Mental health continues to be a topic that many people ignore entirely. Some think it’s taboo to speak about it openly. Others might rush to judge those with mental health issues without digging deeper. While still others choose to ignore their problems instead of tackling them with the help of licensed professionals.
Most people’s experience of psychiatric hospitals, for example, comes from movies and TV shows. However, reality can be more gruesome, brutal, and bizarre than fiction. Redditor u/N3SSDOGG sparked a very open discussion after asking the people who have either worked at or been admitted to mental health units to share the strangest things they’ve witnessed. You’ll find their candid stories below.
Bored Panda reached out to the author of the thread, redditor u/N3SSDOGG, who is currently working in a psychiatric hospital as a mental health technician. They shared their thoughts on why there's still so much stigma surrounding mental health and revealed some of the signs of a great mental institution employee.
Warning: keep in mind that some of these stories are rather unsettling and might not be for all of you Pandas.
#1I had a patient remove his eye with a spork.
Image credits: JacksEmptyWallet
#2I was in an adolescent inpatient facility for 30 days. Two people come to mind.
One kid named David who was very tall for his age, I think he was only 13. He insisted on watching Friday the 13th movies on movie nights and everyone was afraid to disagree with him because of his violent nature and frequent homicidal fantasies. He hated taking his meds, and probably 2 or 3 times a week he'd brawl with the psych nurses over it. No joke, it took 5 to 6 large grown men to overcome this kid. He was scary.
The other one was just sad, a girl named Wendy. She was 13, really nice. But she always wore the same clothes and she stank really really bad. Apparently this is a common defense for kids who have been repeatedly assaulted by family. They don't clean themselves or they'll even soil themselves to make themselves undesirable to their abuser. I gave her a big hug every night in the common area when it was time to go to our cells.
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#3Someone I knew said there were two people who thought without a doubt they were Jesus on his floor and he was ACHING for them to meet. One day, it finally happened because the nurses couldn’t keep them apart. They had a long, intense conversation and walked away deciding that Jesus A was Jesus before the Crucification and Jesus B was post-death Jesus. “Altogether what I would have expected Jesus to do and say.”
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The OP revealed to Bored Panda that they're 18 years old and have been working at the psychiatric hospital for 4 months. "I’ve never worked in this field before, but in my short time here I have witnessed a spectrum of bizarre, dangerous, and outright disgusting events," redditor u/N3SSDOGG shared with us.
"After a particularly traumatizing shift, I wanted to know if other people, both former patients and staff who have spent time in psychiatric facilities, might be able to share similarly outrageous stories. I figured r/AskReddit was probably the best place to ask."
The redditor believes that the stigma that surrounds mental health is the reason why so many people avoid talking about it in the first place. "Misinformation and a lack of education on the topic has led society to deem mental illness as something the victim should be ashamed of, as though it makes them less human," they explained.
#4My mother worked in an asylum in Ireland when she was about 15. This was in the early 60s. She loved working there, despite the fact that some of the patients would physically try and kill her. One patient always stuck out to her, every day he would tell my mum he was going to kill her when she finished work. She knew he loved music, so would tell him she was out dancing that night, and could he wait until the next day, which he agreed to. The next day he would forget what he had said, and would threaten her again, and she'd say the say thing again. This went on for a couple of years that she worked there.
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#5There was a lady who thought she was an egg. She’d only eat small packets of Vegemite and would sleep in front of the nurses station.
She would growl if anyone talked to her.
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#6A doctor told me I was too fat to be in there and should come back when I actually look anorexic (I was already pretty underweight) and I was released hours after that.
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"Some refuse to confide in others and some refuse to admit they have a problem at all. Nobody wants to be the 'crazy' person. There’s still a big 'get over it' attitude when it comes to mental health and I don’t believe it’s taken as seriously as it should be," the OP told Bored Panda.
"It’s labeled as something reserved for the homeless, the addicts, and the self-absorbed. The truth is if more people were properly educated on mental illness and funding was increased to treat those who currently suffer from it, we’d have much lower suicide rates as well as be able to diagnose and treat people much earlier in the development of their illnesses."
#7My best friend's mom was in temporarily we went to visit and there were 2 dudes, one thought he was Jesus one thought he was the devil they had major beef for serious. (Not a joke)
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#8The saddest thing ever. They had brought this lady with dementia in for a while. Her husband had just died and she was not doing well. We would be sitting in group and she would look up and say "I need to call Bob. He doesn't know where I am." Then they would ask her where Bob was, but she didn't know. And then they would tell her that he had died. She would break down and they would take her back to her room to rest.
And this happened like 10 times a day. I had to watch this lady learn that her husband had died over and over again. It was brutal.
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#9I work in a hospital that has a psychiatric unit and I am in the float pool so I get sent to that unit occasionally. Few months ago I was there a patient attacked one of the counselors, detached his eye from the socket and he is now blind on that side. 2nd craziest was someone eating their poop straight from the tap
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According to u/N3SSDOGG, a great psychiatric hospital employee is someone who balances mental fortitude with kindness. You have to avoid getting too close to your patients while also staying empathetic.
"You have to have a strong mind to work this kind of job and too often than not, people leave the field because it’s too much to handle and can trigger their own trauma," they said.
"It’s easy to get close with patients and be manipulated or taken advantage of because you wanted to be nice. On the other hand, you don’t want to be cold and shut off. These people often don’t come from the best of places and to treat them as human beings and just listening to them might sound simple but could mean the world to a patient," the OP told us.
"At the end of the day, your priority is to take care of your patients and keep them safe, but a little kindness and understanding can go a long way."
