Marshall Pickens

Name of Hospital: Marshall Pickens

City, State/Province, Country: Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: I got into an argument with my uncle, who called the police on me for screaming at him (and then my grandmother when she told me to shut up). I didn’t make any threats, though several were made against me. Because I was living in my grandmother’s home, the police came and told me to keep my nose in my own business.

At the time the police arrived I was hurting myself. It took them a while to realize what I was trying to accomplish, but once they did, they manhandled me into the living room and called the EMTs on me. The EMTs put me in the ambulance, shoved an IV in my foot, and took me to the closest ER with an attached mental health hospital, Marshall Pickens.

While I was recovering in the ER, a social worker approached me, dismissed the family members who had gathered, and began berating me for, quote unquote, “allowing myself to be a victim”. I broke down into tears again and tried to explain what was going on at home, and she seemed to understand more. She talked me into agreeing to the inpatient program for a few days, at least to “get away” from the nonsense going on at home (I would later find out my uncle was trying to get me committed for no less than a month, and that my commitment was still counted as involuntary).

I met a few nice people in the ward, and the psychiatrist helped me get back on antidepressants. However, there were a few issues that made me desperate to get out.

1. There was no treatment offered specific to my needs. I live in an abusive household and had attempted suicide once before, but everything was “group therapy” with videos and half-hearted DBT journals.

2. I was warned by an orderly not to drink the milk in the Ward’s snack room or from the lunchroom. When I asked why, he said that they tend to leave drink deliveries out for hours before putting them away, and people have gotten sick off it. I did try a chocolate milk, and had to throw half of it away due to the odd taste.

3. The food choices were limited and constantly changing. Some meals I went without eating because I couldn’t find anything that I could stomach. They would heap butter on all of the toast, which turned me off the toast, but we weren’t allowed to have sugary sodas (aspartame gives me migraines and tastes disgusting to me). I have a relatively limited range in what I can eat, despite years of personal effort to increase the number of foods I can stomach; it’s just a fact of life for me. When I asked if it’d be possible to get food from the food court, they flatly told me no and to hurry up and eat something.

4. I was not allowed to have my phone or other personal effects. Neither of my brothers had their licenses, and my girlfriend and best friend both live in other states. I had no way to communicate with people who cared about me and we’re concerned about me until I managed to remember my grandmother’s phone number and begged her for my brother’s phone number.

5. Without my phone, I also had no way to distract me during the long hours between sessions and after meals. I read as much as I could, but I really wanted to speak to my friends and the choices of leisure activities were limited, to say the least.

It was overall an unpleasant experience. It took hours to get released due to still being considered ‘involuntary’ and having to wait for the magistrate to sign off on it. I got nothing out of the sessions except a wish to escape and a slight breather from my abusive family.

Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): Inpatient

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Read as cis female (I’m nonbinary but not out)

Year(s) : 2016

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