Essentially I had a massive mental breakdown and was admitted to the psych hospital multiple times over the course of 2 years, resulting in being on disability that I was approved for on my first application. Doing so in the US is almost impossible and I hope this is a fair emphasis of the degree to which I was impaired mentally.
During one such stay, I awoke to a new roommate. I barely registered this, new patients come in regularly when you're hospitalized and they must sleep somewhere. I barely glanced at this person if I am honest, they were in bed and had a hoodie up and I was frankly not too interested in other people. I would like to emphasize here that when you're in a psych hospital you are entirely dependent on staff to look after your needs, and you're often in close proximity with people the general public would find scary. There are various degrees of instability in the other patients' mental states and it is impossible to know if you're being housed with a dangerous person until they become dangerous which sadly does happen. These cases are seldom, if ever publicized. Moreover, your rights are highly limited and the avenues you have to make objections are often overburdened and complicated and therefore very hard to navigate when you're in a mental health crisis.
After I woke up that morning I went to shower. The doors there do not lock, and the bathroom door has a gap at the top and bottom similar to a public restroom in order to make sure nobody makes an attempt at hurting themselves in the privacy of the bathroom. I heard the bathroom door open to my confusion, as you can clearly hear the shower running from outside. The person who entered began peeing which I found horribly rude but I frankly didn't care that much and this was a pretty low transgression as far as things I had experienced during my time in the hospitals. However, after a moment the person began speaking. I do not clearly recall what they said, but what I do recall is that it was a CLEARLY male voice. There was 0 question, and my mind immediately went to the idea I was naked and showering in a psych hospital with a man and his penis out in the bathroom next to. Part of my issues include PTSD from an extreme situation with two men, and I began to panic. I had nowhere to flee, so I ended up collapsing in the shower and screaming. Staff rushed in to try and calm me, ultimately gave me a strong dose of valium and allowed me to lay in bed.
I was spoken to by a therapist on staff that the man in my room and using the bathroom while I showered was a woman. It was a trans woman, but that was no less woman than any other woman I was told and that if they forced her to a new room it would cause her psychological damage when she was there to get better. However, this disregarded MY psychological damage which I was ALSO there to heal from! I was horrified. I was essentially being told this person's mental state was more important than mine and that I had to get over it.
This ended with me contacting my father, who is both sane and has a fair amount of money. He ended up getting involved with a lawyer and truthfully I do not know the details of what happened at that point, however I live in a conservative state so I'm guessing there was a threat to go public. The stark contrast of my body alongside this MtF would not have made a great picture if it did go public, as I am a very very petite woman (around 5'2" and 120 pounds) and this individual was around 6 foot at least and significantly heavier in weight. They ended up moving my room and several patients called me names during the rest of the stay and the MtF in particular would have comments to make after everything I said during the group therapy sessions, including seeing it fit to imply that perhaps my trauma was a result of me being dramatic and oversensitive.
#unitedstates #hospitalward #psychward #mentalhealth #trauma #safety