Okay, so a few of your screws are REALLY loose…

"Upscale" private room

Like the shades? They belong to an RN named David. It was the only way I would consent to be photographed.  

Okay, an example of involuntary travel here. For whatever reason you have just found yourself in either a mental health wing/floor at a hospital or have your own room at your local Sunnyvale Asylum. I’ve done this one a few times; and the rules are a little different for the two and also depend on whether you are there of your own free-ish will, i.e. sane enough to ask someone to take you to one, or rather arrived there in the back of a police car with or without handcuffs.

In the worst case scenario, you have either just tried to off yourself or have gone batshit in a public place but in such away you did not hurt anyone else. (If someone else is hurt, the process is different and usually includes a cell.) Next you were processed at your local ER and it was decided that you were going to live. Step two of the process is an either/or. You will be 

a) escorted to a tighter security mental health wing of the hospital where you will be very throughly searched outside and in and then watched for 72 hours. And I do mean watched. You will not sleep, eat, or pee alone. You will be dressed in either a hospital robe or in sweat shorts and a cotton one piece shirt so that you will not be able to conceal anything or hang yourself. All of your personal effects will be taken from you…and you will be entirely reliant on staff for care. After that there will be a communal evaluation by your physicians to decide whether or not you need longer term care. During that watch period you will not be allowed to communicate at all with the outside world. Or they with you. 

b) taken directly to a long term care facility where you will be watched for seven days with all of the above occurring again but in less pleasant surroundings. 

In either place, there will be medications, dietary restrictions, restricted visitation rights (if any), and almost no civil rights until your doctors adjudge you sane enough not to hurt yourself or others. Restraints -physical and chemical – can also play a role. As can electroshock therapy. 

My best advice to involuntaries? Co-operate. Do what you are told when you are told and do not play games with your keepers. Believe me they have seen it all. And they can hold you as long as they choose. And stay away from the other patients as much as you can. They might be crazier than you are. Nonetheless try not to be offensive to them either, it is a good idea to cultivate a polite aloofness here.

If you are a voluntary committal, then almost all of the above still happens but you have more rights. You can contact people in the outside world and you can have more regular visitors. You may be allowed to keep some of your possessions, and will certainly be allowed to keep your own clothes within reason. Dangerous items will still be taken away from you, however, and you will have to go through the watch period. You have more say in the course of treatment and in your daily schedule. You can discharge yourself from care at almost any time. I still recommend being courteous to employees and to your medical aid workers. They can always decide that you might need to have your status change to “involuntary” if you make their lives too hard or dangerous. 

I will write more and more in depth on this topic later but those are the very basics…there are obviously more things to cover, like the difference in private and public facilities and the levels of care, how much this is going to cost you ( mentally, physically, and financially), and what to expect in system. I’ll cover all that later when I am not so tired.

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