Surviving on the Unit

Have you lost all control in your life or does it feel that way? This article is intended to explore the feelings and thoughts associated with experiencing an in patient hospitalization. It is not intended to override the guidance of your treatment team. As always, please discuss the tools here with your clinicians before implementing them and as always, safety first.

Surviving a hospitalization requires several strengths. The ability to listen, reflect, re learn habits, adjust and master a new environment, and cultivate safety during episodes where you’ve lost your feelings of control in most aspects of your everyday life. Mastering self-reflection and re-discovering your inner strength to move beyond your immediate challenges will be key in regaining the strength needed to move closer to discharge. Remember that the moment you were escorted on to a unit floor isn’t the moment you surrendered your autonomy it IS the point of departure into your ultimate recovery.

This article explores three basic skills needed for in patient hospitalization experiences. 1) interacting and with staff and understanding them as a resource not a roadblock in your recovery 2) self reflection and care 3) re discovering your inner guidance system as a resource to regain self control

The staff are there to support you in your recovery. Always remember they are people too and they are evaluating yore mental status at all times. This may evoke some paranoia but be aware mastering your behavior and interactions with staff will only prepare you further for interacting with people in your life. If you find yourself agitated with the rules of the unit and the staffs enforcement of them you should reflect on your readiness for discharge. Reporting your mental status to staff is not a step towards keeping you hospitalized longer it is a step in reworking roadblocks in your treatment that may prevent you from moving toward in your recovery.

This is a gigantic opportunity to reclaim time for self care. Practicing self care in a controlled space is enormous practice for when your discharged. If you are having a hard time staying clean and hygienic on the unit it may be an indication you are not ready to do these things on your own. This is the time to master your coping skills not just learn new ones. Time between rounds should be an opportunity to practice them. Always discuss outcomes with your treatment team and ask for recommendations to revise and re think your strategies for making these self-soothing activities the most helpful in your recovery.

Before you’re ready to go home ask yourself do you feel safe?  As always knowing yourself and trusting your inner guidance system is the most important step in regaining control. This is the time to test your doubts, reflect on them, and practice troubleshooting instances when these doubts will be challenged upon discharge. Call people and stay connected your social world. Don’t forget that you be re entering your social world upon discharge. If your behavior before admission upset some folks in your social circle discuss with them on the phone where you were at in your mental health then and now after a period of self reflection.


  • J. Peters writes on his lived experience, and also brings his story into his work. J blogs daily on his site and for other sites around the United States and Europe, bringing his passion for mental health to consumers everywhere.

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