Hospitalizations aren’t always typical when you’re mentally ill as not everyone’s illness is the same, but it is common.
According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project briefing, in 2012, there were 8.6 million hospital stays that involved at least some type of mental illness. 1.8 million stays, or about 6.7 percent of that population, were because of mental illnesses.
There are times that inpatient stays are involuntary, but people may choose to check themselves in voluntarily in their local emergency room. Either way, when you get to your hospital they will most likely make you change into your scrubs and put you into a room where they can keep you in view. If there isn’t a room available, a lot of times they will have you sit one-to-one with an employee. They are going to check your vitals, draw blood, and most likely collect a urine sample as well. They do this to medically clear you of anything, but I believe they also check for drugs and alcohol.
Be sure to be honest with your nurse and doctor when they ask you why you came to the hospital. Whether voluntary or involuntary, there’s a reason why you’re there at that time and it’s best to get the help that you want or need.
After questions, it’s a waiting game. It usually takes about an hour for the labs to run your urine and blood, but it’s also a waiting game to see where they will place you. Some hospitals are equipped with a behavioral health floor, but others are not. If you’re voluntary, it’s good to check with your provider about their opinion on the best hospital nearest to you.
Once they have cleared you and found a place, they either will transport you via police car, or some places will let you drive to the location if you’re with a loved one. This is the case for me since I always check in with my husband in tow.
In inpatient, you will be questioned again by a nurse as they do their “intake” interview and vitals. Please be honest as they are there to help you get better. The more honest you are, the better they can help you. Then they will give you a tour of the unit and usually will help with meds immediately for anxiety or sleep.
I’ve been hospitalized four times in two years for different things. In 2018 I checked in because I was in a psychotic state, even though I didn’t know it, and checked in a few months later for depression. I was most recently hospitalized for my Anxiety, PTSD and Bipolar Disorder that went misdiagnosed as Major Depressive Disorder until 2019. During my four stays, at two different hospitals, I’ve learned a few things.
It’s a long process
The whole process of being involuntarily or voluntarily committed to a hospital is a long process. Not only do you do intake interviews two to three times, but the wait in the emergency room can be the longest part. They either keep you while they try to make a bed for you on their behavioral health floor, or the hospital is working to try to get you into a nearby hospital.
This is the most important! Be honest with your nurses, doctors, and therapists while in inpatient. This is crucial in your care and ensuring you get the right treatments. Not only does this apply during inpatient, but also if you are not ready to leave, speak up. One of my hospitalizations, I was released too early because I didn’t tell them I wasn’t ready to leave, and I had to check in to a different hospital a week later.
Find the hospital best for you (if possible)
Do some research if you are voluntarily committing yourself. There are a few hospitals in my area with inpatient beds, but there’s only one hospital that does phenomenal care. If you can, ask your primary doctor about their recommendations.
Make the most of it
Seriously. Make the most out of your hospitalization. While there are times you can’t help but isolate yourself, do your best to get out to the groups.
Wait it out
This means waiting out your entire hospital stay. It doesn’t pay to ask to leave early because you’re homesick. It’s hard to be inpatient, but you’re working on you!
So those are a few things I’ve learned from my inpatient stays. If you have questions about more, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter!