How Not To Be Happy: 63 Things I Learned In A Psychiatric Hospital

How Not To Be Happy: 63 Things I Learned In A Psychiatric Hospital

Kobo ebook | May 10, 2015

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Most of the patients I worked with in the psychiatric hospital had some sort of stressful event prior to their admission. This event made their mental illness symptoms worse. A handful woke up one morning and said, “I think I’ll kill myself today.” Some patients experienced a total disconnect with reality. This happened when someone was hearing voices or seeing things that were not there. Suicide is an interesting phenomenon. I have met 85 year old men who had just lost their wives after 60 years of marriage. They would say they did not want to live anymore. I worked with a 30 year old, stay-at-home mom, who had three children and an abusive husband. She told me her plan was to wait until her husband went to work and the kids went off to school. She would then ingest a bottle of Tylenol, go to bed and never wake up. There were only two patients I worked with in my eight years as a social worker on a psychiatric unit that truly attempted suicide. Ray was a middle aged, divorced man. In a group session, he told us his depression and sense of hopelessness and helplessness had become intolerable. One day he drove his car to a large piece of desolate acreage. He parked on an old dirt trail somewhere close to the middle of the property. He left no suicide note and did not tell anyone where he was going. He had planned this event to end his life several weeks in advance. Ray rigged it so the carbon dioxide filtered right into his car. He recalled the motor humming, lulling him to sleep. Not long after he fell asleep from the fumes, two hunters came along, unexpectedly, and rescued him. Ray recalled this divine intervention, which was the reason for his admission into the psychiatric hospital. The other person made a very serious suicide attempt. The unit staff was abuzz talking about this new patient. Very few staff members entered his room, which he always kept very dark. I knew I had to meet with him to talk about his discharge plan. I know that sounds odd, but hospitals start planning your discharge the minute you are admitted. I was nervous. I knew I was nervous. During the staff report earlier in the morning, I heard about his mangled face and head from the gunshot wound. I entered his room very slowly. He had a “sitter” with him 24/7. A sitter is a hospital staff member who is no more than arm's length away from a person who is actively in danger to themselves. I had my standard speech about my role and what to expect while in the hospital. There was silence. He mumbled something about understanding what I said and wanted to be alone. His eyes were swollen shut and half of the hair on his head was missing from where he shot himself. I truly believe if a person wants to kill themselves, they will. All of the necessary precautions can be put into place. A person can be monitored twenty-four hours a day with cameras. All it takes is a split second for a person to choose to end their life. The following is information and observations I have collected over the years. Please read it with an open mind and an open heart for the millions of people in this world with a mental illness or addiction.
Title:How Not To Be Happy: 63 Things I Learned In A Psychiatric HospitalFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:May 10, 2015Publisher:Lynn DuffyLanguage:English

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