my first words written after being institutionalized:
Don’t become a psyche patient. Initially I found it worse than jail in some ways because they are more concerned about suicide oddly enough. There were actually some great folks in there and some hot nurses. Of course, there were some edgier individuals as well–a guy who screamed at something he imagined as if he were going to rip it limb from limb and such, but the staff kept everything under control. I felt compelled to keep to myself, read, and call my public defender I had just been assigned. A veteran seemingly med-zombie nicest dude teaching me MMA and looking out for the young guys. An extroverted skinny blonde who was quite the flirt. A woman who looks way worse than she should and won’t speak. We all just want to go home with our meds.
No cords, sealed and locked windows, weighted chairs. Most staff ignores you and you cannot make a call until a given time. I encourage anyone out there not feeling themselves to get help–don’t get me wrong, but I warn this trip will stress you out and is a bit traumatic. I was locked up for ten days against my will after going to a hospital to get a prescription to calm me down. Get meds and a therapist. They said I could be there three weeks. I nearly shit. I’m encouraged to ponder political action to rectify the situation poor souls like me have found themselves in, but helpless ultimately. I want to sue the state. I want to fix the mental health system and pay the increased taxes for it, I want to tell people to vote “right” and call their state assembly representative. (Colorado if you’re so inclined). There is a list you must sign up on in order to use the telephone. You need to ask for a towel and they aren’t left around. It takes forever to acquire any of the belongings you initially entered in, so you are forced into paper-cotton scrub-blue garb. I had no music e.g. phone and headphones, to tune out the drama, of which there was plenty. I am asked to stay an arm’s-length away from the nursing station at all times. I’m just tired, can’t sleep and want something to lean on. Where is breakfast, I wonder. I’m told there is a snack? They don’t tell psyche patients anything and yet expect strict adherence to a set of rules you aren’t barely aware of. I say don’t take your meds if you don’t want to, but it will probably prolong your stay. Every toiletry item looks like it was made in the People’s Republic of North Korea. I went from Longmont to Highlands Ranch after two evaluations. Meals, groups, cigarettes are highlights and lockdown time is a lowlight.