The way I got admitted into the mental hospital, I feel as though it was a trick. They didn’t really explain to me what would happen if I said no to being admitted. I later found out that since I refused and the hospital got an order to admit me, they had the right to hold me there for pretty much as long as they wanted.
After day one, one of the youngest lawyers I could have gotten came into my room and told me that we were going to “court” later in the afternoon. He made sure to tell me that for the most part, this was a lost case for me. They would most likely say no to my request to only be there for five days. He was right. They were trying to have me there for at least 20 days and then have someone judge again to see if I needed to stay there longer. In the end, I bargained and got seven. It was less than 20 days but it still felt like a loss.
The same day, I met up with my doctors and some interns they put in my face without asking me first. Mind you, you have the right to ask them to leave but given how I am, I will say they can stay even though I’m uncomfortable; but I digress. They asked me the question that I had been asked a thousand times. Then they tried to get me to open up about why I have depression. It was uncomfortable and utterly painful to say the least to sit there in scrubs and have a room full of people you don’t know ask you why you are the way you are. People that you know you won’t keep seeing. I hated the doctors and their assistants from the very beginning. I knew it wouldn’t be helpful but until I gave them what they wanted, I wasn’t coming out. I all but begged them not to this to me. I have spent most of my life not able to do the things I want and a lot of times prohibited from leaving the house. I told them that being locked away was torturous to me and would make me even more depressed because once again my freedom was taken away and that was part of the reason I was depressed. They didn’t budge and kept saying how helpful it would be. They also wouldn’t listen about my sound disorder something that is a big part of my life but they focused more on my depression and my anti-social qualities.
The lawyer had mentioned before that going to group meetings would look good to them and they were more likely to let me out quicker if they just saw me socializing….because hey, a suicidal person has never killed themselves after going to a party…but again…I digress. These meetings didn’t start out torturous but they quickly began to be because people would take food in there and my sound disorder would never let me stay. Not to mention, you are in an unspoken way expected to talk about your feelings to strangers who live near you but aren’t bound by doctor patient confidentiality.
At first, I was my normal anti-social self. I didn’t want to let the hospital win. I wanted them to see that I really didn’t want to be there and keeping me in there wouldn’t help me. But I quickly learned that they wanted to put check marks beside the boxes and If I didn’t let them, I’d never leave. I kept going back and forth about caring about whether I stayed there or not. I kept wanting to fight and then all that went away. So I started socializing and found it to be relatively easy at first and then really really hard. I did make some “friends” though and they helped me keep a bit more sanity than I would have if I wouldn’t have made friends.
People of all severity levels and all different disorders lived here. On this floor there was a schizophrenic, a person with anxiety disorder, a person with some type of obsessive disorder, a person with depression and paranoia, autistic and the list goes on. Sometimes they would get violent, other times they would scream. The one thing I actually expected from a mental hospital didn’t happen. They never touched them or restrained them. Apparently, the law frowns upon restraining people but not upon locking them up. The unit has an isolation room but it is never used. Another not helpful thing about the hospital is that there was nothing to entertain yourself with. There was a tv, a ping pong table, and a piano(later broken by the schizophrenic). What we did for the most part was walk in a circle like rats. The first day I got there, I thought to myself “OMG, these people really are crazy”. I realized that this was pretty much their only source of entertainment.
I learned how to better my acting skills, how to lie better and how much planning there will be when and if I try to kill myself again because I will never end up in a place like that again. It didn’t matter what I said, they had a person they saw and that was the person they were going to treat regardless what she wanted. I did learn some things and that is that: 1. You really see people for who they really are when you’re in a place like that. 2. Life in the country U.S.A doesn’t care about true freedom. No one that isn’t a harm to other people should be forced to live among people who are dangerous. 3. There are people out there like me who go through the same things I go through.
*It should be said that my experience in that mental hospital is my experience and it may be that other mental hospitals aren’t set up that way. I just find it hard to believe that they aren’t. *