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Here’s what happened from my experience.
First you’ll have an initial assessment. This is just kind of where they figure out what sort of treatment you need (ie. medications, potential diagnoses), and start building your treatment team (your psychiatrist, social worker, nurses, and therapists). They’ll ask a lot of questions and have you fill out some papers. The best thing you can do during your assessment is to be completely honest with them about what’s going on.
Upon intake, they’ll probably have you strip down and put on a hospital gown for a few minutes while they check through your pockets for sharp materials or anything deemed dangerous. At the psychiatric facilities I have been in, I was not allowed hard-soled shoes, things with laces or drawstrings, bras with underwire, and et cetera. They will also check through the bag that you bring/have brought to you (if you do have one brought to you) that could have other clothing and toiletries. If you don’t have one brought to you, they’ll supply what you need to you. I asked my mother to bring me a quilt off of my bed, a pair of jeans, some yoga pants, and a couple of T-shirts. My facility did not allow razors (for obvious reasons) or battery-powered anything, so be certain you check about those rules. If they confiscate something, it will be put in a box with your name on it in a locked room and returned to you at the end of your stay. Other things that most facilities limit your access to may include electronics, pens/pencils, wire-bound books/notebooks, and/or anything that could potentially be used to harm yourself or someone else.
During the duration of your stay, you’ll probably spend most of your time in group therapy sessions, where everyone on your floor or in your unit gets together and talks. There are usually different kinds of therapy. Some are just talking about your goals for recovery and talking about struggles your having. Some will have you fill out worksheets and do some activities. Most treatment centers will have some sort of art or creative therapy session (which was always my favorite).
If it’s during the school year, some treatment centers will take an hour out of the weekdays for you to work on whatever schoolwork your school faxed over for you so that you don’t fall too far behind. If you do fall behind, just communicate with your teachers and your guidance or academic counselor to figure out what you can do to get back on track as quickly (and as sanely) as possible. They’ll work with you, so don’t stress about it.
Throughout your stay, you’ll have visits with your psychiatrist every few days, which will be a one-on-one meeting to discuss how you’re feeling and medication options. Be sure you tell them exactly what’s going on, especially if it’s negative, as some people have very negative reactions to medications, and if it’s your first experience with the mental health care system, the chances of you getting misdiagnosed your first time around are higher. An example of that would be that I was first diagnosed with major depression and put on Prozac, however I actually have bipolar disorder, so the Prozac made the bipolar worse and I had to be switched to a mood stabilizer.
There will be downtime. Some places will have movie nights within your unit or will let you listen to music or draw during rec time. Other places encourage more R&R time.
Don’t expect to have much privacy in an inpatient psychiatric facility. You will be checked up on a lot (the places I’ve been to came around and did a head count every fifteen to twenty minutes), and you will probably have someone standing right outside the bathroom when you shower. It’s annoying sometimes, but you do get used to it after a couple of days.
I’m proud of you for considering treatment, love. Take care, and let me know if you have any other questions.
Hearts and kibble,
"If it wasn’t for this job, I’d still be on heroin. A few years ago, one of my bosses came to me, and he said: ‘You’re approaching a crossroads in life, and pretty soon there will be no turning back.’ Then he told me: ‘Go to rehab right now. And your job waiting for you when you get back.’"
"What was the boss’s name?"
Even though some of the links go directly to the iTunes or Android store, still double check them because most of them are available of both platforms as well as others :)
- 12 Steps AA Companion (iTunes/Android)
- Alura: Cognitive Therapy
- ASK & Prevent Suicide (iTunes/Android)
- Beating the Blues
- Beat Panic
- Beat Social Phobia (iTunes/Android)
- BellyBio Interactive Breathing
- Body Beautiful
- CBT Referee
- Circle of 6
- Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help
- Cognitive Enhancement Therapy
- Constant Therapy
- Control Alcohol (iTunes/Android)
- DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach
- DBT Self Help
- Depression CBT Self-Help Guide
- Eating D
- eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker
- Emotions and Feelings - AutismFeelings Book
- Fit Brains
- Focus Trainer
- Happy Habits: Choose Happiness
- HELP Prevent Suicide (iTunes/Android)
- ImQuit – Quit Addiction
- Kissy Project
- Life Mood
- LifeLine Response
- Live Happy
- Mobicip Safe Browser with Parental Control
- Mood and Anxiety Diary
- Mood Panda
- Mood Tracker
- Mood Tracking Journal and Diary
- Mood Watch
- MoodMaster Anti-Depression App
- Moody Me
- My Mood Tracker
- OneHealth Meeting Finder
- OnWatch (iTunes/Android)
- Operation Reach Out (iTunes/Android)
- Overcoming Social Anxiety
- Panic Aid
- Project Toe
- PTSD Coach
- QPR Suicide Crisis Support
- Recovery Box
- Recovery Record
- Rise Up + Recover
- Sad Scale
- SAFE Alternatives
- Safe Helpline
- Safety App
- Safety Plan
- SAM – Self Help for Anxiety Management
- SAS – Social Anxiety Support
- Scientific Brain Training Pro
- Self-Esteem Blackboard
- Self Help Classics
- Sobriety Counter
- Stop Panic & Anxiety Self Help
- Stop Drinking (iTunes/Android)
- Suicide Lifeguard
- T2 Mood Tracker
- Take Control
- Teen Hotlines
- The Now
- This Way Up
- Thought Diary
- Watch Over Me – Personal Safety App
- Way of Life
- Wingman Project
- Worry Box- Anxiety Self Help