Monday, April 4, 2011

Trapped in a Psychiatric Hospital

Psychiatric Hospitals - They are all across the world. It is a harrowing, upsetting experience to be in one. I have spent more than 70 days in three different psychiatric hospitals. Each time was a traumatic lonely experience. Some people go in to these hospitals voluntarily, others have to be committed, usually because they are a danger to self, others or cannot take of their basic needs.

Both sides of the clip board

My hospitalizations have always been voluntary but as a mental health professional I have petitioned the probate court to start the process for putting others in a psychiatric hospital. I have been on "both sides of the clipboard." 

Recently our son, Brant, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Robyn and I visited him twice a day for one hour each visit. I was again reminded of what I don’t like about psychiatric hospitals. To be sure they are a necessary evil, but I am often disappointed with the way psychiatric hospitals deliver treatment to those who have mental illness...

One problem, I believe is that psychiatric hospitals do not have enough visiting hours. I feel so lonely when I am a patient in a psychiatric hospital. I suffer from one of the most painful diseases that exist among mankind, severe depression. Why was my chief support system only allowed to visit a couple times a week for a few hours?  Why was my son given only two hours a day, to receive visitors, one hour at noon and the other at 7:00 pm?

 Another problem that I have experienced; Why are psychiatric hospital workers  often controlling and rude.   W
When Brant  was very depressed and hospitalized my wife and I, along with his pastor, went to visit him. We were sitting at a table interacting and laughing with other patients and Brant. A worker came over from behind the desk and told us to disperse. When I asked why, he retorted, waving his hand up and down,“too much turbulence.” I felt like saying, "Thank you Captain" but I did not want to come across as being hostile. For the most part it boils down to an elitist attitude among the staff in psychiatric hospitals; it is a matter of control and corporate co-dependency. Robyn has been told about patients including me, “They need us more than they need visitors” or “we provide groups that keep them busy all day long. We protect their mental state by limiting sensory stimulation.”

In Brant’s hospital, I witnessed a patient getting in trouble for sitting at a table and “nodding off” during visitor hours. The staff told her that visitors did not need to see her do that. While working in a psychiatric hospital I have had a “charge” nurse tell me to take a patient to the “quiet room,” because she was at the front desk continually bothering this nurse. The patient suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The nurse in this case was guilty of a violation of the patient’s rights. But nobody filed a rights complaint.
I hope I never have to go into a psychiatric hospital again, but if I do, why can’t my loved ones be with me much of the time? If you would like to learn more about our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It please go to: