The voices have been quiet for a while. Got into JC. Is it normal to want to die? Had an accident during training today. He benched me for the rest of training. Barely promoted, but what was I expecting? Had a panic attack when it was my turn and it was so bad I nearly dropped my cue cards, and I could see the room and audience become like a kaleidoscope in front of me. I told Mum I puke sometimes, and she took me to see a doctor. He referred us to a specialist at SGH. What are we supposed to believe, right?
Nearly passed out in school. Terrified but … kind of want it to happen, in a sick way.
Like, I want to black out and hit my head so hard I just bleed to death. Got hospitalised today. Past two months have been a whirlwind of going in and out of the ward, and trying to study. How fucked up is that, right? I need to memorise this! I need to write this! The other girls … They understand. Made friends with some of them. Am taking a break from school. That makes me feel useless. Looks like I wasted my JC years after all. What they teach you there? How to gain weight, how to be normal ah?
Yes, thank you for reminding me why I hate going to family gatherings. Time for another stint in the ward, haha. Seeing all my ex? Sick to my stomach with regret. I could have been there. Secondary school-mate sent me a DM on Instagram today, asked why I lost so much weight. Sue me, right. Fucking hypocrite. M blocked me today. Blocked, as in, cut off all contact. Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook …. That we drifted apart. We were in school together, and on the same CCA team. We walked to school together whenever possible. She sent me messages of support when I was warded.
Back to JC. Repeating school … Time for a fresh start, I guess. Things were going okay the past few months, and it all just collapsed again. Tried to kill myself. Classmates brought me homework I missed out on. My classmates too? But at the same time, everything seems so new to me. I still drift so much, and it still takes so damn long for me to write even a single paragraph.
Actually, I can. I keep going through the options. Poly, private uni, full-time job, part-time job. Private unis are expensive. Maybe a job? But what about my health record? My regular visits to the doctors? What if I declare that I have mental illnesses and they reject me?
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J2 year. What do I say. My form teacher pulled me aside once to talk to me, ask me to re-consider continuing with JC. But how long have I wasted already? How much money, resources?
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The voices keep screaming how fucking stupid I am. Was trying to explain to Dr E today, I have dreams, you know? Who made it? What are the fucking rules? Essay after essay after essay, failure after failure after failure. And because I wanna go uni. Because I need to support my family, and getting a degree is the easiest way to do that?
And she just looked at me, and just? How long have we been growing up thinking that the end goal of school is just to earn a living, and not to learn? So like, improvement of leaps and bounds continuously, almost overnight. Do you even think you can get in uni like this?
Do people really think that? Gail has a soothing demeanor in times of crisis. Though nearly all the statements a psychiatric patient can make are not believed, proclamations of insanity are the exception to the rule. In a study hypothesizing that sane people could easily be hospitalized under certain conditions, researcher David Rosenhan and his associates claimed to have auditory hallucinations, and were consequently held in different psychiatric facilities for an average of nineteen days — this, despite being neurotypical and exhibiting no symptoms while hospitalized.
All but one of the pseudopatients were released with diagnoses of schizophrenia, and were released only on the condition that they agree to take antipsychotic prescriptions. Unlike me, Rosenhan ultimately proved to the doctors he had duped that he was, really and truly, a Stanford researcher. In the Louisiana hospital I stood in a slow cafeteria line. She turned her head, not making eye contact, and began to take off my coat in slow motion.
Do you have an extra pillow, Mara? I sat up, turned, and saw the single pillow on my bed. Mara had taken one of my pillows while I was asleep. When the nurse brought me back the pillow Mara had pilfered during the night, I mentioned the incident with my coat as well. There was one important thing that I would have been devastated to have anyone take: my green notebook with a textured cover like alligator skin.
I never learned the diagnosis of the young man who called me Lois, and he claimed that he had no idea why he was in the hospital. It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out. Both David Rosenhan and Nellie Bly knew during their institutionalizations that they would never be caught in their rat-traps beyond what they could endure. Having been hospitalized through trickery, they would only have to reveal those trickeries to escape. I doubt they ever felt the absolute terror that coincides with not knowing when, or if, you will get out of such a place.
Though discharge might not be on the table for several days, the question of when it will happen hovers over everything as soon as a patient walks in. In the winter of , because I had technically taken an overdose of anticonvulsants — although such a minor overdose that there was no need for charcoal, or for pumping my stomach — I was put in two-point restraints while waiting in the ER for an ambulance.
