7 myths you shouldn't believe about staying in a mental hospital.

Don't believe what you see on TV or in the movies.

I waited as the elevator ascended at an achingly slow pace. Anxiety filled my body, and I could hardly breathe.

When the doors finally opened, I stepped out, clutching my bag, expecting to see a creepy monochromatic clinical space filled with zombies and screaming people being held down by aggressive staff whose sole job was to control patients like caged animals. Instead, I was welcomed by a wall of bright, hand-drawn inspirational quotes and a handful of warm smiles from staff and other patients. I started to breathe again. Maybe this wouldn't be as bad as I thought it would be.

Don't believe what you see on TV. There are no restraints here — just my stuffed animal and a journal. Photo by the author, used with permission.

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