Things came to a head last Wednesday, and I asked to go inpatient. I got out yesterday evening. My brain’s a bit numb at the moment.
It was an “interesting” experience. The doctor became highly irritated when I said I only wanted the physical safety/containment without any meds. He wasn’t listening to begin with, but then walked out as I was trying to explain to him why I was refusing meds. Despite going in voluntarily, they set me to involuntary status as soon as I told then I was suicidal. They changed that status back to voluntary the following day on the unit.
I have to say, as frustrating as the hospitals were up north, they are so much worse down here. The doctors talk to you in passing. There is no contact with the social worker outside of the initial bio-psycho-social assessment they rush through in 20 minutes or less. There is no discussion about after-care that I was involved in (they simply told me what they were setting up, without ever asking me what I may be looking for or explaining their rationale).
Most of the stay was bearable, however I had difficulties with flashbacks one night. I had already refused my sleep meds (I hated the way they made me feel, and the dose he had me on knocked me out for the whole rest of the next day) when they started. I had no way to ground myself. The day room had been closed for the night. None of the staff wanted to talk to me (I’m sure they figured I was just trying to be difficult). When I asked the nurse if I could still get the Trazodone, she told me she had already sent it back to the pharmacy and marked it as refused. She said she “knew” I would change my mind about my refusal but did not want to re-order the med. I told her I was having unexpected difficulties with flashbacks, and really needed some help to quiet them. She sent me back to bed dismissively. I chose to walk the halls, as it was lessening them a bit. Finally, the tech came out of the nurse’s station to ask what was wrong. When I told her, she insisted that I needed to pray. I expressed my difference in opinion and requested that she refrain from talking to me about religion. She continued to try to convince me that I needed to “turn to god” to get through things, all the while telling me it was my responsibility to have left the abusive relationships in my life… I must have asked her 5 times to stop before I finally walked away. I returned to my room to sit on the bed (since walking the halls was no longer an option without being preached at). The nurse arrived a few minutes later to tell me she had re-ordered my sleep med (at least the tech helped me out by talking to her). The nurse proceeded to ask about the flashbacks, but chastised me for “allowing the assaults to happen”. She told me I should no longer be effected by any of it, and that 17 years was long enough to “get over it… especially since it was [my] fault.” She also mentioned my lack of faith in her “god” as a reason I was still struggling with all of this. She told me that, had I gone to the police (and church), I would be better off by now. I took the meds and returned to bed.
It never ceases to amaze me how bigoted and just plain ignorant some people in the mental health profession can be. It has taken me years to come to terms with not claiming all of the blame for myself. I know I should have gotten out of the relationship sooner. I know I should have told someone. I know I should have been more forceful in my “no”. But I wasn’t. I can’t change that now… and no amount of religious belief would have changed it, ever.
Needless to say, I’m glad I’m out. It did what it needed to (get me over the hump of the worst of the suicidal thinking), and now I’m ready to move on. I was not accepted back into the IOP program, as they deem me too much of a “risk”. No other local program will accept my type of state insurance, so I will not be doing any type of day program (though the support would be nice). De was off yesterday, so I am not sure if she will be referring me out or not. They hooked me up for meds with the one place I refuse to have dealings. I will not be following through with that appointment. (I also refuse to take meds that only serve to make me more of a risk to myself). I’m pretty much back where I started in terms of supports assuming I can still see De for individual. The mental health care system down here needs some serious over-haul.
Also, I was reminded again of the dismissive attitude of health care workers when you are struggling with mental illness. My cold returned while on the unit, and it took me being unable to get through the 30 seconds with the doctor without coughing violently to finally get cough medicine. I asked to get something for an ear-ache and sore throat as well, but my requests were flat-out ignored. I asked my nurse each shift, I asked the doctor, and I told the techs (hoping ONE of them would at least believe me) to no avail. They seem to think all symptoms are a result of my diagnosis, and nothing other than that needs to be addressed. I will end up having to find a walk-in clinic that takes my insurance and hope that they will be able to do something for the ear ache… I miss my providers up north, at least they listened.