"Mental Health Journey"

About: Sligo General Hospital Sligo Leitrim Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit Sligo Leitrim Mental Health ID service Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services / Occupational Therapy

(as the patient),

~ Part Three ~

Based on all of my admissions, I came across so many nice nurses. During my admissions, I felt cared for. They always made time for me whenever I was there and the good thing about the unit is that if you are afraid to approach people like me then there is a nurse bell in each room that you can call so a nurse will come down to you rather than you going up and approaching them.

You are assigned each day with a few nurses so that if you needed to talk there are specific nurses you can go to or if when they are doing their calls, they’ll come in and chat to you just to do a check in with you to make sure you’re okay and if there’s anything you want to vent about. During this, the nurse will then relay the information given to the staff that are due to come on duty at night which is called handover.

I always found talking to the nurses helped me even though I never liked to admit it.

There seemed to be very little to do on the ward but there is a beauty room where you can do your hair, makeup etc supervised by a member of staff, there are occupational therapy groups which included activities such as baking, gardening, exercise (yoga) etc. A lot of people I met there mostly stuck to walking around the ward to get their steps in, and purely just passing time listening to music. There are two rooms with televisions in where you can escape to other than your room. Those rooms are called the day rooms. There are books to read but I strongly advise bringing your own one in as sometimes you may not find a book that interests you there.

~ Part Four ~

During all of my admissions, there was always a good structured routine to help with your recovery. It’s so important to keep a good routine in and out of hospital. There was set times where you would have breakfast, tea, lunch, etc. We were always encouraged to get up early instead of laying in the bed until late morning. I always found this difficult because when I was in hospital I never had any motivation to do anything so instead I’d stay in my room and not leave which wasn’t healthy. I always tried to talk myself into doing something productive such as baking when the occupational therapists organised them and different types of activities. I discovered that when I did the activities organised that I felt better afterwards because it gave me something productive to do and I was well distracted and dedicated to the activity.

There were activities I wasn’t so pushed about such as Yoga, but the few times I did do yoga, I did feel more energised. It’s about doing things that will keep you busy but distracted. More than anything I enjoyed listening to music and walking around the ward which I was more comfortable doing. I was very intrigued by the book I was reading called ‘Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before’ author by Dr Julie Smith. I really enjoyed talking to other patients when I felt able to but I also found that I enjoyed helping other patients too, as it gave me a sense of happiness that I was able to help other people in similar situations to me.

I never thought I would have benefited from my fifth admission but I did hugely. That’s not to say I don’t have my bad days where I feel like I need to go back but what keeps me going is the people I love and care about. It gives me hope.

When I was in hospital, towards the end I was getting fed up and extremely bored which when I told the nurses that, they told me that feeling that way is a good sign that you’ve done your time in there and that you are ready. Although I was ready, I was so scared to go back out into the real world again because it’s like being cooped up for so long and then being released. It’s daunting in every way possible but once I was out, I took a couple of days to refresh.

~ Part Five ~

I have only recently started the DBT pretreatment sessions that myself and the therapist will decide together whether DBT is for me at this present time etc. I am still feeling very uneasy about it but I keep telling myself -What’s the worst that can happen?”. 

It’s so important that when you feel yourself dipping, that you do reach out to the professionals so they can know how to best help and support you. I always try to encourage myself to open up about how I’m feeling. I have tendencies of putting everything to one side and tell everyone how well I’m doing when in reality I could be struggling inside but can’t bring myself to talk it out.

The therapy I was doing beforehand which is called the SHIP (Self-harm Intervention Programme) programme. I’ve discovered that I’m hesitant with everything new that comes my way, but as always I try to tell myself that it’s going to be okay and that things will improve in time. Nobody’s mental health journey is linear, there are going to be ups and downs along the way but it’s important to ensure that you reach out. Mental health is a process, not a destination.

I am going to end this by saying how fantastic my team are, especially Dr. O’Neill and Dr. Petra. I have received amazing care by everyone involved and I am truly blessed to have such an incredible team. They truly are the best and I am so thankful.

I have always wanted to share my story, so here it is. I hope it is helpful 

Best wishes,


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