|Old image of psychiatric hospitals.|
My first trip in was due to a pink slip. I incorrectly answered the bonus question, which is a follow-up to the question, "Do you have suicidal thoughts?" The bonus question is, "Do you have a plan?" The correct answer should never be "Yes" if you want to stay out of a psychiatric hospital. I didn't know that and I was sent in via a "Pink Slip" - which forces you to stay a minimum of 72 hours for observation
I wound up staying about 3 weeks during my "observation" period.
This time, I went in on another "Pink Slip" but for different reasons. See a previous post on how I flipped out. That was the way to get into "the system" fast.
The picture on this post shows an old image of what people imagine psychiatric hospitals to be like - crazy people, clawing at others and drooling on themselves. There are some people who are drooling on themselves, but the out of control, nightmarish visions don't exist.
Most of the people are relatively calm and sedated. Some are in a coma-like state due to the medications they're taking - and everyone is on medications. Three times a day, the med nurse cries out, "MEDICATIONS! MEDICATIONS!" And depending on your treatment plan, you either get in line once, twice or three times a day and get your "MEDICATIONS."
Psychiatric facilities are like jails. You are behind a double set of locked doors and you can't go anywhere. Your universe is only as big as the floor or wing you are on. You learned to pace the halls, watch TV you don't care about and spend time in an uncomfortable bed, which is a metal slap with a thin foam pad on top. Not much comfort, but it is one of the places you will spend a lot of time, trying to kill time and fight the boredom.
The first time I was in the psyche ward, there were a couple truly messed up individuals - screaming things out, crazy rants, bizarre behavior. This time, there were a couple people who were loud and obnoxious, and one woman in her 40's who kept telling everyone that she was 68 years old. She also told one guy that they had three kids together and she told me that she nursed me as a baby. Weird, to say the least.
Boredom, however, is your greatest challenge. There are three places to be: pacing the halls, watching TV or laying in your bed. All three get old fast.
The excitement comes when someone acts up. I got nailed for "acting up" twice. Both were innocuous situations that the staff blew out of proportion. When you act up, the support team is called - a group I call the Goon Squad - and they carry you to a bed or the isolation room and you are held down while they inject you with some powerful sedatives. In about 10 minutes, you're asleep and your "acting up" has been squelched.
I got it once for walking weird, yes that's true and another because I had gas and would not go back to my room. The second time, I was actually put in four-point restraints.
A lot of people come and go, only staying for a 72 hour observation, while others they keep longer - usually to adjust medications or they may have ongoing psychological issues that can't be solved in a couple days.
On of my roommates had thoughts of suicide and he was there longer than I was. My stay turned out to be about 7 weeks. A lot of that had to do with medications.
I'm out now and I hope I never have to go back.
There is a guy I just met who has been in and out of psyche facilities sixteen times since he was 19 and he's 44 now.
You don't want to go to a psyche facility, it's maddening.