I am referring, of course, to involuntary hospitalization. It’s quite easy to get out of a voluntary hospital. Just sign out. Or run out of insurance.
But say you have the misfortune to get put in confinement with no one around to vouch for you – traveling, perhaps, and your perfectly explainable behavior looks dangerous and suspicious to the local constabulary. They decide that Bedlam is the place for you, to be given a once-over before resuming life among the many. What then?
Don’t say “I don’t belong here.” It will certainly do no good, and may be counted a small mark against you. Giving detailed proofs why you “don’t belong here” will not improve matters in the slightest. Threatening to call attorneys or various officials is likewise a yawner for us. Stand in line, Jack. Actually getting in touch with a lawyer isn’t a bad strategy, but then you have to convince her that you are the victim of some horrible misunderstanding or mistake, which she should help you with. Good luck with that.
An opposite tack will work far better. Praise the food. Compare the place favorably to a hospital in another state, or better yet, let it slip from your lips that they don’t treat patients well there. Snort at the idea of living in a shelter or cheap hotel. Declare that perhaps a decent rest and some relief from caring for yourself might in fact be a welcome change. Nod thoughtfully that you have many vague “issues” to work on, and may need to stay months before you are ready to go. You are not actually safe to leave at present. Safe enough to go down to the cafeteria by yourself and wander about unsupervised, certainly. But safe enough to leave and be on you own, no. “I’m not any better than when I got here.” True, true.
If this counterintuitive strategy seems too risky, thus that you fear they will take you at your word and keep you, well, there’s always tomorrow. You can say the opposite tomorrow without awakening suspicion. It’s a psych hospital, remember?
You might also try looking as much like a visitor or employee as possible and just slipping out on some pretext. Shoes are one of the most important parts of your disguise. Just about any shoes will do, but the absence of shoes will be a killer. A clipboard or notepad are nice, a magazine, not so much - and multiple magazines are a dead giveaway. Make reference to getting something you left in your car. There is always some staff member about who has never met you before and might be caught unaware. Immediately after transfer from one location to another is the best time for this. We had it happen last week. The error the patient made? She got impatient and started running halfway through the parking lot. Never run, or even hurry. Running at any hospital is always suspicious.