My Time In The Joint

I'm sure I wrote about this before... but today, I was just thinking about it, as I had mentioned it in therapy. Heehee. ;-)

For many years, I've been in and out of mental hospitals because of my suicidal attempts. I was very depressed and destructive towards myself. I regret all of that now. But, in my city, there are only three good mental hospitals here. There are eight mental hospitals here and I've been to seven of them. The rest are the same as prison, as I would know... I've been sentenced to them all, except for one. :-/

First of all, it starts off with me trying an suicidal attempt and winding up in the ER. From there, the doctors would call the paramedics to transfer me to a facility, for in-patient care. That's the nicer way. There have been times, when my mother found me with a bottle of pills, or when I was cutting myself, and called the police. The officers were often pissed that they were called in, instead of a "real" call, and they would even say so. They were pissed and would handcuff me, throw me into the back of a squad car, and march me into the nearest mental health facility.

Once there, I had to ***** down in front of nurses, so they can check me for contraband. Then they make charts of every scar or mark, so I can't sue the hospital by claiming an injury of something already existing. Then they take my clothes and shoes and issue me a hospital gown, that all the other inmate, er, I mean patients have to wear. Then I am taken into a room, past the other patients who are staring and some screaming, behind a glass in another room. The doctors interview me, issue me a room with a roommate, and they send me off to sleep for the night.

The next morning, I am awaken at 5am for an vital check-up... of checking my blood-pressure, heart, and etc. And they always take a vial of my blood too, to make sure I'm not on any drugs or have any major health issues. They ask me to pee in a cup and submit that too. Then, it's time for meds... The rest of the day is spent getting to know the roommate and learning the turf of who to befriend and who to watch out for. Cigs are a major plus, as you can barter that with other patients, to gain trust and protection from the more out of control patients.

I smoke Newports, and I got to tell you, it's not just a well liked cig for African Americans. All of these hospitals a very mixed. As me and only three others or so would be my race. The rest are Caucasian, a few Latinos, and maybe even a few Russians. Even though we were all diverse, EVERYONE had a love for Newports and that was gold in all of these hospitals, and I bought my protection this way often.

And yes, men and women are put in the same floor together. The only thing was, there was no male-female roommates allowed. Males were roommates with males, females with females. But, the thing of it is, the doors have no locks on them! Not even for the bathrooms! So, most times, it was me and another female roommate, worried about our safety of the men walking into our room in the middle of the night. So, we would have to keep our guard up, all the time! Of course, the staff was suppose to keep an look out for this, but they didn't really care and watched tv. And a few times, a disoriented male did wander into our rooms, and we struggled alone to get them to leave.

The food was always crap! Not even anything I would want to feed to an animal... and I think the "meatloaf" was some kind of domesticated pet, like a cat or dog. :-/

The only thing that was worth doing there was smoke-breaks, three a day. And they had a gated yard, where the patients could run around in.

Also... I've seen more male bare ***** than I cared to see! As many of the male patients were prone, in every hospital, to go into an episode and run around naked. And the staff would run after them, screaming, "Put some clothes on!" Okay... that's a little funny! LOL! But, not the time I saw a 400 pound black guy running down the halls naked, yelling, "I am a minister! A child of god!!!" O_O

The staff pretty much act like wardens... they're not kind and they frown at us all with disgust. I had often felt like I was a criminal that had done some horrible crime, trapped behind bars. And no, you can't leave if you want to... Even if you voluntarily come in. You can sign an "72 hour" form for leaving, if you are there on volunteer. But they still get to keep you for 72 hours... and if you exhibit any signs that you are not well, they can revoke your request. If you are involuntarily admitted, you have to go to court and a judge decides if it's in your best interest in leaving or not. And if not, you can be held in prison, er, the hospital, for up to six months. :-/

I was never sentenced for that long... only because I was voluntarily there and so I stayed the usual term of one or two weeks. Still, it was rough. Not a place or situation I would EVER want to experience again.

