My psychiatric hospital experience 

Just to make this clear. I brought myself to the hospital, to get what they call PEC’d other wise known as Physician Emergency Certificate issued by any physician, psychologist or mental health nurse practitioner after a medical exam when a patient is suffering from a mental illness or substance abuse disorder. 

 
When you get PEC’d you lose all of your patient rights at the hospital. You are officially on lockdown to one hospital room, escorted to the restroom, the whole nine. You’re literally on lockdown until they or your family can find an open bed for you at a psychiatric hospital. 

I brought myself to the hospital due to having panic attacks. Ruling my life and I had enough of it controlling me. 

I was held at the hospital under a PEC for 2-3 days until my uncle found an open bed for me. He just so happens to work in the medical field and helped me out. I didn’t have insurance at the time so my family had to pay cash for me to go get the help I needed. For that I am forever grateful. 

I was transferred to the psychiatric hospital by a Ford Taurus. No ambulance, or anything like that. They have specific drivers to transfer patients. 

If I weren’t to find an open bed, the hospital could have technically held me there for 14 days. (Thank god for my uncle finding me an open bed) 

Driving myself to the hospital was one of the hardest things and easiest things I’ve ever done for myself. 

Hardest because I have panic disorder. I was officially handing over my rights to people I didn’t know to figure out what was wrong with me. And I didn’t know what to expect. 

Easiest because I knew I was going to get some answers. I needed them. My family needed them.  This disorder was ruining my life. Literally. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t drive, I could barely leave my house. I couldn’t go out with my friends, you name it I probably couldn’t do it. 

In the back of my mind I knew I made the right decision, but it is terrifying knowing your rights have temporarily been taken from you as a patient. 

Let me note that I was never and have never been suicidal. In order to go to a psychiatric hospital a “normal” hospital has to PEC you in order to get you to where you need to go to get the help you need. You typically can’t just walk into a psychiatric hospital and then take you in. 

In the particular psychiatric hospital I went to the nurses and staff around the clock were amazing. 

When I first got there they had to retake my vitals and all that. And then I was given my normal medication I take for anxiety and they tried to give me an Ativan. 

I had never taken anything of that sort, so I was iffy and I didn’t want to take it. My nurse came in my room and sat me down and talked with me for a good thirty minutes until I felt comfortable to take the Ativan. Which by the way didn’t do anything for me because my metabolism works too quickly for an Ativan or Xanax. 

I went to group meetings. Some people were there for trying to commit suicide and some people were there for bipolar/schizophrenia & others were there “regulars”as they referred to them. I did feel like I was there for the least serious issues. Which is probably true. 

After I took my Ativan the dr had prescribed for me another patient came in my room. At the time I had 2 nurses in my room so I was safe. She was a big girl, probably 6 foot tall 200 pounds. When I say big I mean tall, muscular. She spoke so quietly it was hard to understand what she’d say sometimes. 

She walked into my room and quietly asked why I was there, the nurses answered her for me. I just smiled at her while sitting in my bed. She then continued to walk closer to me and tell me what she was there for. She sat on my bed, at this point I had only been there for about 2 hours so it’s safe to say I was nervous. I didn’t know her, I was kind of scared. But she just sat on my bed and told me how pretty I was and asked how long I would be there for. She was super sweet, I was just overly nervous. 

The hospital I went to was co-ed. They divided us by the seriousness of your needs and such im pretty sure. 

I was on the much calmer wing of the hospital, people didn’t act out in my wing & there were no codes being called. But on the other wing their would be suicide attempts and girls fighting, codes being called left and right.

I remember one day they wanted us all to do a group therapy session where both wings participated. During this session people talk to you and ask why you’re there, small talk.. the people from wing B( I was on wing A)were telling us about someone on there wing who took her door hinges off and cut herself all up with them and then tried to swallow them. I WAS PETRIFIED. I’m sure the woman telling us could see it in my face. 

I just wanted to know who did it and where they were so I could get far, far away. I didn’t see anything like that on my wing, thank gosh. My wing was super calm and everyone got along. Like I said we were co Ed but it was nothing like you hear. They had a tv room and a lounge area. They offered smokers a 10 minute smoke break an hour up until 10pm. 

It wasn’t traumatizing or scary, you didn’t share a room with someone you didn’t know, If someone refused to take their medication they didn’t get tranquilized and it definitely wasn’t like you see in the movies. 

I had group 3 times that week & 3 one on ones with a counselor. A meeting with a psychiatrist & a social worker. One family group meeting, where they explained my diagnoses to my family and why my “anxiety attacks” were so bad. This meeting changed my whole life, hell the whole experience did. That specific meeting changed the way my dad understood me. He understood what was going on and that nothing was wrong with me mentally like he claimed he just didn’t understand it. Sometimes it’s easier for family members who don’t experience what you’re going through to hear it from a professional. 

I got 2 visits each day one in the morning and one in the afternoon, I was lucky enough that my family drove that far to come see me every day. 

My dad did end up apologizing to me for saying those hurtful things to me and acting the way he did for so long when I was crying out for help. And I did accept his apology. 

When I got out, 5 days later my dad was my biggest supporter, he helped me through therapy, with medications, understood why I was feeling certain ways you name it he was there. 

People have this stigma against psychiatric hospitals, like they’re some terrible place. And I won’t lie, some people need more help than others. People’s issues differ from person to person. Just because you go into a psychiatric hospital doesn’t mean your psycho or mental and it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t succeed in life. 

I was a patient at one and then I worked at a psychiatric hospital as an MHT. You should never judge people for going to get help, especially when they ask for help because it takes more guts than some people will ever understand. This is the first time I’ve put out that I went there, the only people who knew for the longest time was my close family and 2 friends. 

I hope this can give you an inside look and change your views maybe. Or just give you a good read whatever it may be I hope you get something from this blog.

Still I rise, 

Kirsten

I know how it feels to fight this battle, & if you’re reading this and suffer similar issues please know you’re not alone. I’ve lived with this so far for 8 years and I’m still here pushing through. You can too ❤️

Personal emails- stognerslife@yahoo.com
Instagram- stognerslife

Snapchat-k.fouquet

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