Thank you all for your well wishes. And that you just for listening. I feel my “support network” for emotional issues is very thin. (I guess that is one reason I’m here.) Also, writing is its own form of therapy for me... so I write. (I guess that is another reason I’m here.)
The family member is my 20 year old son. When I got to see him, he was actually quite calm -- even already a bit bored -- and probably doing OK enough to come home. Earlier that day he discussed his racing thoughts with his group therapist, and he couldn't “contract for safety” -- which means to promise not to hurt himself or others. So that triggered the psych eval at the hospital; under doctor’s recommendation he agreed to be admitted.
The place is not bleak, but not exactly cheery, either. (If “Twenty-Year-Old Dorm Room” was the name of a decorating style, this place knows how to do it right... ) He seemed to be somewhere between "resigned" and "oddly comfortable" to be there. He was still in the scrubs they gave him earlier; they will let him wear his regular clothes, but they were still checking them for pointy things and drugs and lice and whatever else wasn't allowed on the ward.
There are some silver linings, I know: he had the presence of mind to know his thoughts were potentially harmful to himself and others, and acted correctly seeking and allowing help. And he’ll probably get some benefit out of even this experience: either he’ll actually get some actual help and future coping skills, and/or it might be illuminating for him to realize he’s not NEARLY as “sick” as some of the truly deranged patients there. (He might someday self-identify with being more “mentally well” than he originally gave himself credit for.)
One indirect downside is this: intertwined with my son’s depression and self-worth issues, he has serious codependecy issues. He has a history of getting over-involved with friends and acquaintances and their problems (including serious mental health and substance abuse issues), far beyond his emotional and financial ability to help. This to the detriment of his own mental health. You wouldn’t lock an alcoholic in a drugstore ‘til he was feeling better, right? Putting him in a locked psych ward is pretty analogous for him.
I do think it is right for him to be there, and that he’ll pull through this episode. I remain hopeful he’ll be able to wrangle these dragons of his someday, and lead a pretty healthy, normal life life. I probably won’t be posting daily updates on him or his status, so I’ll leave it at this: you can assume he is on the mend unless I post otherwise.
But it is still scary, as nothing is certain. And it just feels awful to leave him there. The “click” of the door locking behind you as you leave the ward is a terrible feeling for a parent.