Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cabin fever

I was admitted to hospital in June and unknown to me, when you have a Mental Health Problem, you are put into a Adult Mental Heath Unit. This for me was a shocking experience at the time. I was seen by the psychiatric doctor in the hospital and she carried out her exam on me. She then broke the news to me I was going to be put in to the Adult Mental Health Unit, or in more commonly heard terms, the psych ward or the loony ward. Yes I was going to this place and I was going now.

As we made the walk to the unit, I thought I was on death row and was about to be put to death. I did not see any light at the end of the tunnel, as far as I thought, I was about to be put to death for having a problem with my head. Now hindsight is a great thing, I now know that I was about to embark on a journey to get my life sorted once and for all.

When we came to the unit we were buzzed in. I was told to take a seat and the doctor would get the duty nurse to come and speak to me. I sat down in this cold and dreary hall at 8pm in the evening I think, I sat there and it seemed to be hours waiting and all I did was pick a spot on the wall and stared at it. I was not going to make eye contact with anything or anyone. People came and tried to speak to me but I was not in the right mind frame to speak to anyone. I kept focusing on my spot on the wall till the nurse came. Deep down inside I was afraid, I wanted to scream get me out of here, I wanted to cry and look for a parent to embrace me with a hug and tell me every thing was going to be ok .

The nurse came to speak to me to get my details, this was a 15 minute exchange or so and then she showed me to my bed in the ward. When I saw that I was going to be in a 6 bed ward the fear that was already building up on me became even worse. I said thank you to the nurse and I went into the toilet and Iet Niagara falls let loose from my eyes and cried till I made myself sick. As all this was going on I forgot the main thing was I was here to get myself better. The fear was a killer but I could do nothing bar go to bed and try and go to sleep and try and sleep off this nightmare. 

This was just a short account of the first night alone, I came to spend eight weeks in this "unit" and without sounding like a preacher from an American Baptist church I went on a journey and found out some wonderful things about myself. I say that but also I need you to understand how the unit came into play. Its a wonderful place to be, you are cut off from the outside world and all the shit problems that comes with being on the outside. 

When it was coming time to leave, the doctor would first let me leave the unit to go down for a coffee. The first time I did this I went down and turned straight back into the unit. I needed to be back there, I did not want to see anyone. I thought people were looking at me, staring at me and saying 'oh look its the guy from the adult mental health unit'. Over time, I got over this fear and then I had to tackle the fear of going outside the hospital. That was quite a daunting experience because it went from thinking one person was looking at me to thinking everyone walking down the street and driving down the street where looking at me and they all knew my problems.

This was all solved in small steps, and we took everything at a child's pace. It worked out well and after my 8 week stay I was sent on my way. I was to have access to the day services that I still attend every week. So if you are faced with having to go through  what I have done, I hope this helps you and don't be afraid and don't be scared this is a wonderful experience, quite scary at the start but you will get so much help with all the problems that you  may have thought would never be sorted.

As the great Irish man who does Comedy Tommy Tiernan said "its hard having a head"

Thanks for Reading


  1. Another awesome piece of writing Mr b :) you may have inspired me to do the same.

  2. Ciaran, I commend you once again on your honest and thought- provoking writing of your posts.

  3. nice piece Ciaran, my mother was hospitalized last year in a similar circumstances. Thank you for sharing its an interesting insight you have given in this piece. :)

  4. Hi Ciaran,

    I hope you're keeping well.

    My name is Elaine and I am contacting you from TV3's Midweek show, which is broadcast every Wednesday at 10pm on TV3.

    I noticed your blog post on and I was hoping to talk to you further about it, if that was possible.

    Perhaps we could have you on the show to speak about your experience in an adult mental health unit and your journey to where you are now.

    I would really like to speak to you further so if that was possible, I would appreciate it if you could email me your contact details and I will call you at a time that is convenient. My email address is

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Many thanks,