Tell me about the psych ward.

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Mortal Moon, Nov 27, 2009.

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  1. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    I hear all kinds of horror stories about people who failed their suicide attempt, and wound up in a psychiatric hospital for a ridiculous length of time, forced to undergo various treatments, and not allowed to leave.

    Frankly, this scares the living shit out of me. For starters, psychiatry and I have never been the best of friends- that's a topic for another thread. But the idea that you can be automatically declared incompetent by some all-knowing "authority", incarcerated in what amounts to a medical prison, have your privacy utterly violated, forced to take drugs and God-knows-what-else against your will, potentially mistreated by the people who have taken it upon themselves to decide what's best for you, all because you tried and failed to escape from this nightmarish existence in the first place... this keeps me up at night.

    But I also keep in mind that these stories may be fringe cases, or may have been greatly exaggerated. I want to get to the truth of the matter, and I figure that the denizens of SF tend to be both knowledgeable about this stuff, and more-or-less trustworthy ;)

    So, I ask this. Any of you who have checked into a psych ward or hospital, and especially if you were involuntarily committed, please share your experience. How long were you there? What was the environment like? How much personal freedom were you allowed? What conditions had to be met for you to get discharged? What are your feelings on the experience as a whole?
  2. faded echoes

    faded echoes Active Member

    I was involuntarily committed for 7.5 months. It was horrible! I never want to go back there. I was forced (yes forced, it was court ordered) to have ECT and take medications. I was on 13 different drugs at once!! It was like being in jail. I was never allowed to leave the ward, couldn't even go out into the courtyard. I was completely trapped, it was hell. The 7.5 months went by so slow and it was a small ward, only 15 people. I was sooo happy when I got out, which was a couple of weeks ago.
  3. molsen187

    molsen187 Member

    if you try to hurt yourself and end up in a hospital the drs can keep you there until they feel you are safe to go home again. most places allow you to sign a 3 day note that at the end of 3 buisness days you can leave. the day you sign the note doesn't count and neither does the weekend since weekends aren't buisness days. at the end of the 3 days the dr will re-evaluate you and as long as you are not a harm to yourself or others they will let you go. i work in a psych ward right now. we've never kept anyone there that shouldn't of been there. if you try and hurt yourself you need help to get back to a good place in your head. the drs aren't going to let you leave so you can turn around and hurt yourself again. they would rather see people leave with good mental health so they don't 'have to come back to the crappy hospital.
  4. corang

    corang Well-Known Member

    I was in the "child psych ward" by force for 9 days and spent some time in the psych ER. If your cooperative with the staff and dont start fights and stuff with the other people there it wont be too bad or atleast thats my opinion. I went in on Q 10 they just check on you every 10 minutes then I was on the regular level everyone else was on that comes with Q 15 every 15 minutes. They did a group meeting every morning after breakfast say what you want to accomplish that day and stuff.

    In the 9 days there it was just a matter of not getting too bored. We spent a lot of time in the social room got to watch an hour of tv every day got real clothes that family could bring to you. DONT try to sneak anything in at all if its drugs youll go straight to jail if its anything else they dont allow your gunna be there longer. Follow the rules do what they want you to do talk about stuff when they want you to if you can. I was forced in for being suicidal and was out in 9 days cause I did that and felt good enough to go home.
  5. GA_lost

    GA_lost Well-Known Member

    The majority of the time in the US a stay is about one week. I have checked myself in several times. The first time I was told either I check myself in or else be forced to stay. I was scared like yourself now. Depending upon where you would go, it can be a good experience or awful. Within a twenty mile radius, I have been to three. One was fairly nice, one okay, and the last one was the psych ward of my nightmares. The experience is really a crap shoot. Even if you go to a hospital you know is good, they can send you to one that is awful. I wish you luck, and I hope you do not try suicide in the first place.
  6. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses. None of them fill me with a great deal of hope, though. :sad:

    Another question: do they force you to eat, or are you allowed to refuse food and drink? And, on a more philosophical note, how do you feel about the fact that the medical establishment has the legal power to basically revoke your personal liberties because "someone" decided (in their infinite wisdom) that you're crazy and dangerous?

