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Hospitalization for depression


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Came close to suicide this morning. tdoc suggested that I consider in-patient treatment for 4-5 days. I chose to stay home with my wife as a babysitter and it seems to be working well. Was terrified of what was in store for hospitalization. what has everyone else experienced?

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I was inpatient for 4 days at the beginning of March. It was actually a good thing. It helped alot. The staff, nurses, and drs were all very good. We had our groups and therapies for half the day. Then the rest of the day was just lounging around. I wouldn't be afraid to do it again if needed.

I hope you start feeling better soon! Depression sucks!

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Sorry to hear you are feeling so badly.

As for being hospitalized-- I guess it really depends on the hospital. The first hospital I went to was a private free standing, dedicated mental health facility. Which should have made it much nicer than it was. There were parts that were creepily like any movie you might see about people in a mental hospital. It had a slight smell of cabbages to it, which I found grotesque, and they had us weave baskets! (ever hear the term "basket case" -- har har, it's a real knee slapper!) They did have a points system in place so that we could work up to being allowed to go outside to smoke without supervision, and that was nice. The only restraint room was right next to my room, so one night when a kid from the children's ward was freaking out, they put him there. Which made me sob all night, because I couldn't help him, and I was far away from my kids for the first time ever.

The next hospital was much better, even though it is a full locked, non-smoking ward. It's in my local hospital, so it is a familiar place. It's basically a long hallway with room on either side. Each room has two beds, and yes, the bedroom doors do shut (not locking!), but staff usually like them open. A large common room with games, TV, couches, and a kitchen with snacks, drinks, and TV and other craft stuff. Nurses station, and a med window where people get their meds. The staff is overall likeable and kind, clearly there because they want to work with us interesting types and do what they can to be helpful. Yes, there is a snarky one now and then, but you can generally avoid those... ;)

Your hospital may vary a bit from that, but from what I've heard, this is basically what it's like. The first time in, you will feel like an alien, (if you don't already), but the staff is there to help you, including helping you feel at ease. If that means sitting and talking, they'll do that. If that means holding your hands and getting you to focus on their voices while you are completely gone and screaming in a panic attack, they'll be there for that, too. (yah, that just happened)

Maybe it will set your mind at ease to know that I sent the staff a thank you card when I got home, because I knew they had been an incredible help to me.

Hell, I may need to go in there again soon if my brain doesn't get in gear.

Good luck! :)

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I would really consider in-patient. Being home is hard when you're planning suicide because no matter how close your wife watches you, there will always be opportunity for you to do something. You know where everything is, not everything can be locked up, etc.

I spent 9 days in-patient last summer and although I was terrified of it, I went on my own will and came out better for it. I ended up on meds that really did make a difference for him and have kept me relatively stable for the past year. My hospital was floor on the main, regular hospital. It was two long hallways with a nursing station in between. Each room had only one bed, which was great.

All in all, I rate my experience pretty decent. I'm sure there are hospitals that are horrible, but this wasn't. I've heard the local state hospital isn't so great, but I was lucky enough to go to a private hospital and maybe that's what made the difference.

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My experience was neither bad nor good. I spent eight and a half hours sobbing in the ER snapping at doctors and nurses to "leave me the fuck alone" and then they finally got me into a room (damn you and your blizzards, Mother Nature!). I was pretty restless the first night, but they weren't unkind or anything. They never were, to be completely honest, but they always did kind of like to subtly assert their dominant position I thought. Then again I'm paranoid.

I had things shoved in my face left and right for the first two and a half days (dvd's, booklets, a 569 question test...) and it was fairly overwhelming, but I'm assured it's not always like this. I was in a ward for mixed nuts, the majority of them were recovering addicts of some sort and I was the youngest, so my stay was a bit on the awkward side. I have auditory hallucinations sometimes and I was totally convinced another patient was out to get me so I stayed fairly isolated.

Days were pretty normal, wake up at 8, blood pressure check, fill out your menu, food chart etc., talk to the "team" which consisted of two pdocs and a day nurse (nurses alternated day and night and you got a new one every day for each half), breakfast if you wanted it, morning group, then you were basically on your own until around mid afternoon when the second group met followed by lunch. More down time to do whatever, visiting hours on weekdays were from 5-8, weekends were noon to eight. Dinner was out at about six and group was again after visiting hours. Lights out was at ten--or rather, you had to be in your room.

