My month in a psych ward

I checked myself in to the inpatient psych unit of a major NYC hospital on January 23, where I would stay for nearly a month. I’m still sorting out what my next steps should be, but I thought people might be interested in some of the things I noticed.

  • The care I received was excellent and the staff were very courteous and professional. I would recommend hospitalization to anyone who is in crisis, especially if outpatient care isn’t working.
  • I received electroshock therapy and it worked like magic. There’s too much stigma surrounding this low-risk treatment that helps countless people live decent lives.
  • Hospital food sucks, as per its reputation. For some reason they put me on the Hasidic menu and never corrected it (I’m not Jewish). Then again, I never complained, largely because I developed a taste for gefilte.
  • Hospital life is hard. You’re not allowed to have pens or shoelaces. Somebody opens your door every 15 minutes to make sure you’re still alive. My roommate spoke in tongues and once tried to exorcise me. It was all worth it.
  • Nearly all the patients there were people of color– which makes me think our system is failing. Too many POC don’t benefit from decent outpatient treatment and are forced to rely on hospitalization, the most extreme treatment option. At least that’s my interpretation.

Have you ever been hospitalized? Does this shed any light on the treatment system? Let me know in the comments.

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