Psychiatric ER

Isaiah 35:4 – “Be strong, do not fear, your God will come, he will come with vengeance, with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Journal Entry 4 – April 4, 2016
“This entry is in pencil because I am in patient. We are not allowed to have pens. It did not go as originally planned. We were to go to the perinatal unit at UNC Chapel Hill. When I got here through the ER, they admitted me. However, I was stripped of all clothing except my underwear and bra. I could only keep my bra because I have no underwire. I get no pens, makeup, no locked bathrooms, no toilet seat, video taped 24 hrs a day, and timed showers. Everyone is trying to be sweet. I am so scared and anxious. Praying they can help me soon, and I can become a mom again.
Psalm 66:10-12 ‘For you, O God, tested us, you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison, and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads, we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.’
I fell like Joseph’s experience in prison could be similar to my time in the psychiatric hospital. Changing qualities and character within myself to make me a better servant and leader. To learn to be more compassionate and outward focused.
Stop asking God why and ask God what? These are training experiences I need to take advantage of. I am not to be pitied. I am to serve.”
The sliding doors opened. I stepped tentatively inside. They were waiting for me. My husband had called earlier to let them know we were on our way. Their eyes were not kind, filled with compassion, they were distant and separated. I wondered if I had made a mistake. I was told this facility was not like the others, here I would be treated with dignity and respect. I could trust these people, they would bring me healing. Then, the doors closed.
They convinced me that I was just giving my intake information. I left my husband, my baby, and my dad in the waiting room. I gave them my information. “Are you wanting to harm yourself?” they asked. “Yes,” I responded. “Do you want to harm your baby or others?” “Absolutely not,” I said. However, I could understand how someone would, if they felt this way. There was no judgment from me. A door opened on the other side of the room. “Can I say goodbye to my baby?” The doors locked, “No.” “Please,” I begged. Not sure what would happen next. There was no apology, just asking me to follow them down the hallway.
I stepped into a 4ftx4ft room. There was a small green chair. “Take off all of your clothes,” she demanded. “Can I please keep my bra? I am nursing and I need the support.” She inspected it, groping me. “It can stay.” What a relief. She handed me a gown. “Where are you taking me?,” I inquired. “To a room like this.” Bright lights, a small chair, white walls. I was beginning to panic. However, I knew I couldn’t break down, couldn’t loose it because they were gathering evidence. Wanting to know how sick I was, how long I needed to say. My rights were gone. I followed her out of the room and down to the psychiatric ER. The rooms were padded, there were cameras everywhere. There was a hard bed, and a small chair for family to sit in. There were no locks, not even on the bathrooms. There wasn’t even a toilet seat. I had to have my husband keep watch so I could use the facilities. I had been in for about 30 minutes, when I felt like I had made a mistake. Surely, how I was feeling before would only get worse, when you add in a dose of terror.
The next few hours were full or worry and fear. Nurses came in to talk to me, one doctor, then another. All asking so many questions, wanting to know how I was feeling and how I ended up there. It was so dark. No windows, low light. It was easy to feel trapped. I tried not to go out into the common area. I was too concerning. Everyone was in gowns, waiting, it felt so exposed. I could also tell some of these people were frequent fliers. The nurse later admitted to this. Many of these individuals come in all of the time, for going off medication. They either can’t afford it or don’t think they need it. I know something, I don’t care what I have to take and for how long. All I want is to feel like myself again, whatever it takes.

I started to get claustraphobic. So, I decided to do some yoga on my bed. There wasn’t room on the floor and it was dirty. I eventually get told to stop because I am too close to the ceiling when I stand up straight. They believe this will lead to me hurting myself, how I am not sure. There is nothing to do. It is overwhelming. My minds races. I don’t know what I would have done, if my dad and Brian hadn’t been there. It is almost night time but my chest starts to feel heavy. I haven’t pumped all day. I ask the nurse what I can do. He scolds me for even considering feeding my baby my breastmilk, although I am on medications that are safe for lactation. I cry, while I wait for him to come back. When he returns, he tosses a towel and a bucket on the floor and tells me to squeeze it out. My husband is horrified. He calls the head of the Perinatal Unit and she gets them to take me to pump. I am told I am getting special treatment, and that I should feel privileged. I am taken to a procedure room that hasn’t been cleaned. The nurse watches while I sit on a chair and pump. There is vomit in the sink and bloody gauze all over the floor. Now I feel like an animal. I feel like I have lost all my rights and self-respect. It was humiliating.
After I was done, I made my way back to my room. I ate dinner that evening and took my medication to help me fall asleep. The next morning, I would be taken to the crisis unit.


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