Psychiatric Clinic Revisited

Psychiatric Clinic Revisited

Just like the little beam of light in the picture also every smile of a nurse, a doctor or a visitor brings new hope to a patient at a psychiatric clinic.

A few weeks ago I was at a psychiatric clinic again. Luckily not admitted to a locked ward. No, I am joking. I was not there as a psychiatric patient with schizoaffective disorder this time. I was there as a book author. I handed over a copy of my new book to Professor Rok Tavčar, MD, PhD, Psychiatrist, Head of the Rehabilitation Department, Psychiatric Clinic of Ljubljana. I wished to thank him for having peer-reviewed my manuscript and for having written a testimonial for my book.

Professor Tavčar was the last psychiatrist I visited in order to thank them for having helped me with the book. But he was the first one that I was supposed to meet at the ‘dreaded place’ – the psychiatric clinic I was twice admitted to. I was having second thoughts: “What if I instead of that suggest that we meet at the faculty, where Professor Tavčar lectures?” I was really afraid to go to a place of bad memories: the locked door, the fear of being even more stigmatized due to another hospitalization, memories of talking to co-patients and not knowing, which of us is hallucinating more intensively, being afraid of the tee they were giving us – “What if it is poisoned?” Seeing women in straitjackets or behind nets in their beds, memories of women repeating the same sentence the whole day, like for example “I am the virgin Mary.”

Of course I was not afraid I would go nuts and be admitted this time. I was afraid, however, that the old memories would stir up much fear and make me feel weak and exhausted. But they did not. When I entered the courtyard of the clinic, the first thing I noticed were beautiful trees and flowers, a really nice park actually. The second pleasant view was offered by the buildings that are finally being renovated. New facades are going to make the place look more optimistic. I even saw a woman tied to a wheel chair pushed by a man I remember as a nurse from the locked ward. They were headed from the unlocked towards the locked ward. Nonetheless, I kept calm. I concentrated on the smiling face of the nurse, much more than on that piece of cloth the patient was tied with and the despair in her eyes. The male nurse is the nicest person I remember from my past stays in locked wards. His smile was a symbol of hope to me behind that locked door, even in the worst moments, when I was immersed really deeply in my world of paranoia. You are welcome to read more about my stays at two different psychiatric clinics in the first chapter of my self help book.

I am really glad that I met Professor Tavčar at the ‘dreaded place’, because this reencounter has changed my perspective. It dawned on me, that the clinic is a horrible place because of the illness you bring with you, not because of the place itself. According to my experience, the people that work there are doing their best and they are very special people, true fighters for a better tomorrow.

2 Responses to “ “Psychiatric Clinic Revisited”

  1. Good post! We are linking to this great post on our website.

    Keep up the good writing.

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