Staying In-Patient In A Psychiatric Ward

My bedroom was full of figures. I knew I wasn’t dreaming – I was wide awake and had the light on.

The noises were extra loud. I thought the hourly trains were blowing their horns over and over. The airport was louder than ever as well, with planes taking off constantly.

I also swore I was God. I had just come back to my belief in God and had given myself God status.

Finally, I woke up the family. They had a discussion among themselves and decided I needed to go to the hospital. They were afraid that the episode would get worse, or I would hurt myself.

This was my 4th visit to the hospital, but I have only stayed in-patient once before. The first thing they do is give you a gown and send you into the restroom to remove all your clothes. Then, you must give a urine sample to test for any drugs you might have taken. By the time you are done with that, they have locked up everything you brought with you, including your clothes.

You are assigned your own small room for privacy during the work up. Someone comes in with paper work and starts the questions and answers part of the work up.

I had started to calm down once I was in the safety of the hospital. My son was with me, but he had to leave during the discussion of what happened, what I saw, how I was feeling.

I explained everything and added that I was thinking about suicide. I didn’t want to live like this anymore. That was the clincher as to whether they would keep me or send me home. My son was sent home since they were going to keep me in-patient.

I was moved upstairs and a more invasive examination occurred. In addition to paperwork, I was taken to a room and made to strip so they could examine the condition of my body – did I hurt myself? Was I hiding anything on my body? At least they didn’t check body cavities. At the time, I was covered in bruises due to falling down the stairs two days before.

I was awakened early every morning for my pill, which had to be taken on an empty stomach; then I was allowed to go back to sleep.

The next time the other patients and I woke up, it was vitals testing and then breakfast. In this section, we went down to a nice dayroom with a television, books, games, and other things to keep us occupied. We also had therapy (group and single sessions) and arts and crafts. We spent all day in this room, eating all three meals there.

The nurse changed my medication combination, introducing a new anti-depressant but keeping my anti-psychotic (mood stabilizer). I found out quickly that this new medicine didn’t work for me, but the nurse wouldn’t listen. I argued, but to no avail. I stopped it on my own when I got out of the hospital and then back to my own psychiatric nurse who prescribes my medicine.

Since I had claimed that I wanted to attempt suicide, I had to tell them if I had a plan and what it was. I was there of my own accord, but if I didn’t offer an answer, they would involuntarily commit me. They told my children to take all of my medicines away before I got home, and that someone had to take charge and only give me a few days’ worth of medicine at a time. They had to get rid of all the ones I kept that I didn’t take anymore.

After five days, I was released to partial hospitalization, which consists of group therapy five days per week, five hours per day. I was in partial hospitalization for three weeks. My new diagnosis was bipolar 1 with psychosis.

I kept telling myself it was for my own good and I did at least have visitors during most visiting hours. There were very few visiting hours, but my family and friends made it a priority to come visit me.

To read more from Teresa, see the rest of her posts for IBPF here or visit her personal blog here.

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