How the psych ward gave me structure

I’ve been hospitalized 12 times, mostly for depression or mania. Not only do I happen to have Autism Spectrum Disorder, but I also have a mental illness, Bipolar Disorder. It is very common for an autistic person to have a mental illness, too.

I believe that some of my hospitalizations were not directly related to depression alone. But I think they were times in my life when the outside world was just too chaotic and I needed structure that I was unable to provide for myself.

Psychiatric wards can be disturbing in many ways, but I always found the routine and structure of daily life to outweigh the screams of the traumatized and the laughter of the manic. I found the empathy of certain nurses to be comforting.

Structure and routine are very important to me, as is the case with many on the spectrum. I recently had a change in schedule and depression and confusion followed. I haven’t sought solace in the hospital this time around, but I have signed up to do some volunteer work with animals. Hopefully my new schedule will provide me with as much pleasure and sense of accomplishment as my old one.

Have you ever found comfort during a hospitalization? I wonder if I’m the only one.



  1. You’re not the only one. I understand exactly what you’re saying because I realized the same thing about my own stays many years ago, back when I only knew about the bipolar and not the autism. You’re not the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is definitely relatable! I’ve been admitted to the same clinic now – yearly on average- since 2010. It started out as a small 30 bed private clinic with very lovely and attentive nurses and staff. I absolutely found it to represent a reset and a chance get a grip on my life, give me a sense of structure and routine which is so important for mental health. It was also.somewhere I considered safe, familiar and somewhere I could live comfortably for at least a month. Unfortunately the place has undergone substantial upgrades in the last two years. Significantly more beds and therefore more fellow patients to kind of be confined with and interact with. The revolving-door nature of how chronic mental health is treated (imo focused too much on only dealing with crises) means that I know if I check in there I’ll likely get to spend time with a few friends I’ve made previously and plenty more recognisable faces will be around too. But with the expansion there’s also been a change in rules, curfews and upper level ward elevators locking, restrictions to smoking, – I found my last two admissions to be quite stressful. I was there specifically for TMS treatment which has been amazing for me but I hated having to be an inpatient, i felt like the walls were closing in. The first time was immediately following the new wards opening and the staff struggling to adapt – it was awful seeing a favourite nurse utterly burnt out or compassion fatigued or a disinterested agency nurse.
    But the place still has a comforting familiarity and my Dr is incredible and makes it clear that he would prefer I just admit myself in any scenario, and that can definitely prevent a crises

    Liked by 1 person

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