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From Brynna Townsend

Back in February, I was in a high security psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation. While I was there I tested positive for Covid-19. I was isolated for 10 days in the room next to the seclusion. For 4 days I had a roommate, and 6 days I was alone. The entirety of the 10 days I spoke to my therapist once and it was just him introducing himself. I didn't receive any treatment while in isolation.

Instead what I got was children screaming and banging on the wall of the concrete seclusion room. This caused me and my roommate both to have several severe panic attacks. Once my roommate left, I was alone and the staff ended up forgetting that I was in the room to begin with.

I slept without a pillow for 6 days and when I asked for one they acknowledged me but never brought me one. It got so bad to the point that they stopped checking in on me and forgot to give me, a person with anorexia nervosa, mind you, most of my meals for 4 days straight. I was supposed to have all of my meals logged on a special page because of my disorder, but they forgot to do that as well. Only one staff member, who worked the night shift, would bring me dinner. They also were supposed to only give me blind weights but the nurse didn’t do that and that triggered such a bad panic attack that my blood pressure shot up to 146.

On my last day of my quarantine, the fire alarms went off and I started sobbing and yelling for someone to let me out of my room. The door was a metal door with a little window near the bottom of it so that they could see me – I was yelling and crying “What do I do?” over and over again, and it took them 5 minutes to notice me.

The day I got out I started crying over the lunch we got and one of the patients yelled: “If you don’t eat they will shove a tube down your throat,” which caused me to start sobbing even more. I was told by a lot of the staff that I wasn't “severe enough” to be there and yet the reason I got discharged was because they said that they couldn’t help me anymore. What was supposed to be a 7-10 day stay turned into a 21 day stay. And the whole time I was there, there were kids screaming and banging. A lot of kids would punch walls. There were also really bad fights on the unit.

I hate how people glamorize psych wards when in reality they can be extremely traumatizing. I can't be around banging or screaming without having flashbacks and panic attacks. I want to thank you for letting me tell you about it because I've been too afraid to open up to anyone about it.

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