TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ this post deals with mental health issues: anxiety, depression, eating disorder, body dysmorphia, self harm, suicidal thoughts and hospitalization.
Let’s see, where did I leave off? Ah, yes. The nurse escorted me back to a room where she took my vitals and had me pee in a cup. They have to ensure you’re not on any drugs because that is another facility entirely. After that was finished I was then greeted by a mental health tech. She escorted me to the women’s locker room where they logged all the items I had come with. Everything except the clothes I was wearing where to be kept in a locker until my treatment was done or I signed myself out. They took my phone 😫 which I knew was going to be the case. I had mixed feelings about it. I am tied to my phone too much. Just like most people in today’s social media world, I’m constantly checking Instagram etc.. It is part of the problem, honestly. So, while I felt nervous putting my phone away, I also felt a huge sense of relief from the pressure. The pressure of keeping up with so and so. The pressure of posting the perfectly lit photograph on Instagram to make sure I was portraying the right things. The pressure of having to be the picture perfect Mom from Pinterest. BARF! Yes, please take my phone.
Now before they took my phone I did call and text my husband on what to bring me for my stay. When I was leaving my house I brought nothing but my purse and phone. I was allowed clothing with no strings (I had to pull out my hoodie string), no shoes, just socks, underwear, no toiletries, they provided those, no makeup or hair products etc. it was a basic list and it was fine. They advised me that since I was gluten free, they didn’t have many items on their menu to accommodate but that my husband could bring me snack bars and GF microwave meals. So, before he came to drop off my things he stopped and got me some food.
Soon after all that the tech showed me to my room. The room was huge. It had 2 beds, 2 night stands and one bathroom with shower. The beds were HARD and twin sized. I knew it was going to be a hard time sleeping. Not just because it was a twin and a hard surface but because I was pregnant and use to sleeping on a king size pillow top mattress. I was ok with it, though. I was getting help. I didn’t expect this to be the Ritz by any means. All the fixtures, bathroom toilet, shower and towel hangers were all made for mental health hospitals. Meaning, there was nowhere to hang yourself from. All fixtures were slanted, or switched down upon extra pressure and there were never any strings or ropes etc..
I sat on my bed for a few minutes and just kind of cried and took some breaths. I was really doing this.
I then got up to go out to the commons area. Three other patients were watching a movie. I grabbed some water, crayons and a coloring sheet and sat down. Without a phone you soon learn to occupy yourself with movies, magazines, books and coloring. At least those were some of the options they gave us. Everything was set up pre-smart phone era. It’s crazy how much we depend on our devices. I’ll touch on this throughout my blog entries.
After a while I decided to call my husband to see what the status was on getting my stuff here to me. He asked if he was going to be able to see me while dropping off my stuff and at first I thought yes…. then I knew the answer was no. They’d take my stuff from him, go through it, log it and give it to me. We both cried. I hadn’t said goodbye before I left the house and now we weren’t going to be able to see each other until tomorrow. Although, it wasn’t going to be a long time, it was just a pile up of the days events and all I wanted was to see him and Khloe.
One of the Med techs finally gave me my things and I was able to shower and go to bed. Man, when I say uncomfortable…. these beds were UNCOMFORTABLE. I’ve slept on Summer camp mattresses before and these were worse 🤣. I tossed and turned all night. The med techs are required to check on us every 15 minutes. So, because of that we have to leave our door open a foot so they can see in. Now, I sleep in absolute darkness in my room with a fan on at home. Sleeping in complete silence while someone checks on you every 15 minutes with light shining in is very hard. Being 27 weeks pregnant on a tiny twin bed was a joke but I was still glad to be getting help.
I woke up early the next morning; about 6 am which is one hour before the kitchen opens. I felt sad, second guessing my choice to come here and felt a bit like a loser but I was starving. The over night med tech, Pierce, was at the desk. He had long dreads, was tall and thin and had a very chill demeanor. He said he was going to open the kitchen early. YAY!
All food here was pre packaged microwave meals except the fruit, yogurt and your choice of water, apple juice, orange juice or milk. Since it was my first morning there, I decided to try one of their meals. Big mistake 🤢. Guys, it was so awful. Because of this and having microwaved meals the thought that ran through my head was, “hmm maybe I’ll lose weight while I’m here!”. Ugh, cool Shabana…. glad you still have your priorities in check 🙄.
