This is the place, where all the children go, when they have lost all hope. It is a place where I have met some of the most remarkable people in my life; the most fun loving, caring, joyous, and extroverted people I have ever met. These are people who changed my way of thinking; fun loving, and beautiful people. These people had hearts of gold. We all lived there, for one week this winter, and some probably live there now. This is Station 37. This is the Child Behavior and Psychology Clinic, an inpatient child psychology clinic at the Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There are around 24 rooms in the complex, half of a floor in the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Center. The Center has everything you would ever need in a hotel, although you can only access it with a parent or nurse. There is a gym, where you could play basketball with other kids, a pool, for some therapeutic swimming, and a McDonalds, where you could go when your parents came to visit you.

When you first arrive at the Rehab Center, you are limited to the floor you are on, which is always locked. Your shoelaces are taken from you, along with belts, any drugs, anything you could cut yourself with, such as razors, electric shavers, pop cans, even mechanical pencils. There are only a few things you can have, and you can make do; use small ‘zip-ties’ between belt loops as an artificial belt, and sandals are common.

After going through the lengthy process of entering Station 37, you are introduced to the environment. There is your room, for the girls there are 2 per room, and guys get a single room. The room is made up of a desk, where you will end up putting all your clothes, a single bed, and a bathroom. There is the main room, which branches off into 2 hallways, one where girls rooms are located, and the other where the boys rooms are located. There are plenty of seats, a foosball game, a table to play board games on, and one small television, which you will always find one or two younger girls sitting close to it, watching cartoons and giggling.

Throughout the day, there would be various activities, ranging from ‘verbal group,’ where you would talk about the reasons you came to the Rehabilitation Center, and what some, more positive, solutions would be to manage your stress and problems. We would also have time for arts and crafts, where we would make things like T-Shirts, pots, bracelets, and anything else we could find the kits to make, again, constantly supervised by one of the nurses on the floor. We would have a 1 hour ‘quiet time’ between 3:15 and 4:15, where we would have to stay in our rooms while the ‘day staff’ and the ‘night staff’ would switch, and talk about the different patients. Throughout the night, we would play games and watch TV all night, without any real work. On the weekends, the doctors would not be available, and there were no groups, so it was less structured, and similar to the nights.

So now you know basically everything about Station 37 except the people, why they were there, and what I thought of them. When I first came, it was during an arts and crafts time with about 6 other people in the same group as me. A few girls, who’s names I will not say, came over to me and asked what I was in for, as if it was prison, and something I would find easy to talk about. I had not talked openly about the series of events which had led me to entering the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Center, and tried to change the subject. The girl was very open, and told me ‘Yeah, I was the same when I came here the first time, but you get used to talking about it once your in here a while.’ She pulled up her long sleeve shirt, to reveal a number of large thick cuts on her arm, about as wide as your index finger, far bigger than a knife. I would latter learn that a person who cuts themselves is commonly referred to as a ‘cutter’. She responded, ‘Yeah, that’s my thing, I cut myself, and no, I’m not one of those ‘punk-pop, Linkin Park, Slipknot, I cut myself because its cool’ people. I don’t know why I do it, I just get depressed and blow up, cut myself, and end up in here.’ She was a fun loving girl, who would draw amazing pictures of flowers. She, myself, and one other girl watched every Christmas movie on at night, until she was discharged, and we would talk about nothing, and laugh, having fun.

Most of the people in Station 37 have attempted suicide. Some jumped off the deck in their apartment. Some overdosed on various pills. Others still tried to slit their wrists. These were the types of people who were in while I was. The youngest child was 6, the second youngest was 10, then it ranged to 19. Those who did not attempt suicide would cut themselves regularly, for a variety of reasons.

Most of the people were like that, there were a few darker, introverted people who were harder to talk to, but I tried my hardest to get to know them. One of them, a boy who had long dark hair, and listened to Nirvana, was a Meth addict, an alcoholic, and a smoker. He had left school at 15 and was now 17, and on his way to 3 months of juvenile detention after going through a ’72 hour hold’ in the Rehabilitation Center. He was fun, but was still very much unhappy with life, but trying therapy. He was what a lot of people think all people who suffer from depression along with other psychological disorders are like, but he was very much a minority.

While in Station 37 I met a lot of interesting people, and I saw things I never realized existed, it was an interesting and different experience. I had always wondered what these psych rehab places looked like, and now I know, and so do you.

As a side note:
If you feel like you want to hurt yourself, cut yourself or kill yourself, please come and talk to someone. There are many places on the internet where you can talk anonymously to someone with experience. I am always here if you want to talk, but please try and do something. I know it's hard, and I couldn’t do it. Don’t let it get to the level I got to, it's something I would prefer not to have experienced.


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