I’m talking to people who are feeling like harming themselves, struggling with thoughts of suicide, suffering from severe anxiety or depression, well, you get the idea.
Your first best move is to call 911 if you are feeling like you can’t stop yourself much longer. They will get you to a therapist and into the hospital if needed. Not feeling like you can dial the number? Go to your nearest emergency room. There are trained counselors there 24/7 waiting to listen to you and help you assess your needs.
I have checked myself into a few mental health facilities as well as gone against my will (as a teen) numerous times. Thus I feel I can speak to this and eliminate some of the fears we associate with going to the hospital for emotional help.
- Have Your Breakdown in a Safe Place!
The great thing about a psych unit is that you can allow yourself to feel all the shit you are dealing with in a place where people understand, don’t judge, and can make sure you don’t hurt yourself in the process.
Something most wards have is a “Calm Down Room”. This is a room where the lights are usually dimmer, there is a comfy chair, blankets, and sometimes objects to help you relax. Such as silly putty or crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and so on.
I believe strongly that it’s important to feel our emotions rather than stuff them down. That just causes them to erupt one day. It’s not a bad idea to have some sort of calm down room in your own home. Even just a corner. But that’s talk for another day.
- You Won’t Be Alone.
Sure, it’s scary at first when you go in. You don’t know anyone, or the layout, or the schedule. But those things change very quickly. You will find that there is normally one other patient (sometimes more) who will reach out to you. You can keep your personal space if you want but you can also reach out to that lifeline and sit with that person or group. They will not only show you the ropes of how things work in the hospital but they will want to listen to you talk through your experiences. Remember to reciprocate when you can, but also to respect your boundaries.
I have friends from several psych wards who I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. We are friends online and we call each other from time to time when we need someone to listen to. So, when I say you won’t be alone I don’t just mean in the hospital, I mean afterward as well.
- Not All Meds Work Right Away.
Maybe you have just started new medication but it’s not helping yet. If you are feeling in danger or overstimulated from anxiety or depression etc. the hospital is a great place to adjust. Often they will give you something that will work quickly to help regulate you while you wait for your longer-term meds to kick in. But medication isn’t the only reason to check yourself in…
- Talking to a Trained Therapist Daily Makes A Big Difference!
Maybe you see your regular therapist once a week, every two weeks, or even just once a month. In the hospital, it is very common for your therapist to have a session with you daily. You also have access to group therapy settings and a variety of counselors. They will give you something medicine can’t do. They will educate you on how to help yourself stay calm, calm down once upset, find things to do that make you happy. I owe a lot of my positive life changes to things like this. They take practice and it’s not a one size fits all thing, you have to play around and see what works for you.
I will say this, listen to your gut when working with doctors. Sure, you sometimes need to take a leap of faith on certain things, but you also need to learn to be your own advocate. For example, yoga and meditation are triggering for me. I’m getting better with this issue but it’s still a problem. The last time I was in a hospital setting They had us all go into a gym and do yoga. I was doing OK until someone turned out the lights. I only hesitated a moment before shouting (it was a very large room), “Please turn on the lights!” Not only was my sentiment echoed by several others but the lights were turned on immediately and my needs were met.
- You’re Less Likely To Make An Irreversible Decision!
I will be honest. If you want to hurt yourself you will find a way. Even in the hospital. That said, you are so much more supervised than just on your own or living with family. It is much less likely that you will go through with killing yourself when you are also actively seeking help to fight those feelings. I’ve been nursing the conflict of wanting to live and wanting to die for most of my life. Some of you already know my first suicide attempt was at age five. But nurture that will to live and stoke those flames that turn you away from harms path. You will find it to be a strong ally in your battle with mental illness. Whether you suffer from PTSD, a chemical disorder, a mental disorder, or several of these, that fire can and will save your life.
I hope this has been helpful. There is so much more about the hospital to go over but these are the basics for people in crisis who are considering it. I have some more blogs coming up about seeking help and how to do it as well as what to watch out for. Thanks for reading. I would love to hear from you! Meet me in the comments section if you have a story to share about the hospital or have questions about it.