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A day in the life of a psych patient

Posted by slinky_chix , 01 November 2007 · 86 views

The thing in hospitals and programs is that its really boring. REALLY boring. Alot of my hospitalizations, especially at first were for my bipolar breakdowns. I didnt take meds back then. Stuff would happen to me on the street, working, etc. Id get manic and real out of control. My first time I got put in because my room mate was worried about me both being hurt and hurting myself (I also SI).

In general, a "stay" is about like this... at least for me. For simplicity, I put details from different stays all into one "stay". I don't write often. I never know what to put down.


I'd be really manic. I hallucenate, hear voices, get stuck on certain thoughts and behaviors. By the time I'd get baker acted, arrested, sent there by the court, etc. I would be really out there. At first I think it was harder becuase I was there all by myself. No one knew me, knew what was wrong, etc. I wasn't always an addict or alcoholic. It was just my bipolar, ptsd, etc. But they had to figure it all out because I was so whacked out. My first hospitalization was before I had been diagnosed with anyone or had been treated for psych illnesses.

So they get you in the hospital. The psych wing is always like on the top floor of the wing in the back... out of the way. I think they do that to keep people from escaping or wandering off. You can't go very far if you have to wait in front of the elevator bank by the nurses station for 5 minutes to leave the floor... They have areas on the floor marked off with tape... patients arent supposed to cross the tape (which means they are too close to the elevator).

I don't know how I actually get in there. I was probably brought to the ER. Maybe in an ambulance. Or someone dumped me off there. I had johns freak out with me sometimes and would think I was ODing or something when I was really just manic and freaked out. Once they figure I am psych, they send me upstairs. Im in my own room. Its a restraint room. Just me, a bed and nothing else. There is a window on the door I can see out and they can see in. And I am in restraints. I can hear the blood pumping through my head. Its like I am having a stroke. And the noise in my head. I can't move or escape it. So you just lay there on your back looking up or maybe forward towards your feet. is it hours? days? I really don't know. Its always cold. If im really manic Im still in my jeans or work clothes. I want to smoke. (smoked over 3 packs a day). I want to yell, sing, cry, talk, be wild. I dont think I made a lot of sense. I'd be there until they got enough meds into me to make me fall asleep. Usually Haldol. Anti psychotics. Stuff to calm me down, stop my cycling, put me out.

Then its the usual questions... name, address, occupation (hahaha), why you are there (fuck if I know im not sick). Insurance? no family? no... ok well just wait here...

Oh man Im down. Depressed. Can't stop crying. Its the opposite of a day or two ago. Now I just lay around and cry. If I start to hit myself in the face they put me in restraints again.

If im good Im in the group areas. Its co ed. There is a large room with rows of beds. They are little beds like cots. I dont remember them being like big hospital beds on wheels. At least in my room. Each room has maybe 12 people. There is a door but you cant close it. Its never dark in there either, at least during the day, so if you want to nap, all the bright lights are on and the curtains are open. I forget where I keep my stuff. I think its in a plastic bag under my bed. Not that you have much. If im lucky someone brings me a hair brush, deodorant, tooth brush, etc. They don't give it to you. You can have books and magazines. I can't concentrate to read. Want to smoke. Its very boring.

The bathrooms are like the ones in a hospital room where there is a built in shower in the corner... its just not in your room its down the hall. There are several. Most people dont shower LOL. They do make you. Its creepy. i dont like having someone give me a shower. There is stuff like dry shampoo and all too and dry soaps for the people that dont take the real showers.

During the day you can't go in the big bedroom unless you are ill or something for the most part. You have to hang out in the day room. Its a big room with chairs and sofas, coffee tables, tv, maybe and always a pool table. Sometiems the pool table is in another similar room. They are always real bright... white walls, white tile floors, big windows. I think people used to smoke in there because there are some burns on the floor and furniture. Its also old. Kind of dirty or worn. Oh wow a fashion magazine from 12 years ago... Or a chess set with 7 pieces missing. So there isnt much to do. The same two guys always play pool day and nite. I think they live here... LOL

Ok they tell me Im in the B group. I have group counselling this morning. All they do is tell me to pay attention. Behave. Im not being attentive or trying hard enough. Fuck what am I supposed to do. Like they can help me? Ok well I can see the therapist 1 on 1 tomorrow afternoon. tick tock tick tock. its soooooooo boring. Well at least its lunch time. They bring the food up on carts. You can't go near the elevators. But people wait around just on the safe side of the tape. Then the nurses always shoo everyone back. You get your tray and go eat. There are other rooms around the floor. You can go pretty much anywhere. The rooms have tables and chairs. So two people go here, one there, three over there... You hang out with your friends.

