I stayed one week in a mental hospital after my suicide attempt, and here is my story.
I think that mental hospitals get a bad rap due to how patients were treated when people were ignorant about mental health (well, maybe they still are). Movies, books, and other media didn’t help the public’s view of mental health hospitals either. Patients were portrayed as crazy inmates, and the doctors would use electricity and other barbaric methods to help “cure” their patients.
The first day I stayed, I didn’t really grasp the experience. I mean, I was just frightened because I had attempted to take my own life. By the time I had settled down, I started to notice some things that I won’t forget.
Every morning a nurse woke me up around 5-6 am to check on my vitals. Then I could go back to sleep. Then we were woken up around 8 am. This is when breakfast was served. The food there was okay. I don’t think there were enough calories, but I don’t think that’s what they focused on. I specifically remember that the ketchup was spelled “catsup” on the menu. I still joke about this little bit of information.
For the first two days I just went back to my bed and laid there. I tried reading a few books or watching TV, but I didn’t really have the energy to do anything. My brain and body were still in a cool down mode where I didn’t want to do anything.
I was in a room with another patient who was a man in his 70’s. I’m not sure what he was in there for, but I heard him mention something about anxiety. He was a pretty nice guy.
In the afternoon we were served lunch. It was okay. As I got more comfortable there, I started to wonder around the facility and interact with some of the nurses. They were all really nice, yet had a certain edge to them because of the types of patients that they dealt with.
I saw a lot of people who had more serious issues than I did. There was one woman who would scream thinking that the medication the nurses gave her was going to kill her. She wore a wide rimmed hat and walked around the facility a little bit.
There was also a man who would sit in the common area where the TV was and just rock back and forth. I felt really bad for him.
There was also a man who came in a day or two later who would not stop talking. I’m serious, there was no filter on this guy. He literally said whatever his brain was thinking.
One man would walk into other people’s rooms like nothing. He didn’t even realize that he was in another person’s room.
There were some other people in there as well who didn’t show the obvious signs of mental illness. I learned that some people checked in for things ranging from drug use to severe eating disorders.
The longer I stayed there, the more I felt like I was going crazy. It’s hard to describe, but I felt like my time there was up.
So after about four days, I was transferred to the in-patient ward where things were a lot more laid back and we were required to participate in classes.
A few days later, I was discharged from the mental hospital.
All in all, I’m glad that I admitted myself into the mental hospital because it was a good place for me to calm down and stay in a safe place. I hope that this article paints a different picture about mental health hospitals. It was very beneficial for me and my recovery.