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Why I Miss Being in a Psychiatric Ward

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

It sounds weird, right? Why would someone want to be deprived of their freedom? Why would someone want to be locked up away from the rest of the world? Why would someone want to stay in a strange place with a bunch of people they don’t know?

As someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who also struggles greatly with self-harm, the inpatient psychiatric unit was unexpectedly the place I needed to be. The psych ward was nothing like I expected it to be. It was not like the movies and television portrayed it.

I needed to be in the psych ward because I had become a danger to myself. I was at my breaking point and I did not feel safe to be alone. I could not trust myself. After being screened by an emergency therapist, I then voluntarily admitted myself to the local behavioral health facility.

I admit, I spent the first few hours in the ward crying and trembling in the corner. I was met with unbelievable kindness by the staff and other patients. That is what I miss about being in the hospital. I miss my assigned nurse who saw I was crying and held my arms while reassuring me that I was safe and would be OK. She reassured me that nothing could hurt me, even myself. I miss the boy who never said a word to me, but noticed me sobbing in the corner, and came and sat near me, comforting me with his presence. I miss the feeling of complete safety. I was finally safe from myself, and could not hurt myself even if I wanted to. Even though many may not like being watched, I miss being checked on every 15 minutes. I miss that feeling of being cared for and the feeling of being secure.

It may sound odd to some, but I miss the psych ward because of the people who comforted me. I never got that kind of comfort outside the hospital. The feeling of being safe was exactly what I needed.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Getty Images photo via PORNCHAI SODA

Originally published: January 29, 2018
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