So here I am again. I’m in another hospital bed, not just my fourth stay in hospital, but my fourth bed in this ward. Hospital has always been a hard place for me with the constant beeping and shouting, but COVID has made it different. This is the first time I am writing from a hospital bed, and hopefully the last. I am facing an unknown period of time with no visitors, no packages, no home comforts.
But here comes the record scratch moment, the “You might be wondering how I got here.”
I sat on my sofa as the lady from the Crisis Team said “You know it would have been gold dust if we’d caught this earlier”. I wanted to scream because I knew that, because I had caught it early, because I had been asking for help for weeks. I wanted to scream because of the woefully inadequate services, who all refused my referrals citing the other services as more appropriate.
I sat in my hospital bed a few days later, and saw tweets coming through about how Boris Johnson, in a press conference, had encouraged people to seek help for their mental health. The tweets weren’t that of praise, but rather desperation at the fact that people were being told to reach out to services that just weren’t there, that didn’t have capacity, that would direct them elsewhere.
I sit in my hospital bed a week and a half later, wondering how this stay could be different, more accessible for my autistic little self. They’ve given me ear defenders. They’ve put me in my own room while I’m self-isolating. They’ve said I don’t have to attend groups once I’m out of self-isolation. But I can’t help but think this is not a therapeutic environment for any autistic person. I was ripped away from what little routine I had left, to be put in a room of nothingness, to be checked every 15 minutes that I’m still alive, to be alone with my thoughts (and the horrendous amount of noise and smells). I have an emotion fan that stays on sad and scared and confused, because that’s all I can feel right now.
I wish this blog had a point, that I could say there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but right now, I’m in the tunnel, and it’s pitch black, and I’m not sure which way is up or down or forward or backwards and I’m scared. Maybe the light is just round the corner, maybe it’s a long way away, maybe it just doesn’t exist. This is horrible time for everyone. I am not a social person but the lockdown for so many others is isolating, is scary, is a constant unexpected entity. Maybe I’m writing this to say, sometimes the world feels like a black tunnel and you end up in places you wished you never had, places that you never thought you’d see again, places where you can’t see a way out, and all I can say is I’m with you. I get you. I feel your pain, maybe not completely, and maybe you don’t feel mine completely, but every tunnel has two entrances, and maybe it doesn’t matter which way we go, as long as we keep moving.