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What It Feels Like to Be Locked Up in a Psychiatric Ward

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Psychiatric care is subdivided into levels with Level 1 being the most severe and anywhere ranging from Level 3 to 6 being the least severe depending on the hospital. As I recount my stay in 7A on priority Level 1 watch, I sincerely believe that no soul no matter how wretched should ever have to endure that kind of torture.

They confine me to a small room with white walls consisting of only a bed and a locked cabinet to keep me company. Wards stay posted outside my door every second of the day and take turns to keep watch. They strip me of my identity, branding numbers upon my wrist and taking my belongings. They suffocate me in a bland, blue uniform for if I ever were to run or try to escape, I would be easily spotted and dragged back to this miserable cell by the wards. I see them watching me through the glass window, attempting to decipher my thoughts and analyzing my every movement.

I know they all think I'm mad, and perhaps I am.

But what they do not see through this crude captivity is the damaging isolation that makes one mad. "Supervision" is what they call it. "It is for your own benefit" is what they tell me. They set strict curfews, monitor my phone calls and allow me no visitors because that is what the road to recovery looks like. After expressing in interest in leaving, they stick a needle in my arm and threaten to lock me up in an isolated unit because solitary confinement is healthy for the human heart. What I find most ironic is that the persecutors expect to be trusted and respected even after their harsh treatment. They ask me questions and pick apart my answers, fishing for flaws in my responses. But I know better than to keep quiet or speak out in fear of being written off as unresponsive or deranged. The only way out is through compliance. One's rights are stripped bare when one enters the cell.

It is now that I see through clear eyes what a dystopian society must appear to be. Big Brother is not the one who must be feared but rather the hawking eyes buried deep within each person's soul. It is a sad day when humanity entrusts a sense of pride and accomplishment in a system that is so evidently unsuccessful. It is not the inmates for which I pray, but rather the wards and the prison guards who believe they are delivering a just service to society. I'd much rather be mad, looking the world head on with eyes wide open than oblivious to the wrong-doing that I inflict upon others and believing that my actions are creating healthier children, a better world. It is institutions like this one that deter people from seeking out the help they truly need. Providing care without compassion is a lost cause.
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