Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/post-suicide-attempt-prologue/
Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-1/
Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 2 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-2/
When I was transferred to the unit in the psych hospital that had lower security, I was given a tour by one of the nurses. I was a little afraid because I had no idea what to expect. But the fear and hesitation I felt was nothing compared to where I was before. This unit was much nicer. There were sofas, the patients were allowed to open the windows and change the tv channels themselves, there was art on the walls, and I got my first glimpse of sunlight in days.
I was taken to what would be my room, where I was introduced to my roommate. She was my age, and very friendly. I was also introduced to another patient who showed me all of the ropes and made sure I had someone to sit with at dinner. I was also quickly introduced to some other patients, but I didn’t really get to know them until later.
My nurse also explained “privileges” to me. There were different levels of privileges. The lowest was on-unit privileges, which meant that you were not allowed to leave the unit except to go to classes. Next up were in-house privileges, which meant that you could go anywhere you wanted inside the hospital as long as you signed out and were back every hour to confirm that you hadn’t run away. After that you got grounds privileges, which meant that you could go anywhere on the hospital grounds (you could go outside and breathe fresh air!) as long as you signed out and came back every hour. I was immediately given in-house privileges since I had behaved so well in the previous unit. Your doctor could also grant you evening and weekend passes so that you could spend some time at home as long as you were with a family member at all times. And if you misbehaved, you could have your privileges taken away.
Finally, I was given a schedule. The schedule listed all kinds of classes that were available. These classes included horticulture, yoga, art therapy, wellness (which was super boring, but it was the only class we absolutely had to go to), and some other activities. Our doctors also referred us to groups that were more specific to our particular issues. I was assigned to Women’s Group (a bunch of women who sit in a circle to share their issues and support one another), Managing Emotions (learning how to identify what you are feeling and express it in a healthy way), and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Skills for Anxiety (learning tips and tricks to help understand your triggers and how to cope with anxiety). I can’t really share too much about these classes because we had to sign some confidentiality forms; all I can tell you in that they existed and I learned things.
I started to get used to the routine, and I got used to eating eggs every single day because that’s what they always served the vegetarians. Don’t get me wrong, eggs are delicious. I just got a little tired of eating them every single day. My original roommate was released after one night, and I was assigned a new roommate. She was mostly bedridden, and she asked me who I was every time I entered the room. But I made friends elsewhere. I am even still in contact with a couple of them.
I was also finally allowed to go outside when I had a panic attack and freaked out because I felt like I was being confined in too small a space, so that was good. It was freezing outside. I got soaked by all of the falling snow, but I GOT TO GO OUTSIDE! Seriously, don’t ever take the fact that you are allowed to go outside for granted. And really, how good can it be for someone’s mental health to never let them breathe fresh air? Even prison inmates get to go outside for an hour every day. I’m not going to get into that right now because it’s not really relevant to my story, but I was thrilled to finally be allowed to go outside! It was the best I had felt in months! I even called my parents to tell them the exciting news!
There were also many challenges that I came across in this unit, and there were several things that went on outside the hospital that I felt like I was helpless to do anything about. My school, for example, was a source of many issues. But I’ll talk about that next week. See you guys then!