#10When I was 19 and admitted the first time. I was anxious already, and could barely sleep the first night. My roommate was quiet, which didn't alarm me at first. The next day I went I to the common room, and talked to some people, and then later went back to my room, and found that my roommate had scribbled "find them" all over the walls, and was talking to herself. I was terrified and grabbed a nurse who tried to talk to her, but couldn't make any sense out of what she said, and I asked to stay in another room. I stayed in the restraint room that night by myself, and woke up the next morning to a fight in the hallway, and nurses running past my room. Apparently one guy pulled out his d**k infront of the wrong patient, and got punched. Then later that week, I was cornered by the same guy who pulled out his d**k, and asked if I wanted to have sex in the bathroom. I literally cried after that and was f*****g terrified, so I would say my whole first trip there.
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#11Most amazing: for some reason a piano was in the psych ward, a patient who never spoke started playing, she knew every piece by heart. The entire ward of psychotics, manics, and even staff went and sat in that room. Not a word was spoken for a good half hour.
Craziest: family members choking a patient because his sister gave another patient a blow job. A guy who thought he was Jesus convincing the entire ward to meet on the balcony to discuss ways of breaking out. A guy would run away every day, steal a car and drive back to the ward. People speaking in tongues- scary.
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#12Inner city resident psychiatrist. Seen a lot of s**t!
-woman on meth brought into ED by police. Kept saying there was a devil in her vagina. It turned out to be a small (unplugged) hair straightener.
-old homeless dude who was convinced that the street cats were telling him to kill people
-young software engineer who became convinced that a girl he met at church camp was trying to communicate that she loved him thru a microchip he was convinced was implanted in his head. Had tried to stalk her and enter her house.
-big black dude who was convinced he was Bruce Lee. Would only talk to us if we called him Bruce and he would loudly be doing Kung fu moves in his room when not chatting with himself
-400lb dude smashed through the locked doors around 4am and was chased by staff thru the hospital, was only stopped when security barricaded the front doors of the hospital, he wanted to escape bc the Popeyes down the street had that new chicken sandwich
-guy addicted to smoking PCP literally ripped out his eyeball, believing something was behind it. We saw him in the medical hospital, dude was so chill about it too
-woman w no psych hx became convinced over time that someone was living inside the walls of her house. She would make cracks and holes in her walls trying to convince her family. Ended up drinking bleach.
-woman who was on the long-term unit decided to go on a hunger strike to kill herself bc she lost hope in getting better. We can't force foods on her, and the medical decision making fell onto her mom who hadn't spoken to her in 10 years. She refused placing a feeding tube to force food. Ultimately we had to place her into palliative care.
-guy who was stockpiling cogentin in his room, then always asking about it, bc he convinced it made his penis larger.
-woman who held staff in a standoff using a shower rod she ripped off the walls to use as nunchucks
-woman who would s**t into cups
-people with psychogenic polydipsia who would drink out of toilet bowls. We had to shut off their shower and toilet water.
THERE are just hundreds of more things we see everyday. It's hard to remember them all! It's never a dull day in the psych ward. It's a shame for the higher functioning depressed patients who are like "wtf have I gotten myself into".
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There are a lot of stigmas associated with mental illnesses, going to therapy, and having stayed at either a mental health unit or a psychiatric hospital. Many find it embarrassing to speak about their struggles, others might not want to appear weak or want to avoid ‘burdening’ others by broaching the subject at all.
Men, in particular, tend to have a hard time tackling these topics. According to a survey commissioned by the Priory Group, 77% of men have suffered common mental health symptoms like anxiety, stress, and depression. Meanwhile, 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health.
#13I visited the psych ward as a psychology student (part of a mandatory course) and spent a couple of days there practising interviewing patients. My personal worst memories are the old man who was catatonic and who could have died without anyone noticing for I don't know how long (he looked dead all the time); and the lady who kept picking the worms she hallucinated off her skin. I can’t imagine what it must be living like that, but it's heartbraking to watch.
I knew some of them could / had been violent, I knew the ward was locked for a good reason, but these two haunted me the most.
Mental health matters. Please take it seriously.
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#14I've worked in one for about 2 years now. The staff are just as crazy.
Here's some highlights
Patient got into the ceiling, couldn't get them down for a while.
Patient milked themself into their coffee. Did you know some anti-psychotics make you lactate?
The entire adolescent unit escaping because maintenence forgot to lock the gate. Don't worry they all came back eventually.
And myself getting a concussion from a patient trying to escape, they weren't successful but at least I didn't work for 6 weeks.
Image credits: NeverlandEnding
#15Was admitted December 3 years ago.
Before that I had a sibling who was in and out of the care system for years prior.
She had ward mates, one of them was convinced he was the terminator, talked like him, dressed like him, carried round a banana for a shotgun.
Another lady was dancing around the room, sticking to the walls, then taking her clothes off, she tried touching several of the males on ward, before it was discovered her husband had just died a few days prior.
There was an old fella with super bad anxiety, but he was really nice, and at the hospital I was at they had an ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) ward. After his first session, he was unquestionable changed by the experience, no longer nice, but not horrible, he said he "just felt empty."
Strangest thing that happened to me, was probably making a person up, I was friends with a person called Chris, who apparently didn't exist. I'm not psychotic, which made it all the more odd. I think it was a coping mechanism.
Mostly though, what stuck with me, I met so many creative people, painters, poets, musicians, sculpters, dancers. People who I may never come across again, but we shared a few weeks of life together.
Image credits: Onasixx
Psychiatric wards, aka mental health units, are facilities that exclusively focus on patients’ mental healthcare. Often, wards house patients with serious conditions, ranging from major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia to psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. Patients are often given round-the-clock care and they’re observed 24/7. Psychiatric hospitals are different from wards in that they focus on long-term care while the latter focus on the short-term.
In mental health units, licensed medical professionals assess their patients, prescribe them medication, and offer them therapy, as well as various other treatments, like art, music, and pet therapy. Usually, patients are given their own rooms during their stay, but they spend time together with others in shared spaces.
#16One girl bit her own nipple off and swallowed it.
