Have I ever told you that I once drove myself to a “Mental Health Facility” and wasn’t entirely sure that I would be allowed to leave? If you’ve never heard about that whole incident, you’re out of luck–it’s a story for another time.
But lately I’ve been thinking about mental hospitals. Specifically, I’ve been considering checking into one. Seriously. I think they’ve gotten a bad rap over the years. I’ve been doing a little research and I’ve decided the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Don’t believe me? Read on.
1. You get to stay in your very own padded room. You mean I don’t have to share a room with my 3 kids, my husband, and all our belongings? Hello, privacy! And the padded walls and floor? For a girl who consistently runs into walls and furniture (while stone cold sober) that’s a major bonus.
2. You are given clean, matching clothes. OK, so the whole white-on-white look isn’t real appealing but the clothes are clean. And you wouldn’t have to go tearing through the pile of laundry that you still haven’t gotten around to folding to find anything. You wouldn’t even have to mate the socks to have a matching pair. You would have to give up pretty shoes but in exchange, you would get to wear comfy slippers everywhere. Spending all day in jammies? Sign me up.
3. You are fed 3 square meals a day. And you NEVER. HAVE. TO. COOK. Someone else has to do the planning, shopping, prep work and cooking. It even gets brought to you on a tray. And you’re in your very own room so no one will say anything if you eat dinner IN BED. And when you’re done someone cleans up after you. There’s no leftovers to put away, no dishes to wash, no kitchen to put back together. Heck, if you dribble on yourself they sort of expect it. They’ll just bring you clean jammies and help you change.
4. Nap time is mandatory. That macrame project getting a little too stressful? TV time wearing you out? No problem! Nap time is on the schedule. And if you have trouble sleeping, they will even provide you a little pill to knock you out ensuring that you will catch some zzzzz’s.
5. They have a counselor on staff. Do you know what this means? It means that someone is actually paid to listen to you whine and complain about how horrible your life is and how much better it would be if your little minions would just pick up the slack and take over all the domestic chores leaving you with plenty of time to watch trashy TV and drown in a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s. For an hour, you get to scream and wail and blame everyone else for your problems and they HAVE. TO. LISTEN. Now they will probably then tell you that you weren’t held enough as a baby and may even have the orderlies bring you in a wide array of colored pills that will make you 7 kinds of happy but hey, it’s a trade off.
6. They have tight security. This isn’t like a regular hospital that allows Joe Blow off the street to just walk in and visit patients. No, you have to show ID, get verified, pass through a security scan and then wait in the designated visiting room. It’s like prison without the cavity search. And the little minions? They have to stay at home–wouldn’t want them to be traumatized by what they might view in the loony bin. So that means you can watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey and eat your tapioca pudding in peace without someone climbing into your lap and yelling right into your face with fishy cracker breath, “Whatcha doin‘?” In fact, if you’re not up to visitors at all, you can just fake a psychotic episode. Start screaming at the voices in your head, eat the crayons before they eat you or just start dancing around in your underwear and I guarantee you’ll get a bonus nap time.
7. They have ZERO expectations. As far as they’re concerned, you’re a nut job. They just want to keep you medicated and numbed out so they don’t have to pull out the UFC moves to take you down. They won’t take a look around your
cell suite and ask why you haven’t made your bed or why your clothes are on the floor. They won’t interrupt your Play Doh time to ask, “So what did you do all day?” In fact, if you finish that 8 piece puzzle that someone chewed the corners off of, they will probably reward you with an extra jello.
Yes, you have to deal with patients with questionable hygiene habits who (surprisingly) seem to have more voices in their heads than even you, and you may have to guard your salisbury steak with your life lest someone tries to feed it to their pet bedpan, but it’s all a small price to pay for a little bit of R&R.