Friday, October 29, 2021


  I want to start off by saying, I am not ashamed or upset by going inpatient. It is what I needed to be safe from myself while suicidal. But I do think we need to reform how we treat people in crisis. This is a time when  people are at their most vulnerable. They are desperate for help, and so brave for asking for it.

This last time I was inpatient, I admitted myself before I hurt myself. I called and asked for help as I was writing a goodbye letter. I was taken to the hospital. The intake staff was very friendly and supportive. Asking me questions, answering my questions. Even let my grandmother stay with me for part of the process. 

Then my belongings were searched, I wasn’t allowed certain clothes. No phone. And of course, no shoe laces, nothing that you can hurt yourself with. They then searched me, sent my grandmother away with items I couldn’t have. Then upstairs I went with a paper bag of my clothes. 

Once upstairs, I was then asked more questions by a nurse. I was searched again and asked to strip. This was the first time I felt like a prisoner instead of a patient. I was given an outdated “schedule” of the day to day. Shown my shared room. And released onto the floor with everyone.

There was a TV room and 2 group rooms. I didn’t see a doctor until the next day. If you didn’t participate in the group you lost certain privileges, like going outside to smoke. You are on 15 minute checks by the staff, so no privacy. No pens or pencils, markers were in the group room we could use. I spent a lot of time alone, not talking to anyone.

I did see the nurse practitioner daily, she made medicine adjustments as I needed it. I called my family daily in between groups, phones were turned off during group sessions. Some of the groups I enjoyed, some felt like fillers. Usually I just sat in the back and kept to myself. I never had one on one therapy.

The weekends were the worst, not as many groups, so mostly just watched TV or read in my room. I did eventually open up to some people and gained some friends. We walked the halls to pass the time. Talked about our experiences. That helped me more than anything else.

While I do not regret going inpatient, it is what I needed at that time. I do think that things need to change. How can they know what is going on with me in a 5 minute daily meeting with the nurse practitioner? Without one on one therapy, how can they help me get to the root of the problem? I understand why some things are in place, to protect us in our lowest point. But that is also the point. When we go to ask for help, we are literally at our lowest point. Why are we being treated like prisoners?

The staff were sweet and obviously doing their best. But the whole system needs an upgrade. Our whole treatment of mental health and mental illness needs to change. More understanding, more options available for us. When I am at my worst, I shouldn’t be treated as less than human.

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