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#17Not my story. My wife works as a nurse and spent some time in mental health units. A 60yo lady came in because she stopped taking her meds while travelling with her husband. She came out of her room, stood in front of the nurses station and started announcing to every person around her that she was the devil and also Jesus and that they needed to bow down and worship her. She proceeded to remove her hospital gown, wrapped it around her head in some kind of shawl and started bowing and chanting on the floor butt naked. Multiple visitors, including her husband were watching the whole thing. Nurses, including my wife, and her husband were trying to redirect her back to her room or put a blanket around her and she was just fighting everyone off. Her husband was so embarrassed he just stopped trying to redirect her and left.
Another one is a guy who was recently admitted was coming down off something and was constantly pestering the nurses to go out for a cigarette. You can’t smoke in a secure unit. He got sick of the nurses saying no, flew into a rage and in the process bit off his own finger. When the nurses came to help he was yelling at them “look what you made me do, you c*nts should’ve let me out for a smoke”. My wife had to pick his finger up off of the floor.
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#18Not super crazy.
Was with a bunch of teens on a pediatric ward but we all had special rooms by the nurses desk with shatterproof, wired glass so the nurses could always look in on us easily, and the bathrooms had no locks.
Myself and another girl were in for anorexia. Another guy was suicidal to the point where he couldn't have any cutlery but a plastic spoon for meals, no blankets, special pyjamas, etc. And then there was a young homeless guy who' d been hit by a car while squeegee-ing for change, so his leg was in a full cast...yet he still had a habit of sneaking around (in his wheel chair) and hoarding extra supplies from the kitchen, the kids' playroom, the nurses station, etc., so they kept him in one of the "psych" rooms.
We formed a weird little club, and would often play cards in a lounge area together. Conversations would go something like this:
Me: "Hey does anyone want this cheese? I snuck it into my pocket so Nurse thought I ate it."
Homeless Kid: "Mine! Dibs! Here, you can have these beads I swiped from Craft Time."
Other Anorexic: "I'll get you some ice cream and saltines if you find me some sewing gear. I'm gonna sew some batteries into my hair scrunchie for my next weigh-in day."
Suicidal Kid: "Do you think I'd die if could scoop my eyeball out with a spoon?"
And so on.
It was a very bizarro time in my life.
Image credits: ZookeepergameSea3890
Because of how serious a patient’s condition is, they’re often admitted to mental health units and hospitals involuntarily. Someone who might be having suicidal thoughts, harms themselves or others, abuses substances, and lives in constant anxiety may be admitted to a ward where they’ll receive the treatment that they need.
This can take anywhere from just a few days to several weeks or even longer, depending on the situation. Then, when the patient is no longer a threat to themselves or others, they can be allowed to leave. However, the medical professionals working there may decide that the patient may need further treatment before they can go back to their old lives.
#19Worked security for an emergency behavioral health.
I saw many, many crazy things. Many sad things, many confusing things.
The one I shall share today is the woman who started throwing rocks at the window of the staff area.
Why do you let the patients have rocks, you ask?
We don’t. She smuggled them in. Inside herself. A substantial number of rocks, approximately golf ball sized.
Image credits: Salami__Tsunami
#20Guy had a "tattoo" carved into his neck. Apparently he took a pen in his fist and repeatedly carved it into his skin right on his neck. It looked very scratchy and was still red despite it apparently being pretty old.
You know how really young kids grip a crayon in their fist and grind it against the paper really hard? If you made a fist with your left hand and put it below the left ear, that was exactly how he must have done it.
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#21I saw a man smear his s**t on the window of the room he was in with a dead eyed stare. Never gonna forget that sight.
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#22I was supervising a patient overnight on a snowy December night. This guy *loved* Christmas. I mean, *loved* it. In the early morning hours, we got some calls from other units saying they were missing their Christmas trees. We wondered why they thought we knew where they went, until we saw trails in the snow of ornaments and artificial pine needles leading to his bedroom window. Upon opening his door, we discovered a forest of Christmas trees packed into his room, at least 6 or 7, with him giddily sitting in the middle of them. At some point he snuck out through his window and stole Christmas from everyone. How nobody including us heard him is still a mystery to me.
Another time, we had a group of three patients all strip completely naked, elope from the complex, and run two miles away to the local Police Department. The leader of the group did this more than once, and the police officers all knew her name and if they saw her, they simply met her out front and took her back.
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#23Spent some time in a juvenile psych ward when I was in my teens. I saw a kid rip off their own fingernails. And I don't mean like bite their nails and then rip the hangers off. It was full on grab the tip of their nail, then except force and peel the entire nail backwards, taking the whole nail off. They got the left thumb, left index, and left pinky off before an orderly stopped them. They were 14ish and did it all clinically and with not a wince of pain. Creepy as f**k.
***Why was I there? Because at the time people didn't know what to do with someone with autism.***
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#24I was a security guard at one for about a month while I was in college. There was a really big dude in there, used to play amateur football. I'm not a doctor, I never asked what exactly he had going on that required him to be living full time in a mental health facility, but I did get a warning that he's had a few violent episodes.
All the exits between wings had magnetic locking doors. The magnets were STRONG. Three of us couldn't open the locked door if we tried.
One day *John* (not his real name) had a violent episode. Threw some stuff around a hallway and then went for the exit. I hit the door lock button and heard it clunk locked. John peeled that m**********r open like it was a windy day and walked outside. Turned himself back in the next day, no problems. That place did not pay me enough to try and stop a guy who could open a magnetic door, so I quit
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#25I was a social worker at an institution that had a hall for what we called “lifers,” it was essentially for people who had no hopes of ever being released due to their conditions.
Anyway, my hall had 14 beds and it was full.
There was this one guy who was huge. He was 6’7 and about 350. His name was Simon. He suffered from drug-induced schizophrenia and had bipolar disorder.