I called Matthew and asked him to bring me gf breakfast microwave meals when he came to visit me that evening.
While I was trying to choke down my food, Pierce, the med tech, chatted with me about music. He saw my Muse hoodie and it was a great conversation starter. We talked about our favorite music, EDM dj’s etc.. He even told me he also suffered from depression and that he can relate to those of us in his care. I really appreciated him saying that. It’s always a good feeling when the person or people in charge of your care know what it’s like from the other side. He was super cool and I was glad he was there.
After breakfast you can chill for a while. Read, do a puzzle, color, shower, lay back down. No tv though. There were only a few times a day where that was allowed.
Soon after this we were all ( there were 5 of us) taken to a conference room for “group”. This is a group therapy of sorts. Some groups we talked about specific things but this one was kind of an open forum. One of the med techs lead the group and we were able to discuss some of our feelings about being here, what lead us here and what not. I was not afraid to share. I was here for a reason and I had nothing to hide.
SIDE NOTE: I have never looked more busted and not put together as I did during my stay. I was in baggy clothes, no makeup, no hair done, puffy eyes from crying and exhausted. Again, nothing to hide here and it was a relief.
After group is more chill time and time with therapist or the provider. The provider is a nurse practitioner who can prescribe meds. I already knew I didn’t want meds. I have my reasons and I might talk about them in another post but I wanted to focus on the attitude of the provider. Since it was a Saturday the regular week day, in person provider was off. So, they did a tele-visit. It’s just the NP on the computer screen talking to you. We discussed why I was there and then she asked me about medication. I explained I was not interested in meds but rather therapy and learning how to deal with my issues differently. I said I was not against medication. In fact, I am happy it is there for me if I need it and I know it certainly helps people. However, for me, I didn’t want any meds and nothing she could say was going to change my mind.
**Ok, ok, I’ll talk about why I don’t want meds, it is, after all, part of my mental illness. Meds cause weight gain for me. I’ve tried MANY medications and although they work, I cannot wrap my head around the weight I gain. I can workout, eat right and still gain and I certainly do not need the help since I also have Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. My fear of weight gain is so real that I REFUSE, REFUSE to go on medication that has, “may cause weight gain” in the side effects list. It’s a mental block. I can’t. I cannot! It sets my anxiety off on all levels. This is just my honest truth. For me, it’s a no, for now.
The provider was a bit put off by my not wanting to take meds. She kind of made me feel like, “why are you here then.” Although I’m sure that was all in my head but maybe not. I can read people fairly well. She suggested that once I am done being pregnant, that I seek medication. She went on for a bit about the benefits of medication. All of which I already knew because 1.) I have been on medication before and 2.) I am not your average run of the mill patient that doesn’t know anything about medication and care; I always find it necessary to educate myself on things when they pertain to my health. Whether I agree with it or not. She kind of insisted I do meds, said she’d be available all weekend if I changed my mind and that she would leave the option open to the nurses if I so choose to do medication. Cool, thanks. I left feeling a bit defeated and second guessing myself. Maybe I shouldn’t be here. There are certainly people more sick than I that need to be here. I felt upset and sat down in the commons area to think about the whole thing.
Soon after I sat down a nurse came to get me. She needed to take my daily vitals and check in with me. I felt I could talk to her so I expressed how I was feeling after my visit with the provider and that I didn’t want meds. That I felt pressure from her and felt like maybe I shouldn’t be here. She reassured me and said there are plenty of ways to go about working towards mental health without medication and that I did deserve to be here and that I should stay. She was very kind and reassuring. I’m glad I opened up to her instead of milling it over and over in my head.
The rest of the day was kind of a blur. There was a morning snack, therapy session (which I will write about separately), another group, another snack, lunch and dinner and my visit from Matthew and Khloe (which I’ll include on my next post as well).
** I started feeling anxiety at this point in recalling my hospitalization so I’m stopping here for now. I’ll touch deeply on the therapy for that day in the next post…. thank you for reading**
• IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW IS IN CRISIS, THERE US NO SHAME IS ASKING FOR HELP. The Colorado Crisis like is: 1-844-493-8255 or text , “TALK” to 38255. This is a 24/7 line and open to anyone. Colorado Crisis Services.
• Suicide Prevention line: 1-800-273-8255 and they’re also 24/7. Suicide prevention website .