Saturday, June 14, 2008 'Mental illness is petrifying'

by Adam James

Day-to-day life as an inpatient on a psychiatric unit is being documented on an internet blog by a woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Mandy Lawrence, aged 45, was admitted into a six-bed NHS psychiatric unit in Bedfordshire on Friday last week and is writing about her experience.

The blog is believed to be the first by a patient while an inpatient on a mental health unit.

In the candid blog Ms Lawrence describes her crisis in the days leading up to her admission and concerns over who will care for her daughter.

On admission she writes of her worries of being prescribed a new anti-psychotic, its side effects, ward conditions, staff, other patients and her struggle with anxiety. Anecdotes range from consultations with her psychiatrist to watching European Championship football with other patients.

To post on the blog Ms Lawrence has been using the laptop of another patient.

The blog, called mandylifeboatsahoy, receives postings from co-bloggers with an interest in mental health.

Ms Lawrence says she has had mental health problems since a teenager. "Throughout that time I have had episodes of mania or depression which would floor me,” she writes.

To read more of her blog, click here ...

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