Some Perceptions of Hospitalization

A person suffering from mental instability should  not consider hospitalization a “dead end” result of bad behavior or a “last resort” destination. What I mean by “dead end” result is some people believe once they are in hospital they will wallow in their woes and stagnate. This is not true. Nor is it a place they send a person when they are bad or “going crazy”. Crazy is a relative term, on the flipside so is sanity. The hospital staff does not punish someone for their behavior leading up to their admittance, whether it was appropriate or not. They are not a punitive institution. Instead, they strive to make a person understand the precise behavior that put them on the ward in the first place and from where it reared its ugly head. As for being a place of “last resort”, sadly, many people see it as the last place they think of to go when all their other options have run out. It needn’t be so.

“Dead End”

Hospitalization must be seen as a progressive step towards emotional well being rather than a regressive step backwards in one’s psychiatric therapy. This attitude is vital to one’s ability to make the most of one’s stay on the ward. What one must realize, when hospitalized, is that one has a great opportunity to take advantage of the many services offered to them. Some of what the hospital staff provides for a patient is encouragement to make every effort to motivate themselves to face their issues and move on by attempting to work them out in a safe environment. Staff try to gently guide a person toward some semblance of closure with past turmoil and encourage them to look ahead to the future outside of the ward itself, when the patient is eventually discharged.

In a typical ward there are social workers on staff who are there to help a person with an assortment of problems: like legal or financial difficulties. Group therapy sessions take place most every day guided by trained psychologists. There are also group activities planned and lead by qualified counselors. Psychiatric nurses are on staff around the clock to help you through emotional times that may crop up during your stay on the ward. Psychiatrists specifically associated with the ward are there to assist a person in diagnosis and care. Where else would one find all these practitioners under one roof at one time? Frankly, they don’t give a person many opportunities to stagnate, if one wants to find succor (aid, assistance, support). You will also find fellow patients can offer an invaluable support base when needed, they know what you are going through and can identify with a lot of what you are going through. There is always someone around to motivate a person, if that is what the patient wishes and he/she is willing to participate in their own recuperation.

“Last Resort”

Many times people misconstrue what the hospital could truly mean to them in a broader sense of their psychiatric health needs, it’s too bad they don’t have a proper perspective on these institutions, instead they use them only for short-term emergency solutions. Mentally ill people should start to view the hospital as a “safe place” to go when they are experiencing instability in their emotional/psychiatric health before they have an emotional crisis and tear open an “emotional artery”. The psychiatric institution should be seen as an effective tool to keep in one’s mental health tool kit to use in various situations, not just in emergencies. Often the hospital can be used as a preventative means to ward off the full impact of an emotional crisis, keeping the person from exploding into dangerous behavior (self harm/danger to others). It can be used as a middle step rather than the last stepping off point into oblivion.

The wonderful thing about a hospital is it has the ability to pluck a person out of an emotional crisis and place them in a safe, monitored environment with qualified staff to assist them in their recuperation. The hospital can sometimes provide a patient this environment early, before the crisis has a chance to build up to a chaotic state, thus one can side step the worst of it. The hospital is able to monitor a patient and reduce their stress inducers (buttons to be pushed). Then after a few weeks that same patient, who could have suffered a major crisis on the outside, can be gently brought back from the brink and may be discharged into society sooner. The patient would be able to continue outside treatments with less of a chance of suffering repercussions from his/her mania or depression having dealt with his/her situation before it went out of control. The patient is more likely to be able to function normally, because he/she actually never had to go through the trauma from a full-blown crisis such as an actual suicide attempt or an act of threatening/traumatic behavior. Hospitalization doesn’t always have to be the end result or a “last resort” circumstance for a mentally unstable person. It can be a form of intercession therapy to prevent a person from ever having to reach a pivotal crisis point in their illness.

Is Hospitalization Right For Everyone?

* Everyone has the right to mental health care. What type of care is most appropriate for your needs should be the question you ask yourself when considering hospitalization.

This is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is a place where people go with serious emotional health issues. It is not a place you should go because your life isn’t going the way you want it too; however, emotional instability and family crisis can coexist to create a nasty mix. Beds in hospitals are becoming harder and harder to obtain. There are fewer available and sometimes you have to wait hours, even stay overnight in an emergency ward just to obtain one. These beds should be left open for the people who are in real crisis. If you don’t feel critical, perhaps you should seek out help in other places like your psychiatrist, therapist, or other community health workers. You should gauge your emotional condition with a healthy dose of discernment; the fact that you are even able to do that speaks volumes.

We, as bi-polar sufferers, should take steps everyday to avoid instability in our mental health by using all the means afforded to us. Try to monitor and maintain your mental health to prevent having to go into hospital at all. Let’s leave the beds open for the people who are unable to manage their mental health needs on their own and without hospitalization would be in dire circumstances. These may seem like harsh words and I am not trying to dissuade anyone from getting the help they need, all I am saying is that you should make sure you choose the most appropriate care for your needs so you can get the help you deserve.

If, however, you are seriously unstable emotionally and you feel as if you are unable to properly cope with the world in or around you, perhaps seeking aid at an emergency ward near you may be in your best interest. Talk to your doctor or mental health worker about the state of your psychiatric health, they would know best how to direct you on to any further help you may need.

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