After reading Cassandra Stout’s ‘9 Things I learned in the mental hospital’ which can be found here, I just knew I had to do my own version. Over the past 2 years, I have been admitted to hospital some 10 times, usually for short bursts to manage my suicidal ideation and boy do you learn a thing or two spending time on psych wards.
- Psych nurses are really busy and aren’t paid enough. Never see your contact nurse? That was often my experience too. It was worse in the public system than it was in the private system but either way these nurses are seriously over-worked.
- There is constant noise. Whether it be a patient screaming, or a nurse doing rounds in the middle of the night, the noise is inescapable.
- There is a whole inner life going on that the nurses don’t know about in psych wards. On one ward I was in there was drugs, and patients drinking hand sanitiser at 1 o’clock in the morning.
- If you aren’t psychotic, angry, or causing a scene, it is likely you will fly under the radar. Remember how I mentioned I didn’t get much attention from my contact nurses? Perhaps this is why. When I was withdrawn and suicidal, there isn’t an awful lot that busy nurses could do for me, so I kind of fell by the wayside.
- Nurses will lie to you. I was told that my Ativan was ‘lost’ but in actual fact I found out from my psychiatrist that it was taken from me because they felt I was addicted to it. Whether I was or not aside, I would have preferred they just be honest with me about what was happening,
- Hospital does help- to a point. I find that a stay for about a week is beneficial and anything longer than that starts to negatively affect my mental health because hospital is a depressing place to be in.
Do you have any lessons you learned from being in a psychiatric hospital?