He talked to himself all day, but never talked to others. All the other men in the ward were scared of him.
It was my day to do first shift. I got there early to start on some paperwork I needed to finish. When I got my keys in the door, I heard Simon hit the door with his fists. I looked through the tiny window on the door and he and the hall was covered in blood.
I panicked and called security for backup because I thought he had killed somebody.
Turns out, Simon was in the throes of an extreme manic episode and had managed to walk the literal soles of his feet off. Other medication he was on thinned his blood and led to him bleeding all over the place.
We checked the camera footage and he had walked and talked all night. The orderly (who was fired that day) had slept through his whole shift and never heard Simon walking back and forth.
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#26Alright a little late to this but we’ll see, I spent time in a female mental hospital in Florida.
I was committed after attempting to kill myself. It was the right decision but holy f**k was that place horrible.
We had 2 wings. One was for violent people. And one was more like a daycare. I was initially put in the violent one, I stayed in it for months. Even though I should’ve been transferred. This is because my roommate. Who spoke tongue. Peed on me and I hit her. That move meant I spent months in the violent wing. It also meant I was to be restrained. And since they thought I peed myself, I also had to wear an adult diaper.
The craziest part about a mental hospital? How much power they have over you. One of the nurses was a f*****g psycho. She clearly enjoyed tormenting us. But guess what, no one believes the crazy girl who attacked another patient. There was one time I was getting my blood taken, the medical tech noticed I was in a clearly soiled diaper. He mentioned it to my nurse. And she says “I have 20 minutes after discovering a soiled diaper to change it”. He left, and she winked at me and left.
I was also sexually abused. By my roommate, by the nurses, by some random security guy. Once again, no one f*****g believes anything you say.
If you don’t have an advocate. A parent, spouse, even a therapist. They have complete control over you.
#27Not me, but a friend of mine that struggled earlier in life. He made a birdhouse for his mother and wanted to paint it red as it was her favorite color. But he never got to because one of the other patients would always drink the red paint before anyone could use it.
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#28I saw a patient try to escape by crawling through the ceiling tiles.
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#29The funniest thing I ever saw (spent total of about three years in in my teens and early 20's): a kid in seclusion who was having a genuinely good time making staff's life a living nightmare while he was in there, took apart the plastic mattress, tore the foam inside into small pieces, donned the empty mattress and started yelling 'I'M GUMBY, DAMMIT!' while tossing the pieces of foam around like confetti. Even most of the staff were laughing about it.
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#30I was in one with people who were mostly in for suicidal ideation. One patient was a nice young girl who did not eat anything the entire week I was there. A few months later I was at the grocery store and she was working there but was getting fired by what looked like a horrible bully of a manager. Watching her walk to her car absolutely defeated broke my heart. I hope she is doing better now.
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#31I used to work in a psych unit. I have two stories. The first was a gentleman that was diagnosed schizophrenic and was medicated. He decided to go camping without his meds and was found a couple weeks later completely detached from reality. He kept screaming that he was Jesus and that he was dead and he had to wait three days to rise. He refused to stand and walk because he was dead. We had to lift him on to a gurney and put him in four point restraints. A week or so later after being on his medication he was like any other person, completely normal.
The other, I don't know the backstory, they call "Code Armstrong" overhead if they need muscle. I heard the xall and me and five other guys were being coordinated to tackle and restrain this young 100 lb girl. Basically you take her legs, you take her torso, you go for arms, you go for head. We tackle her and she still managed to get her head loose and started just smashing her head on the wall until we could chemically sedate her. She nearly fought off 5 full grown men, I'll never forget that.
#32My brother-in-law had a stint in a psych ward a little over a year ago, and on a particularly manic day they were in the middle of the community room and started singing
“I have a structured settlement and I need cash now”
This was then met by about 40-50 psych patients shouting back
“CALL J.G. WENTWORTH!!! 877-CASH-NOW!!!”
After getting a few verses in the orderlies stepped in and kindly requested they stop, which was kinda a shame since it sounded like they were all having a good time.
#33Saw a 90lb, 5ft girl toss one of those 18L water cooler bottles, a full one at that, at a bunch of nurses trying to calm her down as she was having a manic episode-it took a few security guards and quite a few nurses to take her down. I'd just been talking to her the previous evening and she was an absolute sweetheart who gave me a book as a going away gift, as I was being discharged the next day. I still own that book, and I still think about her and wonder from time to time what she's up to-do were briefly in contact but she dropped off the face of the earth.
A close second would be the time from my second stay in another psych unit in 2021, where a guy was going through alcohol withdrawals and screaming about a bear coming into his room and they had to lock him into his room and keep him heavily sedated. When he was allowed to mingle with people, he was still relatively sedated, so confused and lost, and kept asking me and other people if we knew what happened to the bear. Pretty sure he was an absolute hardcore alcoholic that had fried his brain, and I felt pretty bad for him.
#34It was a temporary thing for an incident I don’t care to explain right now, but in the psych ward there was this kid, like, an actual kid. And he would always cry really loud late at night. During the day he started touching himself inappropriately and screaming his father's name. I guess he was r@ped for days straight and it messed up this kids head. I wish I could see how that kid is doing now, god bless his poor soul.
