I was sectioned to a place called Bluebird House, a secure adolescent NHS unit in the south of England. If you Google it you can see some photo’s of what it was like inside. A bit rubbish, although we did a lot of gym and art therapy.
At first you hate it, because you get no freedom or privacy and it’s terrifying, especially if you have been sectioned. And for people suffering sever mental illness it can be very distressing. The most important thing to remember is routine is key.
The staff are okay, if you behave and do as they say. But people don't like that; there was nearly always someone trying to disturb the routine. I remember this one guy totally exploded when he wasn't aloud to smoke. They mostly ignored me though because I was one of the quieter ones. Although I did cause a fuss once when I didn’t want to take the meds because it was making me constipated.
People did it out of boredom mostly. There is nothing else to do accept cry, or walk around in circles, or stare at walls, or play cards with the other patients. I didn't see my therapist as often as I would have like, so basically all I did was wait around. You get a love-hate relationship with the therapist. At first I saw her like a surrogate mother, and then I realized that I was just a number to her, that she wasn’t really my friend and didn’t really care about me. So I hated her for a while, but she grew on my again as I kept on changing my mind about her.
When you first come everything is confiscated from you: shoelaces, earrings, belts, nail clippers, razors – basically anything you can harm yourself or others with. It’s really degrading because you treated like a child. Less than a child in fact, like a retarded baby.
You get used to it all after a while. The routine, the patient, the pills etc. The beds were okay - although no-one slept - and you get used to the food - although most people didn't eat. You get used to not having any privacy. People would register that you were here every ten minutes or so. I think this is because it takes ten minutes to committee suicide. Actually, the only time you were left alone was if you were in restraints (the cell with padded walls, or a bed they can strap you down in). You had to sacrifice your freedom for privacy.
Eventually the people really grew on me. It’s comforting to be around people who are going through similar experiences as you. The majority were either severly depressed, manic or psychotic at the time or their admittion (Or high). And everybody self-harmed. Although there were one or two people that really shouldn't have been there.
Relationships don't function as they would "outside" because a lot of the people had personality or behavioural issues too. For example this one boy acted and spoke normally, but he would go looking for me if I was out of sight or totally 'zone out' in the middle of a conversation. And because I was so delusional at that time too, I thought he was in love with me, which didn't help my recovery prosess.
In a weird way I miss them, but I know if I went back they’d have probably all moved on now.
So yeah, it wasn’t the best time, but everyone’s experience is different. And I’m glad I went there in the end because I’m not sure I’d be here if I didn’t.
PS: Like Emma's Mommy said, a "Code White" responce happens when someone is acting in a potentially dangerous manner and the regular staff can't handle it. It what my nickname means, although I have never caused a CW myself :]