Hobbies In The Ward

Hobbies In The Ward

Morgan Martinez-Gee



I, Morgan Martinez Gee, have been to a psych ward. It is a part of me and I cannot ignore it. I have an episode in our accompanying podcast channel, Experience In The Psych Ward so it’s no secret that I am open about it. I believe that people should receive help, and talking about wards can help them seem less scary. 

In my experience, I was in a psych ward for roughly three months, and within those three months, I had to entertain myself in any way possible. 


Note: I was admitted to an Eating Disorder Recovery Center (ERC), so my experience may seem different than other people’s experience. Also, this is not glorifying the things that happened, nor is it an informational article about the in’s and out’s of said place. This is just a fun article for a not fun part of my life.

1: Reading


This may seem obvious, but reading was a big help in escaping into another world. I remember finishing a 350 page book in two days. However, all books had to be cleared by our therapists. One of the other patients couldn’t get a book about magic dragons cleared, yet I was able to read a book that was already in the ward, that was about a teenager getting killed because he accidentally entered a drug ring. Regardless, reading was a big help.


2: Drawing


Another obvious one, but drawing/coloring was very fun and easy to get sucked into. Chameleon green coloring a desert iguana was an amazing way to ignore your group therapy sessions. However, in my first part of treatment, all we were allowed to use was crayons. Luckily, I made my mother bring me a giant set of crayola crayons and coloring books.


3: Journaling


Three for three, this one is self explanatory. I would end each of my days by journaling what happened that day, even to what hoodie I wore all day. I would write anything I could, such as what I was happy about, sad about, missing, wondering about, anything. In fact, I still have that journal and read it sometimes.


4: Various Book Games


When I was going in, I had brought activity books, such as sudoku, word search, crosswords, and maze books. I would spend so long just passing through word searches and circling. One of my visits I got with my family, my mother taught me how to play sudoku, so I did that a lot too. 


5: Listening To Music


To many people’s surprise, the center I was at, we could listen to music. However, we could only listen to music using an mp3 player. So, like anyone else, I bought a cheap Ipod from ebay and piled all of my alternative/nerdy music onto it. I would put in both of my Skullcandy headphones and do word searches whenever I could.


6: Card Games


I spent hours playing card games on the grimy floor we were all forced to sit on. I learned so many games, like The President, skipbo, and our personal favorite, spit. Spit is a card game where you and another player are trying to remove the cards on your part of the deck, such as placing an ace on a king or a 6 on a 5. Once your hand is empty, you can slap one of the two decks (ideally, the one with fewer cards), and you both take those respective cards. Hard to explain through text, but when I tell you, all of us would crowd around a heated game of spit, it was like watching football with how excited we were.


7: Knitting


Now, I know this seems like an answer a 65 year old woman would answer, but truthfully, it kept me from going insane. When I was admitted, I made a promise to myself that I would not knit, that was a level of inpatient I was not ready for, but as days kept passing by me, the least I could do was try it. So, I did, and when I tell you that I became obsessed, it would keep me up until 2 in the morning sometimes. It was all I could do for days, but I hated that if you made a mistake, you had to completely start over. So, with my discharge of residential (at hospital 24/7) and transition to PHP (at hospital for about 11 hours a day) with newly found freedoms, I found myself to my next hobby.


8: Crocheting


I know some people think that I should put knitting and crocheting in the same number, but to that, I raise you a this-is-my-article-and-I-like-crocheting-more. With that out of the way, yes, I crochet. Even to this day, I love it. I’ve made sweaters, gifts, stuffed animals, hats, and I will continue to crochet to my heart’s desire. This is one of the only hobbies I still partake in to this day, over 9 months after being discharged.


Those were my main hobbies while I was forced to pee in a cup in the morning for months. Psych wards are a scary place if you’ve never been in one, and this article isn’t to glorify what happened/happens in them. Rather, this article is to show that we are still people with hobbies and dreams. I am still human and I am not less than you for staying in a place that wouldn’t even let us stand for extended periods of time. I am still one of you.