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The Dreaded Psycho Ward


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Hello all,

I just got out of the hospital. I went in because I cycled, first manic and then depressed, along with anxiety. I feel quite a bit better now!

I wanted to know about your experiences with hospitals, public and private ones. What were they like? Advantages and disadvantages of each? In my 4 hospitalizations, 3 in private and 1 in a public hospital, I feel they've all had their plusses and minuses, but were about equal. Even the dreaded public-state hospital was fine. they are actually giving me free meds!

So tell me about your adventures and misadventures in the nut house- anything funny? Sad? Just plain weird? Most of us have probably been there!

In my most recent stay, this guy kept coming into my room (he didn't even kinow my name) and declared his undying love, and asked me to marry him! I'd say he was a little out there and needed some meds!

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4 or 5 hospitalisations (sorry, can't remember; brain is fried right now).  My very 1st 4 week stay I was actually BANNED from groups after about 10 days for being disruptive.  The reason?  Music therapy.  The most ridiculous session I've ever experienced.  Sit around and listen to classical music and discuss your feeeeeeelings about it.  THEN (and this is where they got upset with me) sing alongs.  When they insisted we sang "From A Distance" (Bette Midler, one of the all-time most corny stupid songs in existence - my not so humble opinion) I expressed my displeasure and upset some of the more sensitive patients.

Also relaxation classes.  I defy anyone with BP freak out anxiety to relax in a room with 15 other people.  My racing thoughts cannot cope with guided meditation (eg "imagine you're in a beach house, walking down steps to the beach, blah blah"... by the time everyone is "on the beach" I'm still obsessing about what the beach house looks like, what colour it is, if it has two stories, if there are other houses next to it.. you get the picture).  Then when people actually start SNORING next to me I just hit the roof. 

Ah well... heh

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Guest Skittle unlogged

oops, that response was me; didn't notice that I'm not logged in.  (did warn you that my brain is fried!)  ;)

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I've been to the psych ward four times. For depression and/or panic attacks related to my BP. All of my visits has been voluntarily, after my parents think I should go there. Some of the doctors you meet are quite new and they suck. One actually told me "you will find another boyfriend soon, don't worry" while I was sitting shaking with anxiety thinking about killing myself after a bad breakup. I wanted to kill her, believe me. I've also met some doctors who are very negative to my "overmedication" (four meds, but I need them all, I've tried living without them). But on the other hand, the people working there, not the doctors, are mostly very nice and understanding. Even the security guards showed me respect. Once I was having a psychosis in the background and I was appearantly beating up my mom (can't remember much of it) and they didn't interfere cause they could see I wasn't hurting her. Both my mom and I are very thankful for that, because that would have just made things worse. PTSD, anyone?

Now I rarely end up there as I got good benzos, but before I had them and had to rely on phenergan and atarax, it was very nice to go there and get REAL meds like Valium.

Oh yeah, I've only been required to stay the night once, which was also nice, good beds and sleeping pills and I felt so much better after a good night's sleep.

All of my experiences are from the same state hospital.

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I was "in house" years ago for a study on "new AD's"--turned out to be Prozac, but I got the old tricyclics, so it wasn't much help.

Only things I remember is that I was forced to get dressed every monring and get out of bed, and that a one friend and one relative that I never expected  to hear from both contacted me in a very positive way. Amazing,and a wonderful gift.

And I remember one guy who had a tape player, who played Prince's "Purple Rain" over and over--Funny, I really like that song now, I ought to hate it.

But basically, I got fat, and not too much less depressed--

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Last time I was at the hospital Mark Hacking was an orderly. Mark subsequently killed his wife because she discovered he had been lying about graduating from college and acceptance to medical school.

Mark seemed fairly professional. Strangely enough Mark was a little more on the ball than the other orderlies.

The moral of the story is people got to be around to watch the people who are watching the patients. Given the right circumstances Mark surely would have had no qualms about abusing a patient. A well run hospital protects the patients from the orderlies.

In defense of the hospital this is basically how the hospital was set-up with constant 20 minutes checks on each patient which as a side-effect kept the orderlies in line. The hosptial was basically a hold and realease facility. Med adjustments are made and a safe environment provided. I have no complaints about this hospital.

