Saturday, November 17, 2012

Psychology In Malaysia

If you've ever wondered why I'd entered the Psychology field, here is a short reflection that I've written couple weeks ago, about my passion for Psychology and about my job in North London Forensic Service, NHS. 

The blog "Psychology in Malaysia" is run by a very inspiring friend. It's also the kind of subject I'm now becoming interested, especially after all these years in the UK. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

I'm Lunatic!

I learnt this word - lunatic - from one of my patients. The first time I heard it, he was saying to me "you're lunatic!" I didn't know the meaning, but I thought it was related to "lunar", so I was thinking the word may be saying someone whose emotion fluctuates a lot (just like how the moon changes every day). Of course he was just having fun by saying that.

But that day I heard it a second time, and checked it online later, the online free dictionary says:

1. Suffering from lunacy; insane.
2. Of or for the insane.
3. Wildly or giddily foolish: a lunatic decision.
4. Characterized by lunacy or eccentricity."

At the same time coming out from the search is a BBC News - "How offensive is the word 'Lunatic'?" and it mentions that the word originally "referred to a kind of insanity that recurred according to the cycles of the moon". Hahaha so I was right to think about the moon, but still get the meaning wrong. It reminds me of Dragon Ball (hahaha) and other werewolf movies.

Anyway, it was inappropriate to use the word to "normal" people. But when my patient said that to me [jokingly], I [jokingly] said back "You're lunatic too!" He just laughed and continued to repeat that I was lunatic...

My whole intention of this post wasn't actually about introducing the word "lunatic". In fact it's an introduction...

I realized there have been quite a number of this so-called "mad" people in my life, mainly due to my work. I have also been talking quite a lot about stigmatization people hold towards those suffering from mental health problems. Whenever I thought about helping and standing up for these people, my patients come across my mind.

I thought I no longer hold these stigma and prejudices like everyone else. And I was wrong. The other day I went to Wood Green, and there was this man, I probably have seen him a few times, who was talking loudly in front of Morrisons, what he talked makes no sense. I avoided standing too close to him like everyone else, but undeniably I think he was mad, he was dangerous. (although I work in a forensic ward, but no, people with mental health problems are no more likely than "normal" people to commit crime, to hurt others!)

No matter how many "mad" people I have met, and how much fact about "mad" people I come to know, when I walk on the street I behave like everyone else. I'm not saying that I'm wrong behaving this way. But I realized I can only be confident to work with people with mental health problems, in a safe environment or, with patients I already know for a period of time, in any environment. I don't have the ability to approach a ["mad"] stranger on the street and attempt to help him/her.

What can we do about this? Create a safe environment any and every where, change everyone's attitudes towards the mental illness and the people who suffer from them.

How do we achieve that? I dont know... 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Just got to Moan!

I returned to work after a few days off yesterday, after some discussion with a colleague I decided to take up the response, and this little decision made yesterday the record of my life. I went to the female ward twice, and physically restrained and put two persons in the seclusion rooms.

For the first one, she was kind of abusive and fighting back when I got there. I had to restrain her on her feet (which I think I did it correctly), but my right arm was hurting awfully. After some struggles of 20 minutes as she wouldn't cooperate, we got her there. I got 4 bruises in both of my hands, and when I got home I found one big bruise on my thigh.Another staff even fell over. I thought the incident was bad, and so decided to take a break after that. After I returned, the alarm went off again, so again I went to the same ward. I saw a patient standing by the garden door completely naked, stood by her was a male staff and another female staff who was just about coming to help. I took over the male staff, and we tried to cover her with a bed sheet, and brought her to the therapy room. We helped her to put on some clothes there. She was still crying, shouting that she was very scared, and describing what happened to her in the past. The charge nurse then decided to put her in the seclusion on our ward (this ward is next to us). Although I see completely no point of doing so (why would you put someone who was scare and crying, and not harming/hurting anyone in the seclusion room?!), I did what we were told. She was crying and saying she was scared throughout.

So that was what happened to me as a response nurse, within 3-4 hours. I went home feeling sorry for them, tired, and telling myself I wouldn't want to be on this job for anytime longer than this. It wasn't that I don't like my job, it was just that I don't think we're helping them, and this is bad. This is of a caring job, we're supposed to be helping them.

This morning I came back for a long day (a 14.5hours shift with an hour break which you don't get it sometimes). I was supposed to take someone back to his parents' home (in theory this is meant to be part of therapeutic recovery). Because of what happened in the past, I came prepared. As we left, he was getting abusive to me... I couldn't convince him to come back with me, so I had to call the ward and they got the unit coordinator and the response team in a van to come to the train station to pick him back (we walked there). So all I had to do was to convince him to stay there, and wait for another escort as such (given that he thinks he was annoyed by me). It then went okay as things go and he came back. He was becoming remorseful and kind of apologized (but that is him, the fluctuation of his mood and behaviours). I got to say I felt fully supported by this qualified nurse who picked up the call and supported me throughout. She clearly knew what happened in the past and was imagining if that was going to happen to me, I was almost in tears. But later as things go I feel much better. (Other than those occasionally awful incidents, there are many other who can often cheer me up)

I'm actually on my break now. I don't know what I'm feeling and thinking, about this job, about working here, about the patients here. I'm not angry at or upset by any patient as far as I'm concerned, but I slowly realized what annoys me was the staff (the pm shift staff), and it had nothing to do with the patients who are not well (that's why they are here; although for many instances I'd say it was actually the system here that drives them unsettled).

It's a lot easier to in fact deal with the so-called mad people, then those who are "normal", but lazy, sarcastic, ignorant  and uncaring (especially when they are in a caring job!).