After I returned to El Paso from Tijuana, I was mired in such abject depression I realized I needed some help or I would had ended this turmoil then and there. I had attempted to seek a psychiatrist to administer a prescription to my meds to no avail. I was finally referred to the 1-800 number on the back of my medicaid card for references.
I called and out of the five doctors - one did not accept medicaid, four were not currently taking patients - I was finally told over the phone to try UBH. I had never heard of the place and after googling it, I found it was a brand spanking new nut house located near my apartment.
The following day, I walked the few blocks to the blue-painted hospital and inquired about making an appointment to see a doctor. Please fill out these forms and have a seat. I did and filled them out. Eventually, I was led into another waiting area. Filled with some seriously mentally ill individuals. One old man sat on a couch continuously sobbing about how he looked like Frankenstein.
Anyways, I was finally seen by a polite nurse who escorted me into a private room and asked me a list of usual questions. I answered truthfully all until one:
HER: Have you ever had thoughts of suicide?
ME: All the time. I mean really, who wants to live a life like this? (I was referring to my personal hell the previous decades.)
She continued to ask questions, smiling, and then excused herself from the room. She quickly returned with another lady who also was smiling moronically.
"What brought you here today?" She asked.
"Well, I'd like to make an appointment to see a doctor. If that is possible. I recently returned to El Paso and I need someone to write my prescriptions." I explained.
"Well, what we can do is ask you to stay the night, then you will see a doctor first thing tomorrow morning instead of having to wait up to a month." She beamed.
At first, I said no. As a matter of fact, I said no several times.
"But it's only for one night. Plus, we have a pool, workout room...it'll be like a vacation."
"Ugh. Fine." I rationalized, I live down the street and I know sometimes you had to kiss ass to get things in these joints. I've dealt with them before.
I was escorted - after relinquishing my belt, shoes, and wallet (for protection from other guests. What?) out of the office and through a gated, steel door. clang! Two huge motherfucking black orderlies appeared and I was taken to a tiny office were another nurse informed me I was to be held up to ten days on suicide watch.
"This is bullshit!" I stated. "You can't do this!"
"Under Texas law, we can. You said in your screening that you had suicidal tendencies."
"I thought about it! I wasn't going to do it!"
"Same thing, sir. Now strip."
Several doctors came in and out of the room, jiggling me up there, jiggling me down here, probing and poking. Then I was shown to my room that reeked of vomit and bleach. A sparse room with three cots. My "roomies" consisted of a guy I nicknamed Clompy on account of he would clop up and down the hall loudly all the while yelling how he was going to sue the hospital for malpractice. He looked like Sloth from The Goonies. My other bunky I awarded the moniker Senor Fartabulous - more on that later.
Throughout the rest of the day, I kept being asked to sign this, initial that and they took uncounted blood samples. It was madness. The place was literally Bedlam - like the places you saw in the movies. Catatonic retards played at the air, smelly old bastards giggled at everything and nothing, people yelled, moaned and hollered. And it was co-ed!! Women were mixed in with the men! And I am sure not a sexual deviant among them.
I simply kept in my room and lay in a fetal position on my bed wondering how my day turned out like this.
Night fell, everyone was issued meds - except me - and put to bed. In the dark room, amid long shadows clop-clop-clop until 11 at night when the Thorazine kicked in. Then, Senor Fartabulous began to issue trumpeting farts that would had shamed tuba players around the globe. Long, loud burst! In all my years of staying in slums, shelters, flop houses, and grotto, I had never encountered anyone with the forcing blasts of that mans flatulence. How could his sphincter take that abuse?
Well, being literally farted out of the room, I was granted by the snickering security guards in the hall that I could change rooms. I found one, but I couldn't sleep - fears of leaving that place lobotomized swam too much in my head.
The following days were of course uneventful, but unpleasant. My new roomies consisted an old heroin junkie and an 19 yr old half mex/jap named Jason. A real cutie with a beautiful ass and at least I had him to keep me from really going under. Too bad he was nuttier than squirrel shit.
I saw a doctor during that time who came to the conclusion that not only was I sane, but he had plans to take my pension away and return me to the work force like a common peasant. Fuck that!
Things with the patients got worse. There were several fights, an old hag kept going on about how she was raped everywhere she went, Senor Fartabulous would walk up and down the hall with a sheet over him like a Halloween ghost and yelling, "Pinche putos!!" Then there of course "the Wackers". God!!!
We were let out every three hours to a small quad with a mesh roof to smoke. Jason and I chatted and met a kid named Greg who was locked up for ramming his car through his parents house. I thought, Why doesn't the news ever report these stories instead of mindless fluff and the weather every two minutes?People go to the mental hospital for different reasons, ranging from self-mutilation to homicidal thoughts to eating disorders.
For some people the mental hospital will help them, but for others like me, it only makes them worse.
I absolutely despise mental hospitals. You are deprived from your reality, and they don’t really help you with your problems. They are very dreary and boring as well. They literally just make you sit in a room, where you watch t.v. most of the day. I feel like they don’t actually try to help you, they just lock you away so you won’t hurt yourself or anyone else until you can convince them you’re ‘better’.
The bathrooms have no locks, so you are constantly worrying about someone walking in on you. The showers turn off every 30 seconds so you have to keep turning it back on, and you cannot change the temperature so sometimes it will be too hot or too cold. The staff also does night checks, so they will shine a flashlight on your face every 15 minutes throughout the night to make sure you are still alive. They wake you up very early as well, and you have to go to sleep at 10 every night. The food is alright, I think they are trying to make everyone fat though. Make sure you eat every meal too, because if they suspect you have an eating disorder life there gets worse.
And if you make disturbances to the other inpatients or if you are deemed a threat they will stick a needle in you that makes you fall asleep immediately. They also put on antidepressants if you aren’t already on them. Antidepressants are horrible for your brain. They will dull your mind and you will feel like a zombie. That’s what it did to me at least.
Finally, days later, I was released - fully medicated and pissed off. When I was being processed, the offices up front were closed and I was informed that they had no way of opening the safe which held my affects I gave them when I was committed.
"My keys are in there. How am I going to get into my apartment?" I asked calmly.
The intern left to the front of the offices and returned with, I kid you not, fucking Nurse Ratchet!
"Sir, what we can do, is order you a cab - we will totally pay for it - and we will take you home. You can then return later for your affects. Someone is on their way right now to open the safe."
I wanted to punch that bitch in the face.
She looked at me. I looked at her.
"Don't be like that." She chirped. "Can I see a smile?"
"You have my house keys in that safe." I said calmly. "Going home would be irrelevant." No use being a raving lunatic, I'd be taken back to the ward.
She said she'd see what she could do and walked out. Moments later, she walks out with my stuff. Was that a test? Or were they just fucking with me?
I got out of that crazy-ass place as fast as I could and walked home.