    I don't mean to sound so bitter, but in case you couldn't tell, this whole issue really touches a nerve with me. :dry:
  7. Neverhappyalwayssad

    Neverhappyalwayssad Well-Known Member

    I wasn't involuntary commitied but I've been in a psych ward twice. Its annoying having all the freedoms you thought you had taken away from you. following a schedule, going to groups having no control over what you do.
    First time I was there for about a week and a half. The only reason I got out was because of a loop hole, my Driver license was for New mexico and I was in Texas so they didn't want to go through the paper work to committ me, after the Psychatrist told me I was gonna go home the therapist told him what I had told her.

    The second time was horrible. The nurses had no clue, had no experience about dealing with a diabetic. My blood sugar was high all the damn time. I blacked out for 2 days, not sure why but I don't remember two days of my stay there. People where punching other patients, there was a patient who was a schizophrenic just saying wierd things, and other patients would get mad and just talk shit about him.

    One thing I do like is playing basketball lol, relaxing. Also in a psych ward I've meet 1 person who really cared about the patients most other people where there for their job, and seem to be like they felt the patients where just crazy.

    ODIECOM Well-Known Member

    i spent 9 days. i had to sign a paper that could have made me stay up to 15 days. there were several ppl in there at that time. we had to take pills that basically calmed you down. we basically sat around watched tv. we had some simple group sessions and we had some entertainment time everyday. doing craft type things. it wasnt that bad. yes its always good to get out. im sure there are worse places to be. it gave me time to think about what was going on and time to talk with others in my situation. yes they make you do things you dont want to do, but ... in this state, if i had left ... i would have gone to jail .. suicide is against the law.
    i attempted it, but im glad i didnt succede. things are doing much better now.
    we dont like being in the wards, but sometimes we need that time to sit and think about what is going on ... instead of fighting whats happening.

  9. itmahanh

    itmahanh Senior Member & Antiquities Friend

    I've been many times both voluntarily (with police escort) and involuntarily after hospitalization from direly serious attempts. All I can say is you get out of the stay what you are willing to take. In other words if you are seriously wanting help to recover from your depression and suicidal thoughts ..... it is there. If you have truly given up then all you will get is a break from your everyday demons. It really depends on you and what you sincerely want to get out of your stay. Here voluntarily equals 72 hours and you're out. Involuntarily means usually about a week ( I have been up to 6 weeks on one stay) or as long as it takes you to show guenuine recovery or can dupe the proffessionals (again it's what you want to get better or to get out to try again).

    I could write you pages about what goes on in a pward both good and bad. But it wont matter cuz you have to make the choice.
  10. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    And if you refuse to "get better", do they just keep you there forever?
  11. itmahanh

    itmahanh Senior Member & Antiquities Friend

    No. Not unless a family member can apply through the courts and prove that you are mentally incapable of caring for yourself, or the docs can prove that being out of hospital you pose a definite threat to yourself or others. It is pretty difficult to have some one permanently confined to a pward. Even a phsyc institute is pretty hard to stay there for an indefinite amount of time. Anyone that can post here with concerns about the stay at an institution or hospital is still of pretty sane mind in that you are seeking answers and options to a solution rather than suicide.
  12. corang

    corang Well-Known Member

    Honestly ive wondered about that too and dont know. To answer your question before they can physically force you to eat and drink if your in danger of malnutrition. If your there involuntarily theyll probably put you in isolation if you dont take medications if your there voluntarilly i was told i can refuse it.
  13. Sparky55313

    Sparky55313 Well-Known Member

    I spent time in the psych ward twice. First I was "forced" voluntarily. The second time I was comitted by the courts. It wasn't all bad. Had too much unstructured time for my taste. I spent two weeks the second time. Then sent to a state hospital for 3 months. I was then prescribed meds and monitored closely. Bed checks every 30 minutes during the night. This was very difficult to accept. The violent ones were always quickly removed. I gained 50 pounds in three months..and I needed From there I was placed into a group home for 6 months and then allowed to go back home.
    Would I check myself in? Only if I could go back to where I was.
    I did make some great friends there as we had something in common. Group sessions were very good. Meals were very good & the private showers were nice & hot. It was an issue getting my clothes to wear instead of state garments.
    Please consider.
  14. Sparky55313

