I have moved. I am now resident in a psychiatric hospital for a month; not by choice, but luckily not by section either. You’re reassured, I know. The flat is functional, the bed wheel-less, the walls thick. The staff are friendly.

I am not enjoying it. Early days yet and I hope it will improve but I am besieged by Things at the moment and, frankly, I could use the positivity and dynamism of my surgery attachment right now. The Psychpital is nice enough but there is none of the lively humour or, indeed, liveliness to which I had become accustomed. There is also, mainly by day (but not always) these regular interruptions from out-FUCKING HELL!! JES-US CHRIST!! GOD AL-FUCKING-MIGHTY!!!-side, those exact words, every time, sometimes with literally manic laughter. I understand the reason why – he yells because while he’s yelling he cannot hear the voices so it helps him. Nevertheless.

Gah. Any sentence with ‘the voices’ in it sounds like a bad joke. It isn’t, not here at least.

One of the tiring things about psychiatry is the endless caution. Bad as it sounds there is no escaping the fact that the patients here are not rational and so cannot be expected to behave rationally, meaning that you have to be constantly wary of situations. I was interviewing a patient the other day when he suddenly stood up and started pacing about the room, came over, stood right next to me, stared out the window. I had my finger on the button of my personal alarm but fortunately a moment later he decided to sit back down again and tell me why he has been phoning radio stations hundreds of times asking them to come and take photographs of him. It is not an easy placement in that respect alone, never mind the difficulties of talking to someone who refuses to trust anyone or just refuses to talk at all.

However, I am hopeful that, come the end of the week, I will have settled in and recuperated enough psychiatry know-how to actually have some confidence. I’m fervently hopeful. We shall see.


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