I remember the first time I went into a psychiatric hospital. It was to visit my brother, I remember pulling up with my Mom and seeing people banging on windows and screaming. The hospital was Pilgrim State in NY. That was the first time I prayed I’d never end up in a hospital like that.
Flash forward to 2014. I found myself locked in a psychiatric hospital under suicide watch. The diagnosis, therapy and mixture of medicines landed me there. That was one of 2 times I was hospitalized. After my last stay in December 2014 I swore I’d do everything in my power to NOT end up hospitalized again.
I was triggered of those memories after my shower this evening. I found in my drawer the deodorant I used in there.
Being hospitalized was extremely frightening. Instead of helping me it made me worse. The second traumatized me the most. After doing a skin assessment (nurses make you strip down and look in every crack and crevasse of your body) after 20 minutes I missed my family beyond words. Having to say goodbye to my husband and kids to go into a place like that.
There are no words to describe how it feels to be TRAPPED in a psychiatric hospital. Having a panic attack and begging to get fresh air and you couldn’t even step outside for a moment. Having someone shine a flashlight every 15 minutes ALL night to make sure I was still alive and in bed. Having to to try and eat a meal that requires a fork and knife.. But even plastic knives were banned. I remember waking one morning to have French toast with the other patients in the cafeteria. We looked like a bunch of savages as we tried our best to gnaw through our rubbery French toast. It’s one of those awakening moments.
Round the clock we were watched, had to line up for pills, blood pressure, blood work. Feeling like a half dead zombie I tried to make the most of being there. I was desperate for help.
I had to arrange with the psychiatrist on staff to have a ” special visit” I got to visit my husband and kids under supervision. I pray to God they don’t remember the days of visiting me there. After the visit saying goodbye broke my heart into a thousand pieces. My husband and oldest son walked out the door. My youngest son yelled to them “wait we forgot Mommy” I always tried to keep my composure but I couldn’t hold back the tears.
I went into my room to cry. Mad. Nothing I DID caused my PTSD.. it was done by others. But yet I’m the one that has to endure suffering every single fucking day of my life. Those that caused my PTSD roam free.. Free from any chains that bind them. And some that are deceased.
A woman looked at me while I was having a crying fit in the cafeteria of the hospital. She said “Welcome to endless battle of PTSD” She was about 60 years old. I didn’t want that to be ME. I was only in my 30’s and I wanted to live. For once, without battling. I’ve fought my hardest since I was 4 years old. Going through things NO child should go through.
The day I was released I was sick from medicine change. I sucked it up as best as I could after being trapped in a place that had general population. I was locked up with rapists, people stuck in “trips” from drugs and violent people who even punched out nurses. I remember feeling the freedom walking out of the hospital. Back into the arms of my Husband and kids.
As those with PTSD can understand EVERY day is a battle. Some are better than others, but the reminders are always there.