Friday, March 29, 2019

My Recent Stint in the Psych Unit: Part 3

Photo by Trần Toàn on Unsplash

If you read my blog, you probably know that I voluntarily admitted myself to the hospital Psych Unit a couple weeks ago.  I talked about it in Part 1 and Part 2.  And here were are at Part 3.

I know states and hospitals vary with rules and regulations but I'm sure some are the same.  Here's a few for where I stayed (including personal advice):

No cameras - Hence, my reason for no personal pics.  Understandable.

No cell phones - Again, probably for the same reason.

No makeup or hair products - This one was hard for me.  I'm okay with not doing my hair but I rarely go a day without makeup.  I have Rosacea, causing bright red spots on my face.  With no makeup, I looked like I was in there for a contagious disease. 

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Throw away your plastic eating utensils - For every meal, we were given a plastic spoon and fork.  No knife.  They were made from the flimsiest plastic known to man.  We tore apart our food with our fingers, like savages.  When we were done eating, the Psych Techs had to physically watch us as we threw away our utensils.  You better believe no one was getting away with taking them to the rooms!

15 Minute Checks - We were checked on every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.  Hearing your door open during the night every 15 minutes while you're trying to sleep is a little unnerving.  On the plus side, you didn't have to press a call button and wait forever for someone to arrive when you wanted something.

Laundry - Blue paper scrubs are provided upon admittance.  Personal clothing can be brought in but they have to be inspected and laundered first.

Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

Watch your mouth - No foul language allowed.  Talk that condones drugs and alcohol are forbidden.

A patient who was in there for an alcoholism relapse had this to say:
"I'm allergic to alcohol.  Every time I drink, my wrists break out in handcuffs."
The nurses didn't find it near as funny as I did.

Go to groups - I failed at this the first two days.  You better believe it's marked against you every time you don't attend a group, therapy, or session.  Which means you may have to stay in there even longer.

Don't go in patient rooms - I was blessed to have a private room during my stay.  The beds weren't regular hospital beds.  They had an open square layout with a mattress just a little thicker than those of prison.  One day, I went into another female's room and chit-chatted before being told that was a big no-no.  I didn't think it was a big deal since some patients had to share a room with someone else.  Learned it was, indeed, a big deal.

Don't put stuff on top of bathroom door - This is for security purposes.  If you hang a towel, clothing, noose, or whatever on top of the door you bet your sweet ass everyone will know.  A piercing wail from an alarm will go off anytime someone tries.  I know; Someone tried.

Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

Visitors will go through a process before entrance. - Visiting hours during weekdays were 5:30pm to 7 pm.  Weekends were a little longer, from 1pm to 5 pm.  When a visitor comes, they have to be wanded down to make sure they're not bringing in contraband.  They cannot wear coats or bring cell phones.  They also have to sign in and out, and be walked in and out by a Psych Tech.  Patient room doors have to be open at all times that a visitor is in there.

Menus - On my first couple days, I had the House Menu.  That's the one that shows what patients will be fed for the day.  Ask for the alternate menu.  That's the one where you have several more choices to choose from like cheeseburgers, chicken quesadillas, and pizzas.  With the exception of the horribly nasty soggy pasta, the food wasn't bad.

FOID card - I don't have any guns registered to my name, but do own a FOID card.  Or, at least I did.  The state took no time at all in revoking my FOID card due to being in a mental institution.  I get where they're coming from but will probably put in an appeal.  I made no remarks of harming myself or anyone else.  I just wanted to die. 

No TVs in rooms - If you want to slay your day away with the boob tube, you have to get your butt on into the Day Room and watch it there.  Keep the shows rated PG-13.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

10 Minute Phone Calls - There were two prison-type phones on the hallway wall.  We could accept and make calls as long as it wasn't during Group Time.  They had to be kept at a 10-minute minimum.

Keep up with followup - Staying in a Psych Unit during a downtime (mostly the weekend)  wasn't super helpful but it did give me time to reflect and get myself somewhat back on track.  Don't be embarrassed or ashamed if it's something you need to do or something you have done.  Mental health is just as important as physical health.  But, a large part of the healing process requires personal effort.  It's up to you to followup with doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors who can continue to help you heal.


Theresa Mahoney said...

I just put my niece into a mental health until for a week. Sounds like the same rules she had. I hope you are feeling better and I'm glad you were able to seek out help. Sometimes asking for it is the hardest step towards recovery.

Meghan said...

I'm glad you realized you needed help. ((HUGS))

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad that you were able to realize you needed help and sought that out; not everyone does! And mental health is SO important.


Angela Saver said...

This is such an important topic so many are afraid to talk about. I'm glad you seeked treatment and thank you for sharing your experience!