Tales from the Psych Ward

hospital psych ward hallway with one open door
Photo by Erkan Utu on Pexels.com

So, where to begin? Things began trending sharply downhill around Christmas. Hospital was something I considered but really didn’t want to do, given the negative experiences I’ve had before. Things picked up a bit in February, but then crashed back down. I had a meltdown that exploded in the direction of an unfortunate friend, at which point I realized that it was really time for ECT, even though that would mean a psych ward inpatient stay.

I picked a hospital where I know the fewest people, and off I went to ER. What began as me going in voluntarily quickly went south when they moved me from the main part of ER to what is essentially the ER’s psych jail section. I ended up committed and in 4-point restraints, and they pinned one arm up above my head at an awkward angle. I kept crying out that it was hurting my arm, but they ignored me. I’d guess it took about half an hour before they moved that restraint to a more reasonable position. They didn’t remove the restraints until I was three sheets to the wind from the meds they jabbed in my arm (I would have gladly taken them orally to knock myself out, but they didn’t offer, because that’s the kind of shitty professionals they were).

I remained in the psych jail for most of the next day. There was nothing to do, so I spent all morning trying to slice open my wrist using pieces of eggshell from breakfast. It wasn’t enough cutting power to reach the artery, but I suspect I’ll have an ugly scar. Staff didn’t notice what I was doing or the pile of bloody kleenex and eggshell bits I was accumulating, because as long as I was lying there not making a fuss, no one gave a shit. I tried to strangle myself with the ties on my gown, but I couldn’t get it tied tight enough to cut off circulation.

On the evening of day 2, they transferred me to the stabilization unit, which was slightly less jail-like, although I was still on camera the whole time. On day 3, they transferred me to one of the inpatient units. I have no access to my phone; I’ll need to get “privileges” from the psychiatrist to get some limited access to it. There’s a computer for patient use, but I can’t check my email because Google is demanding two-factor authentication, which is annoying.

I had hoped to get ECT started quickly, but no one seems to have any interest in making that happen, and I’m still waiting on a consultation with an ECT psychiatrist. They increased my meds, which I wanted, but no one felt the need to show me that little bit of respect and tell me what they were doing.

So yeah, not feeling very good about things thus far, and it’s been pretty damn dehumanizing. When this is what help is, no wonder people don’t want it.

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my last update post. I haven’t read them yet, but I will eventually, and I do appreciate all of you.

You can also read Tales from the Psych Ward part II | part III | part IV | part V | part VI

The post Cell Phones on Psych Wards—Yea or Nay? is the hub for all psychiatric hospitalization-related content on Mental Health @ Home.

122 thoughts on “Tales from the Psych Ward”

  1. Ashley, I’m so sorry that this has happened. Like many others, I have no words. We all love you, and every single one of us is here for you, always. Sending lots of hugs your way xx

  2. Boy a girl doesn’t catch up on WordPress in awhile and misses a lot. So sorry things happened that way they did but reading in reverse order it sounds like things are looking up. Big hugs and thank you for always being an advocate even when you’re struggling too

  3. please know that world is truly a better place with you in it — you have helped so many. hoping time will heal things between you & your friend. you have many friends here <3

  4. I’m so sorry. It really is dehumanizing. That time in the ER jail sounds so awful. It really is like jail, isn’t it. Like you said, it’s no wonder people don’t want this “help”… People can be surprisingly awful sometimes. I wish the medical/mental health system wasn’t traumatizing to deal with! Hugs to you <3

  5. I’m a bit late to the party here, just catching up. Sorry you ended up committed, been there, it sucks.
    Glad you’re free now.
    I’ll be honest, I laughed out loud about the eggshell thing, I did the same sort of thing but with that little bit of plastic tip that comes off those UHT milk pod thingys. Nobody more resourceful than a psych patient Hell bent on self harm!
    I’m off to catch up <3

    Xx Kate

  6. It seems anytime a person who requires mental health stabilization goes to the ER they end up getting involuntarily hospitalized and forced to sit for hours to wait for a bed or transfer. Too bad there isn’t a better system.

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