Word Press Post A Day – Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.
I was stuck in the state hospital. Well, pretty much stuck. I had reached level 4, so I had some freedom. See, when you reach level 4, you can leave the hospital. If there is a field trip or outing, you are eligible to go on it. For example, we took a trip to the Indiana Pacers game – it was amazing! It was actually my first time to a professional sports game and I had a blast. Who would have thought I had to get sent to a state hospital to go to a professional sporting event?
As time gets closer to your release, you are actually able to spend a few hours outside of the hospital with family and/or friends and even weekend visits out – yep you can leave the hospital for a whole weekend and spend the night at home! My family didn’t lie in Indiana, so this didn’t even seem like an option for me, but for one week, both my parents (who lived in different states), came up for a visit!
I was due to be released in 2 months if all went well. I would be off of my commitment and we were still figuring out where I would go – a treatment facility, group home, independent apartment, back with my family, etc. Ok ok, so where do these flip flops, cake, and someone old and wise come in? Well, I was free! My family was there and I was level 4! At first, I would only be out for 4 hours for the first 2 days, then 8 hours the next two days, then I got to spend the night at the hotel for the next day and didn’t have to be back until 8pm the next day!
You can’t have shoes with laces in a psych hospital. Nope. You might just hang yourself. So flips flops! Yep, you bring flip flops or house shoes, or my favorite were my converse shoes that they make now that have elastic and no strings (I make sure to always have those around in case I get sent to a hospital). But the days I was out with my parents, I just wore my flip flops, easy to put on, light, and freeing! It was like going on a vacation to a beach – you just have to flip flops on.
Chocolate cake! We met up with my friend and his family from my city I was from. State hospitals are rarely going to be in the city you actually live in. I was in one that was 1.5 hours away from where I was from. My friend and his family was amazing though, they had come to visit me about 2x a month, bring me food (yep you can also bring food into the state hospital) and basically being my second family. So my family and I met up with them at Applebees! This happened to be my friend and my favorite restaurant! We always ordered chocolate cake for desert here when we went to ate – so to celebrate my freedom (even if it was just for a few hours) – we had some chocolate cake!
Tech M – he was old and wise. He made sure to tell me what to do and not to do on my outings. Of course I knew. I knew not to drink or do drugs. I knew not to do anything crazy or get out of control. I knew that anything illegal or out of control would get me to not be able to go out, lose a level, and perhaps even delay my release. But he sat me down and really explained the gravity of it. He spent time telling me how proud he was of me. He spent time telling me how important it was to spend time with the people who loved me. He spent time telling me how hard I had worked to get to the level I was at. I left for my outings with a sense of pride for being able to go on my outings, a sense of responsibility – more than I had before.
I still think of psych hospitals when I wear flip flops. My friend from Indiana, he still will text me pictures when he goes out to eat (anywhere) and gets chocolate cake – “Remember Applebees?” Tech M, I will always remember him. He was kind and caring. He actually got very ill while I was still in the hospital. He took some time off, and never came back. A week or so before I left, we were told he had passed away. He was a wise soul and I think he gave a lot of good advice to a lot of people – he touched a lot of lives.
People have a lot of misconceptions about psych hospitals. I know not all are good. And I know not all state hospitals are like the one I was at. I definitely went to one that was beyond amazing and got incredibly good care. I have a lot of fond memories there. I wanted out of the state hospital so bad when I was there especially the first three months. The last past of the 6 months, I just wanted out because I thought maybe I would be stuck there forever otherwise – and yet when I left, I actually missed it. I missed the friends that I had made there. I missed the groups that I had gone to. I missed the support that I had. Even the stupid roommate situation – I missed it. Being on my own was hard, incredibly hard. Thinking back on these memories actually make me smile. There were some bad ones, but there were a lot more good ones than bad ones.