Looking back at the time I spent in mental health units made me think about how people who have never even visited may find the whole idea very scary. Most anyone typically sees of psychiatric centres is fictionalized versions found in horror films or ghost hunting shows.
They are not like that; they are safe and secure, and yes, the people have mental health problems, but they are ordinary people, just like you’d find in your local shop. They don’t have fangs or ethereal abilities; they are your mother, brother, son, daughter and father—regular people who happen to need treatment for harmful mental disorders.
Just because you may enter a mental health unit does not mean the hospital will haul your backside back in, the next time you get unwell; hopefully, you will only ever need treatment once.
The design is for those who are desperate, who will cause harm to themselves if left untreated. They are not housing the criminally insane; you will not meet an axe murderer; you will meet others if you choose to be social who are easy to talk to, that’s if they are not doped up on medication.
Food time is at set times, and you can sit with someone or by yourself. I started off sitting by myself, and as I got to know a couple of others, we sat together if we were feeling well enough. You can make yourself a drink anytime you need or buy one from the vending machines. The only restrictions are going to other people’s areas or going outside if you are a newbie.
When you first go into one, you are on a suicide watch, and someone will be watching you 24/7. This will last until the medics are entirely confident you are not going to harm yourself.
As you can tell, the whole system’s design keeps you safe; there is nothing to be scared of, but for some, the very fact they have been placed in a unit is scary in itself. They begin to wonder how on earth will they explain to others where they have been. But would you have such fears if you went to the hospital for an appendix operation? No, so you should not be scared of a psychiatric ward.
When I was in there, I remember how I found a couple of allies, they were helpful in my recovery. Their problems were very different to mine; one was coming off heroin, and the other was addicted to diazepam. But the reason they took their drug of choice was that it dulled their sense of their mental health problems.
There are some people who you may find strange, but they are also heavily medicated because of their delusions, but once again, they are human, not some entity wishing to do you harm. All the people in the units I have been in (been in three times) have been your average person. I cannot reiterate enough; it is a hospital for the mind; sometimes, it is part of the main hospital. Sometimes it is a separate unit. But fear is the last thing you feel if you need help with your mental health.
I hope this article will help those who need to go into hospital and help those who do not have mental health problems to see nothing untoward about a mental health unit. It is an ordinary place for ordinary people who happen to need treatment.
Peace and Blessings x