Friday, June 12, 2015

Twenty Things I learned from visiting a Psychiatric Hospital.

 Copyright all rights reserved. (2015) This blog was written by my wife, Robyn Bloem.  In my three hospitalizations, she was  very compassionate toward me and was able to strike a good balance when it came to explanations for our children.  She also was a much needed advocate for me when  it came to dealing with hospital staff, including psychiatrists.   

  1. Some doors are locked for a reason, don’t try to push through them.
  2. Don’t make fun of people because they are different. You wouldn’t make fun of a bald cancer patient.
  3. Going through security has its reasons
  4. Carrying around a cup of coffee with an air of superiority doesn’t mean you are a good therapist
  5. Just because a family member does something nice for the patient, doesn’t mean they are enmeshed or overly dependent-it means someone is loved.
  6. Visiting hours and visitors are not always a bad thing-sometimes the family is actually a help and not a hindrance.
  7. Children need their parents-even if the parent is depressed! And parents need their children, even if the child is depressed. Don’t believe the lie that everyone would be better off without you.
  8. Kids need some kind of an explanation when a parent is sick-don’t deny the problem-kids see through that and could be imagining something worse.
  9. “Cheer up” is a dumb thing to tell someone
  10. Mental illnesses are the most painful maladies-because the method we use to cope with life is our brain and when our brain is broken, we cannot speak the truth to ourselves.
  11. Some nurses are caring-some are not.
  12. Psychiatric hospitals are not the Marriot. People don’t go there to “get away from it all.”
  13. Electro-convulsive therapy is not a joke. It is a proven, effective tool for treating severe depression.
  14. The Ping Pong table is hardly ever used.
  15. The problems of mankind are varied and serious.
  16. People with mental illnesses can be the most sympathetic of all-because they know suffering.
  17. Most mentally ill people are only a danger to themselves. (MOST).
  18. We have a list of pejorative terms for the mentally ill-crazy, loon, lunatic, nuts, nuttier than a fruitcake, not playing with a full deck, etc., etc. What are some of the terms people use to describe a cancer patient in negative terms? Or a stroke victim? We don’t have any; just for the mentally ill. Sad, isn’t it?
  19. Confusion and/or disorientation are not funny. Someone inside that body is struggling; help them if possible and if you can’t help them, at least be compassionate.
  20. If YOUR brain chemicals suddenly went out of whack, you could be homeless, confused, depressed; you could start hearing voices or seeing things that are not really there; you could be hospitalized against your will, you could become paranoid or suicidal. Thank God if you are NOT experiencing any of those things and be kind to the people who are!