I was inspired to write about something very messed up…..the abuse of power in the psyhiatric unit.

Reading about someone posting a supposed medical document from a doctor in a psych unit that only furthers mental illness stigma, I was reminded of one of my visits to one in the west side of Michigan.  Hands down, the worst visit of all of my seven.  Sort of cannot believe I am writing about this because it makes me mad or relive the negativity of it all, but here we go.

I spent a week and a half there due to my bipolar illness and going off my meds cold turkey.  A judge in a nearby town ordered me in due to I tried fighting a girl I perceived was trying to start something with me but since I was manic, my perceptions were all off.  Off I went , and put in by the police, and hour-long drive, being pissed off that I was being put in against my will.  Most of the time, I just would put myself in voluntarily.

Once in and settled in, if you can call it that, I was in a room with two other women who were very nice and we made friends.  You do your best to be there when you cannot leave; knowing that you are subject to the staff’s orders.  There was one nurse there that I will not forget.  She was 60 I am guessing and the head nurse on that unit.  She reminded me of someone who probably bullied others throughout her life in different situations to show her dominance.  I preferred to avoid her at all costs because the vibes I got were just bad.  You ever just watch someone’s body language and listen to their tone of voice knowing their bad news all around?  That was this nurse.

One day I was crying a lot, and could not stop.  She told me to calm down or else.  Well, it just was not happening and to cry loudly felt natural.  Feeling in despair and scared; she cornered me in my room demanding I calm down, it only made me feel worse.  Literally cornering me like a little child being scolded by your parent or something, this is what she deemed appropriate.  I told her to back up out of my personal space and I was not a child nor was she my parent.  I am well versed on what these nurses can and cannot do due to legal wording I have read that they give you when you become an inpatient and if you feel wronged, they give you the number to call for a patient service advocate.  So back up to the situation, she was out-of-bounds and not backing up.  She eventually had her other nurses give me a shot forcefully to basically goto sleep against my will.  They will do this to you if your too loud.  When I woke, I was very mad that this was given to me.

Pulling out my paperwork in my folder, I found that number and called it.  The advocate arrived sometime after and meet with me in a conference room while she documented my story.  Also, I had told her that she was not cordial or nice to other patients and other smaller things I have witnessed.  During that conversation, I told her I was not comfortable with this nurse being on the unit while I was there.  I did not understand I told her why this woman works on this unit of all places with people already hurting?  Can you believe the woman told me this woman they were already trying to replace due to multiple complaints and could not find someone qualified enough to replace her?  WHAT?  Let me get this straight, you keep a witch on here while you look for someone else?  How many times has this happened to others while the hospital just settles?  Dumbfounded, shocked, and scared, I said I cannot be on this unit while she is there.  I told her how appalled at the cop-out of human resources as well.

Soon after, she was removed from the unit.  I do not know what happened to her after that, but when I was released, my roommates were scared for themselves once I left.  I guess they saw me as the whistle-blower and the one who stood up to the bully there.  Also, the group think mentality plays in, because whatever other nurse she manages will do as she orders, so they knew they were screwed if she returned after I left.  I tried to console them before I left, but knowing all too well that she could just return after I left.  Put her back while they search for her replacement or hoping she would retire because she was at that age I guess.

Vowing to never return to that place and to be as far away from that hospital near the water if I ever needed help again; I have never been near the town of Ludington , Michigan again.  I advise anyone else to never seek help there either if you happen to visit the happy lake front town either.  Not such a happy place after all.

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