Have you seen these movies: ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘Shutter Island’, ‘Lunacy’, ‘Grave Encounters’, ‘Insanitarium’.
These and many other movies are about crazy, mentally unstable, evil, scary people that have been in or still are in or escaped from a mental institution, psychiatric hospital, insane asylum, and so on.
Most people’s perceptions of a psychiatric hospital or a better name mental health facility are what they see in movies. Psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards and mental health facilities always get bad raps in movies. Trust me they are not as they are portrayed, I know – have been there and done that!
My stay in a psychiatric hospital was about 6 weeks and it occurred after the first time I was served divorce papers. This was over 25 years ago after my attempted suicides and not knowing my wife wanted a divorce, I guess the opportunity for another attempt to kill myself would still linger in my mind. The beginning of what would be many years of therapy had started and the divorce papers were served to me while I was having a therapy session. My psychiatrist suggested I admit myself into a local psychiatric hospital for a short period while I dealt with the recent suicide attempts and this unexpected serving of divorce papers event.
My mind was weak and I was still broken and my future felt non-existent, so that day I entered the psychiatric hospital.
The place was newer, the staff was nice, the food was excellent; but there I was in a locked portion of a building with no way to leave. Off the main gathering area were individual sleeping quarters where roommates would sleep and at times I would peer out of the window looking at the outside world, crying, feeling trapped. There was also another room; that I was fortunate to not have to stay in that had no furniture, but instead just padded walls and a padded floor. During hours of not sleeping, eating or individual and group therapy sessions, the main gathering area served as a meeting place for all of us that were there seeking help. During that time, I could smoke; and smoke a lot I did. Cards were played, conversations took place, medications were taken, television was watched, and once a week the public visitations took place.
I looked forward to those visitations because each time I knew my mom would be there – not once did she miss coming to visit me.
In those 6 weeks I took part in the regiments, the therapy sessions, the taking of the medications and became a little better, a little calmer, and a little stronger and then it was time to move on.
These were only 6 weeks of many years to follow that I would continue to better myself, to try to be an improved person, a calmer person, a stronger person.
Psychiatric hospitals or for a better name mental health facilities are not places of horror, but places of hope!