The only person I ever met who murdered someone is Mark Hacking who was paid to check up on my sanity.

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I've been in the local loony bin 4 times now for various problems, mostly suicidal intentions and SI to do with being borderline. It is deadly dull, like being put on hold for a few days with out the benefit of elevator music. The surreal part of it is that so many of the people that are there are regulars, its like some kind of social club for the mentally tittilating. The regulars all know each other by name and mental condition...its weird. Its kind of like a holding and sorting place. You get admitted and issued a bed and then its like boot camp, everything is on a tight little schedule that most people are "urged" to follow. You wait around for a godawful long time for a doc to see you, they decide how long you're in for and then you just drift around from group session to recreational art class and exercise. Actually it really IS boring, and if you've tried to commit suicide or they think you were trying to commit suicide, they check up on you every ten minutes, which gets old. Last time I was in I actually sat around a lot coming up with creative ways to off myself with the materials on hand.  Yeah, pretty lame but I was bored to tears for 14 days.

You do get educated as to what the various disorders look like in people.  They usually give me my own room because I freak out around people, but they were really crowded last time and for a couple of days I had the worlds most manic chick as a roomie, GOD! she would not shut up! I was so wanting to choke her by the end of it. Most of the people that work there are or seem terminally bored too, but most of them are pretty nice. I like a few of the docs, but a couple of them are arrogant bastards and I through a huge hissy fit because they kept changing my meds everyday, need it or not.

In a way I hope I never have to go back again, but when you've had enough of the outside world, they are kind of a cool place to be until you get your brains sorted out.

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I was there a few mo. ago for a week.  Wost experience ever.  I was strapped down, talking nonsense, batshit crazy though, so I had to be there.  It was a County Hospital.  Nuff said.

Dr. would come in about for 2-5 min at 7am to talk.  The genius Dr.'s Dx was Psychosis.  No mention of BP.  My only med was resperidal and out the door. Then the Genius social worker also set me up with a drug addiction specialist because I mentioned I used cannabis 4 days prior to the psychosis. Mania returned of course after my release but I knew to get to the ER this time.  Dx was then made by an intern.

I probably should have been admitted again right after, but zyprexa finally did something.  The thought of going back while manic was the worst. 

I wondered, did you have movies to watch and what were they?  Mine were Jerry McGuire and Men in Black.  I thought it was Ironic because MIB was the inspiration for my psychosis.  Kind of freaked me out when I was psychotic.  The Schizos really seemed to enjoy it, a little too much. And Money was the theme of my psychosis too because I thought it was evil, I gave 100 dollarbills to the guy who pumped my gas and another 100 for lunch the day of my meltdown.(doh!)

Recreational and Ocupational therapy were pretty stupid.  Well, the coloring was kinda cool, hehe.

The best part for me was a couple of the nurses were let go and I could do the crazy laugh at them ;)   I remember thinking the workers were the crazy ones.  Glad I didn't have Mark Hacking.

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I had a week-long experience in the psycho ward about four years ago.  The cops took me to the county facility because I was about to jump off of my second story balcony (not sure how much damage that would have done, in retrospect) and none of my "friends" were around to help out.  The county ward was the scariest place I've ever been.  It was full of people picked up by the cops.  And not just for being MI.  Criminals who may have been MI and users who were also MI.  I had never seen such things. I just cried and cried and cried.  Apparently, I was so freaked out that they let me see the Dr. before another patient who had arrived before I did, and she lost it.  She started banging on the office door and calling me a "c@nt with insurance" - so of course the guards have to tie her down and she's wheeled off to a private room.  I'm thinking - "lucky" I'd love to be somewhere private, as the facility was basically one large room. 

The dr. was nice, he said I didn't need to be in "this environment" and promised that they would take me to a private facility soon, told me to eat something, yada yada yada.  I spent the next six hours huddled in a corner staring at all of the people around me, talking to themselves, etc.  These were not people who had just "lost it".  These were people off of the street who liked "not having it".  During my last hour, the woman who got mad at me was wheeled out to be admitted to the psych ward of the county hospital (I guess this is where they put the "normal" MI people) and she screamed "HA! I'm leaving before Insurance Bitch!"  How this woman had any idea that I had insurance was beyond me.  She must have seen me show the attendant my insurance card when I was initially admitted.

