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Before I start, I just wanna put a warning to anyone who might be facing the same challenges I did. This may trigger you and as a fellow friend I want what's best for you. You are loved and strong.
Hello, my name is Leah-Rose Evan. A few key things about me are I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, PTSD, Panic Attacks, and being a hormonal teenager. I love writing and reading, some of my favorite things are nature, and all things minimalist/bohemian. You might be asking yourself, how'd it get so bad?
The Psych Ward:
That Tuesday in the emergency room I remember having one of my biggest panic attacks I think I will ever have. I couldn't breathe, I had gagged on my hair in my face, and I probably trembled off a few calories. This was all because of my one biggest fears, the psych ward itself. When I was about in fifth grade, I also went to the hospital for my mental illnesses, but this was for an anxiety attack. When I got there after being physically carried into an ambulance I was told there was no room for me in the child ward so I had to spend the day with adults. As a 10-year-old kid seeing people older than me having panic attacks or yelling to get out was a traumatic experience which leads us back to now. After 9 hours of me screaming and crying for my parents to take me home, I had to face my next biggest fear, the ambulance. I knew in the moment I had no hope that the hospital would help me but my parents most definitely did. So for my parents, I sat down in the gurney and went to LV2, the adolescent floor of the Psychiatric wing. The first moments of being on LV2 were the scariest moments of my life. I was unclothed so doctors could look for self harm and check if my self harm scars were healing correctly. I ate dinner under intense supervision. Then I said goodbye to my parents. When I looked at my father to say goodbye, I felt that they truly abandoned me. It was an unshakable feeling for the night. I cried and cried and cried, but I had a sliver of hope that maybe just maybe I’d leave soon. See the way to get through a psych ward and get better is to do everything they ask you to do and always believe that you're leaving tomorrow.
Second day I woke up to a man checking my blood levels. There was a needle in my arm and I was half unconscious, then there was a crying Leah trying to not to stutter the words, "What are you doing?" Then the doctor proceeded to do my roommate's blood levels and messed up taking the needle out, causing blood to spurt everywhere. To this day I have a slight fear of getting my blood drawn. Beside that, I learned the other patients were just like me. They were lost in the mental illnesses and just as scared. In the mental hospital you want to get comfortable, but not too comfortable. I was getting used to the floor and started going to groups where this guy told me about using positive affirmations to trick your brain into thinking you're incredibly happy. I started telling myself I was loved more often and that I could get through this. When I was having thoughts of friends leaving me, I would tell myself they loved me and that I was a good person. And it worked. On that day I decided I was going to absorb so many coping skills and listen to everyone's advice because I was getting out of there. To no one's surprise my parents came back and we talked about our plans on treatment. I would have a short treatment and be out no later than the next week before my boyfriend's prom.
On the third day I learned that music genres affect your mood tremendously and made several different playlists on paper for my different moods. My sister and her partner came to visit me and I felt even less alone, so did my brother and a close family friend. They comforted me, but something was missing. My boyfriend was not allowed to visit. I was only allowed to call him during phone hour, but unfortunately he worked during that hour. It was hard not having my rock for such a hard journey. By now I kept hearing about a program with the adult patients that you go to as the last step before you are given your discharge date. I was determined to go to this program and continue absorbing coping skills. My roommate and I both really wanted to go and together we would play cards and fantasize about the day we got out.
The fourth day I was allowed to go to this program with the adults and boy was I thrilled. I was tired of writing in crayon to my boyfriend, or playing garbage, or opening my mouth for people to see if the pill they gave me was gone. I had a meeting and found out that that very afternoon, I was being discharged. I went to all my groups for the day and attended the program eagerly waiting for them to give me a time. When my parents got to LV2 they were already so proud of me. I grabbed all my things and changed out of my hospital socks. Leaving LV2 left me feeling guilty. I wondered about the other patients and hoped they would too get better. I wanted all of them to experience that very moment that I was experiencing.
Back to the Real World:
As soon as I walked into New Haven's beauty, I looked up and noticed the window I looked out of from LV2. I started to cry because I hadn't felt free and I knew that this was going to take a lot more work to get through. I was relieved and scared at the same time. My brain kept telling me this was a joke and that I was going to wake up in the ward again. Sometimes I still get that feeling months later. Hello this is Leah-Rose Evan, post ward. Yes, I'm still depressed and yes, technically nothing went away, but I can cope with it so much better. Even though I'm slightly scarred of the psych ward, I'm thankful that it's there. I guess me and the ward are friends now, but distant pen pals. Pen pals who prefer to never see each other again.