    Sparky55313 Well-Known Member

    Don'y know where you live but here in Minnesota they can only keep you 6 months at the longest. They did have another hearing in my case for another 6 month commitment. I was then sent to a group home for another 6 months. Been considering doing it all over again!
    Good luck.
  15. spidy

    spidy Well-Known Member

    I felt safe for a while seems everytime i get out i return suicidle um dont listen to the rumors ya hear they are there to help you i did sht first time i went and yes i was involentary but thrgh the week they talk to ya try to do thngs so ya get involved socialising etc
  16. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    Does the lack of privacy bother anyone? I love being by myself for most of the day, keeping a personal journal, etc. I think that, more than anything else, it would be things like bed checks, "lights out" time, and not being allowed to have many personal items that I wouldn't be able to handle.
  17. sinnssykdom

    sinnssykdom Banned Member

    Yea, the lack being able to wear your own clothes even is somewhat annoying.Although understandable for some i geuss. Honestly though they say its for your safety and also so you dont run away. Well honestly if you really put your mind to it whether your in hospital pajamas or your own clothes its not going to make much of a difference. Now the risk of running away thing i can kind of see.

    The ward i was at had cameras in just about every room. When you first got there they check on you a lot but once they i geuss felt that you were safe or whatever they didnt check on you as much. Also if you interact with people that is a HUGE thing that shows to them that you are 'getting better'. The ward i was at let you have some personal stuff, where i was at the doctor basically determined whether or not you were 'stable' enough to have your clothes back and once you had your clothes back you could have just about anything you wanted. Lights out/bed time wasnt really that bad. I mean where i was they said lights out at around 11 but if you honestly could not sleep or if you usually go to bed later then they will let you stay up later as long you stay in your room. With that being said, if you dont sleep they will log it and may make you take sleeping pills if it goes on which is not neccesarily bad. Also for the journal i dont see why they wouldnt let you keep one. However i would try and mingle with atleast a few people for atleast a few hours a day, it looks good for you that your making an effort. With that being said, make sure your completely honest with atleast the doctors or else you will either lie/bullshit your way out and regret it later or end up having a bad experience and possibly stayiing longer. I know its easier said than done but trust thats the most important advice i can give is to be honest and be open. Also it will no doubt be a bit of a shock when you first arrive because you have images of your head of stories from other people, movies(which are completely unrealistic by the way) and then what you see there all being totally different. I think the biggest the thing that annoyed me was the lack of things to do. I think they should have had more things for us to keep us busy or whatever instead of sitting around all day doing nothing. I realize its important to have rest time but also i beleive they should have had more structured time too. I recommend bring some music and a good book, or something to like that, maybe if you like to draw bring a sketch pad? Oh and on the topic of the music watch your stuff! dont leave it out of eyes at all! you meet all sorts of people and you just cant trust them.

    Oh and for food i had absolutely no appetite when i was there and not to mention the food looked incredibly gross. They made me eat atleast one thing off the tray as apparently its part of 'therapy' well yea i pretty much took one bite of everything and then just was stubborn. They did threaten though that if i didnt eat they would force feed me or IV or isolation and also said that it meant there was something serious wrong and i needed to stay longer. I got out early though. :) i was lucky though.

    Feel free to ask any more questions.

    ODIECOM Well-Known Member

    depends on the facility. depends on what you do to make them understand that you dont want to get better.
  19. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    Another question: who pays for all of this? I know that there's different laws for different states/countries, but if I'm involuntarily committed and I don't have health insurance, and neither I nor my family could possibly pay for it out of pocket, what then? Or is it all taxpayer-funded?

    Obviously, answers relevant to California would be of the most interest to me, but otherwise, I'd also like to hear how it works where you live.
  20. GA_lost

    GA_lost Well-Known Member

    I live in Maryland and have insurance. From what I understand in general they will try to collect on the bill, but they do not base admission on the ability to pay. About privacy etc., in the three places I have been, I could wear my own clothes and have things that are not a danger to anyone ie. sharps etc. The only time I have seen someone having to wear hospital clothes are when the person has tried to leave or at the very first. The other generally prohibited items are electronics (laptops, walkman etc) Everything depends on the facility. Some will allow some electronics.
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