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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hard Time On The Inside

Here goes...

Last night, a good friend of mine suggested that I write what it's like inside treatment hospitals. I'm not sure I'm the best person to be doing this, as I've spent less than a week between the two times I've been locked up, but I'll try.

The first time, I was 15 and admitted to the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI). From what I remember, this was a good place. They had a level system, so, the more progress you made, the more perks you got. The staff was great! Nobody talked down to anyone else.

However, I was only there for one night because I'm ridiculously good at talking my way out of things.

The next time, I was 24 and put on a "blue sheet" at... not UNI (I won't say where this place is simply because I'm afraid of them coming after me for defamation). Side note: A blue sheet means you're not there voluntarily and they hold you for at least 72 hours. This was, without a doubt, the absolute worst place I could have been! The doctors were almost never around, I was forced to participate in things I either had no interest in or simply didn't want to do, and the entire staff made it very clear that everyone was there by their own fault. You're in here because of something you did. Forget the fact that you have an illness, you just did something bad.

We were treated no better than felons! Every door had to be unlocked by staff who would act like they were doing you a favor by letting you use the restroom. If you don't participate in group, you're threatened with longer incarceration. They had phones, but the staff had to dial out and you were only allowed two minutes (I actually fought them on that quite a few times. Yelling was involved, with colorful names used to describe the staff).

Not bad enough? I made nice with one of the other inmates (I refuse to say patients for this place) who was there for a rather interesting reason... She went in to the office just for a basic evaluation, as was instructed by her doctor. This place blue sheeted her because she had one passing suicidal thought seven years before.

Sadly, there's a list of things that have lead to my not wanting to seek proper care besides this prison. When I was in elementary school, the school psychologist figured that, "since you can't get along with these particular classmates, you can spend the day away from them, locked in my office." I got punished for being a victim. I've had several therapists who have done more damage than good, but this was the worst.

Yes, our system is not only broken, it's shattered, but it's not all bad. I'm in a pretty good place with all that now. I know how to judge if a particular therapist will work for me (usually if they won't let me talk my way out of it the first visit, they're good), and I know myself well enough to play with my prescribed medications to see if they will work.

I urge every single one of you to question what you're given. Don't accept that this bad therapist/medication/whatever is all there is. You are the only one who truly knows what's best for you. If it's not working or it makes you uncomfortable, get a second opinion or go somewhere else. Most of all... DO NOT LET ANYONE TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THAT ANY OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT!

"Jailhouse Rock"~ Elvis Presley

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