We didn't share rooms either. Private room, private bathroom--they were very kind about giving people their personal space to feel safe in. The closets were always locked and you couldn't have anything with a cord longer than six inches (sweatshirts, pants, headphones), and of course nothing with possibly sharp edges was allowed. Checks were every 15 minutes, no exceptions and the doors, of course, didn't lock.

At the time when I was inpatient, it was very overwhelming and I was unhinged. Things were fast-paced and people didn't help perhaps nearly as much as they should have, but it really did help to be in a safe environment. I was never suicidal, but it felt good to know there were people there listening. Even if they didn't know what I was going through they understood how to help. The support from the people on call and even some of the patients was helpful. I think that was what made the difference. I was only in for six days which was short considering they can keep you for twelve here.

I think the hardest part of IP is actually getting yourself there. After that it's usually kind of an uphill climb.

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I'll give a little more detail. We got our own rooms, with doors that didn't lock. We shared a bathroom with normally 1 other person. The first couple nights I didn't sleep good at all. It was noisy, different, and the staff would peek in every 15 minutes to make sure you were ok. The hospital I went to is a non profit mental health place. They have inpatient, outpatient, a school, and a few other things. It was very nice. It was laid out with the nurses station in the middle, and 3 hallways lead off that area, one for adults, one for adolescents, and one for children. We woke up at 6am for vitals, 7:30 was breakfast, meds at 8:30 and groups and such started at 9am. Lunch at 12 and dinner at 5. We had snack times in between. Our groups were over by, I think 3pm. Then we had the rest of the day. Visiting hours were from 6:30-8:30 pm. Night meds at 9pm, and in our rooms at 10pm. Like I said above, the staff was wonderful, and really, it turned out to be a great thing for me. I didn't really WANT to be there, but I NEEDED to be there.

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I went inpatient as a minor. I went to a pdoc appointment where he basically said I needed to go whether or not I wanted to, but that it would be easier on me if I agreed...I knew I was a huge burden on my parents so I agreed to go. I had insurance through my dad's work, but I have no idea how much of the cost they covered.

Where I went, there were two beds to a room, and a bathroom in each room. The doors closed but did not lock and had a window that did not open. They took the strings out of my sweatshirts, the shoe laces out of my shoes. We couldn't have gum (because you could shove it in the door locks), we could only shave if a nurse watched. Basically you couldn't have anything sharp or that you could hang yourself with. We had group therapy a few times a day and then family group therapy on weekends. They had a point system to earn privileges (like extra tv time, music, makeup). We couldn't smoke (since it was a minor ward) but I got the patch with pdoc approval. We got to go outside once, but a girl climbed a fence and ran away, so that was the last time they let us out. They gave us our meds at a little counter, in a little paper cup with a little cup of water. I found it to be very helpful. It let me get on some different meds and get the hallucinations under control. I would do it again if needed.

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FWIW, I went voluntary IP 7 years ago in the UK for a few days after finding myself with a potentially lethal cocktail of prescription meds (I worked in hospital pharmacy, so had the means AND knowledge...)

Best thing I could have done, on many levels.

Firstly, it was the admission that I had to relinquish control, I needed outside help that I couldn't find for myself. Secondly, it opened the doors to other MH support, both in hospital and as an outpatient, and subsequently appts with pdocs in the community, A life-saver in itself.

Then, it gave me the opportunity to meet so many others in varying situations, from needing long-term hospital treatment, to those just needing time out or someone to truly listen and understand how they feel.

II'm not in the best place right now, so I hope that you can appreciate what I'm saying here, which is that no matter how scary the prospect of hospitalisation is, it's nearly always a positive experience in the long run.

All the best

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Thanks, everyone, for your insights. While I'm doing better, I'm not where i would like to be. I asked my tdoc what I could expect at IP. He told me they'd probably give me some sedatives and mood stabilizers for a while and make some medication adjustments. I'd probably have group sessions and individual sessions with both a tdoc and a pdoc. He was thinking 4-5 days.

Scared of doing IP but wondering if it is the way to go.

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