At the beginning of January, I was hospitalized for a week primarily for my depression. I've also had anxiety issues in the past and social anxiety due to bullying. (I'm a teen, by the way.) I had no idea I would be going to a psychiatric hospital. My mom took me to the doctor to let her know what was going on and to see if she could recommend a therapist. She sent me directly to the hospital. I didn't get to let anyone know where I was going and I didn't have anything with me.
The past five months, it's not even like I've been recovering from depression (which better now.) I've been recovering from the horrific hospital experience.
The psychiatric hospital I went to was horrible. The staff were extremely unpleasant and my psychiatrist didn't seem to know what he was doing. Prior to being admitted I had no experience with a mental health professional whatsoever. The only time I've ever been in a regular hospital was when I got stitches when I was 8 and the only time I've ever gone to the doctor was for a yearly check-up or strep throat. Then suddenly, I was just shoved into what seemed like a jail cell with a bunch of scary kids with mental problems and taken away from my mom. I was completely panicked because my friends didn't know where I was and I felt completely isolated from the world.
The first day I was there, I sat in the corner crying and shaking for probably three hours. No one came to help me. I ended up throwing up later on. My mom came back later to bring me my stuff, but they took half of it away. There weren't many windows so I didn't even know where I WAS. I didn't even know where my own family was.
I cried every day in the hospital. I got to see my mom every day, but they would make her leave after and hour. I felt so controlled, like I was in a prison camp or something. I was still panicking about school and that none of my friends knew where I was and I didn't know what was going on with them.
After six days, I was discharged. I was BEYOND RELIEVED to leave. But right when I got home, things got very, very weird. I got home around two or three and went right to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night extremely scared. I didn't feel like myself. But I was still very lethargic and felt like I couldn't move, so I went back to sleep and woke up the next morning. In the morning, I remember being extremely hot in my sweatshirt. I wanted so badly to take it off but I was too exhausted and afraid to move. Once I brought myself to take it off, I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I figured this was because I couldn't eat anything. It took every bit of energy I had to walk downstairs, and then I collapsed on the couch. I ended up eating barely anything. I tried to stay awake, but I felt like I needed to be sleeping. It wasn't even a tired heaviness...it was like my body was too exhausted that my eyes needed to remain closed. I was probably sick or something, but it was HORRIBLE.
Besides this, my anxiety was at an extreme high. I was a completely different person...I've never felt that way in my entire life. I was numb and emotionally paralyzed. I couldn't find joy out a single thing, not even tv. I was terrified being in my own skin and didn't want anything else but to sleep and to escape whatever this was. I stayed in bed forever. When I couldn't sleep, I became anxious because I couldn't escape this awful sensation. I was also terrified being left alone. Usually I love being left alone and like it when I have the house to myself. When my mom would leave to go to the grocery store, I'd get extremely upset and anxious being alone by myself. I didn't trust myself. I didn't trust what my body could do. I was never NOT anxious. I was terrified of everything, everyone, myself, life.
My thoughts were also bothering me, too. I don't know how to describe it. They were so...distorted? I was very paranoid. Because of the lethargicness, I thought I had some rare disease. I thought there was something wrong with me when I couldn't stop biting my nails. While trying to go to sleep, I became worried I had multiple personality disorder like a girl in the hospital. Because I was worrying about it, it led myself to think up and old man and little girl on the spot. They had names too and I could see pictures of them in my head. I tried to stop this, but couldn't, and eventually fell asleep shaking.
After about two weeks of this complete weirdness- extreme anxiety, paranoia, being afraid of being alone- I started acting a bit more normal and like myself. But I was still so scarred from the situation. Like...I was normal, but still in a complete daze from it that I had to wait to wear off. I did absolutely nothing in school and failed three of my midterm exams. I went through an odd phase around late February or early March where I actually wanted to be back in the hospital, reliving the experience. I have no idea why. Maybe to reconnect myself to the situation? I would smell the lip balm and lotion they gave me to try to remember what it was like.
Well, the "daze" has pretty much worn off by now. However, I still have anxiety over being separated from people and the thought of the hospital and mental illnesses. If one of my friends doesn't show up to class, I freak out, feel alone, and think they either died or have gone to a psychiatric hospital and text them frantically. And it's not just a concerned worry...it's like a shaky, increased breathing rate worry. I had to skip the stress and depression unit in health class because it made me so anxious to talk about depression with other kids around. If I hear someone say they're feeling depressed or see an ad for depression help I completely panic and have to distract myself. I don't understand why.
While freaking out over my friend's whereabouts today, the thought of ptsd hit me. Is it possible to have ptsd from a hospital experience like this?? Should I tell my therapist about it?
Last edited by Administrator; 05-03-2013 at 10:04 PM.
The following user gives a hug of support to Signe: Phoenix (05-04-2013)
I've never posted here before but I've been searching the web for someone with similar feelings of what I'm experiencing, and you're right on target. I was involuntarily hospitalized for 5 days 3 weeks ago, and have been experiencing similar symptoms. While I was in the hospital, I spent every moment absolutely terrified and helpless. I attempted to socialize and seem "normal" in the hopes that they would release me early, but to no avail. I didn't eat, cried every time I was reminded of home, and became paranoid. The first moment I was released, I had a bit of culture shock seeing traffic and commercials on the radio, but I was so happy and relieved to be back with my husband.
The next 2 weeks (even presently), I've had trouble even leaving the house. When my husband leaves for work, all I can do is watch TV and worry, absolutely restless and anxious. I have nightmares and am constantly plagued with memories and the feeling of helplessness. I feel numb and unlike myself, almost in a permanent daze. Exhausted all the time, and fear being alone. Everything is distorted, like you said.
Like your lip balm situation, I brush my hair with the comb they provided for us. I sometimes feel like I want to return to the hospital, just because I feel so desensitized and unreal here.
I'm relieved to hear that you're feeling more like yourself, all I can do is hope to have that feeling again.
This post didn't give any sort of advice, although I would highly recommend discussing this with your therapist, they will help the anxiety and separation/ abandonment issues. I just wanted to let you know that there is someone out there that understands.