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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.

Post a Day – Looking Back, I’m Still Alive

WordPress- Post a Day

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?

 

Today, I have made it to the age of 26.  I never thought I would live this long.  I never thought I would make it past high school to be honest.  Depression plagued me.  Suicidal thoughts invaded my brain from the time I was 11.  I didn’t necessarily think I would take my own life, but I sincerely thought I would be dead before I ever reached the legal age of adulthood – the legal age to buy a cigarette or a few years later when I could drink my problems and thoughts down with alcohol.

I created a fantasy world for those around me of what my life as an adult would be.  Never for myself though. I never believed it.  My world as an adult was created to please my parents, my teachers, and my friends.  I created wild dreams of what I would be and who I would become.  I pediatric oncologist!  I saw Patch Adams and loved the movie – yes I would follow in his footsteps.  I would make kids smile, I would create my own free clinic to help those in need.  I would get amazing scholarships so no one would have to pay for my school. 

I told everyone!!!  Yes, I am going to be a doctor.  Not just any doctor. I want to be an oncologist.  A pediatric oncologist!  I am going to make kid smile.  “Won’t that be sad?” they asked.  “Well, yes. Sometimes.  But you have to look at all the lives I will save!” I would tell them.  I knew none of it would ever happen.  I would never have to prove any of this to them.  This was all a fantasy, I would never be an adult. I would never live to have to actually do any of this. 

Mental illness is a horrible thing.  It distorts your views.  I did grow up.  I did take AP classes in high school.  I did get amazing grades despite my awful suicidal thoughts and severe depression.  I went to college.  I majored in nursing.  I barely got through my last 2 years as I was hospitalized for psychiatric reason 8-10 times during those last 1.5 years.   But I had amazing grades, and I did receive my RN.  I had a nurse fellowship at a outpatient oncology clinic. I loved it.  It did seem to be my calling.  Mental illness is something I struggle with though.  I don’t practice as a nurse right now.  I know it is something that is too overwhelming for me and something that I cannot do at this time.  It is still part of my childhood fantasy – something that I created for others, not for myself. 

I am alive though.  That is pretty far off from what my childhood view was of my adult life.  My biggest view during childhood was that I would be dead. Here I am though, in the flesh, alive – heart beating, mind thinking.  Totally opposite!