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  • tempbcba

Aren't hospitals supposed to help, not hurt?!

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

  • Take off all your clothes and put them over here, put on these gowns. We don't have a gown that will fit you, so put one on the front and one on the back. We need to go over every inch of your body looking for self-injury marks.

  • You are allowed to have up to three outfits. No strings, no hoods, no underwires. You will be responsible for doing your own laundry, but you will have to ask permission to get in and out of the laundry room (and we will NOT be happy about it letting you in or out)

  • You are manic. I am going to completely change your medicine and put you on a med that you've had an allergic reaction to, just because we get a kickback from it. Your doctor never should have put you on these meds. But I am not manic, I'm actually doing really well, my mom and best friend have seen in weeks.

  • You're manic. See you tomorrow.

People wonder why people with serious mental illness don't want to go to the hospital for anything. I have had so many horrifying, terrifying, demeaning experiences that I have serious PTSD related to medicine, especially hospitals, and truly the largest goal in my life is to never go to the hospital again

The thing is, when you have a serious mental illness, going to the hospital for a physical ailment isn't any better. This week, out of nowhere I got a terrible pain in my leg. It just continued to get worse, was warm to the touch, and hurt much more when I flexed my foot, so my mom took me to the ER in the middle of the night to make sure it wasn't a blood clot.

The problem is, they see my primary diagnosis and assume that everything is in my head. We waited an hour and a half in the waiting room, even though there were only four people there. Then they put me in the urgent care instead of the ER where I saw the doctor for about a minute, waited for hours to do the ultrasound, then two more hours to be told you're fine, you pulled a muscle and I never saw a nurse. I'm glad that is how it turned out, but if it had truly been a blood clot I could have been in trouble and no one would have known.

My mom stayed for a while, but had to go back to my house to sleep so I was all alone, terrified because of my PTSD and terrified because I might say the wrong thing and they would throw me in inpatient psych. I was a ball of nerves, and I KNOW it's not just me. We really néed to find ways to make the inpatient psychiatric process less demeaning and degrading, and we need to educate all doctors that people with mental illness are just that - people, and they deserve to be heard and treated fairly.

If you are a person who has had difficult experiences in hospitals, make sure you have someone to talk to, and if you have to go to a hospital, take an advocate - as a person with a disability you are guaranteed that right. Also, as sad as it is, some hospitals are much better than others, so go where you feel safe whenever possible. Finally, I would love to hear your story. Feel free to share it in the comments or send me a private message. Together, I know we can make a difference.

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