I'll admit, I was feeling pretty dang nervous as I walked towards admitting. Instinctively my gut was telling me "Get the hell out of here!" but I wasn't very sure I wanted to listen to that part of me. The admitting area was small and, well, vacant aside from a tired looking woman on the other side of the desk. I sat down and started with:
"I..uh don't know how to do this exactly...but I'd like to be admitted to the psychiatric ward." The woman held up her hands and said to me
"Oh, you need to go see one of the nurses in the E.R. then sweetie." I was told by my therapist they would have my information on hand already...but I'm not one for confrontation so I wandered down to the E.R. And my god it was probably the worst place a nervous wreck like me could have been. Dozens of people were sitting uncomfortably close together like sardines in a really REALLY clean can. I stood there for a few minutes, unsure of what to do, seeing people sitting there, some looking at me. I wondered if they knew I was "crazy" so I smiled and nodded sheepishly.
I finally worked up the nerve to ask the triage nurse what I should do. She responded with questions like:
"Are you having any hallucinations or delusions?" For one thing, I doubt most people having a delusion would agree that their belief was false, so I found that question rather redundant, and answered no. "Have you attempted anything like this before?" I never "attempted" anything remotely close to suicide in my life, just that the thoughts were there and I had dwelt on them a while. So after that I sat down with another woman who gave me some paperwork before the triage nurse finally said "Oh wait, we have orders to admit you...sorry!" I was given a white wristband with my name, date of birth, and some long number printed on it. A porter came to walk me down to the unit. I didn't talk much to him, honestly I thought I was going to be sick. We walked a little while, and when we passed through a door there was a big red sign on the wall
"VISITORS-PSYCHIATRIC FACILITY: please refrain from bringing sharp objects into the facility, please-" I didn't care to read anymore. We stood before a door while a security guard unlocked it. I was in a frigging prison! That was my initial thought, at least. There were two wings of the unit, east and west. I later found out that those patients in the west were the more "unstable" and that it contained a "quiet room" for those patients who posed a danger or disturbance to themselves or others...not something you want to tell a scared eighteen year old kid. My porter escorted me to the east unit and handed my file to my first nurse who I will refer to as Grace. She looked a little bit like my aunt, friendly. Grace gave me a warm smile
"How're you holding up?" I blinked for a moment.
"Was that a serious question?"