Finally, someone (I didn't know who it was and jumped out of my skin) comes up to me, touches my hand and says "They are here for you".  I almost ran to that ambulance!  The rest of the week was like heaven.  They gave me enough meds to sleep, I had regular food to eat, the people around me were clean, and therapy was okay.  The only thing that sucked was I couldn't use a razor... nasty!

But still not as bad as Mark Hacking.  The media portrayed him as a total monster.

Jadegreendiva

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I didn't know Midler did a version of that awful song. The version from Whitney Huston (sp?) is suitable for torture purposes, IMHO. I guess I will have to stay out of the hospital as I think if I had been in that circumstance I would have tried to jump out or through the nearest window. Plus just the title gives me flashbacks to news of Desert Storm (I have other names for it.). I guess on Adderall it might be different, but I think being subjected to other people's media choices continuously might drive me bats. Certainly it got me halfway there in jury waiting rooms.

I've been one of those snorers, tho not in the bin. The relaxation exercises I remember were a bit more original, tho. One was pretending to be a hydrogen atom as it cycled thru the universe. Fell asleep just as I was drifting down somehow to the earth's surface, or so I remember. Perhaps in your case the exercise should have started at some point where the universe was homogeneous, if there was such a point.

snipTHEN (and this is where they got upset with me) sing alongs.  When they insisted we sang "From A Distance" (Bette Midler, one of the all-time most corny stupid songs in existence - my not so humble opinion) I expressed my displeasure and upset some of the more sensitive patients.

Also relaxation classes.  I defy anyone with BP freak out anxiety to relax in a room with 15 other people.  My racing thoughts cannot cope with guided meditation (eg "imagine you're in a beach house, walking down steps to the beach, blah blah"... by the time everyone is "on the beach" I'm still obsessing about what the beach house looks like, what colour it is, if it has two stories, if there are other houses next to it.. you get the picture).  Then when people actually start SNORING next to me I just hit the roof. 

Ah well... heh

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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oh the memories j/k

i have had the pleasure of attending both the private facilities if i said i enjoyed either of them i would be full of shit. the private hospital was not soo bad, i just don't like being kept behind gates, and only going outside when told i can. the doctors were very good. my last stay got me off depakote.

the public hospital was a nightmare. the police escorts were always nice. the nurses couldn't remember what i took half the time, when i did find one they were speaking another language and did not have time for us patients(even though we were their job) a doctor visit consisted of do you see things not there?, are you suicidal? next. lastly the homeless were all over this hospital for i don't know why . one patient thought he was will smith, and he could fly airforce one. he gave my dad a "buisness card" when he came to see me. wow the time i had. never want a passport their again.

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Hey, I'm not BiPolar, but i couldn't resist putting my 2 cents in this one.

I've been hospitalized twice, once when I was fourteen, once when i was 20. Both times at the same hospital, College hospital in Cerritos, California. i'd say its a hospital with good points and bad points, all said decent enough.

When you're 14 and in the looney bin, in the high-security adolescent ward...well, it's a bit weird but we managed to have fun. I actually stayed in touch with a few people I met in my 11 day stay there, one of them for years before he got TOO crazy. ;) There was lesbian sex that happened after lights-out. :) Not bad if i do say so myself. I kept getting in trouble for them finding me in another girl's bed at 3AM checks.

The bad parts about that stay was I got sick with a flu that EVERYone got because it's recycled air in a small space (practically airlock fucking doors), and they gave me this antibiotic that gave me a yeast infection. My first ever, and I was a *virgin* too....awful!!!!!!! And then they gave me Diflucan for that, which didn't work AND gave me a rash, and then the cream....ugh...... this being even worse because we had to schedule our showers, and I had something like 50 stitches i couldn't get wet, so they rolled up my arms in market bags. Idiots!!! Ha ha ha I so could have suffocated myself.

