Psychiatric Unit Feelings


On Friday I will be hauling myself back to that grim Psychiatric Unit for my therapy session.  Those of us who have been there know what it is like.  The white walls.  The feeling of “institution.”  The way no one in the waiting room speaks and all eyes are fixed on the wall, or floor, in shame as they wait for their name to be called.  The florescent lit bathrooms that allow no possible way for one to hurt themselves.  The dread people have as they stare at the floor and don’t talk to their therapist until they get to the closed room with the “session in progress” sign on the door.  The stigma assigned to you just for being in that building.


I have been reading a book called Saving Max.  It is about a young boy who is diagnosed with autism.  He has suicidal tendencies (yes, there are a lot of triggers in the book…that is a warning for all of you who would be interested in reading it).  One thing leads to another and his mom hauls him across the country to get admitted into a psychiatric hospital.  So far, it is a VERY good read.  Last night, I came across a quote that I want to share with you all because it is 100% true. In this quote, the mother character is describing what it is like to be in the psychiatric hospital.  Here is the quote:

“She splashes cold water on her face and tries to breathe, but psychiatric hospitals are vacuums.  You’re not supposed to breathe fresh air or feel the sun on your face.  You’re supposed to be in a place where other people aren’t.  A place where you can be controlled every minute.  Where you can be watched and drugged-kept away from normal people and the entire normal world.  In a place that is always painted white.  The color of a blank.  The wiped slate.  A place that reduces you, erases the sick part of you and, along with it, the part that makes you human and precious-the part that permits you to feel joy and give joy in return.  A quiet, unchallenging world, hermetically sealed with a thick, black ring around it.  A place that doesn’t keep the dangers of the world from you, but your dangers from the world.  A place where you can look at yourself in the mirror and see the truth-one that imprisons you for life.”  

How many of us can agree with having felt this same exact way when attending therapy or being in a psychiatric unit?  I know I have.  I still do.



6 thoughts on “Psychiatric Unit Feelings

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  1. I have never been to a Psychiatric Institution, but I believe we should treat mental illness just as we treat other illnesses,like no one has a guilty look in a Cardiac Institute,and no one feels ashamed at the OB. It’s the world who is manipulating us to differentiate,to hurt those who are already hurt. YOU shouldn’t be guilty or ashamed,when you go there this time just think you are sick,and EVERYONE gets sick…….

    1. I agree that mental health needs to be taken more seriously. It is so often pushed to the side. The kids I work with who have emotional disturbances are always labeled as “bad” or “crazy.” I hate that. They are the kids I love working with the most. Probably because I understand how they feel.

  2. I hope the therapy helps. I see a psychologist but in private practice so he’s in a commercial office building. A bit less intimidating… Does reading the book trigger you? I feel compelled to read stories like that because it’s comforting but at the same time it sometimes triggers a depressive episode that I struggle to get out of. Hope tomorrow morning is easier for you.

    1. The book didn’t trigger me until last night. I believe the book is what triggered my nightmare (as I read it before bed like my therapist told me not to do with thriller books). It has a pretty high theme of abandonment and since that is my issue that triggered my depression in real life, I believe it did trigger my dream and depression feelings I am having today. I will be struggling today. But, the book is very, very good so far.

  3. Boy oh boy do I know that feeling. I remember during my stay one of the nurses asked me “do you feel safe?” I said yes but what I was really thinking was that I was forced in there, whether I felt safe or not wouldn’t get me out of there. Whether I couldn’t sleep or not wouldn’t get them to open my door every 15 minutes and whether I was suicidal or not wouldn’t get me permission to shave without someone watching. Psychiatric facilities are some of the most inhumane places you’ll find out there.

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