This bravelet got me through my time at Behavioral Hospital. It was much worse than ECT Hospital.
BELONGINGS: What you could and couldn’t have was more strict at Behavioral Hospital. It would disrupt my way of life in a way that ECT Hospital didn’t. No underwire bras; no toothbrushes; no hoodies, even without drawstrings; no full-zip sweaters/fleeces, but quarter-zip was ok (though the head Tech on my unit allowed me to have a full-zip fleece); contact lenses were kept locked in the Medication Room and I had to ask for a new pair each day. Except for the combination shampoo/body wash and lotion, we were not allowed to keep toiletries in our rooms. All of this was a pain in the ass, especially because I had my recent stay at ECT Hospital to compare it to.
FOOD: We didn’t get menus where we could make choices; there was a set menu for the week. During mealtimes, I grew anxious because I wasn’t sure if they’d have a vegetarian meal for me. Most of the time, they did. One day, though, I ate potatoes 4 times: O’Brien potatoes for breakfast (quite good); a twice-baked potato for lunch (dry); parsley mashed potatoes for dinner (not that bad); and potato chips for our night-time snack.
They steamed everything, so the vegetables were mushy, as were the English muffins and waffles. Also, they didn’t salt anything, so the vegetables and other food were bland. Mushy and bland.
Meals were cafeteria-style, where you grab a tray and a plastic fork and spoon (no knives) at the beginning of the line, and slide the tray down the rails to go through the salad bar. I’m picky about salads, so I usually skipped to the area where the servers plop food on a styrofoam plate and hand it to you over the counter.. The only beverages were decaf coffee, (disgustingly) flavored waters, and plain old water. No iced tea or soda because they wanted to limit our caffeine and sugar intake. At ECT Hospital, we could drink whatever the hell we wanted. I remembering ordering 2 coffees each day for breakfast, and iced tea for lunch and dinner.
The one nice thing was the night-time server sometimes passed out desserts: ice cream sandwiches, Rice Krispies treats, mini-Fudge Stripe cookies. A rare treat.
ROOMS: These were okay, except you had to double up. Fortunately, I had a series of 3 very cool roommates, so it wasn’t bad. Still, the private rooms at ECT Hospital are awesome, and you could have your toiletries and your own toothbrush! At Behavioral Hospital they gave you a toothbrush with a flimsy plastic handle that you can break in half to shank someone. One roommate and I were afraid that this might happen to us overnight! (Long and confidential story.) My bathroom wasn’t even cleaned when I was admitted — the first time I went to take a shower, there was a huge clump of hair in the corner. YUCK.
THERAPY: This was definitely better than the groups at ECT Hospital. Those were more educational, while the ones at Behavioral Hospital were often about processing emotions or issues we have. The art therapist was totally awesome, and his groups were fun.
*I looked at and read my bravelet every day, several times a day: “be brave.” And I was.*
What are some situations in which you had to be brave?