Admission To A Psychiatric Hospital

While most of my friends were going on college visits, I was walking through oversized rusty doors of what I anticipated to be my prison. Click through to read more about my admission to the psychiatric hospital »

"While my friends were going on college site visits, I was walking through the oversized rusty doors of what I anticipated to be my prison."

When most people think of a psychiatric hospital, the first image that comes to mind is a terrifying asylum full of delusional people in straight jackets. To be honest, if you asked me to picture a psychiatric hospital in 2010, that would have been the first image that came into my mind, too.

 

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It wasn’t until I was admitted as a patient into one of these “crazy people facilities,” that I realized how terribly wrong that visual is.

 

Yes, there are some individuals that need to be restrained so they don’t hurt themselves or others, but to think that all people admitted are terrifying creatures of the night… well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

 

Psychiatric hospitals are equivalent to any other hospital in that you go there when you’re sick. The only difference is that psychiatric hospitals specialize in mental illness. As opposed to broken limbs, they repair broken minds. 

 

The day I was told that I was going to be hospitalized, millions of thoughts surged through my mind. I was in my senior year of high school and midterms were approaching.

 

What would I tell my teachers? That I would be missing class because I’m going into a psych ward?

Hi. I’m Marissa, you know me as the girl that sits in the back of the class that never speaks but gets A’s. Yeah, so I won’t be in tomorrow… or like next week, actually, I don’t know when I’ll be back. So I’ll see you when I see you. Bye!” 

 

What would I tell my friends who don’t even realize that I’m sick?

Hey guys! So I’m not going to be here for a couple of weeks. I’m going to… uhhh, the hospital for an extensive check-up."

It’s the stigma created around mental illness that leaves us in fear of the unknown.

 

Most importantly, my family, who knew the truth of where I was. What would they think?

Wow, who would of thought that quiet little girl would end up so utterly fucked? She was always so shy. Perhaps if she talked more and made more friends she would have turned out more normal."

 

The endless cycle of thoughts destroyed my mentality in the week leading up to admission.

 

The windows were reinforced with metal rods, the hallways were poorly lit, and there were a constant flow of people entering and leaving the area I was in. Despite the ever-changing visitors, there were two people who will remain engrained into my mind.

 

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A man in his late 30’s, who seemed to know everyone that roamed the halls, and a woman who was actually in a straight jacket, walking around barefoot and in a turban-like headdress made of bed sheets.

 

The man seemed normal, but clearly, as we were all about to be admitted into an insane asylum, that was not the case. Spoken with a huge smile plastered on his face, every greeting was followed up with, “I’m feeling very suicidal again today!”

 

The frightening smile is what alarmed me about this situation, not the fact that everyone else seemed to think that this was a common statement that didn’t need addressing.

 

The woman, on the other hand, her appearance is what first startled me. I mean really, it’s not everyday you see a barefoot lady walking around with a straight jacket on with bed sheets on her head. Once I got over her appearance, I began to notice that she seemed fixated on me. Every time I looked up, she was starring at me.

 

When I left the room I felt so much relief and hoped that when I came back, the woman in the straight jacket would be gone. Of course she was still there when I re-entered, only now she was lying catatonic on the floor outside of the doorway so I had to literally step over her to get back to my parents. Not exactly the most comforting entrance I’ve experienced.

 

But you know what guys, that was the worst of it. The admissions process was the only portion of my hospitalization that was stereotypically “crazy.”

We are living in an ignorant world overpopulated with stigma.

 

It’s the stigma created around mental illness that leaves us in fear of the unknown. Why is there so much fear around being labeled as someone with a mental illness? Why are false representations of horrid asylums with tortured souls the first thing that comes to mind when you think of psychiatric hospitals?

 

We are living in an ignorant world overpopulated with stigma. The only way to end this misinformed way of thinking is to share our stories and spread awareness on what mental illness really means. 

Enter your information in the fields provided to enroll in my free 4-day mental health advocacy email course, Turning Wisdom Into Words!

Marissa Pane

New York