Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why is it so hard to get into a decent asylum these days???

Welcome, Welcome one and all, to my first posting by a guest blogger. Her name is Jessica Cowles-Rios. She is a talented writer and just a bit zany- as you will soon discover. Crazy or crazy brilliant is the question...

I need a vacation. Boy, do I need a vacation. I will have had one day off between March 16 and April 3, and that day was last Sunday. I’m just a little burned out. Obviously my plan to get to Europe via pyramid scheme didn’t pan out as I had planned, but I’m not a girl to get dissuaded that easily. So yesterday, I was sitting at my desk (not working again and as usual) brainstorming ideas on how I can get away from it all with close to no funds or vacation time left. Hmmm, this one is a toughie but I’m a creative, resourceful girl who can think outside the box, so I wasn’t worried. It wasn’t like time was a factor. I had 8-10 hours to ponder the problem. All of a sudden, it came to me! A MENTAL INSTITUTION! Oh it was perfect in every way. The cost was totally covered. I have health insurance and good health insurance too! I also have short term disability insurance so I would actually be getting PAID to be there. Oh I was so proud of myself. I immediately started fantasizing about my vacation. Talk about relaxing and getting away from it all! I pictured myself ensconced in the security and peace that can only be found in an insane asylum. I saw myself standing peacefully on the meds line with my little paper pill cup, waiting serenely for my turn for those wonderful mind altering drugs that make me forgot everything I worry about. Wonderful soft elevator music wafting softly all around, comforting my troubled mind. Nothing like an all instrumental of “Afternoon Delight” to bring peace. After meds, I shuffle along in my suicide gown and paper slippers off to the rec. room to relax until the drugs kick in. I imagined playing a relaxing game of checkers against myself and then catching me cheating and throwing the board across the room in a fit of rage. It wouldn’t be a problem though. No one would judge me. The meds just hadn’t had a chance to work yet. That’s all anyone would think. Once I was good and wasted on my psychotropic drugs, I would stumble over to a chair by the window and stare blankly out at the beautiful landscape just outside. Yes, maybe I drool some. Yes, maybe I rock some- but who cares? That’s the beauty of the insane asylum. Anything goes! Once I’m coherent enough to move--it’s off to arts and crafts with Popsicle sticks and cotton balls. Oh what fun! Then its time for group. I will sit quietly and listen to everyone else talk and nod empathetically. I will add nothing to the conversation. I am not there to work, I’m there to relax. I have no desire to work out any demons or come to terms with my childhood. That sounds like too much effort. After group, dinner, then I take a sleeping pill and retire to my padded room where I can curl up like a cat in a corner and sleep like a newborn baby until morning, when I get to do it all over again! Sounds like pure heaven doesn’t it? I know. I thought so too!! I’m thinking that the idea place would be along the lines of the facility in ‘One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest’. The accommodations seem ideal. Yes, there was Nurse Ratchet, BUT she really wasn’t that bad if you just followed the rules and I would be all about goose-stepping to the rules, so we would get along just fine if I were to run into someone with a personality like hers.
Now I had my perfect vacation idea, but there was the matter of finding such a place. Never being in the market for an insane asylum, I didn’t have much to go on. Again, I am a resourceful gal so I went to the yellow pages online and put in my zip code and searched “mental health facilities”. I got three pages of results and printed them all out.(Yes, I’m still at work.) A lot of the residential places were for people with eating disorders and drug problems. Those were out of the question. That sounded too much like work. This vacation is about relaxation, not bettering myself. I didn’t find anything at all on the list that mentioned “mental institution or insane asylum.” I did, however, find some referral services. I excitedly called the first one and asked point blank, “Where is the closest insane asylum in my area.” Silence. After a long pause, a very terse voice told me, “there are only 2 state run psych hospitals, or “insane asylums” as you put it, in our state and they are pretty hard to get into. (Quick FYI, people in the mental health field do NOT find the term “insane asylum” politically correct). So I asked, “When you say ‘pretty hard’ to get in, do you mean that I would have to do something really crazy to be considered for admittance?” (in the tone of voice that I might ask a club promoter what I could do to get into the newest hottest night club in town) “Like what is the minimum that I could do to prove that I belong? Could I threaten to kill myself or would I need to actually attempt suicide?” She again, quite tersely, informed me that neither of those things would even come close to getting me in. Well, I was tired of the run around so I cut to the chase. I asked “Ok, so you tell me what I have to do. Do I need to throw feces around and talk to people who don’t exist? Just between me you and the lamp-post, I would prefer to leave fecal matter out, because quite frankly, I find it kind of disgusting and that would only be as a last resort and then ONLY if I were wearing a hazmat suit” Apparently, she was growing tired of the conversation and she told me that simply by virtue of the fact that I was coherent enough to be having this phone conversation, automatically disqualified my admittance. Well this was certainly not the news I was looking for. I clearly was not going to get satisfaction from this unhelpful woman, so I thanked her for nothing and called the next referral service on my list. This time, I got a much more helpful man on the phone and he told me that due to state cuts, there were very few insane asy…er, state mental health residential facilities anymore. He told me that if I had insurance then I could go to the emergency department of a hospital that has a psych wing and they would decide if I needed to be an inpatient or be released and referred to outpatient services. Blah, blah, blah. None of that sounds even remotely like my fantasy of rec. rooms, padded cells and meds lines while wearing a comfy suicide suit. Spending a month in a hospital psych ward just doesn’t have the same romantic ring to it. *Sigh* Oh well, it’s back to the drawing board, but I am not giving up. I WILL have my vacation. I just need to come up with another brilliant plan. I will keep you posted.


  1. Thanks for the guest spot! I finally figured out how to post on this thing, so it's taken me this long to make any comments. I honestly COULD have gotten into an asylum on Thursday. Maybe there's hope for an insurance funded vacation yet!

  2. You are so not going into an asylum without me!!! Book a room for two!


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