TRIGGER WARNING for Suicidal Ideation and Psych Wards
Well, anyone who read early Friday and Friday afternoon knows that I checked myself into the inpatient ward at our nearby psych hospital Friday afternoon (July 1). I remained there until this past Thursday, July 7. I was having severe suicidal ideations, some of which were quite violent, but the main one was to take all my pills. So I locked my meds in the safe and went outside to call my therapist. I wasn’t able to get ahold of her, and my pdoc is off on Fridays, so I began the process of getting myself admitted without my doctor’s help. One really long conversation later, the hospital agreed that I needed to be admitted and told me to come right in.
Hubby and MIL didn’t really believe me or they didn’t know how to react, but getting out of the house was a fight. Once I knew I had a bed, I called a cab and I left. Everyone was unhappy, including me. Once I arrived at the hospital I was informed that my therapist had contacted them, asked the to expect me, and asked them to admit me, which helped things move along.
Being on the ward helped. There were groups to learn about coping skills, which was good, because every single one I had failed me. We talked about stress and depression and various other things, including a psychiatrist visit every morning to try and sort out the meds.
There was some disappointment this time around when I realized that about 90 percent of the ward had attempted suicide and there were only a couple of us who managed to get to the hospital before anything bad happened. There were a lot of pill overdoses and a hanging (Only 19!!!!) It was also a very young crowd, with only 5 of us being above 30.
Since I have come home, I have realized that this is my third inpatient hospitalization in 6 years, plus I had two outpatient experiences as well. Plus, I had at least 2 incidents of suicidal ideation that did not end up in hospitalizations.
We did have a “Nurse Ratchett” one day, and it was a bad day. She was in charge of hosting a group. Most groups have a lot of give and take between the patients and the facilitator. They are meant to encourage patients to talk about their issues, whether in detail or generally. However, Nurse Sally was above that. She stood outside of the circle and lectured us. Basically, she told us that if anyone ever attempted again they would most likely fail and most like end up in a nursing home for the rest of our lives due to the damage we would cause ourselves. But, if we would just live the way she did, we would be fine and would look 55 when we were 65. Everyone was pissed. Way to generalize, and good job knowing your audience. And, oh yeah, what a terrible idea for a speech to give to a bunch of people who were suicidal. I gave her terrible ratings on my post-group patient survey and said exactly what I thought. But I was almost the only one, because the people who were there involuntarily had to see a judge to get released, and a black mark from a charge nurse would be doing them no favors.
I have come home from the hospital with a purpose. I want to start a conversation about suicide. It exists and we’re all vulnerable. Plus, our loved ones, and apparently our psych nurses, need to know what it’s like from our end. They need to know that it’s not a selfish thought, and they need to know why.
People have started talking a little bit more about mental illness, but stigma is still rampant. I think that the stigma of feeling suicidal is going to be a tough nut to crack, but I want to try. Even if I only make a small dent, that’s still a great thing.