How Do You Get Help When No One Believes You?

In this Nov. 18, 2015, file photo, labels on a cabinet in a ward at the Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash., read "flashlights" and "restraints." (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Head to BuzzFeed for an excerpt from Esmé Weijun Wang‘s The Collected Schizophrenias, on her institutionalizations — some of them might have saved her life, but they were themselves traumatizing experiences that reveal the deep flaws in the way we approach psychiatric care. Told with flat-out candor and beautifully precise language, she dispels deep-seated misconceptions about schizophrenic disorders and the people who live with them.

During my second hospitalization, which occurred in the same location as my first, I passed a nurse.

“How are you doing?” she asked.

“Okay,” I said, which was true. My mania and subsequent depression seemed to have been exorcised by the overdose I’d taken immediately prior to being hospitalized, and other than being frustrated by my return to the WS2 ward, life no longer felt like an intolerable sentence.

The nurse smiled. “But how are you really doing?”

“I’m really doing okay.”

The notes I’ve acquired from Yale Psychiatric Institute read, among other things, “Patient shows lack of insight.”

Read the excerpt