Adventures in the Psych Ward

I was reading the book Manic, by Terri Cheney and I got to a part in her story where she is describing a visit to a psych facility.  Ms. Cheney was describing it with such vividness, it brought me back to 10 years ago; the first group of my hospital visits .(I’ve had 3 of them, 2 were within a 3 months period and the last one was about 7 years later at a different facilities) It brought me right back to the room where we ate and did our art therapy. It not only included that, but the memorable people, stories, disasters, catastrophes, victories, and milestones came along with it. I felt like I was in a time machine and had been thrust back, Back to the Future style.

I would bet that most of us who have been in a psych facility at some point in our lives for a significant period have a tale or two of some adventures that we will never forget.  Adventures that at the time and in that moment were not funny, but felt like we were on the show Survivor, just trying to stay alive and make it out of there without ending up worse off mentally. However, now, since time has passed, we can now look at those stories at laugh.

Want an example? Again, looking back, this was terrible, but, at the time, totally necessary,  I became known as the only patient  in that particular psych facility in that hospital, who could successfully smoke a cigarette in my room and not get caught, despite the nurse check that came every 15 minutes.  Oh, it wasn’t easy,  it was a whole procedure, and it involved roommate cooperation.  So between the two of us girls, we both were able to, but my roommate was not lucky enough to not get caught.  She got a little careless and brazen with her confidence and tried to do it on her own and the nurse walked by doing her 15 minute check and since there was no one standing watch to let the nurse know she was in the shower or bathroom, the nurse had to come into the room and go over to the bathroom and that’s when the  jig was up.


The next day, said roommate had a pack of cigarettes smuggled in to her and instead of hiding them in HER pillowcase, we used mine.  We then hid a few in various places around the room and we even were able to fit 2 inside the tube that held the toilet paper in the holder.  Now THAT one was genius.  I’m not going to tell you guys the rest of the ritual on how we didn’t get caught because it was an elaborate process each time and I’m not giving away any more ideas.  But for at least those times that my roommate and I came together for that ritual, it made me feel a lot more human and a lot less like a person in a prison. The fountain Diet Cokes my guests would smuggle in for me pretending it was their own beverage and “accidentally” leaving it behind so I could get a surge of caffeine despite the facilities No Caffeine policy was also so greatly appreciated.

There are so many stories from the various stays, but those are just two short ones.

Do you guys have any interesting or funny stories from when you were in facilities that are ingrained in your head?  Things you will never forget because they put a little touch of positive in a place where everything feels just so negative? I would love to hear your stories!!


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