First of all, if you are ordered medication: TAKE IT. Selling it on the street is counter- productive. Medication helps. Yes, there are side effects—but these are nothing compared the side effects from not taking it. Side effects like jail. Side effects like spending 80% of your life in a locked ward. Side effects like sleeping under a bridge. Side effects like having no family and friends because nobody wants to deal with you anymore.
You don’t want to take meds? Fine. Here are tips for staying out of hospital if you choose to treat your mental illness with...oh, vitamins or Kush or accupuncture whatever:
1. Do not talk to yourself in public. If you do talk to yourself, try to avoid words and phrases such as “bomb,” “pussy” (unless you’re holding a cat carrier) and “You don’t get outta my way, Imma cut your m—f—ing face off.” Do try not to make eye contact with others while addressing your hallucinations. People think you are speaking to them. And then they answer you. And then you get mad.
BTW, if you do not have a mental illness and are talking into a blue tooth: A. make sure it’s it visible B. keep your voice down C. You really do look crazy. Just so you know.
2. If you rent an apartment or home, and your rent is due, either pay it, or politely ask for an extension. Do NOT offer drugs in exchange, Do NOT break anything or set fire to the place. Most importantly, do NOT insist it’s YOUR house and chase the landlord off the premises with a broken beer bottle. In fact, paying any bill should at the top of your list. This includes grocery bills. Stuffing a Stouffer’s family-sized mac and cheese, or a wad of bananas down your pants at Giant Eagle is a sure way to draw unwanted attention. The authorities will question you, and remember: Once you start talking, you're doomed.
3. Do not stockpile weapons, especially in your front window. Also, don’t carry them public, or to church, or to family get-together. Guns and knives should be avoided at all costs, but also remember to leave the others behind, too: The crossbows, machetes, blow torches, bottle bombs, and the two-by-fours. Especially the ones with the rusty nails in the end.
4. Do not urinate in public no matter how bad you have to go. Especially do not urinate indoors, whether it’s Macys or the Dollar Tree or the Horseshoe Casino. Note: This does not apply to RTA bus and rapid stations. If you absolutely can’t help yourself and MUST pee outside, avoid passersby and police cruisers—then run like hell. As for defecating, remember: Toilets. ONLY TOILETS!
5. If you stop at a relative or friend’s home at three in the morning and they refuse to let you in, it’s generally not a good idea to throw bricks through the windows or vandalize their cars. Sometimes it’s these little things that get people hauled in. In fact, you might be out there for 20 years, off meds and totally bonkers and happily flying under the radar UNTIL you commit some small, insignificant crime.
6. It’s very important to wear clothes outdoors, regardless of the weather. Nude people attract attention, particularly in the winter. Particularly in the daytime hours. Particularly if you are making a lot of noise. If you must run nude outside, try to keep it in your own backyard, not on Public Square, and be quiet about it. Do not pound your chest and Tarzan-yell. Do not ask anyone’s opinion of the size of your breasts or your penis, nor ask to compare. Frankly, and this not a disparaging comment about your body, no one is impressed. In fact, we’re all pretty revolted. Also, no public masturbation. What's sad is that I actually have to mention this.
7. If you’ve recently been kidnapped by aliens, understand that you’re a vampire, a dog, a famous record producer, a multibillionaire mogul who owns every business from Cleveland to Saudi Arabia, or if you’re Tupac or Obama or Michael Jackson or Lil Wayne or The Terminator (or married to one of their relatives) or if you work for the FBI, the CIA, the NSA*, it’s probably wise not to discuss any of this in public--ever, ever, ever. Introducing yourself as Tupac when a cop pulls you over (and please DO stop, as driving quickly away in the opposite direction is rarely a good idea) is sure to land you a bed you-know-where. Also, do not go to the police station to turn in your microchip, or to report your family for animal abuse when they won’t buy you any more Milk Bones. As previously noted, the key to avoiding hospitalization is to keep your mouth shut.
*If you really do work for any of these organizations, have not been diagnosed with a mental illness, and for whatever reason end up in a hospital emergency room: DO NOT MENTION IT.
8. Keep a relatively tidy house. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart—but we’ve all see “Hoarders” and know where that leads. Also, I can’t stress enough the importance of Personal Hygiene. While a whiff of bad breath or BO is certainly not enough to get you pink-slipped, there some are warning signs you should be aware of. Examples: the fact that people gag whenever you approach; brown underwear, especially the ones that can be cracked in two; a cottage cheese farm in your nether regions; spitting out popcorn kernels that are, in reality, your actual teeth (and you're not even eating popcorn); and that perpetual itch and active movement of your scalp.
9. Street drugs exacerbate mental illness.You think drugs "relax" you? Go back and talk to those people who wouldn't let you in the house at three in the morning. Drugs do not relax you. Drugs make crazy people crazier. Drugs make people who AREN'T crazy crazy. You like to sniff or smoke that gas station herb because you know it won't show up in a urine tox sample? Go ahead. Smoke it. See you in a few hours when they haul you, covered in taser burns, into the hospital in restraints. AVOID, AVOID, AVOID!
10. Learn to take cues from other people. For instance, if you say “I am God and you are the Devil” or “Princess Diana is still alive and she lives in my mother’s basement” or "My wife is being raped by your computer" and the other person says “Man, you’re full of shit,” there might be something to it.
To sum up, the best ways to avoid landing a psych ward are to:
A. Stay out of trouble
B. Don’t do weird or threatening stuff
C. Speak only when absolutely necessary and with the utmost caution.
D. Drugs are bad, m'kay?
Or you could just take your LEGAL medication and follow-up with your doctor. Seriously.