Things I Learned in the Psych Ward…
6. Remember the Meaning Behind Words and Say What You Mean
I got into this mess because I needed help from my ex-husband. When he refused to help, I became erratic/hysterical, which was a common occurrence of mine, I said I would kill myself. Which lead to me being admitted into the psych ward.
Was I going to kill myself? No.
Did I feel like dying because I was so depressed, needed help and had no one would? Yes.
I had trouble saying, “Hey, I am struggling badly, I need help,” to my mother because she would tell me she was sorry I felt that way and I needed to figure it out.
Over time, I stopped asking because I was always met with disappointment that my own mother wouldn’t help me. I understand that she works, is getting older, and lives 3 hours away; but if your child calls you saying I am having a mental breakdown I need help, you don’t say sorry I am going on vacation in 2 days and need to pack or I have something to do this weekend. That happened probably 4 times before this occurred. So I stopped asking for help.
That’s why I went to my ex-husband, he was the only other person I thought would help me. I was too afraid to talk to my friends because what if they rejected my cries for help too? Then I would feel even more rejected and that’s something I did not want to face.
I’m to blame too. I have always been dramatic and until this happened I never really cared about the meaning of my words. If they hurt someone, oh well. If they made me look crazy, oh well. I learned though don’t say things you don’t mean and say what you really mean. If someone won’t help you, then either keep that relationship at surface level or end it. A true friend will do whatever they can to help you remember that.
7. Healthy Coping Skills are Key
Having a plan to cope with your stressors is key. Drinking wine, in a bubble bath, while ignoring life is not a healthy coping mechanism, as much as I try to convince myself it is. I noticed most of the women in the psych ward, including myself, had terrible coping skills. When something bad happened, it was the end of the world. We didn’t know how to deal with problems. Either we shut down or freaked out if something stressful happened. We didn’t know how to cope.
Healthy Coping Skills can be meditating, cutting out that toxic friend from high school, working out, journaling, listening to music, the list goes on…
You need to find something that works for you. For me personally it’s meditation, journaling, and working out.
Meditation has changed my life dramatically, I know longer let the things that use to anger me, anger me anymore.
Journaling is the huge one. Instead of yelling what I really think or want to say, I write it down. If I still feel the need hours later to say what I wrote then I allow myself to but I’m much more level-headed by that time.
Working out. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde said it best on why working out is a great coping skill.
“Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands.”ELLE WOODS, LEGALLY BLONDE
And I will leave it at that!
8. Be Honest About Suicidal Ideation and Suicidal Thoughts to the CORRECT People
Telling your ex-husband that has it out for you, isn’t the best person to tell you want to die. The truth is, I have struggled with Suicidal Ideation since I was a kid. The slightest mishap and I would want to die. It’s not that I wanted to kill myself, it was that I didn’t want to live anymore. The stress from some situation made me rather be dead than to deal with it.
I wonder if I had been truthful with my therapists from my younger years about this, would she had helped me develop necessary coping mechanisms I needed to get over these thoughts?
I was too ashamed to tell anyone because I thought I was the only one. After my stay in the psych ward, I now know there are tons of people just like me out there. Tons of people that don’t know how to deal with life but also don’t know how to voice it or who to tell.
If you are having suicidal ideation or thoughts and you have a therapist or psychiatrist, be honest with them. They know you and know what they can do to help you. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are in need of help ASAP, look for a crisis center or the closest psychiatric hospitals and check yourself in. Especially if you need medication. You will get you help there and remember there is nothing to be ashamed of. End the stigma.
*I am not a medical professional, I am just using my own experiences to give advice*
9. Your Surroundings Matter
This might seem a little silly but having tan walls everywhere can really get you down. Not having natural light because you can’t have windows, really can get to you. Seeing other people depressed can make you even more depressed.
With that being said, also having people surround you that you’re able to speak to openly about your troubles, really helps. Not being judged for your thoughts is an amazing experience. Sitting around as a group talking, watching tv, or playing a game, without a cell phone in sight is a wonderful and freeing experience. Walking into your house with brightly colored decorations and natural light is a godsend after a few days in a psych ward.
So as silly as it might seem, paint your walls a happy color, wear brightly colored clothes, find friends that don’t judge you (check out Reddit or Facebook Groups,) and put down your phone and just enjoy life on occasion and your mental health will thank you.
10. Make Everything into a Learning Experience
The moment I realized I had grown was when I looked at my psych ward stint not as a vengeful happening concocted by my ex-husband, but as a chance to learn and to heal. As you can see from this post, I am not the same person I was 7 months ago. I learned so much. I no longer see myself as a victim but as what I learned from everything that happened to me so that way I don’t repeat it and make my life even harder.
It’s not about seeing the positive in everything. I get it but I also hate it. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies in your life. Shitty stuff happens to people and you don’t have to look at what positive thing came from it all but do look at it as what did I learn so that this is not repeated or happens to me again.
So folks, as much as I did not want to be there, I learned so many valuable lessons there and wouldn’t change it. It set up my path to my mental health journey.
Plus, now that it has been 7 months since this has happened, I love to tell dates, for shock value but also to see how they communicate about mental health. It is a great “weeding out” story.
I would hate to start to have feelings for a person and one day tell them this story only for them to freak and leave; for that reason I am very open about it, squeezing the story in on the first or second date, plus then it makes a good story for them. “So this one time I took this girl out and on our first date she told me about how she went to a psych ward…” hahaha!