Psychiatric hospitals, or psych wards, are places that help rehabilitate those with serious mental health conditions. Here patients are provided with treatment for their disorders. Patients are often admitted for their own safety, monitored 24/7, undergo group and individual therapy, and when applicable get started on medication to help their symptoms. Time in the psych wards can vary patient to patient. Psych wards are great in getting patients set up to reenter the world with a ton of new supports and resources for their mental health. However, for many the healing process does not begin in the psych ward. The sterile environment of the hospital is nothing like the world outside, and often patients feel isolated and alone.
Alice (name changed for anonymity) wrote a poem after her stay in a psych ward for her depression back when she was a teenager. For her the artificial environment of the psych ward felt very isolating where she was stuck with nothing but her thoughts to keep her company- something not very comforting. To try and pass the time and distract her mind from something other than her negative thoughts, she made up stories, or would try to find shapes in the scuffs along the floor and walls. However all she had at the end of the day was her mind.
In the poem below she explains how the clean and pure walls almost taunted her, reminding her how isolated and trapped in her own mind she was.
“They say that the walls have ears and eyes,
Watching you as your soul slowly dies.
The Crying, hurting the loss of sleep,
Are all part of the secrets they keep.
To pass the time I look at each scuff,
But making stories just isn’t enough.
Stuck in a place meant to reform me,
Doubting if I will ever be free.
The war in my mind still rages on,
The person I once was now is gone.
I bang my fist on that damn white wall,
So pure and white while my insides fall.
Those damn white walls stand there and taunt me,
If to say ‘you will never be free’”
This poem can be found on @Therapyth0ught5 on twitter
Feature Image: Dominik Kuhn, On Unsplash, Creative Commons