My Experience with My Recent Hospitalization for Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder

My Experience with My Recent Hospitalization for Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder

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00:00
- Hi, everyone, so you may have noticed that I've been a little bit more absent over the last month or two, and you may have seen on my Instagram or in the community section that I had a recent hospitalization, and this is why I've been absent from the channel. So, I just wanted to provide a little bit of an update about what exactly happened, what led me to be hospitalized and what that experience this was like for me. So, my actual hospitalization took place in October, but there was several factors that I want to talk first about that kind of led up to why I was hospitalized. So, I guess when it boils down to it, what basically happened was that I stopped taking my medication. But on top of this, there are a lot of other stressful life factors going on that kind of contributed to my worsening condition. And that led to me being hospitalized. So, these included kind of a stressful work schedule, where I was doing a lot of speaking engagements in other cities throughout the province that included a lot of travel
01:02
and kind of altered sleeping schedules, which really is something that really affects me when my sleeping is off. That is generally an early warning sign or indication that things are not going well. So, to have my sleep schedule kind of thrown off by work ended up being kind of harmful and I was also having different life stressors like I was in a relationship conflict at the time time, and just everyday stressors, like taking care of kids. And another factor that I'm kind of learning plays a really big role in terms of my wellness and my stability is the changing of seasons. So, my last hospitalization was almost exactly three years ago. It took place in October as well. And so I think that the changing of the season, so particularly from summer to fall and from winter to spring, those are kind of periods of time that I kind of need to look out for a little bit more and be a little bit more diligent about self-care
02:04
during those periods of time. So in summary of all that, basically there was just a lot of different life stressors going on at the time that kind of led to a bit of a spiraling in terms of my mental wellness. And this coupled with the fact that I was going through a bit of a dip in terms of my mood and I didn't have a lot of motivation or anything at the time. And a lot of the negative symptoms were coming to light more. And during this time, I ran out of my medications and it started off with me just not really caring about refilling them and not really having the motivation to go to the pharmacy and to get them refilled and that kind of spiraled into delusional thought around medication and not wanting to take the medication because I thought that it was poisonous or that it was being used for mind control, which I've talked about in other videos as kind of common delusions of mine. So, there was a lot of factors at play that kind of led to me being off medications
03:06
and led to the spiraling that happened in terms of my mental wellbeing. So, when things really got to a crisis point, it was one night where I got into a bit of a conflict with my partner because he thought that I wasn't safe to drive on my own. And I really, really wanted to get out of the house. I was feeling really paranoid and really anxious about being in the house and being around him. And I was just feeling really paranoid and anxious and just needing to get out. So, we ended up having a bit of a fight about him hiding my keys on me and that kind of escalated. And he ended up calling a couple of friends over to kind of help with the situation, but it really just continued to escalate from there. And at one point, I just fled from the house because I just needed out and I needed to be alone and away from the triggering things that were causing my paranoia and causing my racing thoughts and whatnot.
04:10
And I just needed to calm my head as much as possible. And somehow, I convinced myself that that meant leaving the house and just being on my own and getting into my own head space. So at one point, I was running through the neighborhood trying to get away from my friends and my partner while they were chasing me. And so, it wasn't a very healthy situation. And I ended up returning to the house and locking myself in my bedroom, which is when they made the decision to call for help. So, they initially called the crisis response team or the crisis support team, but they were unavailable at the time. So, they ended up calling the police who showed up pretty quickly after they called I think, but I mean, for anyone who's experienced the police coming from a mental health crisis, it's a little hit or miss as to how the police is going to respond to the situation. And I was really lucky that one of the police officers
05:17
came in and immediately was like, Lauren. I remember you, you came to talk to my recruits class, my police recruits class about schizophrenia and about your experience with schizophrenia and your experiences with police officers and whatnot with schizophrenia. And so, that was really reassuring to have that bit of connection with her. And she kind of was a little bit better informed in terms of how to deal with me and how to speak with me. And that really helped, but it was kind of in stark contrast with her partner who took a really aggressive, confrontational, hard approach with me, which really didn't help. And at one point, I ended up running away from him and trying to hop over a fence and I got pulled back and he kind of aggressively pulled me back into the house and threw me into a chair. And so, it's easy to understand how those situations devolve like that, but I think it's really, really important to keep in mind the importance of treating people
06:21
in the midst of psychosis with a lot of compassion and empathy, because they're scared. Like I was so scared at the time. I didn't know who to trust. My thoughts were racing. I was filled with paranoid thoughts and delusions, and I didn't know how to grasp reality in a proper way. And so, it was really helpful for the one police officer to take a really gentle approach with me and to establish trust and a connection with me in terms of moving forward in a meaningful and constructive way. So, the police officers decided to put me on a form 10, which is where the police officers can decide to apprehend me under the Mental Health Act and take me to the hospital to be assessed by a psychiatry team. So, one of my friends came with me in the police car and together we went to one of the local emergency rooms. It was a really difficult experience.
07:30
I don't think that a lot of emergency rooms are really set up to adequately deal with or to really effectively help somebody who's in the throws of psychosis or who's dealing with symptoms of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. It kind of devolved into a really confrontational experience. And there was a lot of power struggle going on within that environment that I don't think was conducive to effective treatment. That said, there were a few psychiatrists who I met with in the ER who were really great, and they did establish rapport with me and trust, and they did a really good job, but generally speaking, the care there was kind of lacking. And it was kind of an unfortunate environment for me to be in, in the state that I was in. In my last hospitalization, I had a really, really traumatic experience in one of the holding cells that they have in the emergency room for psychiatric patients.
08:30
It's basically just a room of white cinderblocks and a metal bed frame. And it's not a comfortable environment to be in at all. And especially when I had those traumatic memories from my last one, my last experience in the hospital, I really, really did not want to be in one of those rooms, but I ended up being locked alone in one of those rooms. And it was a really, really traumatic experience again. I ended up being sedated with medications, which had a huge effect on my memory and a lot of the three, I think days that I spent in that ER room are kind of lost on me and have been filled in by my friends and family who were around at the time. So, what basically ended up happening was that the psychiatrist in the ER decided to admit me to the hospital and to keep me formed under the Mental Health Act. So I was an involuntary patient in the hospital and basically my stay in the ER was basically... It was like a holding cell basically
09:33
until we found a bed for me. And it took several days for them to find a bed. And I think it's really unfortunate that there wasn't a lot of care provided in the ER. And that was kind of a critical point in terms of the throws of my mental illness where I needed a lot of care. And it was really just a holding cell waiting for a bed to open up in a different location. And I think that that's probably a gap in the current mental health care system. So, what I mean by a holding cell was that it really just felt like the staff there were waiting for my medications to kick in. And I was really just being kept there under somewhat observation. I guess I was under observation waiting for my medications to take effect. There was no additional therapy or really anyone to talk to about what was going on or what I was experiencing. And there was no additional support provided. So, that's why it was really, really important that I was so, so lucky that I had a lot of friends
10:38
and family who supported me through that period and were there for me to talk to and were there to advocate for me when I couldn't advocate for myself. And so, that's why it's really, really important to build a support network as best as possible when you're well so that you have a little bit more cushioning around you in terms of the people in your life who are there to support and advocate for you during these tougher periods of your mental illness. So, when I was finally assigned a bed at a different hospital, a psychiatric hospital in town, I had to be transported there by ambulance. This was a really, really terrifying thing for me because my last experience being transported to this hospital by ambulance was a really awful one. I was blindfolded in the ambulance and it was a really bad experience, a traumatic experience. And so I was really, really terrified to get in the ambulance again, but this time my partner, Rob, was able to ride with me.
11:40
So, that added an additional element to security. And they also gave me more tranquilizing medications, which also helped to kind of alleviate the situation. I don't remember a lot about it because of those tranquilizing meds that kind of just wiped my memory throughout this whole process, but Rob kind of filled me in that I was a little difficult. So, when I actually got to the psychiatric hospital, the care there was a lot better, substantially better than the ER that I had been in priorly, previously. There was less of that power struggle that was going on in terms of the staff exerting power over me and controlling dynamic and stuff. And it felt like a more collaborative wellness, conducive environment to be in. That said, I do think that it was still a little lacking in terms of services provided in the week and a half that I was there. I never once even saw my social worker. I never even met him. And I think that's probably a gaping hole
12:47
in terms of the care that was provided there. I did see an occupational therapist. I don't remember a lot about that conversation because of the meds that I was on. But again, I had friends and family there to kind of fill me in on what happened with that and to advocate for me with those support people. Not once did I see a psychologist or therapist of any kind and there was no peer support programs or anything like that. It was really just seeing my psychiatrist when she was in. She was really great, but again, seeing her briefly when she was in and the nurses who were on staff for the whole duration of my stay. Other than that, there wasn't a lot of support staff. I was only there for a week and a half, which is a relatively, really, really short stay and is kind of a bit of an anomaly. The last time that I was hospitalized there, I was there for just over a month. And most people who are hospitalized there
13:51
are there for at least a few weeks. So, it was kind of odd that I was there for the shortest day, but I guess I'm just lucky in that sense that my body really responded to the medications that they were giving me really quickly. And so, I was able to stabilize and be in a place of relative wellness where I could go home as early as possible, which was only like a week and a half in, which was really nice for me because I really don't like the hospital environment. And so, it was nice to be able to continue with my recovery at home. The actual discharge process was a little lacking as well. I met with my psychiatrist when I was discharged, but that was it. There was no discharge planning or anything which may have been because I had a really supportive person there, Rob my partner. So, they may have just thought that I didn't need the additional support, but that was definitely something that was lacking in terms of the discharge process. They also didn't ensure that I was connected
14:54
with my support team outside of the hospital, which was probably another hole in terms of the care that was provided in terms of the discharge. But what I really wanted to just convey with this video is to just kind of demystify the process of being hospitalized and to hopefully shed light on the fact that it's not always going to be the best environment for someone who's experiencing a mental health crisis, but it's still important for you to be in that place when you are experiencing a mental health crisis because that is where you are going to be able to be connected with the treatment that you need. And I think what's important to remember and to take away also from this is just the earlier or the earliest that you can intervene in your own care and earliest that you can get connected with supports and... Supports and care, the better
15:56
because the more clearheaded you are and the less symptoms that you're experiencing, the more receptive you are going to be to the health of the system can provide you, and the more receptive the system is going to be to providing you that care. So, I think just a huge takeaway that I want to convey is the importance of early intervention and the importance of reaching out for help as early as possible in order to kind of mitigate the negative components of the mental healthcare system and to just try to make it as best of a experience for yourself as possible. The other really important thing that I want to convey, and I kind of touched on it earlier in this video was just the importance of having a really strong support network around you. This was so crucial in terms of this hospitalization for me because when you're hospitalized under the Mental Health Act or for a mental health issue,
16:57
you're there because the staff or the support teams there don't find you competent or don't find you mentally fit. And so, it's really important to have people around you who care about your opinion and who care about what you're saying and what you're feeling and who can advocate for you in those circumstances when you can't necessarily advocate for yourself because they disregard what you're saying or just because you're not in a state to really advocate for yourself. So, thank you so much for watching this video. I hope that it was helpful in terms of kind of demystifying the process of being hospitalized and just kind of shedding a little bit more light on what hospitalization might look like or what might lead to a hospitalization for someone who's living with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. It's not the easiest for me to talk openly about this experience with being hospitalized because there is still so much stigma around being hospitalized for a mental health issue, especially having to deal with different components
18:03
of the mental health care system like police and like the nursing at the ER or the nursing staff at the ER, the psychiatric hospital. There's a lot of stigma around accessing those kinds of supports and services. But I want to just kind of reiterate that there is no shame around accessing these services, and it's not something that you should feel that you need to hide or that you should feel shameful over. If you need the help, make sure to reach out and don't let the negative stigma around it hamper your decision to reach out for that help. So, thanks so much for your continued support at both me and this channel. I'm hoping to be back making more videos for you all. And if you want to support the creation of future videos, make sure to check out my Patreon page where you can help support the creation of videos on this channel. Thanks so much again for watching and wishing you and your loved ones good health. (calming music)

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