Thursday, November 17, 2011

Field trip clinical...strange day

For our last Mental Health clinical, our instructor arranged for us to take a tour of an adult mental hospital, Western State Hospital, instead of going to the children's psych hospital here in town.  I've been looking forward to this opportunity ever since she told us, thinking a change of scenery would be nice, plus getting to see an actual psych know, the big,imposing, grandiose brick facilities that you see on shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures?  Yeah, that's Western State.

Western State Hospital, Hopkinsville, KY
We got there and waited in the main entry area.  I remember feeling fine, normal, not at all different (hmm, I'm giving myself away, on).  We had to sign in, wait for everyone to get there, and then our instructor talked to the employee who showed us around, I'm assuming to give him an idea of what she wanted us to see/learn about the place.  As with most mental facilities, the doors between floors, units, areas, etc. are self-locking, and in the main entry/reception area, we were separated from the rest of the facility by locked doors.  As I said, I was fine, nothing out of the ordinary...but then we went through the first set of locked doors and into the actual facility...

We started out in an area that housed the offices of the social area that was once a patient unit.  As our tour guide was giving us some intro information, I started feeling...well, weird.  I can't really explain it...I was dizzy/light-headed, felt my HR increase, felt anxious and jittery, kind of hypervigilant...and almost like I was standing next to myself...or something.  Just an overall very weird vibe, strange mojo, but with a negative something wasn't right.  I was dizzy to the point of having to make sure I was leaning against something, like a table or the wall.  I felt like this throughout the whole tour...except for when we left the main building.  When we went to a different building, I felt normal.  But once we went back into the main building, I felt odd again.  And no, no fresh paint, no new carpet, no cleaners...and no one else was having these symptoms.  Once our tour was over, I was ready to get the heck out of that building and get back into a positive area.  As soon as we stepped out of the building, I was back to normal again.  Although I felt very tired and was prone to just glazing over and thinking about nothing.

I had no pre-conceived notions about being there today.  I was actually looking forward to it.  I knew it was an old facility that had tons of stories associated with it, and as a history buff, I was wanting to hear the stories about the history of the place.  I also knew that many old hospitals like this are prone to stories of being haunted, and Western State is no different.  Our tour guide told us of various happenings that have been mentioned by staff.  While I believe that that kind of thing is possible, I'm not scared or freaked out or intimidated by it.  I have no plausible explanation for my reaction to being in the hospital...but my instructor and a couple classmates wondered if I was picking up the supernatural vibe of the place.  I wouldn't back that up, science would have an explanation to what was going on...that I was subconsciously anxious, that I had low blood sugar, that I was tired...  But I went from completely normal in the entry area to feeling all weird after walking through a doorway, then would go back to normal after leaving the main building.  Hmm.  No matter what was going on, I know that I have *no* desire to go back inside that building.

So that's my adventure.  Other than struggling to make it through the tour, it was actually a good day.  :-)  Got to have some good chats with classmates on the way down and back, had lunch, got away from home and our regular clinical sites...

And now I must finish clinical worksheets and work on my psych careplan.  Buh.


  1. Woooooooooooo, totally seems like Grant and Jason should go investigate there sometime. I think if there was a scientific explanation it would be something to do with the fear cage and the high electro-magnetic fields going on. But as long as you tried to enjoy yourself as much as you could is all that matters. Thanks for the mid semester update, keep up the good work.

  2. I was totally thinking that you were getting supernatural vibes from that place before you even said that. I am sure you were picking up on someone's energy.

  3. I smiled as I read your blog post. yes what you felt was real - and not everyone has that ability. I have worked there 24 years and can tell some stories :-)

  4. I loved to hear you're stories Angela. It's definitely an interesting place to work. I can't wait to see it investigated when they finally close the doors on that building, if i'm still alive lol.