Psych Hospitals – The Not So Scary Truth

Don’t take me!  I don’t want to go.  I’m not going!!!

Going to a psychiatric hospital can be incredibly scary.  There are a lot of horror stories about them.  And for the most part, in today’s society, the horror stories are not true.  I say “for the most part” because I know that for some people, they have had bad things happen to them.  But, in general, most facilities are safe places, where people can go and get the care they needed.  They are not strapped down for hours and hours, stabbed with needles, and/or drugged up and drooling on a couch.

As I have mentioned a few times on here before, I have a little bit of experience with psychiatric hospitalizations. 17 different hospitalizations to be exact – at 7 different facilities. 

  • 1 in Texas
  • 4 in Indiana
  • 2 in Florida

Out of all of these facilities, I would say I had bad experiences at 2 of them, and out of those 2, only one of those was a really horrible experience, and I would say I would absolutely never want to be admitted to that hospital again.  Despite that, I know people that have been admitted to that hospital, and have had completely different experiences than me – so I don’t know, perception of how I compared it to the other hospitals I went to maybe?

All of these hospitalizations ranged in time differences – from as short as 3 days to one as long as 6 months at a state hospital (that hospital was probably the best hospital I was ever at). 

The reason why I really am writing this, is because far to often people talk about their bad experiences at the psych hospital.  No one really talks about how much it might have helped them. This tends to scare people off from actually going and getting help when they need it.  They are scared they might lose their kids, or they will never get out, they will be restrained and tied to a bed, they will be treated bad. 

This isn’t true though.  I can’t promise every hospital is going to be amazing.  It isn’t a 5 star hotel, and some hospitals are newer and better than others.  But it is a safe place if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.  It is a place for you to get help.  Unless there is abuse or neglect of your kids where they are in immediate danger, they wont take away your kids if you have someone to watch them while you are there – you will get them back (per every situation I have ever encountered with people that have had kids).  You might be there 1 day (unless you are under a 72 hour hold), or you might be there a month – but that is between you and the doctor and how you feel you are doing.  If you are not a danger to yourself or others though, they cannot keep you in there against your will. 

I know it might not seem like the hospitals helped me at all, considering I was in and out of them so much.  But they did!  They saved my life.  If it wasn’t for them, I would be dead.  I would go on and off my medication, I was non compliant.  I didn’t think I needed help.  I didn’t know how to accept the help.  Every time I went in I hated life and wanted to die – or had actually attempted suicide.  They would bring me back to reality, get me back on my meds.  Get me into the group therapy there, the techs would talk to me, the psychiatrist would talk to me.  I relearned how to use my coping skills.  I got stabilized.  For the time being anyway.  For me, it took more than an acute care hospital – it took the state hospital.  For most, it doesn’t take that though.  But for me, that state hospital literally saved me from destruction. 

I spent 6 months there and I was scared to go.  When they told me I was being committed I was scared.  Yet, I didn’t even think much of it at the same time.  I was so over hospitals and assumed I would kill myself no matter what it didn’t phase me.  In the end, after 6 months, I was a new person.  Yes, I still struggle, but I think about how much time and effort everyone put into teaching me how to live again, not just survive in life but actually live.  The psychiatrist, nurse, medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, techs, recreational therapists – it was amazing how much everyone cared. 

People at psych hospitals do care.  It is a not a gloomy place where patients are catatonic and drugged up, tied to chairs and beds.  Groups take place, patients make friends, support is given. I still have friends from some of my hospitalizations in the acute care hospitals and friends from the state hospital.  And we keep in touch more often than other friends because they understand me much better.

If you need help, reach out.  Take it.  It is there.  Don’t be scared.

I took a big step, I called a Crisis Line

Yesterday I broke down.  My anxiety consumed me.  I tried to use my copings skills – I went out, went to Michaels – bought some more canvas and paint to come home and paint. I couldn’t handle it though.  “Hurt yourself.” “Cut yourself” “Hit yourself” “Break a bone” My brain kept wanting to find a way out of this feeling of extreme dread and torture that was going on. 

The minute I got home I knew I couldn’t do what my brain was saying. I had done that before. I did that for two years and all it did was get me put in the hospital, in the ICU, the ER, and the psych hospital.  I couldn’t go back to that.  I cant go back to that.  I am trying to stay in recovery.  I am trying to get my life back and stay on track.

I called 211.  It connected me to the local crisis line.  It is easier than dialing the suicide hotline, all I have to remember is 211 rather than a bunch of numbers, plus the suicide crisis line would connect me to 211 anyway, since it just connects you to your local crisis line.  For those of you who don’t know what 211 is – it is a free and confidential informational and referral line available in most cities/counties in the United States.  They can connect you with resources to find help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more – and in my area also provide the crisis/suicide line. 

Anyway, I spent 33 minutes talking to a wonderful volunteer.  Probably 15 minutes crying my eyes out.  Eventually we came up with a plan, had some laughs, and I am feeling better.  Thank goodness I got my mind set straight because I do not want to end up back in the hospital!

I was assured I could call back as many times as I needed, 24 hours a day, and they could help me. 

Today was a rough day, and I suspect it is going to be a rough week.  Honestly, I think it is going to be a rough few months.  I don’t think my meds are working right, or not well enough anyway – perhaps a dosage adjustment.  I don’t think my doctor is getting my anxiety under control at all – at least not quick enough.  I know that I can’t give up though.  I know not to go back to my old habit – which was just not thinking and just doing.  I know I cant be impulsive anymore.  Not that it is that easy, impulse is impulse, but I can still keep working on it.

 

If you are in a crisis reach out for help:

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Lifeline Crisis Chat

IMAlive Crisis Chat

Veteran Crisis Online Chat

Call: 211

In the UK? Call the Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

In Australia? Call Lifeline: 13 11 14  or chat with them

In New Zealand? Call Lifeline’s Warmline: 0508 927 654 or Suicide Crisis Line: 0508 828 865

Daily Post – Age, Not Just a Number, But an Achievement

Word Press Post A Day – “Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

 

I am not sure I pay attention to my age on a day to day basis, but with each birthday I have, I feel I have hit a milestone. I never expected to be this old. The fact that I have made it this far, I am quite impressed if I do say so myself.  I do not acknowledge my age everyday, I do not pay attention to age everyday, nor do I ruminate on my age or anyone else’s age.  But to me, living another year is a milestone.  It is an achievement.  I have defeated a battle that has been going on in my head.  The battle of suicidal thoughts and mental illness.  I have been conquering them thus far. 

When I look to others, I feel like I look at them the same way.  I do not look at it in a negative way, in the way that many people say, “ugh I am getting soooo old.” But I see strength.  We all have a story, and not everyone knows it.  We all have lived to overcome our struggles though, no matter how big or small they might have been.  So when I look at myself, and I look at others – that is what I see, as each year passes, I see someone who has conquered their battles, their struggles, and has lived another day, another week, another month, another year. My age, their age, it is not “just a number” but an achievement.