially reduced as would their in-patient stays.


© Tracey Hayes 2006