My Time in a Psychiatric Hospital

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!

31 thoughts on “My Time in a Psychiatric Hospital

  1. Sorry to hear about your stay in the….mental health spa. I know two people I had to visit in these places. I also got the feel of positiveness in the air. Not at all how Hollywood depicts them. Also, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, one of my all time favorite movies. Thanks for this informative post. It is not easy to share our personal experiences. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you ever seen the 1948 film “Snake Pit” ? Thank you for sharing this with us. I, too, had a similar experience many years ago. It was a place of hope. There was a sense of safety, bonding with people, a daily regiment, activities…in fact, I didn’t want to leave. But, leave I did sending me on the road to a long recovery. Thank you again xo

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  3. Thanks for shedding light on this Spear! I think we just see the horror stories on movies which creates more fear for people who need help and people who are friends, co-workers and family members! I am so glad you have come so far and are an amazing person! hugs and love, Lynn

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  4. Hello my new friend. We here are a great community and we all have each others’ backs. We have all had a lot of darkness and bad days that feel like forever. I tried and failed 5 times I think. I have a lot to give and if anything I give ever helps anyone I am happy to be there. Nice to meet you.

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  5. I’m glad that going there has becoming less stigmatizing as humans learn more about the disease. I have spent time (5 days) in one myself. I think it was very healing. My mother spent two different stints in the local mental wards (there are two different places that serve the mentally ill) – and the pictures she painted were horrifying. So as a result I was terrified when I first was admitted, but the experience wasn’t so bad. I came out with a better attitude and outlook than when I went in. And like you, a fresh resolve (I call it filling my positive thought tank) to help myself heal too. I’m sorry you had to experience it, and like you I dislike it when someone who has never gone through that kind of thing generalizes about it and/or compares it to those movies. I am quick to correct their perceptions and remind them that those are MOVIES (Hollywood’s version of ‘insanity’) and like their versions of romance, beauty, what’s considered ‘fun’ and all – it’s largely unrealistic and bears little or no resemblance to reality. Great post!! I’m glad you shared! 😀

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  6. I’m so glad your stay at the psychiatric hospital went well and helped you!! It is true, they get a bad rap but can be really helpful. My stay didn’t go as well as yours; it was mandated after my first real suicide attempt. It was in the basement of a hospital, and we weren’t allowed to go outside or anything, but the food was good, and looking back I do wish I had been more of a participant. It’s also where I first learned about depression, but I was too anxiety filled and whatnot to really get all the help they were trying to give. Ah well, I’m still here so that’s the important thing! 🙂

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  7. I used to volunteer in a psychiatric hospital in Houston. It was lovely to see people’s health improving week after week, forming new friendships with other patients (and sometimes romances…). Patients were particularly friendly to me because I was a volunteer and ran the much needed mobile library. On the other hand I saw people in intensive care who were so sick and angry about their situation. I am so pleased that it was a ‘good’ experience for you and that your mom visited regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

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