Last year I was unfortunate enough to suffer a major depressive episode which required in-patient care and extensive physical treatment. I have now progressed far enough from the experience to be able to look at it more objectively, and to think about the implications it will have for my own practice of psychiatry in the future. I hope that what I have observed, reflected upon and learnt will make me a better psychiatrist, more in touch with the needs and fears of my patients, and that my view of ward dynamics “from the other side” will give me more insight into why things happen as they do. The thoughts that follow are offered not as a critique of my care, which was excellent and for which I am very grateful, but merely as a view of the practice of psychiatry from an alternative standpoint. Hopefully they may encapsulate some of the difficulties faced by the depressed in-patient, although of course they cannot presume to speak for those suffering from other forms of psychiatric illness.
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