“What’re you in for?”
She asked that as I sat down at the cafeteria table where the rest of the 20 year old girl patients were sitting.
“Dammit, Kate. Could you be more blunt?” asked the girl sitting across from me. She was Kate’s roommate. Kate rolled her eyes and looked back at me.
I sunk into myself a bit.
“Well you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.” sighed Kate.
“No it’s okay.” I said, because I figured I’d have to tell my story quite a few times while I was there in the psychiatric hospital.
“I have PTSD and MDD. Also they upped the dosage of my anti-depressants last month and ever since then I’ve been having suicidal thoughts.”
Everyone at the table nodded and continued to eat the questionable cafeteria food. Almost like everything I’d just confessed was completely normal…
Well that’s because it is completely normal to them.
I looked back at Kate and asked, “What about you? Why’re you here?”
Kate’s roommate, Cori dropped her fork and yelled “I hate this game. This why’re-you-here game. I really don’t want to play. Can I not? I’m out. I lose.”
Everybody stared at Cori for a minute, but then Kate turned her attention back towards me and said,
“Well I guess I should tell you since you told me.”
Kate continued on to tell her story of why she was there. I won’t repeat her story though, for it is not my story to tell. I learned a lot of horrible stories about many other patients that week. I never learned Cori’s, though.
And nobody learned more about mine.
the reason why I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Because we weren’t there to live in our past and dwell there. We were in that psych ward because we had survived the brink of death and now we were ready to look towards the future. We wanted to let the past go, so we avoided talking about it. But here I am, spilling my secrets in hopes that it’ll enlighten someone or give me courage.
News that I was in the psych ward spread quicker than I thought possible but nobody knew exactly why I was in there or what happened.
I am NOT upset or embarrassed that people know.
In fact, I wanted many of my close friends and family to know. I also wanted my darling sorority to know.
I don’t want to treat this experience like it’s this horrible secret that no one should ever hear about, because that’s not how I feel about it at all.
Soooo let me clarify a few things:
- I’m NOT ashamed that I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital
- I’m NOT ashamed that I have a disease or two
- I’m NOT ashamed for seeking help
- and I’m NOT ashamed for having issues… word on the street is that we all have ’em.
Let’s learn a bit more about my issues then (woo!),
I have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and MDD (Major Depressive Disorder).
I only started medication to treat these diseases in September. My chemical levels have been completely out of wack because they’ve been increasing and decreasing dosages as well as switching medications.
It’s been horrible.
Sadly, some of theses medications have a super sucky side effect, suicidal thoughts. Pretty much the definition of super sucky. And before I continue with my story, I want to clarify something else,
I did NOT attempt to commit suicide. However, I was having suicidal thoughts.
That does not mean I’m condemning those who have attempted. In fact,
I find those people to be incredibly strong.
They have the strength to be alive right now even though their diseases were one shred away from taking away their lives.
No, my reason for clarifying my actions, or in-actions, is because I really… REALLY can’t have people coming up to me and asking me why I tried to “off myself” or how I tried to do it. That would probably be the least helpful thing that I could experience right now.
Well now you know why I was in the psych ward, now I’m betting that you’re wondering what it was like…
Well to be honest, I felt like I was in that movie “It’s Kind of a Funny Story.” Psych wards don’t feel like an actual place…
just a dream, or sometimes a nightmare.
I basically roamed the hospital halls for five days while in a state of delirium due to my medications changing.
I was pushed to attend constant therapy sessions where we talked about my feelings and my recovery plan over and over and over again.
I was also ridded of every single possession of mine that one could use to commit suicide… including my crayons (Yeah I never really understood that one either. I mean c’mon, crayons?)
And even though I felt like a two year old who had to be constantly supervised by a team of doctors and a spent 1/3 of my time rolling my eyes at some of the ridiculous questions I was asked,
it was still one of the most beneficial experiences that I’ve ever had.
I’m not going to lie, I was terrified of the people I was going to have to meet and live with in the psych ward. We have this horrible stigma that’s tied to what we’ve seen and heard about psychiatric hospitals. Most of that stigma comes from the media. Movies and television shows make psych wards and mental health patients look completely insane and terrifying.
This needs to stop.
The people in that psychiatric hospital were the most genuine and most loving people I’ve ever met.
They were kind people who have been treated horribly by this world. And do you know what most of these beautiful people thought about constantly in the hospital? No, they didn’t think too much about getting better or learning how to love themselves.
Most of these patients were worried about keeping their jobs once they had been released.
They were concerned with how many friends and family were going to leave their side because they were “uncomfortable” with the mental health disease that these patients suffer from. How horrible is that?
They should be focusing on realizing their self-worth and learning to cope with their diseases rather than trying to figure out how to keep their job because their boss has a stigma for mental disorders. Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of staying in a psychiatric hospital?
This makes me so sad…
People are ashamed of who they are and embarrassed because they have a disorder. That’s more sickening than the actual disease.
Even now after I’ve left the hospital and confirmed to everyone that I was there, I still see the shame people have due to their mental illnesses. So many of my dear friends and people I’ve only spoken with once have been confessing to me that they’ve been admitted into a psychiatric hospital at one point and that they’ve struggled with mental illnesses,
but they’ve never told anyone.
And this is why I’m telling everyone.
I’m not writing this for attention. I’m not writing this to tell you I’m actually crazy and that every mental health patient is crazy. No, I’m writing this for those people who are ashamed or embarrassed of their mental disorder.
Yes, I’m writing this directly to you.
You are outstanding.
You are one of the strongest people who has ever walked on this earth and you are way too special to worry about the judgements of uneducated people who are uncomfortable with mental illnesses.
You didn’t choose this life.
You didn’t choose this disease.
And you don’t deserve to be ashamed of how much you’ve overcome.
You should be celebrating the fact that you’re still alive today and you’re still kicking depression’s ass, because that thing is an absolute monster.
And every person who you’ve ever loved should be there celebrating with you too.
I idolize your strength.
My little confession blog turned into me ranting, but that’s chill. Hopefully you learned something. So here are the main points of this post:
- I’m not ashamed of my time in a psychiatric hospital
- I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder
- I didn’t attempt to commit suicide
- Mental Illnesses patients are actual angels who roam the earth fighting a constant battle
- We need to change how we view mental illnesses and those who suffer from them
- We need to do that ^ right frickin’ now
- You should celebrate your accomplishments and strength
Also, I’m so incredibly thankful for such an amazing support system. My room was covered with gifts and cards and letters and food that lovely people brought me. And thank you to all of my visitors. If I had any doubt that people cared about me, that doubt was crushed about an hour into my stay at the hospital. I cannot begin to describe how much you all mean to me.
I love you and thank you for reading this incredibly long confession/rant,