Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How To Get Out Of A Psych Hospital

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.


Texan99 said...

I hope that if I landed myself in a psych ward somehow, it would be obvious to the professionals that I'm coherent, well-oriented, in control of my impulses, and no immediate danger to myself and others. If a person is sane enough to fake all that convincingly, I guess he might still be crazy in some sense, but not in a sense that ought to get him locked up.

The hard part would be remaining calm in the face of overwhelming fear and anger over the notion that I'd been locked up.

james said...

Off topic:

Anonymous said...

There's a movie about that, one of the few American products that is genuine.

Sucker Punch

They teach people to escape captivity in SERE. The program I involved myself in, had somewhat different criteria, set by none other than me.

Doug said...

Whether it is escaping from a nursing home, hospital, foreign prison or a psyche ward I am sure that this information will someday prove invaluable. Thanks in advance.

Retriever said...

Imho, the real problem is NOT people being locked up who shouldn't be, but the lack of inpatient beds for people who desperately need them. Also, the vile, immoral and devious ways insurance companies steer psychotic, manic, and acutely suicidal and/or violent people home or back out onto the streets to avoid paying for their needed long-term inpatient care. Could I raise the issue of what it does to the family to be psychiatric aides, year after year? One can love dearly, but the stress is unbelievable. And the ill person often has amnesia after an episode or is so paranoid they remember only being forced to go somewhere they did not want to be....I am a big fan of NHS sectioning, wh there are efforts to cut now (to save $)Shrink Rap has a link to a BBC discussion of sectioning, about to vanish...