basil getting better

mental health recovery with a mental illness and neurodivergence soup brain

First Day at the TCU (transitional care unit)

content warning: mentions of suicide (including methods)

After a couple weeks of being in and out of hospital for overdoses, I've found myself in the Bidi Wungen Kaat Centre in St James (Perth, Western Australia). It's a transitional care unit--a mental recovery focused space between hospital and home. I'm in the PRU (prevention and recovery unit), and all things going well, I'll be here for two weeks.
While I'm here, I want to keep a journal of sorts--a space to share what recovery entails for me; I've spent most of the last decade being intrigued by and somewhat obsessed with mental health treatment, especially as I've never recieved as much as I needed or anything as intense as this facility (which is less intense than a true inpatient program or being sectioned). As a teenager I remember watching every documentary on YouTube about inpatient programs, with a particular focus on young people with eating disorders (I don't currently have one, but I have been through phases where I "tried to"). My hope is that by sharing my story I'll be able to fulfil that same curiosity in some way for others, whether they're considering this program (or anything similar) for themself, or just nosy.

About the First Day

I got picked up from the hospital at around 8:30 this morning (the 20 seconds of fresh air between the hospital exit and the ambo.. delightful). On the ride one of the nurses went through a lot of the questions I've been asked a billion times recently (what are my regular medications, do I have any pain, do I currently feel suicidal, things to that effect). When we got here, there was a short wait before the hospital team stayed back to do handover and someone (another nurse I think?) took me away for the start of what turned out to be around 3 hours of intake meetings with various team members.
Meeting 1
The first meeting with that nurse (and another one. Or a doctor? I've met a Lot of people today) involved a lot of paperwork. Eventually they took me to my room and we went through my bag together. They took away the random pushpins in my wallet (I have no clue why I had those, I think they're relics of an art unit I did at uni last year) and catalogued everything else (which was a fair amount--my housemate brought me fresh things yesterday while I was still in the hospital) on a form I had to sign to say they'd listed everything. I think they do it in case of theft, or if I lose anything? I've never asked the reasoning. Then they took me on a tour of the facility--a couple loungerooms, the dining hall and kitchenette (a microwave, toaster, some fridges, a hot/cold water tap for tea and coffee), where the other patient(?)s' rooms are, an outside area I desperately wanted to go to. I asked about leaving (I can come and go as I want, just gotta keep them posted) and visitors (allowed whenever, but with preference that they come outside of when groups are, so evenings and weekends). On the tour we ran into a member of the mind team, whose name I do remember but won't share out of privacy.
Meeting 2
The Mind Team is what TCU calls the group of staff "with lived experience of mental health", which I think is a wanky way to say they're crazy too (I saw a poster about recovery focused language and saying "lived experience with mental illness" as opposed to "they're mentally ill"; personally I think this is stupid, but whatever floats your boat I guess). [Redacted] and I went through a lot more questions, to construct a safety plan. She asked about what helps me stay well, early warning signs I'm doing worse, triggers, what helps in the early stages of doing poorly, signs I'm doing Bad, what helps me in that crisis state, and what doesn't help in that state. A few hours later I was given a copy of all the notes she took. Meeting 3 Next I spoke to a doctor about my entire mental health history, childhood, my attempts (and the degree to which they were suicide attempts vs cries for help, and I also brought up the fact I'm (over)due for a blood test to check my T levels (I was meant to have a shot a few weeks ago, but my levels were too high).
Meeting 4
The next meeting was with a psychiatrist? And was about meds. As with everyone before she asked what I'd been taking prior to my admission here, and we spoke briefy about what had been floated by the hospital psych. After this meeting I was excited to go outside, but got caught on the way and reminded of lunch.
Lunch was good; very nice sweet potato cottage pie, some chips (non vegos were having fish and chips), and some salad (just some greens and a few other veg, I didn't add any dressings). I think I'm lucky I love bland vegetables.

After lunch I got to finally go sit outside, so I took my journal and wrote down what I could remember from the previous fourish hours. As I'm writing this, it's around 10 hours later (nearly 11pm, god I'm tired), so I'll try to decently summarise the rest:
I spent a bunch of time outside
I was checked physically by a Dr;
I was found and brought to a room with someone whose role I'm not super sure of. We sat waiting for the Dr to come back and chatted about ADHD, autism, housing, how Perth compares to over east, how apparently Newcastle is becoming Sydney and he doesn't like it, and definitely more. Eventually we went out to find the doc because it had been ages, and once we'd located him we went to a different room. He made me do a bunch of physical tasks like tapping my nose and his finger, balancing, tiptoeing, squatting. If we did anything else, I don't remember it, oops.
I spent a bunch of time sitting in my room under my desk with my headphones on out of sheer exhaustion. I also spent a bunch of time sorting the sensory toys, and am now determined to solve a rubix cube before I leave (I've never done it before).
There's definitely details I'd like to have included but skimmed over or forgot, but I think that about covers the first day? I'm feeling pretty hopeful. Talk to you soon!!