If you Google images for “psychiatric hospital,” you get the stereotypical pictures that show dark, cavernous hallways and things like you see in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: padded walls and straight jackets handed out like electric shock treatments. But in reality, the two psychiatric hospitals I’ve been in for depression, OCD, and an eating disorder have been much less sensationalized than that.
I will grant you that there was a “quiet room” where the seriously ill were sometimes put and restraints were a necessity for some patients, but fortunately for me, that was on the other wing of the floor. The people that I was around were dealing with bi-polar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia or any other variety of mental health issues and usually admitted as a last resort. Maybe there was a suicide attempt, maybe it was a stop-gap for medical stability before being sent to somewhere more intensive. For the most part, even if we didn’t want to be there, we knew that we needed to be there.
While I was in no way “cured” after my two weeks there — I was forced to leave against medical advice because insurance ran out, which is a whole different issue — for my $1,500 a day, I can tell you exactly what I experienced.