But of the two good hospitals I've been too... they were nice. Well, one was better than the others... the staff was still rude and mean to patients. But one was a very good one, where the staff is made up of people who had once had mental illness themselves, but are better now. So, they understand and treat people like people. Also, violent offenders or very bad mental illness aren't mixed in with those who are not. When I attended that hospital, I was only surrounded by people who suffered depression and anxiety. So, no naked butts here. And this hospital had locks on the doors too. And everyone got there own separate room.

I smoked my own cigs and didn't have to share to gain protection, in this one hospital. I even forgot that I was in a hospital for mental illness, as I felt like I was in a college dorm, and we were all like family there... the patients and the staff. Weirdly, I even hated to leave that place... but it's expensive and my insurance would only cover two weeks of it. :-/

It's a shame that the rich or well to do get better care in mental health.... but the "average Joe", we get places that are like prisons. I hope someday that will change. :-)

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12 Responses Oct 28, 2009

wow. im so glad my i didnt commit suicied and have to go to a place like that. i would hate it

i agree.and you have every right to rant if you want to.the done you wroung.

i am glad of this site.because of stories like this,i can get out all those feelings.thank you for your story.and i am sorry you had to go through that.

Hugs buddy!

my mom and dad were in and out of mental hospitals when i was 8-16,the one here is like a prision.she was in there once because she admitted herself.and when she wanted to leave,they doped her up so much she could not talk or walk.we got her out of there.then,we took her to the er.they said her heart and lungs could not take being doped up so much.we nearly lost her because of that.i hate mental hospitals and clinics.then one time my mom got a new case worker,this woman had never sen my mom.and yet no sooner did she drive up,she decided to put my mom in the mental hospital.i lost out on seeing them a lot.and that is another reason i hate all mental health proffesionals.

Wow. I didn't know that you'd been in places like that. It sounds so scary and not very helpful at all. It seems like there has to be a better way.

Great.It is just 2 days and I am also addicted to EP. Wonderful persons all. I am also sharing my problems and getting friends like yu. <br />
Love to yu<br />

Great.It is just 2 days and I am also addicted to EP. Wonderful persons all. I am also sharing my problems and getting friends like yu. <br />
Love to yu<br />

writing itself is therapy. Why don't you jot down your thoughts is a diary.<br />

Have you written a biography yet? If not your should really consider it : )<br />
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I use to work in group homes and facilities with people who were diagnosed with closed head injuries, mental illnesses and addictions. They were more open but that comes with its own problem...But I to have to say what I always valued was that the staff and management were obligated to show the clients respect.<br />
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It is so easy to forget that people with problems are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. The problem I ran into is that it is hard for staff to receive the respect they deserve as well and they eventually get burned out fro getting ganged up in by cleints and management alike. It not excuse for ill treatment but I just can see it from a another perspective.<br />
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After ten years of getting spit, cussed out, punished, couped with mandatory overtime, surprise transfers and put in dangerous positions with pay cuts I become burned out too. Still I have to say that it was my favorite job, am grateful for ALL of my clients, and learned how to love by accepting people as they are. The minute I ignored management and refused to try to mold the clients into "normal people" I build powerful relationships that gripped my heart and impacted my life in ways I can't yet articulate.<br />
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The people that once needed my help become my mentors and people that I looked up to. Though I did not share their diagnoses I could relate to many of their struggles and learned how to cope life's hardships. I still have a lot of personal healing to process, but I would not change much in those ten years of life experience.<br />
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To be honest I sometimes wish that I could find a good mental hospital and take a "vacation" of my own. But without insurance and access to a private room I guess I'll have figure this life on my own.

Oh sorry.. I must have read uncarefully :/ Well I'm glad that the last two were nice places :)

The first two places you described sound so rude! How are places like that supposed to help? agh.. <br />
I can do an internship in a mental hospital during the next 3 years.. I consider doing that.. But I really don't know if I'm good at working with patients that have mental problems. But an internship would be a great way of finding that out. So who knows?! :D Maybe I will end up in a mental hospital one day.. As a nurse that is :P