The Joy of Psychiatric Nursing

From somewhere upstairs there came the unmistakable sound of sustained violence.
I walked quickly to the offending door, listened to the banging, shouting and clattering which reverberated around the room, and calculated carefully when it would be safe to enter. After a few minutes, the general racket gave way to one last, loud soul-jarring thud, and in the pregnant silence which followed, I knocked gently and went in. Cecilia stood looking through the shattered window, while her smashed sink rocked to and fro on its copper pipes, and three large holes stared at me from the plasterboard covered walls. The bed was on its side, with two legs missing, and the television was resting at the end of its long trajectory – on the unit vehicle’s bent bonnet. My blood ran cold.
“Are you pleased with yourself?” I enquired, with forced calmness.
“F… off!”
“Is there any good reason for this?”
“F… off!”
“Could it be anything to do with the fact that you wouldn’t go to the shops today because it was too cold for you, and now your mum hasn’t turned up on time with your fags and sweets?”
“F–ing piss off you f–ing bastard!”
“Well, I’ve got a message for you Cecilia, so open your ears as wide as you can. If this behaviour continues, I’m going to judge you a risk to your self and others, and I’m going to Section you under the Mental Health Act to make sure you don’t leave the unit. If you leave, the police will have to bring you back, and if the doctors decide to put you on a longer term Section, you will have to get the Consultant’s agreement before you’re allowed out again. This may affect your routines quite a bit.”
“Piss off!” she yelled, barging past me onto the landing.
“I’ll give you a few minutes to think about it” I said, following her out.

I was cold and calm, watching myself from the sidelines.


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