How It Feels Going Into a Mental Health Ward for the First Time
I just got out of a mental health ward. It was my first time going into one. I had decided my suicidal tendencies were getting to be too much, and I, along with my parents and husband, feared for my safety. On the way there I was nervous, and since it was my first time I didn’t know what to expect. My dad drove me, and when we got to the hospital it seemed like forever before they admitted me. I wanted to take it back and just go home and go to bed. It was about 9:30 before I got to the fourth floor. My dad was allowed to bring me upstairs and say goodbye before I had to go. I gave him a hug and went with the charge nurse who explained to me a little about the program and calmed my fears by saying I could keep on the lights if I wanted to, and got me some food because I hadn’t eaten all day.
The next morning I met the other people in the ward who I won’t talk about much for privacy reasons, but I will say they were all friendly and made me feel better about being there. I had breakfast and went to two groups before lunch; the groups were interesting and interactive, mostly about goals we had for ourselves and how to get there, and positive self-talk (telling yourself that you are strong and can get through the situation you’re in etc.). It helped to see other people had the same mental illnesses I do. At least I am not alone. After lunch we would have an arts-and-crafts time. You could make a necklace, paint various things, make a sun catcher, and a few other things. I chose to paint a wooden box to give to my parents. Then we had one more group before dinner and free time until we went to bed.
During the groups we would all talk and come up with coping skills together and help each other out. I found it to be fun to talk with others about similar problems we had and to find ways we could best handle them together. There were no straightjackets like on TV, there were no padded walls nor mean nurses. In fact, all of the nurses love their jobs and want to help the people in the ward as much as they can. The only problem was the beds — they were a bit hard.
If you find yourself in a situation that you feel you could be a danger to yourself and others, please stop and think for a moment about the people who love you and the people you love. They do not want you dead. Call a local crisis line or just call 911. They will come to you and have you talk to their crisis center and bring you to a hospital if needed. They just want to help you feel better, adjust your medication if needed, and get some confidence back.