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The restraints were leather, and kept one wrist and one ankle shackled to the bed while I lay and listened to the calls of people in pain, and the response of the harried people trying to help them. At one point during the hours of waiting, I grew bored and tried to wriggle my hand out of its cuff. It worked because I have fine-boned hands with delicate, strong wrists — piano hands. For schizophrenia, second-generation antipsychotics are considered the first line of attack or defense, depending on your perspective , and include Abilify, Saphris, Rexulti, Vraylar, Clorazil, Fanapt, Latuda, Zyprexa, Invega, Seroquel, Risperdal, and Geodon.
Less preferable are the first-generation antipsychotics — chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, and perphenazine — which are infamous for their neurological side effects. Most notably, first-generation antipsychotics can cause involuntary jerking motions of the face and limbs, known as tardive dyskinesia TD ; once activated, TD may remain as a side effect even after you quit taking the medication that caused it. A person who is hospitalized with schizophrenia will inevitably be put on some type of second-generation antipsychotic. Zyprexa, for example, is known to put the brakes on manic activity.
Hospitalization is generally reserved for times of psychiatric crisis, and so Zyprexa, or a drug like it, may shut down the most violent behaviors. But medication is only one part of the ideal treatment plan. The contemporary psychiatric hospital is intended to stabilize its patients, and then to set them up for recovery in the outside world. State mental hospitals — the type referred to as asylums, and of which Nellie Bly wrote in her landmark book — were long seen as terrible, frightening places that were nevertheless essential for a society with mentally ill and developmentally disabled people in it.
Despite this, the publication of Albert Q. Robert H. Felix, who became the first director of the National Institute of Mental Health in the s, followed suit; Felix believed that state mental hospitals could and should be replaced by federally funded community health centers, which were not only believed to be more humane, but which also paved the way for the recovery model of mental health treatment.
The decision to do away with state mental hospitals remains a controversial one, and is blamed by some for everything from homelessness to murder. Fuller Torrey rails against the nationwide closing of state mental hospitals that occurred under President John F. Unfortunately, the mental health centers legislation passed by Congress was fatally flawed. It encouraged the closing of state mental hospitals without any realistic plan regarding what would happen to the discharged patients, especially those who refused to take the medication they needed to remain well.
It included no plan for the future funding of the [community] mental health centers. It focused resources on prevention when nobody understood enough about mental illnesses to know how to prevent them. And by bypassing the states, it guaranteed that future services would not be coordinated. Torrey, a psychiatrist who helped found the Treatment Advocacy Center, is a vigorous proponent of involuntary treatment, including hospitalization. He has publicly criticized the recovery movement for giving false hope to the severely ill; in turn, recovery and survivor-based movements criticize Torrey for his emphasis on drugging them and locking them up.
There are solid reasons behind the existence of involuntary hospitalization laws — primarily, that there are circumstances in which a person with severe mental illness becomes unable to make good choices for themselves. Involuntary commitment may sometimes be warranted, but it has never felt useful to me.
We both laughed, uneasily.
What it’s really like behind the doors of a psychiatric hospital | Metro News
According to section g 1 of Section , a person taken under custody due to the law must be provided the following information, either orally or in writing:. You are not under criminal arrest, but I am taking you for an examination by mental health professionals at [name of facility]. You may bring a few personal items with you, which I will have to approve. Please inform me if you need assistance turning off any appliance or water. You may make a phone call and leave a note to tell your friends or family where you have been taken.
How much time is a person given in order to concoct such a message? I once interviewed a young woman, whom I will call Kate, about her experience. She was facing eviction, and, she admits, was not handling it well.
The social worker offered to have Kate speak to the counselor on duty; Kate agreed, relieved to be offered help. Most people seemed to be homeless people that needed a few days off the street to catch up on sleep and get some proper meals. Some people were the rambling or screaming type. Some seemed to be regulars. There was no care. I just sat there with the nurses and begged them to let me go. For those of us living with severe mental illness, the world is full of cages where we can be locked in.
I maintain, years later, that not one of my three involuntary hospitalizations helped me. I believe that being held in a psychiatric ward against my will remains among the most scarring of my traumas. I am no longer friends with the man who told me his pin code was , but when we were kin I spent countless hours trying to convince him not to kill himself.
Once, during a particularly bad spell, I told him that I was going to call the police. He was tired of hospitals, and he was tired of living, but I never had to ask him why he was so resistant to the idea of hospitalization. I think we both knew that I, too, feared being on a ward again. The Collected Schizophrenias is available Feb.
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