Its regular hospital food... so if you have even stayed overnight... thats what you get. You get three meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinners always early like 4-5 o clock. So by lights out time you are hungry again. They do keep sodas and snacks on the floor. I forget how and when they give them to you... they can sort of bribe you with them...

Basically you sit around and watch tv or think to yourself for a week or so. Oh yeah ther was group again. in a week you go two or three times and see the counsellor once for about 20 mins. Its always like starting over... well how do YOU feel today Lashelle? Any better (no how would you feel if you were me?) They make notes, ask about meds, etc.

YOu get your meds from the infirmary in little cups. They give you the pills then make you take them while they watch. The nurse calls each person in a room one at a time. They give you a dry cup with the pills in it. You put the pills in your mouth and they fill the cup with water... you swallow and then open your mouth to show you took them. throw away the cup... NEXT... it takes a while to get everyones meds. I take them like 5 times a day...

You can have visitors but I rarely do. No one knows me. Im always far away from "home" not that there is anyone there. My sister came to new york to stay with me and take me home. When she died that was it. Visitors are alwyas whack. Some lady will come to see HER daughter... her daughter is "normal" just having a hard time. Everythng will be ok. THe lady says for the girl not to get too close to the rest of us... like we are damaged goods. Its a mistake she is there. She tried to commit suicide but shes not sick... we are. Im the skanky one with matted hair stay away from me... You know about girls like that.... well all that makes ME feel so much better. why not just poke me in the eye with a stick to see if i even move next time. Does this place charge admission to see the freaks and loonies?

Its St. Josephs hospital so the nuns and priests come around. Oooooo are they going to exercise me? They are actually nice. I remember one nite. I was alone in a restraint room. One of them put a lemon candy in my mouth. I have this fuzzy memory of two "men in black" LOL but I guess they were fathers. It wasnt scary. Just odd. I can still taste the lemon candy. I don't eat lemon candy now because I dont want to interfere with that memory. Its special now. SOmeone was nice to me. I dont remember any words that nite.

LOL Arthur got in the supply cabinet. He poured baby powder all over his head. Well his whole body. Big fat guy in a paper gown with powder all over. Arthur's cool. Hes schizo. He virtually lives here. I feel bad for him becuase he is so sick. Hes my bud cause we both dont have family or a lot of friends. I feel bad cause he is going to get in trouble. In his mind he needed to pour powder all over... he didnt mean to make a mess. Was a good laugh but sad at the same time.

Ok Ive been there a week or ten days. Im calmed down. I haven't been hearing voices or acting too strangely. I haven't hit myself in the face since day two. I take my meds. I get checked out/discharged. Do I have a family physician or a Psychiatrist to help with my new meds? HAHA. I get some starter prescriptions and referrals. That lasts as long as the meds last. Do I need a note for work? Nah, strippers and escorts disappear for a week or two all the time. Its not like I hve anyone to go back home too eihter.

Oh crap, I was in two monts this time. I have no home. Thats what happens when you can't pay rent. I lived with Sara (my sister). We were in a dublex place. She got shot at the front door by a date of ours. I got "evicted" while I was in the psych hosp. All my stuff was gone. Just thrown out. Everything. Pictures, clothes. My medical records from NY. That sucks. So I got like $5, the clothes on my back, a bottle of zyprexa and some tegretol and no place to go. Could use a good xcape right now. I did meth, crack. Me on crack was real whack. Made the mania worse but I didnt feel it. Didnt feel the hurt. Ecstasy was good. Made work easier sometimes. Would take an Ex and ahve a few drinks each nite before work.

Id get arrested. Go from jail to the psych hospital again. Sometimes they just pick u up and take you there. Sometimes the court sends you there. Like you get arrested, see the judge, and he sends you back. Again and agin. Or if you come to his court one more time you go to jail not the hospital...

Sometimes a charity group will take you. A church group for women got me. But I think I lasted like one day. I talk too much (wtf I'm manic and hearing voices). It upsets the other ladies in the shelter. So charitable... Im out on the street. At least I got some clothes and a meal or two. I didn't mean to be a big disturbance...

Ok back in the big hospital again. I was just there a month ago but they start from square one. Don't they remember me? Its 24 hours in the solitary room in restraints again. Name... address... occupation... contacts... Are you calmed down yet? Is your name Lashelle or Crystal (work name). WTF we went through this already.

