Former patient Sophie shares her experiences of seeking mental health care at St John of God Richmond Hospital and her journey towards recovery.
“Maybe the journey isn’t about becoming anything, maybe the journey is about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place” – this is a quote I read in the St John of God Richmond Hospital gym during one of my three admissions last year.
I never expected to find myself in a mental health facility, let alone multiple times in a 12 month span, but when I did, I was lucky enough to end up at St John of God Richmond Hospital where my journey of unbecoming could begin.
As my headspace de-clutters and I look back on my stays, I realise that all three of them were very different - and I was the inconsistency.
"..the nursing staff are what got me through each admission. They are the backbone of this hospital, the tour guides of hard journeys, and the kind faces of recovery."
The first time I came in terrified and embarrassed and was greeted with patience, empathy and understanding until I emerged cautiously from my shell.
The second time I was brought in kicking and screaming, hating every person that wanted to help me and every health professional I laid eyes on.
Again, I was met with warmth, patience and constant encouragement by those same kind faces and it didn’t take long for me to give in and let myself be nurtured back to a healthy outlook.
My last admission I came in without much of a personality at all and feeling little more than helplessness and despair.
I was an unpleasant person to be around, a horrible communicator, a poor friend and family member and without a doubt was an ungrateful and bitter patient.
Without fail, the nursing staff treated me with respect, dignity and genuine care.
Those kind faces did not treat me like a child even when I acted like one.
They did not once look at me like a burden or a bad person when that’s all I believed I was.
They never pushed back when I pushed them, even if that’s what I was trying to achieve.
I have always believed that people are a product of their environment, but I hadn’t considered how quickly an environment could influence and shape someone until I started to smile, laugh and make jokes again; and have those kind faces ready, waiting and relieved to be laughing with me.
Had my nursing team swayed in the delivery of their care for each of my visits, grown tired of my antics or lost interest in my potential, I would never have developed the strength or inspiration to invest in myself.
This hospital offers many forms of treatment and I’ve been a part of them all, but I can adamantly say that the nursing staff are what got me through each admission.
They are the backbone of this hospital, the tour guides of hard journeys, and the kind faces of recovery.
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