Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Time I Was Committed - Part One

I figured I'd write this post for anyone who is curious as to what it's like to be sent to a "psych ward" because I can't lie, I've always been curious myself. Luckily for you little wombats, I went crazy, got sent to one and can tell you all about it! I'll be writing this in a series since it takes place over a few days. So here is part one, starting after the police transported me to the hospital around 4:00pm or so on the fateful Wednesday afternoon.

Once in the emergency room, I sat in triage until a room in the actual emergency room opened up. Apparently they only have one or two behavioral rooms so it was a very long wait. Like 6 hours long. During this time, I had a police officer guard my door, then eventually a hospital security guard once they realized I wasn't going to do anything but sit there and wait. While I waited I had an evaluation with a psychiatrist over Skype, after the evaluation she recommended a committal. Knowing I had no choice and hoping it would make things easier, I gave my consent. I figured if I committed myself, I would be able to leave whenever I wanted. Later I would find out, that is not how it works. Finally a behavioral room opened up and I was moved. At this point they take everything you have, since I had my husband with me, they allowed my personal belongings in the room. I was asked to strip down to my underwear, I was not allowed to keep my bra, and given one of those open robe things to wear. The furniture in the room was made of this hard plasticy foamy type stuff. There I would stay until they could find me a bed somewhere. As it got later, they brought me in a "bed" to sleep on.

I can't say I don't understand why they have to take the precautions they do, I get it completely. It's a safety thing. Around 11pm, a nurse told me they received a court order and they could now legally place me. This shocked me, I figured since I volunteered to a committal that we wouldn't need to go through the courts but I was told no, the only way they will place you is if you get a judge to sign off on it. I don't know how accurate this statement was but at the time I was feeling a thousand different things so I didn't even ask anymore questions. I don't remember what time it was, very early morning I think, the nurse came in to tell me I had been placed. She assured me it was one of the nicer units in Iowa, a hospital called St Anthony's. They had placed a call in for a transport and were waiting to hear back. Throughout this entire endeavor and the huge stress that had come with it, I wasn't really in the healthiest place. After the several hours that had past, I began to gain the lucidity back and realize what was going on. Once the reality began to set it, I was frantic. Never having been in a situation like this before, I was terrified as to what I was about to experience. I had no idea what to expect and all I wanted to do was go home. At about 8:30 am, the transport arrived and I was loaded into a car and driven a little over an hour away to the hospital.
Between waiting for a place to sit in the emergency room to waiting for a bed at a behavioral unit, I waited about 16 hours. I was not overly surprised. Prior to that visit, I had gone to a hospital in a nearby city after my family had a small intervention on me to commit myself and was told there were no beds, no one would be discharged until at least the next day and there was already someone in the ER who had been waiting for 22 hours. Yes, this is the actual state of affairs when it comes to someone trying to get help. Because I was with family and would have support at home, they sent me on my way but there are many people who need the help that don't have a family to keep them safe.

So this is part one of my story. The next part will be my arrival and first day or so at the hospital.   

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