Barbro – Nurse

I have worked as a nurse and a nursing teacher for more than fifty years. Now I’m retired but I often think back to my professional life. I spent most of my time on the psychiatric ward. I have always been interested in people and what makes some of us suffer from mental diseases or disorders, sometimes so serious that you don’t cope with life any longer. During my years as a student I already knew that I wanted to learn more about the human psyche and what caused a breakdown, mentally and physically. But also what made you feel good and gives you the strength to move on in life. That’s why I chose to specialize in psychiatric care. I have worked in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care. For many years I worked in the Nacka-Värmdo psychiatric center. A fantastic well-functioning business with access to both to outpatient and inpatient care and with highly competent personnel. Unfortunately, it was closed down, due to political and economical reasons, just like similar businesses in the Stockholm region. The business or sectorisation, as we called this care model, was too expensive. In addition, the free choice of care was introduced. One would no longer be tied to the care offered in the area you lived in. When they ask me if I remember any of the patients, the answer is yes. I remember many, including a woman I met at one of Stockholm’s mental hospitals.

She was in her forties and fully oriented to time, space and person. She had kids that were teenagers and a good job. We tried to help her with her bipolar disease in every way we could . We tried literally everything. Conversation therapy, medicines, employment, staying at home, but time and time again we failed. She never got better, nor was she happy with us. After each discharge, she quickly returned for treatment at the hospital. I have been with her for a year and participated in her treatment and care. Then I quit the department, so I don’t know what happened to her. But I often think of her and wonder why what we did wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, we see that mental health issues are increasing in the population, especially among young people. There are probably several reasons for that. I can only speculate. Could it be due to a certain pressure that exists nowadays to show your perfect life on social media? At the same time a lot of people also write about their mental problems and issues. It seems to be a social phenomenon to want to show off, both your charm and your shortcomings, but above all, to be seen and be available on social media. Then you exist. I think we live in a narcissistic time where the surface is important and it requires showing off. This is just my opinion and it’s difficult to see what’s the cause and what’s the effect. Anyway, I hope the spirit of the time will not increase young people’s suffering. I also hope that people can get the help they need when they need it.