#35Man when I was like 16-17 I was forced into one for reasons. There where 16 of us including me. Thank God because we had to have room mates and the nurses tell u nothing about the person moving in your room. This is bad because they lock all the doors every night at a certain time like jail. But I was number 16 odd numbers are amazing so I had no room mate till someone else came along. There was one kid who would act totally normal most of the time then just freak out for no real reason. Then the very large men nurses would hold him down. as the doctor would inject him with what we called booty juice cuz it goes in ur as a*s cheek as they hold u down. U pass out in like 10 second then they drag u to your room where u wake up 3-5 hours later and everybody acts like nothing happened. He wasn't the only one to get it we where all scared they would all be like don't do that or u get booty juice. But this kid got it almost every day. So to the real story there was one night where I guess he snapped in the middle of the night. This was a large kid for his age he looked like a middle line backer from the NFL and this was a younger than 18 only place. So he decided to beat the c**p out of his room mate one night in the pitch black all i could hear was this kid screaming for his life. Then he broke down his door this Is a large wood door with metal interior like a front door of your house. But he ripped thru it like the hulk after he was done with his room mate. then was trying other doors I guess to find another person and he was beating on doors and screaming like a maniac. Maby that's why he was there but damn that was the longest well felt like hours but only lasted 20-30 minutes. hoping my door was solid enuff or he wouldn't try my door till the nurses gave him the booty juice. The next morning morning everything was normal we played basket ball watched TV and everyone acted normal he was chating my ear of about who knows what I was in my head thinking yea OK whatever you say just don't kill me... I was only there a week and damn that's not the only story. that s**t is life changing and not in a good way.
#36I was in a long term facility in my early 20s. There was a man named Vince who would wait by the door all day for the Senator to pick him up. One day he busted in my room screaming that I stole his Guatemalan coin collection. Bless him.
Willie, another man in that same facility, would follow me around and whisper that he was going to kill me and my mother.
Bessie was another patient there, and she would have violent outbursts in the middle of the night. She fought 2 staff members and was subsequently transferred to a more appropriate facility for her (not jail).
In a different facility I was in, a woman named Kathryn would go into people's rooms while they were in group therapy and try on their underwear.
I've been in multiple facilities and met tons of interesting people, but these were the stand-outs.
#37Had a rough time my first year at college. Almost unalived myself and got put in psych for a week. The ward was a chaotic mix of alzheimer patients, detoxing addicts and us mental health folk. There was a separate unit for the older folks but it was overcrowded my first night there. So I, a dissociative mess coming off of sedatives, had a mumbling old woman for a roommate. She kept calling me her daughter's name. Was flopping around in her bed. Coming up to me and getting in my face. Begging for me to help her escape. I told the nurses but they didn’t care. I was able to go in and out of sleep briefly and woke up to a horrid smell. Somehow she managed to squat over a cup and take a s**t in it. When I saw her and realized what was happening I bolted from the room and finally an attendant took me seriously. She was relocated to the alzheimers ward and luckily my new roommate was a regular old depressed suicidal person just like me for the rest of my stay. I could go on and on about the neglect and abuse from the staff, but that by far was the most extreme experience I had.
#38Not a patient but I worked in inpatient adolescent and adult Eating Disorder units for a few years.
We did a LOT of restrained NG feeds on teenagers and adults, but the worst was always this really lovely and quiet 18 year old girl who straight up would refuse to eat despite a staff member basically pleading with her for hours on end.
We would have 8 members of staff hold her down while I threaded the NG tube into her nose and down her throat, and the whole time she would be trying to bite, spit or attack us all (understandable, tbh). She would target whoever was actually doing the feed, so usually me, and would scream my name over and over to try and get me to stop. I always felt so awful for her. Once she managed to get free and attacked one of the staff, a really big, strong man btw, and broke four of his ribs before we could get her off.
She's doing well now, I recently heard that she started training to be a mental health nurse and is recovering from anorexia :)
#39I used to work in a psych ward about 22 years ago in a private locked unit. I would say autistic kids sh**ting in the drawers and someone eating a lightbulb would be two of the worst.
Image credits: Beth4780
#40Another story is not as crazy as it is heartbreaking. But in my time working I’ve seen my fair share of SI (Suicidal Ideations) patients but only once have I seen someone who had comepletely in every possible sense of the phrase given up, unlike anyone else I’ve come across. He was 60+ and had spent his whole life homeless and in and out of institutions, living with his brother and his brothers family periodically until the patient became too much to burden for the family. I spent every shift with him on a one-to-one (order to have eyes on the patient 24/7) as every chance he could get he would self harm with whatever he could find. I’m only a technician so i don’t have a degree of any sort other than a highschool diploma. I still would listen to him talk for the hours I spent with him, the most nihilistic and pessimistic tangents I’ve ever heard, a sense of hopelessness and despair I’ve never considered possible. Even the mountain of medications he was given seemed to have little affect. And then as his hold ended he was discharged. I’m not a doctor or certified in any way as I stated before but I can’t believe he was given the okay to be released. This event sticks with me because I was left without any answers or explanation of what happened. The next day his room was occupied by a new patient
#41Did psych rounds as part of my nurse training. The story I'm gonna talk is about my friend's experience when she had psych rotations a month before mine.
Apparently, she had a patient who was sexually attracted to the Sun. The star of our system. Literally. She would lie on the floor, spread her legs, and get railed by the sun rays.
Image credits: theguyfromeuropa
#42I was brand new and was eating in the day room alone. an NA Meeting came in , even though ive never had addiction before I was too shy to leave. at the end of the Meeting an old man handed me a drawing of me he had just done. It was beautiful. He told me I caught his eye because I was the only person in the room who had any sunshine left. Tripped me out in a curious way.
#43Nothing crazy really happened, just the kinds of things you would expect to happen when you house 20 people with various mental health issues together in a supervised environment. One girl wouldn’t talk for the first two days she was admitted, and refused to sit in the chairs in the dining room, she just laid on the floor. I saw a total hardcore biker gang looking dude who was at least 6 feet and 225 lbs weeping tears uncontrollably, me and about 5 other patients that were close by just went and sat with him and put our hands on his shoulder, but we didn’t say anything. There was one guy who thought that there were cryptic messages specifically for him being transmitted through the TV and written in the news papers, I kept clear of him. Another man would routinely ask me if it was AM or PM, he had no perception of the time or the date, it was sort of sad and I never got annoyed with reminding him when he asked. There was one severely depressed old man who kept completely to himself, but he would actually talk to me in one specific scenario, when it was only the two of us out in the smoking pit sitting on the park bench. He was a very smart man with an entire lifetime of wisdom to share, only in very small doses. He had never seen a vaporizer before in his life until I used one sitting next to him, so that was the worldly wisdom I was able to give him haha. Each room had a TV in it but they were literally tube TV’s from the early 2000’s, big black boxes with a bubble screen, which I thought was hilarious lol.
