MY EXPERIENCE IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM (E.R.)…
My experience with doctors and nurses in the E.R. almost brings a tear to my eye. They were amazing. They understood. They were patient, caring and kind. They validated my feelings. Just like with any other illness, I was given a bed, examined, questioned, and reassured. I was provided with an explanation for my condition that made sense to me – my serotonin levels were probably low. Where two nerve cells meet, there is small space between them. Serotonin is involved in passing signals across this space from one nerve cell to another. If you don’t have enough serotonin, then these signals can’t make the jump between cells. This can lead to reduced activity in areas of the brain that are associated with feelings of well-being.
“Just like with any other illness, I was given a bed, examined, questioned, and reassured.”
I was assessed, an antidepressant was prescribed, and I was allowed to go home. I say ‘allowed to go home’ because this is not always the outcome. If you are considered a danger to yourself (active thoughts) or to anyone else, then you can be admitted to the hospital whether you like it or not.
Strange things went through my mind during depression, but I always hung on the idea that I should put my faith in the medical professionals (although I do know of friends that have had bad experiences doing this). I figured that if I left the hospital/doctors’ office and then killed myself, or someone else (not that I ever considered the latter), then people would ask some serious questions of the doctor that examined me. Consequently (and for the much better reason- that they care) I believe doctors think very seriously before letting depressed patients go home. If they admit you, it is hopefully for your own benefit. They see it as likely that you will harm yourself. They will closely monitor you and you will get to see all the relevant professionals much quicker than as an outpatient. The hospital’s psychiatrist will see you and suggest the most appropriate medications. You will not be allowed to leave the hospital until the doctor gives you the ‘go ahead’. Some people don’t like the idea of this and I understand why. I felt that if they kept me, then it was for my own good.
However, they didn’t keep me.
I went home.
Coming soon -Chapter 4: Part III