You Don’t Need to be Ashamed of Being Hospitalized for your Mental Illness

Why is it that we’ve normalized being in the hospital for physical illnesses; but when it comes to mental health you’re immediately labeled crazy for being hospitalized. Society has played out hospitalization for your mental health in a negative way. Only the “crazy” people go into the psych ward.

I’m here to tell you that is wrong and the stigma needs to end. I was embarrassed and ashamed for a long time that I was hospitalized for my mental health. I kept it a secret from family members and friends because I was so embarrassed. I knew the negative stigma it had behind it and I didn’t want to be labeled as the “crazy” girl who spent time in the psych ward.

If you’re in the hospital for a physical illness it has a completely different stigma and no one is quick to judge over that. But God forbid you go into the psych ward people will immediately judge you for being crazy.

I committed myself into the psych ward when I was 18 years old. I was at an extremely low point with my depression. I was struggling on a daily basis with suicidal thoughts & self harm, and I knew that if I didn’t go to the hospital to get help I was going to harm myself.

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me when I was in there, but I knew I needed the help. I didn’t know much about a mental hospital except for what I read in psychology books and some movies like One Flew Over’s the Cuckoo’s Nest. My perception was completely wrong and that’s why more people need to speak up about being hospitalized. If I weren’t hospitalized I probably wouldn’t be here writing this today.

I stayed the full 72 hours in the mental hospital and it was an experience I would never forget. My first day there I was a little scared because I was the youngest in the adult ward. I was admitted into the “crisis” ward since I had tried to kill myself and was with others who had struggled with suicide like myself. I was surprised with how normal everyone was though. In books and movies they make it seem like everyone is bat shit crazy going off their rocker screaming random words every second. That is not at all what it’s like.

Yes, there were some in there with more severe illnesses than others, but it wasn’t as bad as society makes it out to be. They had separated the sections to where it was a female section of the psych ward along with a male section of the psych ward. We were allowed “rec” time once a day for an hour where we got to go outside and socialize with everyone.

They had taken most of my belongings when I was admitted, so I was without a phone for those three days. There was a small library so, I did a lot of reading while I was in there. I also got to know the other women in my area as well. They were all very nice & welcoming towards me. It was interesting hearing their own stories, some were rape victims, domestic violence victims, been on and off medications, and just wanted help & support.

I’ll admit I was a little quick to judge my first day there and kept thinking to myself, “I don’t belong in here. I’m not crazy at all like the other people in here.” But the more I got to know the others, the more I realized they were normal too. Just because we’ve struggled with self-harm and have a mental illness doesn’t mean we’re crazy and should be an outcast to society.

Having spent the three days in the mental hospital taught me a lot. The biggest lesson it taught me was to not be so quick to judge. Each one of us is doing the best we can to survive and it is perfectly okay to reach out for help. It helped me accept my own mental illness and to receive the help I needed for a long time.

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17 Replies to “You Don’t Need to be Ashamed of Being Hospitalized for your Mental Illness”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I think we’re all a little crazy, and you gotta work with what you have instead of hating it.

    Now, if I can keep remembering that, I’ll do better. 😉

  2. I have been in the hospital on five different occasions. In every one of them it was the best thing for me. I have had mostly good experiences and I am grateful for that. I agree that the stigma is unfortunate and unwarranted. Perhaps by more people speaking out that will someday go away. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. This post you have written is a great example of stigma that should not happen. Hopefully very soon, people will realise that hospital for the mentally ill are not ‘crazy’ and just need help to get out of a very difficult situation.
    My mum has been on a mental health ward twice. The first time happened when I was at school and had so many months in one. Mum stopped taking her meds.
    The next being this year, which my mum had just over a slightly a month. I found my mum unconscious and unresponsive, which I learnt later that she took an overdose. Her ward was just as you described you found.
    All staff very lovely and helpful, to get her back on a path of recovery.
    Mum is now receiving support outside.

  4. From my early teen years, i would go after school to see my farther, when my father was in hospital, this was when my father was being weened off his meds, one med to another..

    Experiencing this, is what gave me strengh, through my struggles and i simply want to strive to help other’s..

  5. From my early teen years, i would visit my father most nights after school, this was when my father was being weened on and off one med to another med..

    Experiences like this gave me strengh, to cope with my adversity and also helped me strive to become who i am today..

    More needs to be done inorder to gain better support for mental health..

    Because mind over matter, simply doesn’t fit well..

  6. I’ve been hospitalized once for mental health. It was hard on my pride at first. I saw so many others struggling with their shame over it too. One lady cried endlessly for days because she felt she had “fallen so far”. Seeing her pain actually kind of helped me let go of my own shame because I felt such empathy for her and felt like I should show that same attitude to my own issues.

  7. I don’t know if that stigma will ever go away, but I’m thankful for blogs like this and wordpress bloggers. I’ve learned so much since I started blogging.

  8. I have never been hospitalised but I struggle on a daily basis with my anxiety and depression and horrible thoughts this is a great post and you shouldn’t have shame.

  9. I’ ve been hospitalized three times and with each time I became less embarrassed about the idea of being in the psychward. However, my mother would tell relatives, I was “taking a vacation” which really confused me and made be feel worse about the whole experience. Thanks for sharing I do believe there is an unnecessary stigma attached to being in the hospital for mental health issues.

  10. I was hospitalised in a mental health facility after having spent a month in a medical ward. At the time I was amazed at how people who knew me would assume that ‘I shouldn’t be there’ because I wasn’t ‘crazy’. However, the majority of people in the clinic were not ‘crazy’ but people visiting me would assume they were purely because of where they were. The stigma is shifting from the days I was on the ward and only hope it continues to improve.

  11. Never be ashamed of who you are and what you’ve been through. Your a beautiful soul that has much to offer the world. Thank you for sharing. Positive energy sent to you

  12. Thanks for sharing this, it’s a very important topic.
    I stayed in a mental hospital for 24 hours when i was 13 (or well,not exactly a mental hospital since we don’t have those in sweden anymore, but it was something similar), i had decided that i was going to kill myself and the 24 hours there saved my life, at the time i was really angry and i said that it wasn’t their right to save me – after all, they were saving someone who did not want to be saved. Now 6 years later i still have suicidal thoughts every day but i am grateful that i did not die in 2013.

  13. I’ve been hospitalized for mental illness – the first time I was involuntarily committed, and that was hard, but like your experience, it was nothing like I expected and I got a lot of help.
    Thank you for writing this. You’ve inspired me to write about my own experience!

  14. You’re courageous for sharing. I’ve been hospitalized twice and it is so difficult when people ask why you were in the hospital. The stigma surrounding mental health is unbearable. Now if the topic comes up I say something like I’m certifiably crazy!! I make light of it so I don’t have to get deep into conversation. I change the subject very quickly.

  15. I have not been hospitalized, but there are a couple of times when it might have been a good idea. I was afraid though–partly because of all the stories I’d heard or movies I’d seen. I was afraid it would make me feel more alone or more desperate. It’s actually very helpful to read accounts like yours. It makes it seem more like a safe, viable option that could makes sense for some people under some circumstances. I hope I won’t be in a place where I need it in the future, but if I do, I know I’ll remember your post, so thank you.

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