#44One of the patient stabbed multiple coloring pencils into her own eyes. Ended up in the ICU..
#45I woke up with another patient standing over me arguing with himself. Had a real hard time sleeping the remaining 2 days.
#46A 6-7 year old child behaving like a dinasour, making sounds not talking, running around and holding his hands like a t-rex. I assumed he was probably autistic as he was extremely obsessed with dinasours as well.
A 7 year old girl who would play with you one minute and then suddenly throw a toy in your face unexpectedly. She also opened your door at shower time and stare at your naked body. Once she asked me if she could see my vagina. She would constantly steal your stuff and had many violent meltdowns a day, where you had to evacuate to your room and hold the door closed. She was in foster care because of sexual abuse.
The craziest thing for me was I had to beg for a year to get prescribed anti-depressants. I was there for a suicide attempt.
There was this kid like 14 years old with Schizophrenia. He would take off his shirt, scream and throw things if the nurses wouldn't play for him a Red Hot Chilli Peppers' live concert DVD over and over again. It was honestly sad to see. Most of the people I was with were really chill actually, and hearing that music on the repeat made us only feel worse. One day, close to my release date, I sat to have lunch next to him and he had a sudden moment of lucidity. He told me I was a really good person and that I should go back to the real world, because my mom wouldn't want to see me sad like that. I was sent to the ward because I was deeply depressed as my mom died early that year. I stood up and gave him a hug.
Mario, wherever you are, I hope you are ok. I'm about to get my college degree and it's thanks to you and many other wonderful people I've met.
#48I work in EMS and volunteered in a pysch ward briefly, so my experience is always a bit superficial but the "craziest" part for me is how a lot of patients often time act completely normal and rational. I've transported a lot of people to a psych ward that were diagnosed with all sorts of illnesses, but from my interaction with them they were completely normal and just had some general anxiety. A lot of people I've observed and wondered "why the hell are they even here?"
#49A girl grabbed my toe while I was sleeping. I woke up and said "what the f**k" and she ran off. I went to the front desk to complain and while I'm talking to the lady the girl jumped on my back and clung like a monkey while screaming. It was bizarre. I threw her off me and the lady just said "sorry about that" lol.
#50A guy tried to kill me when I was visiting my brother in law. For some reason the visits were held in the common room. This guy came up to me first day and told me my wife was now his girlfriend and sat like 2 inches from my face the entire visit staring aggressively, no matter how many times I asked staff said he was doing nothing wrong. Next visit he picked me up from behind and tried to throw me through a f*****g window into the staff room. The staff helpfully locked themselves in there while I fought a 6'5 schizophrenic man for several minutes. Eventually took like 10 nurses to restrain him. Other patients started freaking out and trashing s**t, kids visiting screaming in terror. Absolutely horrible place to be in my town at least.
#51My great aunt used to work in one, it was a while ago so things have improved.
She described one woman who would just walk around carrying a doll everywhere and clearly not in the right state of mind. When my great aunt asked why the woman was in there it turned out that she had a child before marriage so her baby got taken off her and she got sent to the mental institution.
Another one had been in there since he was a boy, he had stolen an apple and kept in until he was in his 80's when he got kicked out due to budget cuts
#52I was in a psych ward when I was 17, almost 18 (so in a youth psych unit). My 13 year-old roommate snuck in a couple packs of cards and hid them in her pillowcase. She waited until I got into bed and just started wailing on me with the pillowcase. I couldn’t get out of bed because I was tucked in so tight, but when I finally did I ran to the nurse’s station for help. I got out that day, she got booty juiced twice because the first one didn’t take her down.
I was in the psych ward for attempted suicide. She was there for attempted homicide. I talked to the nurses earlier that day because she had been threatening me, but they all thought she was harmless so they didn’t listen.
#53Not a patient but an employee.
- Seen countless patients attacked by other patients. Many serious injuries, and a couple that came close to death.
- Some of the patient's backstories can be wild. Some are almost unbelievably tragic, some are legit criminal.
- Some of the most foul and disgusting personal hygiene I've ever witnessed. Worst was a patient who had no concept of using a restroom, they would simply s**t or p**s themselves wherever they were sitting or standing. Was real fun when they decided to do it during meal time.
- I think the most shocking thing though, is how you can have some truly awful and psychotic patients who turn out to be genuinely cool people once you get them on consistent meds. I'm talking 100% turnarounds. Of course then they get discharged, stop taking their meds, and the cycle repeats.
#54As an intern in college:
I had a woman pull my hair making my head go down to my waist.
A women asked me to wash her vagina.
I saw a man holding his hand up saluting for like 6 days.
A man tried to sneak out but got caught in between security door one and two.
#55I did my internship (master's degree in clinical psych) in the psych ward.
The thing that shocked me was nothing the patients did. It was the staff counselors and doctors. Fwiw, the nurses were great.
Talked about their patients' sexual attractiveness, guessed about sexual attributes, fantasized about them, etc. Mostly about the male patients, but both.
Gossiped about the famous patients and told me who they were and how many times they'd been in.
Denigrated and made fun of the eating disorder patients in particular, behind their backs.
Instead of making an effort to understand, they'd say things like "he's just a sad sack" "she's a spoiled brat" or whatever. These things were true sometimes, but I don't talk about my patients that way. There's a clinical term for "sad sack", and there's a reason I use it.
