Hello lovelies. Katy (who has been dominant) and Mark (Co Engagement) have gone on quite the bender of the last few days. I had seen the warning signs and warned a select few people, for the first time of the split, with success (This is big!) 😀 We knew it was coming and were prepared. Kind of. Someone is still very dominant as we are wanting to retract/retreat from others, which feels right and good to us and we are waiting for the cool down phase.
If you are mentally ill, then you know the game. After staying away from a hospital (For mental health reasons) for almost 8 years, we had to go last night – get checked physically checked out but put on a pysch hold because of why we went to the hospital in the first place.
If you have been to a hospital for mental health reasons, be proud. It’s embarrassing (Especially if you live in a small town), degrading, and courageous (and yes nurses/doctors/attendants will talk about you your behind your back).
I/we had to go and get checked out at the hospital after a really bad split. When I had explained what had happened and why I was there the two attendants in reception were shocked. Visibly shocked at the details of what happened. This is gonna happen to everyone sadly, who is affected by mental health issues.
Of course, you’re already physically exhausted, emotionally exhausted and hungry and now you have to deal with the shocked looks and concerned, hushed voices. If you have yet to experience it, you will and just keep a few things in mind that we have learned over the decades:
People with mental health issues, generally, have really awful, hard lives. People not affected by these issues cannot even contemplate why you or someone you love is going through, it’s hard to process. It’s a mix of wanting to say something comforting with shock. If you feel embarrassed that you ended up in the position you did, keep in mind that those that give you weird, odd or even shitty looks (or acts) simply may not know what to say out of concern (or a 12 hour shift at work).
We have written down some things that have helped us through the decades and decades of mental health hospital visits and stays. Perhaps they can help you too.
Pack very light – Phone, perhaps a set of clothes, a book. We find bringing a small, harmless momento of home, helps. You can forget smoking in a hospital so smoke them while you have them (Hospitals can give you nicorette/nicotine patches). Smoking is going to be a BIG issue (withdrawl) and your already upset. This will complicate things.
Expect a VERY long wait. Hospitals have very strict codes and rules when it comes to a mental health emergency and your going to be doing a whole lot of nothing for at least a few hours. This is going to be the worst part of the experience – The waiting, followed by a few more hours of waiting. Did I mention the waiting? We waited once for a day and a half in a triage unit before finally heading “upstairs” to an actual bed. Yikes. Sleepers will understand the upstairs comment.
Stay calm! You’re already worked up and things can go from bad to worse if you have already been deemed a flight/harm risk. Snapping on someone who’s already labeled you a risk, will only reinforce the idea you are out of your skull and are dangerous. Calm. People have been brainwashed to believe mentally ill people are all armed with firearms and looking for a school to shoot up. You may be in a shit mood/bad place but you have to do you’re part in this weird situation.
Statistically speaking, people that suffer mental health issues are far more likely to be the recipient of violent crimes, not the perpetrators of violent crimes.
When doctors/nurses/attendants start acting weird around you, what we like to use is humor. If you can muster a laugh out of someone, their laugh will help you through the moment you’re going through too. Rocking someone out of their discomfort with humor at the very right second will help them feel a bit more relaxed as well – See? Mentally ill people aren’t bad humans, either. “We’ll show you the funny!!” (Any guesses on that movie quote?).
Refocus your thoughts where they need to be, with you and only you. You’re not there seeking attention, you’re there to receive it. There is nothing wrong with making that point clear to whomever you interact with in your care.
Expect to to be stripped when you get to the hospital, after triage. Your clothes will be taken and anything else you have brought with you will be taken as well. You will be given a set of clothes to get into. Fashion show, this ain’t, and your going to be rockin’ some pretty stupid lookin’ threads for a bit. Ask for blankets as you are eventually gonna get sleepy and you’re going to get cold, fast.
We KNOWWWWW this part is one of the worst parts . Hang with it – to feel awful and now have everything that makes you unique taken from you it, it’s tough. You will get all of those things back once you “Go upstairs” or are released.
If you can sleep, SLEEP. Here’s the real gem. If you can get a few hours shut eye in the hospital while you are waiting, when you do wake up you might just be alright.When we as mentally ill people get spun up hard enough, the tunnel is long and narrow with 20 foot thick walls. A few hours of sleep can be just what the doctor (See, humor!) ordered and might be all you needed. Sometimes, most times, that’s part of the Doctor’s plan in the first place – get some rest and find a borderline.
You might wake up perfectly alright when just a few hours ago, you were ready to do x y or z. It can be that sudden of a genuine change of mind and heart (And it’s still ok to feel bad you didn’t go through with x y or z).
You may not be able to escape a 72 hour hold but showing a Doctor (and staff) that you can control yourself and rest, he/she just might release you if you have calmed sufficiently and you will be treated much more kindly (by this time, if you’re a smoker, you’re gonna be freakin’ out). Ask the Doctor, for your good behavior, considering, may he kindly prescribe you a nicorette patch and take pity on you. The word “pity” helps.
Our rule on personal information is this: The most is the best but apply discretion. If you really feel like harming yourself or you think your capable of doing that, explain how you feel but apply discretion to the situation. Be honest and frank but don’t embellish for attention. It will make things worse.
Expect to be stared at. Nowadays, if you are brought in for a suicide/harm/mental health crisis a nurse will be sitting WITH you, the entire time you are in the E.R. That’s right, someone will be keeping an eye on you, sitting right outside your hospital door. Need to pee? guess who’s coming with you? I find that engaging with a sitting nurse/attendant (If your awake) can serve you well.
Why? I was talking to a nurse during a 10 day stay at a hospital in the Midwest, years and years ago. Cute lookin’ lady, too, so that’s fun. Anyways, after a while we built a pretty good rapport together and she was able to bend the rules a bit. If you build a good rapport with the nurse charged with watching you, it can come in handy, in a pinch or when you may need a rule bent (And there are many).
Be ASSERTIVE. M.D, PH.D, LISW, doesn’t mean better, smarter or more moral than you or anyone. If someone, anyone is doing something that you don’t like, you disagree with or is making you uncomfortable, feel free to put them in check, immediately and without delay (Kindly, of course). Everyone pees in the shower and no one has the right to violate who you are, your rights as a patient or a person.
Be kind to yourself and those treating you. Whatever you are going through has brought you to the hospital. As horrible as it is, as degrading and as awful as it is, we want you to understand that it’s alright to feel awful, ashamed, embarrassed but understand it’s context. Those around you are trained, and are aware that you feel exactly the way that you do right now even if they may not understand how you feel.
We know you feeling awful, terrible, sad, perhaps suicidal – don’t let the reactions of others supersede you’re feelings, your rights and your emotional state.
We have left the comments section open on this article. Did we miss something? Wanna add your own experience that helped you? Share it! 😀
M and K