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After two super late nights in a row, I am really excited to go to bed by 10 tonight. I am a sleepy princess.
idk i figure that most people don’t know shit about real-life psych wards but i happen to via Real Life, so here’s some stuff:
- they basically are like any other part of the hospital except locked and with more board games.
- yeah, they’re all locked up good and tight. there’s none of that it’s kind of a funny story running around on the roof shit. once you enter that ward you best be committed. do you see what i did there.
- and really there are more board games than your grandma’s attic, except with a quarter of their original pieces. also, some puzzles with an eighth of their original pieces.
- also, coloring books. with maybe three crayons that have all the vibrancy of a piece of paper that accidentally went through the wash.
- these things are all in the day room where there’s usually also a tv that is on a perpetual loop of daytime talk shows and golf and infomercials.
- the day room is supposed to be ~the place to be~ on the ward except as you can see from the items listed above it’s not exactly what stefon would call “new york’s hottest club” so the main events of the day are usually mealtimes and group therapy. real thrilling stuff.
- also sometimes they have a daily schedule of events posted up on the wall that includes gems such as “art” and “exercise” and “meditation” but i guess they’re all run by ferris fucking bueller cause i don’t know where the hell they were.
- so next time you see a depiction of a psych ward in the media and everyone looks like a zombie it’s cause they had to stare at golf and half a corner of a garden puzzle all day okay you’d be a little zonked out too.
- there are very few nurses and even less psychiatrists so you are on perpetual “medical personnel” lookout to get five minutes of their time. and it’s usually to throw a pill at you.
- but to be fair these hospital psych wards are meant for short-term stays to get you stabilized, which in our current mental health care system equates to getting your medications stabilized.
- they do run out of beds. sometimes people have to wait in the ER for days while they wait for a bed to open up in the ward.
- the patients themselves are really varied with all different backgrounds and ages and reasons for being there. there really is no typical psych patient.
- a nurse did tell me that about 40% of their patients at any given time are there for depression. but i’d say the scope of mental illnesses was pretty well-covered. we got that shit down.
- you can make friends if you want to or not if you don’t want to. some patients stay in their rooms, some wander the halls, some sit in front of the tv, some play a seemingly infinite game of cards, some are always chatting with the nurses, some are always on the day room telephones, etc. people are trying to keep themselves busy and/or sane.
- some people are there voluntarily and some involuntarily. that depends on a lot of different factors. there are definitely quite a few patients with legal issues. it is one very big fucked up system.
- once you’re in it’s hard to get out, often simply because the staff is so over-worked that nothing progresses at a reasonable pace, so expect to be there awhile if you go.
- i believe the average duration of stay is like 7-15 days max. if you need longer-term care you will be transferred to a full psychiatric center.
- they go through your stuff when you get there and they will confiscate things (stuff i’ve had taken away: razors, q-tips, cotton balls, shoelaces, strings in sweatshirts and sweatpants, lotions/face-washes, electronics, any and all meds/supplements)
- things that are useful to bring: comfy clothes, books/magazines, snacks, shampoo/conditioner, slippers, flip-flops for the shower
- you come to the ward through the ER or another area of the hospital (if you were already admitted for something else). some people are referred by an outside professional, some come on their own, some are brought in by police. it varies.
- seriously though, never be afraid to go to the ER for a psychiatric problem. psych problems are medical problems.
- and yeah, the people are nuts. we rock back and forth and we talk to unheard voices and we go into rages and we cry constantly and we go off on convoluted monologues and we lay on our beds and stare at the wall for hours and we’re all quite sick and we’re all getting help and we’re all suffering greatly and we’re all fighting courageously.
- so next time someone says shit about us you tell them to go do a fucking puzzle whilst watching “the chew” for 7 goddamn days all with a broken brain and see how they like it.
As I got ready to head out this afternoon for Fuck You Dad, the annual cabaret to end patriarchy, I was feeling decidedly down on myself. Nothing fit right, my body just felt all wrong and too big and just flat out fat and not in any sembleance of an empowered body positive kind of fat. I settled on an outfit I managed to feel okay about, though, and headed out.
Fuck You Dad was precisely the antidote I needed. I am grateful for:
Now I am home and washing my “new” clothes and waiting for Gabriel and arming myself to go back to work in the morning like a responsible adult, but I feel less terrible about myself and had fun and yelled and clapped and laughed and am full of small gratitudes
shoutout out to all my buddies who have shitty dads or no dads at all this father’s day, you turned out just great regardless, you can’t choose your family and you don’t deserve any negativity from them,and you don’t deserve backlash or guilt-tripping for cutting them out of your life if that’s what you need/ed to do and i love you all
Margrit Shildrick may well be the reason I got interested in disability studies. She spoke at Smith on Mountain Day of my sophomore year.
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