The environment was so unprofessional. I couldn't wait to be done.
#56I was in a lower intensity psych unit almost 7 years ago, my first of 2 trips. I was transported there by ambulance from the hospital, was shown my room and new roommate, and did a 1-2hr intake session. I was then walking to my room (shared with another guy) and I was stopped from going in. I was informed (by other residents) the guy was trying to slit his wrists with a semi-plastic medicine cup and was whispering “I’m going to kill him.” When asked who was “him” he was referring to me.
Nothing directly happened to me, but damn did that shake me up.
#57I’ve worked in a ward for about 6 months now and have seen pretty much everything but the one event that sticks with me the most is catching a girl trying to dig out the inside of her vagina with her finger nails. Blood was everywhere just remembering the event makes me cringe.
#58I was like 14 and just having a bad time so I went into a youth mental health facility.
We’re sitting around a table and the “teacher” lady is having us take turns explaining what we do to cope with being angry or scared or whatever. Most of the kids said pretty normal stuff. Go for a walk, scream into a pillow. The occasional punch a hole in a wall. Ya know standard stuff for troubled teens.
Then it’s time for Chris to tell the group what he does. During the time all of us were joking and talking during the session, Chris didn’t say a word. He was a big kid, and he scared me.
Chris goes: “Well….I usually just go for a walk….and then I find someone…..and I beat the s**t out of them.”
Everyone is f*****g silent and my jaw hit the floor. I asked him “…dude are you serious?” Because no one else was saying anything. He was completely 100% serious.
The really f****d up part was that our teacher lady had nothing to say about it and I had to explain to him that doing that is really wrong. He was like completely unaware that beating the f**k out of a random innocent stranger is a bad thing to do. Like I was explaining this to him and he was like “really? Why?” Completely surprised that it was f****d up.
#59I worked in a psych hospital as a social worker. It was heartbreaking and challenging to see people in psychosis. It’s one thing to see it in the movies, but another to have a conversation with someone right in front of you who has such genuinely delusional beliefs. I remember a patient hysterically crying in my office about how the CIA knew she was in the hospital and as a result, they were now going to kill her brother… and there was no convincing her otherwise. The scariest thing that happened to me was getting cornered by this guy with a history of violence and sexual assaults. He was literally near 7 Ft tall, probably close to 400 lbs… I am 5’7 and weighed 120-130 lbs at the time… He just cornered me and eerily grinned and slowly laughed in my face. A nurse was walking in the door about 10 seconds later luckily, so she told him to back off me and I slipped out of the unit. Scariest 10 seconds ever.
#60Guy hoarding bananas underneath his bed.
Poor bloke, hope he’s doing alright these days, but the bananas just seemed so odd
#61It was me, when I fell asleep due to the large amount of meds (via shot) they were giving me, I was knocked out cold, constantly. I remember waking up due to the male nurse having to hold me down while they administered a thing that would knock me out. I have no recollection of the place I was in, nothing. I don't even remember how long I was in there for
I went willingly due to sleep episodes. That's why I was held down.
#62Not a patient but an employee. Had a 16 year old kid come in who was about 6'2 220 pounds. Built like a linebacker. I found out since he was technically a child he somehow ended up at an autism school for children with very little security. He ended up inflicting a TBI on one of the teachers and got sent to us. The kid had a violent streak the likes I hadn't seen before, he knew he was stronger than most and liked to fight unprovoked and it always took 4 to 6 people to restrain him. I never seen a patient spend more time than him in the "safety room" an incredibly small padded room with nothing in it. His parents wouldnt authorize his move somewhere else and they wouldn't take him home either. We were not equipt for someone with his level of violence. So there he sat... For one and a half years...
It wasn't like a single incident that was crazy, it was the entire situation.
#63was a patient at a psych ward outside of nashville(usa) saw this woman get body slammed by orderly’s , they knocked her teeth out. there was also this 65 yr old man who walked around with a raging erection literally all day. breakfast lunch and dinner this man was hard as a rock. it was both weird and disgusting
#64I worked in the mental health unit in a prison. My first day a woman started slitting her wrists, stripped naked, ran into other inmates cells and threw their stuff onto the tier, and then went to janitors cart and poured the sanitizer and degreaser spray all over herself. She then began licking her cut wrists and was spitting the blood on all the walls on floor. Eventually the emergency team came in and pinned her to the wall with a shield and got her to the most secure mental health unit in the prison. It was a hell of a first day. In my 4 years in that unit I ended up wrestling her about 7 times. She would always strip naked because she knew we f*****g hated it.
#65I spent about 9 days in the psych ward in Atlanta. I made a friend who was convinced he had aids, and all the doctors were lying to him because he was black. He was terrified that he had passed it to his girlfriend, and the baby she was pregnant with.
There was also a Muslim woman who never spoke, but I lent her my shampoo and so we developed some trust between us. She eventually told me her husband had her committed because she didn’t want to be with him anymore. He was abusive to her and their children.
There are so many more stories. I really wish I could check in on these people… however this was way back in 2007.
#66The one I was in was separated by drug use and mental health issues but had combined meal times. A guy from the drug unit claimed to have snuck outside and met up with someone. We all thought he was full of s**t until we watched him OD on something. He fell to the floor and had what I think was a seizure. Eyes were white and literal foam was coming out of his mouth. EMTs came in and took him away, not sure what became of him.
Same stay, I had a roommate that snored like a chainsaw, and I was too intimidated to say anything to her (think a bigger, meaner Boo from OITNB). On the third night with almost no sleep, I’ve taken a Xanax, melatonin, and an Ambien and still can’t get any rest. I go back to the nurse station and ask if there is anything else they can give me. Next thing I know I’m laying on the floor with all these people in my face. I can hear what they’re saying but can’t respond and can’t move. It was like sleep paralysis but so much worse. I heard one say they can’t get my pupils to dilate and another saying my pulse is weak. Finally after what feels like forever I blink and can move. They sit me up, give me gatorade, and send me back to bed. I haven’t taken an Ambien since.
