I worked at two hospitals (placement) during my last year of college. At one hospital I worked with professionals that did therapeutic play with children on the Pediatric ward as well as on the Adolescent Psych ward (at the other hospital). My "boss" and I would do crafts, projects, art, etc. with the teens to help them have an outlet while they were getting treatment for mental illness, addiction issues and other medical issues. Each day, before we would see the teens, we would get a run down from the nurses on the ward explaining who everyone was, what issues they were being hospitalized for and any other info we needed (this could include anything from a warning that the patient had violent tendencies, how they are adjusting to being on the ward, which patients they did or did not get along with etc.).
So this one night, we were given the usual run down of the teens on the ward and the nurse mentioned one teen in particular. This girl (I will call her Sally, obviously not her real name) had all of a sudden just stopped talking one day and started to act really out of character. She would not respond to family, friends, siblings, doctors or anyone for that matter. She was hospitalized because they became concerned about her harming herself and they were definitely trying to ensure she was being watched 24/7 just in case she was experiencing some type of psychosis (I don't know a ton of details because we were just given a quick run down of the patients' case). From what I was told, they had checked and ruled out a brain tumor and other possible physiological causes and found nothing abnormal. Now just to set the stage, this hospital is a very old hospital with dark hallways, poorly lit rooms, and the coldest most creepy atmosphere I have ever experienced. In every way it looked like a hospital you would see in a horror movie and when walking down the hallways, I remember always being scared something would jump out at me because there were a lot of "blind spots" due to it's very old layout.
Anyways, this night in particular my co-worker/boss and I started the crafts and activities for the kids in the "kitchen" room where we always did our activities. I was sitting close to Sally and tried to initiate conversations but she would just stare blankly. My boss/coworker tried as well and Sally would not respond and without warning she would just occasionally look at us and laugh loudly or smile at me with glossy eyes. The doctors had tried all day to get her to speak and she said nothing so I just chatted and tried my best to "include" her even though she wouldn't really engage.
I started to doodle on a piece of paper while talking with some of the teens and just randomly wrote down "Hi!" and drew around it, not even really thinking about what I was doing. Almost immediately after I wrote "Hi!", Sally picked up a pencil and wrote "hello"! I was shocked to say the least. I was the first person in days and days that she attempted to communicate with. I didn't know if it would work, but I wrote "how are you?" and she actually wrote an answer! I was blown away! After Sally and I exchanged a couple questions/answers my co-worker noticed what was going on so she kept the other teens busy and just nodded at me to keep going. Within a few minutes, this girl and I had written almost a page of conversation and she was communicating through writing with no trouble! I couldn't believe it was happening! I was getting all this info from a girls that everyone thought was unreachable! We "talked" through writing for what seemed like hours (but was probably just about 1 hour) and while I was asking her about how she was feeling about being in the ward, she admitted through writing that she was scared. I pressed on, trying to see if she was scared because she was in a strange place or missed her family etc., but she wrote it was because she saw people in the room with us. Obviously, there were people in the room with us so I asked her why the people in the room scared her and she simply wrote "they are dead". I swear, when I read, it felt like my stomach hit the floor. I looked up from the page we were writing on and she just looked at me and then turned her head and stared at the door. No one was there..... well, at least, I didn't see anyone there. Sally stared at that door for easily a minute and I swear SHE saw something there. I was more scared than I could even express. I will never forget the look on her face. Whether or not there was a person/ghost there, Sally could see someone.
I took some deep breaths and once I had her attention again, we started communicating again through writing. We "talked" this way until 9pm, when I had to leave with my co-worker/boss. I thanked Sally for "speaking" to ee and she seemed a lot more "aware" when I said goodbye. She still was not verbalizing, but I know that the doctors were going to do their best to find out why. I collected the papers we had written on and before leaving the ward showed the entire conversation to my co-worker and the nurse in charge. Everyone on duty (nurses, etc) was dumbfounded that I had actually communicated with her and they assured me that the pages would be passed along to the psychiatrist the next morning. I was filled with so many emotions.... I was happy I had spoken to her and she was honest with me but I was also still incredibly scared and shaken up. My co-worker dropped me off at home and I remember walking in to the living-room and my roommates knew immediately something had happened. I was shaking and blurted out everything that happened. They were supportive but also freaked out by the situation. I have never been happier to have roommates because if I had gone home to an empty place, I probably wouldn't have slept for days.
Sadly, because of the schedule I had and the many different shift changes at the hospital, I never saw Sally again and no one knew what the final diagnosis was for her. I still get chills when I think about the look on her face that night when she stared at the door. I don't think I will ever shake that feeling. I just hope she got the help she needed. edit - spacing, word/spelling fixes
TL;DR - worked on an Adolescent Psych ward (in a hospital that could be the set for a horror movie) and got a girl who wouldn't talk to communicate through writing. During the conversation she divulged she could see dead people in the room with us and stared at one of them that was "standing" in the doorway. I gave our the papers from our conversation to the medical staff who couldn't believe she actually "spoke".
sort of EDIT: Was gonna change some awkward phrases but I've decided to leave it. Sorry if I ramble.