Its so boring. Group sucks. You just sit and cry or watch other people more fucked up than you cry. I don't want to cry in front of everyone sheesh. Like this helps. What kind of coping skills am I learning here? LASHELLE GET YOUR FEET OFF THE CHAIR DAMN IT

Sittin in the group room. LOL they let us watch the Jerry Springer show. HAHA they could film that here. I got written up for acting out. The counsellor or whoever will have to talk to me. Im behaving inappropriately. LASHELLE PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK ON. BUT NURSE I WAS BORN THIS WAY. He took his pants off first...sheesh. Don't yell at me.

Oooooooooo I got a visitor. Its my room mate. We dance together. Been staying with her only a week. She missed me at work and even the boss was worried. Im their biggest draw on the weekends. Can I come back? Oooooooooo and she brought me some stuff... some clotes and hair brush, things to take care of myself. Tampons. You don't want hospital Tampons. Please dont go. I know the day room sucks. But I can't take you anywhere else but here. Want to play cards? Watch tv? We can sing along with the radio? LASHELLE THIS IS NOT A STRIP CLUB DO NOT DANCE LIKE THAT. Sorry... Please don't go. NOOOOOOOOO Stay until its time for my group. LASHELLE GET AWAY FROM THE ELEVATOR. DAMN GIRL YOU DONT LISTEN. LASHELLE. DONT MAKE ME GET OUT FROM THIS STATION. OH FUCK. LASHELLE GO TO YOUR ROOM. YOU ARE GOING TO GET WRITTEN UP FOR THIS. GOD YOU DUMB BITCH WHY DONT YOU JUST LISTEN. I just want to be with my friend...

Ok now Im being difficult. The counsellor lady is reading her notes from the floor about me. I was disrespectful. Tried to leave (no i didnt I tried to keep my friend from leaving). Was out of my area. So sue me. Im crazy hehe...

Back to the tv room. Yawn. Dumb bitch is watching cartoons again. I want to watch Days of Our Lives. I could whack her with a pool cue. I hate being angry. Im not that way. but WTF you get cooped up here with a bunch of people more fucked up than you...

Oh wow. Arthurs not here... the nurse said he died. Was released. Had a seizure and died. Aw. I feel bad. What happens when you are like that and die? Do they have a funeral? Man Im really down now. I want to talk to the counsellor about it. That was a real blow. Arthur was always laughing. He was schizo but a happy one. LOL. Some people thought he was joking. But at nite we would sit alone and just watch each other by the light of the TV somtimes. He wasnt faking. He got scared too. Like I do. Sometimes we could calm down and get our heads quiet enough to say FUCK this is scary... you know? But then 10 mins later he is hearing voices and I'm dancing naked singing at the top of my lungs...

Ok we think you can go. You have a place to stay? Yeah (no but why tell them that). My friend is in jail now... She lost her place so I lost my place... Will find another. If I go to court again here anyway they will send me to State this time. Once you go there you don't come back.... Been here like a dozen times in 10-11 months. Lashelle... how do you spell your name? You don't remember me?




hey Lashelle,

WOW. This incredible all you have been through. When I have trouble mentally I sometimes get a little delusional and go off the rails. I don't hear voices. I just got into a weird delusion.

When I was 22 and began thinking I had some sort of psychic power, and began just going off the rails. I got very depressed too with all kinds of weird, distorted magical thinking. I made an effort never to go back to the hospital again after that. I was in university when this happened and I was able to get back on an even keel. I am not sure what to make of my little episode.

I'm not sure it was a disease like Bipolar.

I still have issues with anxiety. I think people are staring at me, I hate subway rides as a result. the paranoia bit I think is just automatic thoughts/poor self esteem. In anxiety group I remember seeing the doctors stop and read a sheet from one of the patients, and I remember thinking in my head, "they're reading my sheet and think I'm probably really messed up." I was talking to someone in group as this was going on and my attention drifted towards the doctors. Even though the doctors were probably pleased over the progress of the patients in my head they see something wrong with me.

Again no doctor knows what to say about me in terms of illness.

In terms of homelessness, I think it's the most stressful thing. I think having a roof over your head is crucial in helping with the stresses of an illness like Bipolar. In Canada we have some huge non-profit group which houses the mentally ill.
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natalie1980
Aug 02 2010 06:03 PM
I read this and can relate to so much of it. I've been hospitalized 3 times, 2 were voluntary drug re-hab facilities and the other was a horrific involuntary got arrested for trying to hurt myself bullshit place. anyways, i found myself laughing at some of your stories...and i had an authur too.....it's so sad that he died. did you ever see 28 days with sandra bullock? if not go rent it, you will laugh your hiney off.
also, i just want to add that you are a very creative writer and i think that it's something that you should do more often.
i will start to babble soon if i dont stop now. i just wanted to say that you're not alone and if you ever need someone to listen im here for you.
nat

May 2015

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