So. I'm free. As I said, I checked myself into a psych ward just before Thanksgiving. I...I wasn't doing well.
I have to tell you, the psych hospital I was in a few years ago? Was the fucking PLAZA, by comparison. The previous hospital was like a goddamn vacation. This recent place was hard-core, maximum-security lockdown. No shoelaces, no pens, no plastic knives. No floss! No pencils without supervision! We were allowed so little that I couldn't help but frequently spend my time playing the game: What Could I Use in This Room to Hurt Myself or Others?
I was the only person there of my own volition. Everyone else had been put there by the courts, either brought in by their families or the police. The first act of physical violence happened soon after I got there. I was the only one not schizophrenic. You think there'd be some variety of crazy but nope. Schizophrenic, every last one of them. Do you know how to cause pandemonium? Tell a room full of schizophrenics that their hallucinations and delusions aren't real. One of the therapists led a group explaining/defining schizophrenia and it erupted into complete chaos! Also, oddly, most of the patients were crack addicts/users.
Towards the end of my stay, my roommate – who I thought was simply depressed – had a complete schizophrenic breakdown and proceeded to keep me up all night talking to herself, screaming, throwing things, threatening to kill people, seeing the devil, hearing god speak to her... At that point, I wanted the fuck out. It was bad enough when she was just a racist homophobe who wanted to bring me to Jesus but at least she was quiet when she was in the room!
The time there was just...man. It was so loud and so bright that I could barely stand it. It made me panicky as fuck. Once the meds canceled out my desire to self harm/commit suicide, being there just made me anxious, frustrated, and pissed off. And, oh god, bored. Even with three group sessions a day plus some activities, most of my time was spent watching crappy TV. I did read some, though...that was nice.
Therapists mentioned prayer and Christianity. The group “therapy” sessions were pretty pointless the majority of the time. I only had individual therapy twice the entire time I was there. I was told to simply “love myself.” And I just wanted to scream, “OH MY FUCKING GOD! I NEED BETTER DRUGS AND ACTUAL THERAPY, NOT PRAYER AND PLATITUDES!!!” I wanted to leave so badly after the first few days but stayed because I knew I wasn't ready to go – I would just end up back at home, in bed, sobbing and wanting to die. I wasn't willing to risk that so I stayed, as miserable as I was.
I was released today. They said, initially, I'd probably have to stay at least two weeks. Which would have meant being there on my birthday and I just did not want that to happen. So I'm really grateful that they saw my progress and let me go early. I mean, even if I do nothing on my birthday, it's better than doing nothing in a goddamn psych ward!
All the bad shit aside, I actually am glad I went. It was hard and exhausting and stressful but I was in a bad place that probably would have ended horribly. And my new meds are working well. And I cried a lot. And I was safe. And I realized I desperately need to deal with a lot of shit in my past. So I'm going to make a list and bring it to my therapist.
Speaking of lists, I need to make another one. I really need to figure out what I'm going to do now that I'm home. Aside from trying to make sure I never have to go back.