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. :-)