The asylum- High Royds

The 1970’s a time when asylums still existed, a time of ominous gloomy buildings and for me one very scary building, that of High Royds Hospital in West Yorkshire.

I remember it well, I remember because I was scared, I remember because no one seemed to care, those memories haunt me still and I was only visiting.
My mum had been diagnosed with catatonic schizophrenia, and had been ill for some time, she spent some time in hospitals in Leeds but was finally consigned to High Royds.
I was young when I visited and remember snapshots which stick in my mind and remain vivid with me today. It’s sad. I think that’s what I feel , when I think about those times I just cry.
The visit….
The drive it seemed never ending and my sister was dancing around and I wanted her to stop, she was trying to make us laugh but the fear, the fear I wanted her to stop, we always laughed it’s how we coped its how I coped,  just stop…..
My brother and sisters and me visited my mum, we got two buses from Leeds and arrived at the drive… I remember the first time, I was young, and we walked towards the huge building, I was so scared, the unknown and yet knowing my mum was so ill. I wanted her to be well, I wanted her to be my mum.
That visit, we couldn’t find the ward , we all walked in to somewhere I remember a girl in white floating around asking us why are you here? Her face smiling but not quite with us, no staff in sight, I saw people sitting, sitting no movement, not right, numbed people not moving except for the girl in white floating.
We found my mum I can’t remember how I was so scared I think I’ve blocked it out she sat her head bowed not speaking not moving in a room full of smoke, I can’t remember but snapshots no one helping, spiralling smoke, head down, empty shell, no one there, ECT, drugged.
I ask my self now where were the staff ? Hiding in the office contributing to the haze?
My mum still can’t lift her head, she was left in High Royds head bent in a room full of smoke.
I hated that place .

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About bpdffs

I campaign for better services for people with BPD. I run #BPDchat onTwitter on Sundays at 9pm BST, please join us. I train CMHT staff in BPD awareness and run psycho-educational courses for people with BPD. I am a governor at Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust.

2 responses to “The asylum- High Royds”

  1. Julie Newcombe (@TwittleyJules) says :

    From my recent experience of her grandson’s section in a PICU I would have to say we have not come very far. Staff are mostly clueless. Just today I asked about staff taking said grandson on a s17 release. No reason why not…it’s written up. I take him out by myself. We go train spotting, eat cream teas or McDonalds, but the staff won’t take him for a walk round the block. And then they wonder why he gets angry and challenging. Still at least there’s no smoke.

    • bpdffs says :

      I think people don’t have the time or won’t make the time to spend with people and get to really understand them, what may help them. Also the staff shift changes don’t help, people forget to pass vital information on. I think parents and carers should be listened to who knows those people better tan them. Also everyone is different and I think people see a diagnosis and not the person. Much learning is still needed.

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