Paging Doctor Brainiac Part 2: What A Mental Hospital Is Really Like
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Health and Wellness

Paging Doctor Brainiac Part 2: What A Mental Hospital Is Really Like

Expectations versus reality.

Paging Doctor Brainiac Part 2: What A Mental Hospital Is Really Like

If you're anyone like me, you've seen the iCarly episode "iLost My Mind." For anyone who hasn't seen it, here's the episode in a nutshell: Carly's best friend Sam checks herself into a mental "institution" because she thinks she's mentally unstable for liking Freddie, a mutual friend.

"Troubled Waters Mental Hospital" is the epitome of mental hospital stereotypes. I could rant and rave forever about all this, but instead, I'm going to do an expectations versus reality style piece I like to call "Nickelodeon vs. Nicki," a comparison of the stereotypes seen in iCarly to my real-life experiences of being a part time mental hospital patient.

Nickelodeon: The name "Troubled Waters" is given to poke fun at facilities such as these, suggesting they are only for the craziest of the crazy. The only people to be seen (besides the three aforementioned main characters) are oblivious nurses and grungy-looking ragamuffins, which are supposedly the "patients."

Nicki: Most of the time, names given to facilities such as this one are named for founders. Just like schools, hospitals, parks, and all kinds of other places. If you were to walk into that place, you'd be amazed at the variety of people you'd find there, many of whom may not be patients.

Nickelodeon: All of Troubled Waters' patients follow a similar stereotype: scruffy and abnormal. Many males are seen with shaggy hair and beards like Santa's. Females have frizzy, unruly hair. All the patients appear to have grimy looking faces. They waddle around draped in pajamas and robes. One woman appears to have swaddled herself in a blanket.

Nicki: The patients I have been with are no different than anybody you'd see crossing the street or shopping at the mall. People are tall and short, come from all kinds of ethnicities and backgrounds, and are generally well dressed. Your average "mental hospital patient look" is no different from what most people wear on a regular basis; jeans, jackets, and sneakers or boots. You'd never know one just by looking.

Nickelodeon: Troubled Waters' walls are grimy and stained with dirt. They bear signs displaying signs with messages that are plainly and obviously degrading. These messages include: "Only Bite Food," "Do Not Lick Walls," "Please Keep Pants On." "Do Not Eat Game Pieces," "Friends Don't Kill Friends," "Urine is for Restrooms," and my personal un-favorite "Please Don't Feed the Patients" (can you say dehumanizing?!)

Nicki: Most walls of mental hospitals are kept clean, just as you would expect of a public place. Walls in the out patient unit are light blue, pale green, or dark purple in color and are generally bare, except for a large whiteboard displaying the times that people meet with doctors. The only signs you'll find are one containing a list of games available in the break area, and one stating that the premises is off limits to all people who are not patients.

Nickelodeon: Patients and visitors wander throughout the facility aimlessly.

Nicki: There's a strict schedule for all patients based on their needs. Visiting hours are 12:00-1:30 and 5:00-6:30. Neither patients or visitors are allowed to roam wherever they like.

Nickelodeon: Carly convinces Sam that she's allowed to like Freddie. Sam and Freddie kiss again and everyone claps and cheers. Sam leaves Troubled Waters after less than a day.

Nicki: Only doctors are allowed to decide when patients are allowed to leave, and all must stay for a minimum of five consecutive days, in or outpatient.

(Believe it or not, having romantic relationships with other patients is strictly prohibited. They make you sign a waiver.)

(It's also forbidden to film web shows in these places in order to protect patients' privacy, but I hope this is just common sense for most of you!)

So, in the words of one of my favorite movies: "It's only Hollywood, kid."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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