Why the hell isn't there a special mental hospital section in here?????? I've got so many weird, sad and/or funny stories about the hospital. lol

-Missy

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I have been in the adolecent psych unit roughly 30 times, and the adult one erm 8 times since i hit 17 nearly 18.  I have been in one private psych unit which well il xpalin in a sec, and iv spent 24 weeks at a theraputic community which specialises in self injury.

the nhs psych units, iv had mixed experiences, i have been on both a single sex (female) unit where i felt a lot safer than the mixed units, it was a small ward / unit with only 9 beds.,.. the mixed wards have always been traumatic as they are a lot larger and i got the feeling of being neglected by the staff, as iv only been in psych units mainly when iv been very low or following a attempt of suicide........ the psych dept in this city was redeveloped a couple of years back and now is much betteer than it was..... before it was very old school, dorms as sleeping area, although i tended to sleep in the corridor as i felt safer ish there....... the old unit also had a occy health suite on site but it was often kept unlocked at night and everyone knew you could go down there to get stoned......... the new one has seperate bedrooms adn the atmosphere isnt as intense..... both dpts are on the same site, with pubs near by....... one ocasion myself and a fellow fruit cake went out to the pub got drunk as skunks then presentaed at the A+E/ER with we know we belong on a ward but not sure where,....... and when asked our names said 'razor blade' and 'pain killer' the staff wernt impressed and we nearly endded up commited/sectiooned.. we were both there voluntarily......

the private unit was strange, it had much stronger emphasis on groups for recovery,. but to be honest most of them were soooooo boring.. plus i was doped up on some nice benzo's so was out of it most of the time,. the advantage was therewas a chef on site and you could phone the kitchen from yr rooma nd get room service!! teehee

the theraputic community was fun, it was very intense but great to be in a environemtn which for once i was 'normal'  ..... it was a mix of group and individual therapy....... mixed with fun and games....

i could write pages on my experiences of psych units........

Lea

xxxx

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A few days ago, I was very seriously considering going to the "hospital". I was lying in bed freaked out of my mind and planning to get up and go and tell dh bye- I'm going crazy now. But, fortunately, my seroquel kicked in and I passed out before I could go anywhere! It was a good thing(I think) because I woke up the next morning-yesterday- and felt much better. And I finally agreed to let my mom and step-dad take my kids for the weekend.

Anyway, MY sister , who has worked int the field for 20 years has told me very emphatically to not go to the hospital because it will be horrible, with people screaming and pooping and alot of craziness that would just make things worse. I guess she was speaking of a CSU. I was really losing it big time and my pdoc was on vacation and her partner never called me. I didn't feel like calling again. How do you know if you are going to go to a 'good" place or a horrible place with screaming banshees- because I have alot of sensory issues and I could not handle that. I also heard they keep a loud tv on 24/7.

Any advice if I feel like going to the hospital again. Oh- I've never been. Mel

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As far as knowing if you'll end up in a good place or a bad one, my T and I had a plan worked out ahead of time since she knew I was getting close to the "magic point".  We had an agreement that I would call her immediately, day or night, and would go to a specific hospital where she worked a few nights a week doing emergency admits/commits and where my pshrink saw patients.  Still, she hadn't thought to tell me to prepare a "hospital kit" with toothbrush, clean underpants, etc. just in case (now I know).  Even though we had talked about it beforehand and she called the unit so they would know I was enroute, that had to be the scariest drive of my life!

Tommy

(sometimes I'm not sure if I'm ramblin' or babblin')

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I've been in hospital four times, plus one "outdoor" treatment program. I'll spare you the details of the wilderness treatment program - four months without electricity, without running water, doing pushups, and chopping wood in combination with med cocktails are supposed to be a sure fire cure for bipolar disorder....feh, I say, feh.

Private hospitals and psych units in public hospitals are somewhat nicer than the state joint. The state hospital I was in was a nightmare. I was drugged to the teeth, which didn't stop me from being afraid. The adolescent ward was filthy and nasty, the food was barely edible, and there was absolutely nothing to do.

My latest hospitalization - well, I was hospitalized as an adult, which is much better than being hospitalized as an adolescent. I didn't mind it so much, though the constant room checks disturbed my sleep and once interrupted me in the process of putting my clothes on.

