Behavioral health hospital: Day 1

It wasn’t my first go of it. Truthfully I have been inpatient several times when I was younger. Between when I was 16-18, I want to say 5 or 6.

But that was an adolescent unit. Each individual stay was a real life nightmare that I cried straight through. Overall though, together, they gave me a solid diagnosis that helped keep me stable-ish for the next ten years. I guess I believe in the system.

To be clear, I’m talking about a behavioral health hospital, aka psych hospital, aka mental hospital.

Last week I returned to the watery decaf only coffee, the sandpaper sheets and towels and the long lines at the med counter. For the first time in ten years, I admitted myself to an adult unit at what we’ll call sin behavioral health, sbh for short, for a mandatory 72 hour hold that turned into 6 days without most human rights.

The intake process was long and ridiculous. I walked in at 3 pm on a Thursday. I watched some holiday bake off show that they were playing in the ice cold lobby with a man named DirtyD, who yelled some pretty funny things. Before I new it, it was 5pm and I was finally being called back to talk to someone. There were two small empty rooms off the lobby. Dirty was already in the first room so I was taken to the second. I sat down across from a mean looking woman and tried to scooch my chair back, but found it way too heavy. I looked up at the woman and she seemed to know what I was thinking.

“It’s so you can’t throw it at me” she said. Then she asked me why I was there.

“I self harmed” I answered.

“What insurance do you have?”

“None.”

“If you tell me you’re suicidal I can apply for a grant for you and you will not have to pay.”

“I guess I’m suicidal?”

“Great, now sign these forms.”

“This one says self pay?”

“Just incase we can’t get you a grant.”

“Oh I can’t even afford this conversation, I’ll just go.”

“You signed the first page already, you admitted yourself. You can’t leave.”

:: Lots of crying ::

I was finally moved upstairs at 8 pm. First they made me remove all my clothes for a body check. It was awkward. They wanted my shoe laces out of my shoes and the string from in my hoodie. I said no so they confiscated both and gave me slippers and a robe from out of the bag I packed. I wasnt allowed my toiletries or most of the things in my bag. Three stringless pants, three tops and I was allowed to keep my robe and slippers. One book, 4 panties, 4 bras without underwires and my journal because it was string bound, no Staples or spirals.

I quickly put my stuff in my room. It was clean, but I noticed immediately that I had a roommate, Charlie. I planned to go right to bed but was called out for “group”. I couldn’t participate because I was new so I started back to my room when I heard a nurse yell my name. Over at the med room the nurse informed me from the window I’d be getting 150 mg of buproprion (Wellbutrin) before bed. First of all I take 300 and only in the morning because it’s a stimulant so no thanks and I’m going to sleep please leave me alone. I shut the lights and cuddled up on my plastic mattress just before my roommate came in and turned on all the lights.

“I hope you don’t mind, I sleep with the bathroom light on and if I don’t flush the toilet it’s because I forgot I mean no offense.”

After she turned out some of the lights, I cried as silently as I could all night. Not a wink of sleep.

14 thoughts on “Behavioral health hospital: Day 1”

  1. Oh hugs. Why in the world the U.S. would potentially bankrupt someone who clearly wants/needs to be there because everything else issues going wrong in their brain – but doesn’t have insurance – is the distillation of what’s wrong with us as a country. I really hope you got that grant…hugs…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hugs like whoa. I’m sorry you went through this awful, dehumanizing experience. Thank you for sharing it, though — it’s so important to let others know and get the word out. I’ve heard that not every facility is like this, but tbh I don’t trust that. I look forward to the next part.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing such deep thoughts of your personal life. Our country is certainly turning a sad eye and deaf ear to the status of those of us in need of care. Health reform in the name of mental HEALTH should be more paid as this could be easily preventable. Mental health is more deadly than cancer.
    Prayers and love I send to you. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am truly sorry for this experience. I had thought with the change to the repugnent term ‘behavioral health’ they might have improved treatment and such since their own term implies that we are not sick at all…just poorly behaved. I got a big bee in my bonnet over this one. Mental ward wasn’t a stellar term but at least it didn’t make me feel like unbalanced chemicals were my behavior issue.

    I really hope things improve. My heart goes out to you.

    Liked by 2 people

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