Saturday, December 3, 2011

Visiting a Psych. Ward in the Ozarks

Today I went to visit a friend who found it necessary to visit a psych. ward for the first time. It was scary. When I worked with blind people in the prison system, they had to search anything I brought in, Braille teaching books, etc. Same here, but they let me keep my white cane. I was worried that they wouldn't. It was scary giving up my large button, amplified, cell phone. Not being able to see where the staff were, what would I do if I needed help?

I wasn't worried that the individual I visited might loose it and do something dangerous, but I couldn't see other patients in the ward.

All went well and it was hard. I was glad to visit with my friend, but it reminded me of state blind school on a weekend. There, all of the kids who were residential (lived there for months on end) were lonely, bored, and very badly in need of comfort! One instructor from the school began to bring their dog, but had to stop because both the person and dog were mobbed by desperate kids trying to touch another being from the outside.

My friend said they had not seen the sky, felt the weather for days and missed it. While we were visiting a person came over and occasionally interrupted us with questions about himself/herself. I could feel this person's need for kindness and attention and comfort. I smiled at this person while my friend talked to them by name.

I had once considered checking myself into a psych. ward and after visiting, was glad I hadn't. My friend was More than ready to leave!

What they do there is try to get someone admitted stabilized, partly with a round of activities to keep them busy. Also, they administer drugs. My friend went in voluntarily, but was told a Dr. would have to ok his or her leaving. I suppose if my friend left Without the official nod, it would be leaving "Against Medical Advise" (AMA) which counts as a bad grade when one is seeking psychological help.

What surprised me, and shouldn't have in today's economy, was that there was no After Care Planning. My friend quickly realized that no one was going to do anything to fix their problems. My friend was told to find a therapist who would accept Medicaid, the only insurance they are fortunate enough to have. This will not be easy!

So I, possessing only a Bachelor's degree in Socil Work and a whole lot of experience, began talking with the person I visited about after care and that person talked with me about what They thought would work, then took notes on things we Both thought made sense. This person is Truly overwhelmed with their life situation and self-hate. This person is going to need to find things which make them happy to use as comforting rewards, And will need emotional support after leaving the hospital.

Sorry about the awkward writing. But I'm not interested in disclosing what town the hospital was in or anything about my friend.

I hope I can help my friend, but they are right, you have to get help sometimes, But, you Must Invest in your Own life and Healing to survive and hopefully begin to Thrive!

For me, dolls have been a large part of my healing as therapy is scarce here for people without good insurance or money, and Helpful therapy is even More scarce.

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