Anyway, my advice? Don't go the state joint. And if you do wind up in the state joint, get a good lawyer.

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The version from Whitney Huston (sp?) is suitable for torture purposes,
Whitney Houston did a version? Oh My God.  Just as well they didn't try that one.... we don't need to go into what my reaction would be.  Suffice it to say that their response would have involved a little more than mere banning me from group...!

Perhaps in your case the exercise should have started at some point where the universe was homogeneous, if there was such a point.

So true! (brilliant suggestion - also had me in tears of laughter) (which is a good thing right now; thank you)

Any advice if I feel like going to the hospital again.

Oh dear... not really, I'm afraid.  BUT the institutions aren't all as hellish as you described... perhaps it is the private/state divide.  You really need a good advocate to speak up your behalf - such as a decent pdoc/tdoc- who will get you out of the high sensory hell if that is the kind of place it turns out to be.  The clinic I tend to keep landing in has a semi-private side (ie where you share a room with just one other person or get one on your own), which was infinitely better than the side with dormitory-style rooms.  The day I arrived on my first admission I threw a major hissy fit when they stuck me in the dorm - I have similar sensory issues, and was actually treated with kindness and respect.

The private side had a better smoking lounge too.  (oh yes, that really is a helpful thing to say to someone considering going into hospital for the first time... sorry!  For some reason I really appreciated that single fact though)

Wishing you well.

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The smoking area is very,very important. LOL! imagine being fucked up enough to have to go into the hospital in the first place, and then being confronted by having to quit smoking....*shudders*

On my second hospitalization at 20, I was forced to watch the movie "Meet The Parents" at least three times. I wanted to go back to bed, because I was so nauseous from the Paxil they had me on, I had puked out everything I'd eaten in the last four days.  And so the images if the consternation of Ben Stiller and nausea and extreme Ativan sedation swirl in my head together, and I will avoid that movie forevermore.

Ohhh! I vote FAVorite part of the hospital experience is....*drumroll*.... the 3 AM blood draw!!!!! Anyone? Anyone? Oh come on! Nothing like being awoken from the sleep of the damned by a cheerful nurse with a needle and syringe, ready to suck whatever will to live you might have had left!

P.S. Anyone, if you ever need to get your hospital records from an institution, don't fucking read them. It's the most depressing thing you'll ever go through.

"Subject presents as a thin, nervous female, purple hair......."

Just. Don't.

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I have had to have hubby committed 3 times. Each time he had gone from manic to psychotic and each time was at a different facility. First time was 16 years ago...Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo. Scarey place! I gave them all the information I could about my husbands history, his previous hospializations when he was a teen, what meds worked, what didn't, etc.

They ignored everything I told them, gave him the meds that did not work, and ignored his old diagnosis. Then they told me he would be there indefinately. Doctor visits were about 2 minutes, and they did not want to tell me anything. Finally convinced the doctor to try lithium..which I think he just did to shut me up.. and hubby was out in about 2 weeks. (Assholes)

2nd time (about 7 years ago) he was psychotic again and went to St. Francis (3 East Ward). He hadn't slept in over a week, lost his shit.... I explained his previous stuff, blah blah blah, and they ignored me AGAIN. They told me when he checked in to just call the doctor to talk about his care. Doctor would not call me back. (Asshole) Finally, I pestered the orderlies enough about his not sleeping that they decided to watch him while he slept just to shut me and hubby up. He was getting about 15 minutes a night but thought he had slept for hours. Finally got him on depakote this time with seroquel. He was out in 7 days.

Last time was over a year ago...Light House through Pikes Peak Mental Health. It was his usual thing...manic+no sleep=psycho. They still had his records on file, they actually listened to me, gave him zyprexa and he was out in 3 days. Funny thing is, Pikes Peak Mental Health is the same organization that placed him in the first 2 places. Now they have their own facility, and it is MUCH nicer and WAY more professional. Plus, I think diagnosis has SO improved over the last 16 years and so has the medication.

I would rather not have to do the commitment thing again. I HATE having to put him away...even though it was the best thing at the time.

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