My time on Fern Ward - reflections

Hear from a patient who was treated on Cheadle Royal's personality disorder ward

Reflections of my time on Fern

Before I came to Fern, I genuinely believed that I did not have a life worth living, nor did I have any hope of that ever changing. I thought my only way out of the ‘hell’ I was in was to not be here anymore.

When I first was given the opportunity to go to a rehab, I very much felt that I was being ‘shipped off’ and ‘passed around’ because services did not know what else to do with me. However, embarking on my journey of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and being transferred to Fern Ward at Cheadle Royal, gave me a glimmer of hope.

One thing that differentiates Fern from any other ward I’ve been on, is its expertise in its specialism. Staff are trained to practice and provide care and support in a DBT-informed way. This meant that staff were also able to offer support outside of sessions, in putting DBT skills into practice, troubleshooting skills and offered DBTinformed guidance in difficult situations.

The reassurance is that there is always someone who can support you. I like the fact that this support usually involved encouragement towards being able to independently utilise DBT skills, because ultimately this keeps you moving towards a future beyond reliance on inpatient support.

I felt very much involved in my own care plan here, and in the decision making around treatment. The team share your goals with you, and really support you in any way they can, to achieve them. There is more ‘positive risk taking’ than that of less specialised wards, which means care is least restrictive and I think this has been imperative to my rehabilitation. Everything is risk assessed on an individual basis and the team really put ‘YOU’ at the centre and heart of your treatment. You feel heard, considered, valued and validated – an approach I’ve not always received elsewhere.

The multidisciplinary team (MDT) really get to know you as an individual and understand your difficulties and collaborate on your goals.

“Throughout my treatment, I really felt I was treated as a person – a valued individual and not just a statistic.”

My time on Fern may be coming to the end, but this is just the beginning for me. The transformation in me is huge. Throughout my time here, I have transitioned from containment and restrictions for my own safety, to independence in the community. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. Not only have I gotten out of that deep ‘hell’ I was once in, I am now on the path (and experiencing that path) of a life worth living.

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