the last thing you want when you are going through a crisis is to be treated without respect. it’s unfortunate that i had to be hospitalized during the past couple weeks. it’s even more unfortunate that i was sent to arbour hospital in jamaica plain, ma. i’m going to tell my insurance company, please let me wait in ER until beds in other hospitals open up and don’t even think about approving arbour hospital as a possible hospital to transfer me to! arbour hospital treats patients like prisoners, or children at best. one counselor said during a group meeting that we should remember the experience when we may be in another crisis so that we would be deterred from engaging in self-harming behavior. and if we should return, he said, they would be waiting. and next time, he said, you won’t get out so fast. listening to what he said, i felt like i was in some prison!
when i was discharged and was leaving arbour hospital, i felt institutionalized. i felt like a staff member should be accompanying me to wait for the cab that was picking me up. and for a while after the discharge, i felt disoriented. i had been stripped of my dignity, to be able to trust in my own ability to do things, and it felt weird that i was sitting alone on the bench outside the hospital waiting for the cab. it was subtle but definitely a different feeling than i experienced when leaving other facilities. i have felt empowered, hopeful and supported when i left the last hospital where i was inpatient. the staff member who discharged me from cambridge hospital told me, that he hopes that i won’t come back as an inpatient. but if i need it, that the staff would be there to help me to manage the crisis. come sooner rather than later he said. come before you act on your impulses. as much as i didn’t want to return as an inpatient, i knew that i would get the help i needed if such an occasion should arise in the future.
ironically, what the counselor said is ringing true in my ears. maybe he knew what he was doing. he was scaring all of us from returning to arbour hospital. for sure, i don’t ever want to end up back there. i’d rather wait in the ER indefinitely for a bed in another hospital to open up. when i am most vulnerable, i was to be treated with respect and care. i don’t want to feel like i am only half human. i want to work with staff who believe that i can recover from my illness. i may relapse again. no one, definitely not me, relapses on purpose. mentally ill patients need more reasons to fight for their life, not less. i felt more trapped at arbour hospital than i have in any other hospitals. and no, i really don’t want to end up back in arbour hospital. and when i need help, i know i won’t get it at arbour hospital.
of course not everyone at the arbour hospital treat their patients with disrespect. some staff members really seemed to care about the well-being of the patients. but i would say at arbour hospital, the rotten apples out weigh the good ones. its’ a shame that those who care about their patients at arbour hosptial are not likely to get the credit they deserve because many patients, like myself, remember arbour hospital as one of the worst places to end up when you most need help.