My Experience with Psychiatric Departments in Hospitals

The first night I went to the ER for a psych evaluation was December 2, 2016. I remember feeling really manic and the feeling was all too familiar (I had my first manic episode back in April when I was working full-time) because I’ve read up on the symptoms of bipolar disorder and I remember how I was back then so vividly. I immediately asked my friends what they thought, and I then texted my psychologist (at the time) to gather her opinion. We came to the conclusion that in that moment, there would probably be no psychiatrists that I could see so quickly.  We then decided that going to the ER was the best option available. I was at Hercules’ house actually with Peanut Better and Tender Kare, but I decided to go home and wait for Kindness (Kevin) to come pick me up after work so me and him could go together. Upon arrival, I was admitted to the psych department  pretty quickly. The whole time I was self-coaching in the sense that I constantly reminded myself to stay calm and that I’m fully aware of my symptoms, that I am not crazy. The nurse practitioner saw me first and asked me why I was there, asked me of my medical history, etc. Then the waiting game began – I had to wait for the psychiatrist to see me, probably because they were observing me. Anyway, the doctor finally came and we talked for thirty minutes or so. He came to the conclusion that since I’ve only sat with him for such a short period of time, he couldn’t really gather much about me in the time being. I was however, diagnosed with adjustment disorder. They then discharged me because they felt that I didn’t need to be there for the time being.

The following week on Saturday, December 10, 2016 I again found myself back in the same place, at the same facility. This time it was after my third therapy session – you see, during my second session, my psychologist back then (I have a new one that I see now that takes my insurance), drew up a new hypothesis and gathered that I may just have depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder and a high reactivity to things. But after this last session, she concluded that my condition may be very severe and that I needed to be fully diagnosed by a psychiatrist again. This time, though, when I went to the ER, I was seen for medical conditions as well because I often times have chest and abdominal pain, along with headaches too. After doing multiple tests and talking to multiple doctors and nurses, I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I got discharged again, because I guess they felt that if I continued to go to therapy and continued doing what I was doing, I would be okay.

Life is funny. Why you may ask? Because I actually self-diagnosed myself with bipolar disorder back in July (when I was starting that depressive state) – I just chose to ignore it and I chose to not seek professional help. A couple of my friends also had this inclination as well. Regardless, I am glad that I was finally diagnosed by a group of professionals who I trust fully.

I went to the ER again on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 but to NY Presbyterian Cornell this time. I know, my medical bill is probably through the roof – yikes.  I was feeling pretty bad the day and week prior, probably because of yet another anxiety attack. A lot of the times, my brain moves way faster than my body and that has its serious pros and cons. Sometimes I think the cons outweigh the pros, but to be honest, I kind of love that my brain moves so quickly. I digress. I went this time more so because of the physical pain that I was having (listed above) and oftentimes my eyes hurt too. So, my wonderful boyfriend drove me and my mother to the city so that I seek even more help. I could have gone to Northwell LIJ again, but someone recommended to us that NY Presbyterian would be a great place for me to go. After spending some time on a stretcher for blood work, medication, x-rays, etc., I was transferred to the psych department. I spent the night there (my first time spending the night) and to be quite honest, I didn’t mind it at all. Since I’m pretty restless when I’m manic, I was able to create conversation with the staff and the patients! I love that about being in a hospital. Also, when admitted, you get your phone taken away so you’re pretty much living the life of a hippie inside a hospital’s psych department, ha ha. I met this one friend who stayed up with me the whole night. We talked about topics that ranged from music, politics, technology, our lives, history, everything. It was great. We also made art together! I’ll post the picture below. It was awesome. I ended up sleeping somewhat, and the next day my brother came to visit me. I was so happy. Then, they transferred me over to the psychiatric ward in Gracie Square Hospital probably because the living space is much bigger there.

Moving on to my week long stay in the psych ward of Gracie Square Hospital. What can I say? My time there was absolutely humbling and amazing (for the most part). Of course there were days where I REALLY did not want to be there mainly because I hated being stuck indoors within one floor of a hospital, and because of the fact that I wanted to be home for Christmas with my family and friends – but other than that, I didn’t mind being there because I guess I needed it. My favorite part about being in a psych ward (to be honest, it felt like a mini vacation because I was fed four meals, I could shower whenever I wanted, you get your own room or you share a room, etc.) was definitely being able to create conversation and community with the staff and the other patients there. I love learning new things so I love picking people’s brains – especially older people and people from different backgrounds/walks of life. I sat alongside drug addicts, alcoholics, and I sat in AA meetings (even though I am not an alcoholic). The main thing that I learned though was that we all wanted to better ourselves. Not for anyone else, but for ourselves. I learned a lot of therapeutic coping mechanisms, and they have become all things that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

I had some favorite individuals that I liked talking to because they taught me so much within our conversations. I was able to even practice my Spanish and Tagalog (the Filipino dialect – my friends taught me phrases) to the nurses and technicians and even the other patients! I learned a lot about Greek mythology and the ways of the Grecian, how it’s like to be a nurse, I learned a lot about pills, etc. I just learned a lot and it was so awesome.

In conclusion, this goes back to me saying “everything happens for a reason”. I think a lot of the times I become irritable and impatient because I just want to get things done my way. But why not live in the moment? Why not be where you’re supposed to be at that very second? I believe that the past is the past, and the present is the present. You can’t change the past but you can control your future. If you don’t like something, change it. Keep your goals dear to your heart for the future, but know that things may not go accordingly to how you wish they may. And that’s okay. It’ll all be okay. You live and you learn.

P.S. the first photo above is a picture of the socks that hospitals give you! They’re so cool because the bottom has grips which prevent you from falling.


B. T.

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