#67As soon as I walked in my third time I girl threw a chair at me. She was small (I think she was around 12) and it was light plastic but like damn.
On my first visit they had to take me outside threw the gate into the back yard threw the playground entrance into the building because a girl was beating everyone up and screaming and throwing herself at the door because she got switched to our side because she was caught f*****g another patient. She got booty juice.
On my birthday one girl was jealous so Everytime I got attention that day she would fake seizure and when that didn’t work she would keep saying she is seeing dead people and like was in a fetal position jerking her head around saying they are coming for me. Staff ignored her because she was not schizophrenic she was in there behavior like that.
All mild cases but it was the children’s/teen ward. Went there 4 times last visit ended with me in foster care custody because they finally believed my parents were the problem.
#68I remember this one dude who was convinced he was talking to a hippo and that his other personality was some Egyptian God's Avatar or something like that.
#691. A woman I shared a room with demanded to be discharged. It was a voluntary admission, so her doctor discharged her on condition that someone else pick her up and take responsibility for her. Her ex husband came and signed the discharge paperwork. Then they handed him all of her medications. He proceeded to give her the meds to pack it in her bag and left the room while she was packing. No-one else was in the room with her at the time and she proceeded to drink most of the pills she had. A nurse found her drinking the pills and got the other nurses to help restrain her while they waited for the paramedics. The paramedics loaded her up and took her to the government hospital. I hope she's okay and doing better now.
2. There was a guy who was completely narcissistic and managed to p**s off all of the other patients by insisting that people who have attempted suicide are weak and should just get on with it. He was also delusional. Insisting that he was the CEO of a big company and better than everyone else. After that everyone shunned him.
3. Many years ago I was a student nurse and had one patient that had frequent psychotic episodes with times of lucidity in between. During one of his psychotic episodes, he managed to rip out his IV line, his catheter and then threw his glass water carafe on the floor. Everything was sopping wet and there were glass shards all over the floor. I did manage to get him to sit in a chair while I cleaned up the floor and remade his bed with dry bedding. Then I tried to dress him in dry pj's. It was at that moment that a whole platoon of medical students came into the room with their professor to see another patient. This guy then decided that I was the sexiest thing alive and tried to kiss me wherever he could while I was trying to dress him. Instead of helping, the medical students just laughed their asses off. Eventually we had to restrain this guy because he was still in the midst of his psychotic episode. The next day I had to help the same guy wash up but this time he was lucid. I'll never forget him apologizing for the previous day. I'll never forget what he said next: I'm not nuts! I'm a fruitcake really. And the first thing I thought was - Dude! you're a nutty fruitcake. I didn't say it out loud though.
#70Dad was an army medic doing volunteer duty at a state hospital. One particularly dangerous patient was known for being creative with violence. Apparently, he got his hands on a bristle from some kind of broom and sharpened it into a tiny skewer. He called in a nurse for something and flicked the skewer through her eye before anyone even realized. Blinded her instantly. I believe he got disappeared after that incident.
#71I was not admitted, however, My high school job was working in the cafeteria at one of the local hospitals. One of the duties I did for that job was taking carts full of dinner trays to each floor/wing of the hospital. The mental health wing was always a bit intimidating to deliver trays to since I was still basically just a kid, especially since that wing was always locked and you were supposed to always deliver there with a partner. You were required to take the tray cart into the middle of the wing to the nurses station, past their recreation room and a hallway full of rooms. It was about 100ft one way. One night, we were short staffed so I didn’t have a ‘buddy’ to make the delivery with me. I had been in the position a while and had never had any incidents happen before so I wasn’t extremely worried about having to deliver there by myself. I unlocked the door to the wing, made the walk to the nurses station and quickly spun around to make my walk out. I was about halfway down when I heard someone yell ‘STOP!’ I quickly turned around. Initially I saw one of the nurses standing and pointing towards me, looking extremely stressed. It was at that time I noticed a female patient sprinting towards me. She was a petite, maybe just 5ft tall and 100lbs soaking wet but had an extreme look of determination. Now, I’m not a small guy, but I froze in fear. My training about having to call a ‘Dr Strong’ (when a patient attacks the staff) started playing in my head. She kept ran right up to me, stopped inches from me. I thought she was going to try and take the key from me and escape. She reached and embraced me with one of the nicest hugs I’ve ever received to this day. I was still froze in fear. Hands at my side, clutching onto that key for dear life. She then looked right into my eyes and said ‘God loves you and he wants you to know Jesus’. At that time, A couple of the nurses had just made it to me to, to try and halo. She then gently let go of me, and walked back towards the recreation room. I just kind of stood there for a second making eye contact with the nurses. I’m sure I was pale as a ghost. My heart was racing. The nurses asked if I was ok, which I was, but I could muster and words so I just nodded. They went back to check on the patient so I went back down to the kitchen, still a little in shock. Later security came down, I’m assuming the nurses had to report that included. I had to relay what happened to them and then never heard anything else about it.
#72We had a man in the separate locked "acute patient" part of the unit. (In a larger hospital) He kept insisting he was getting out of there.
Hours later the power died. And he walked out the now unlocked security door and managed to leave the hospital entirely before it came back on.
#73I had a shorter stent in a mental hospital, and the craziest thing I saw was enacted by a staff member.
We were having a group session, when one of the counselors came in, waving a book and screaming at one of the residents. He was yelling about doing a spot check in the boys room and how he found this satanic book. On the way out of his room, he claimed to see two hounds from hell in the bathroom, frightening him and causing him to run into the meeting in quite a state.
He ranted on for a little bit, accusing this kid of being a Satanist, eventually throwing the book in the middle of the circle.
It was a collection of Isaac Asimov short stories.