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We all have heard, in some form or another, the horror stories that occur within the walls of the psychiatric hospital. We hear about stray jackets that people wear as they are strapped into a stretcher and carried off to procedures. The crazy people that scream all day and are only quieted with a sleep-inducing sedatives. And, the abuse that the staff puts the patients through on a daily basis. All this is enough to make a person stay far away from the psychiatric hospital ward even when they need the help so badly.
I knew I needed the help for quite some time. I felt that I couldn’t handle the darkness I was going through. I felt extreme hatred being in my own body and completely hopeless that the situation would ever change. It was only a matter of time before I would do something that would break everyone around me.
Finally, even in my weakest state, I decided that I needed to put my fears behind me and ask to go to the psychiatric hospital. Because, deep down I knew I wasn’t safe. While I knew I needed help, I couldn’t imagine how I would get it through a traumatic hospital experience.
I probably made the best decision in my entire lifespan of 19 years, to call my mom and say the words:
I need help. I think I need to go to the hospital.
Today, the only part that I regret is not asking for help sooner and being so afraid of hospitalization.
Saying the words I need help requires tremendous vulnerability. You don’t know what will happen. You are putting yourself on the line. But sometimes, it is so important to take that step and ask for the help you need. I did it. I asked for help, and went to a place where I could feel safe and take care of myself.
I got a break from reality and as my doctors adjusted my medication, I focused on getting ready for outpatient treatment. The daily schedule was mundane, filled with relaxation and groups. The hospital was the exact thing that I needed. I can say without doubt that it saved my life.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone that has gone through mental illness will go through the hospital in their lifetime. But sometimes there is a need for it. And, when it is needed, it can be the very thing to save a person from themselves. The most helpful part for me was being with people who understood me, who have been in my place before, and who knew what I was going through.
We all know the statistics.
1 in 5 people in America have some type of mental illness right now. 1 in 5. That is a huge percentage! But, that also means that 4 out of 5 don’t have it. And, as much as our family and friends want to help, it is impossible to understand the pain if you haven’t gone through it yourself.
Empathy can only happen when one can put themselves in another person’s situation when they have experience with it themselves.
Many people can sympathize, yet the vast majority can not empathize. This creates a barrier of loneliness.
It is so important to know you aren’t alone. You need to know that you aren’t messed up or crazy for feeling the way you do. The problem with the world at large is that the stigma is so strong, so we silently shame the ones that need to talk in order to heal.
We need to talk about it though.
I am one of 20%. I know how alone I can feel. I know how it can feel that no one can possibly understand or even want to understand. This is why it’s so important to be open and to share when you aren’t okay. This is the only way you can get the support and connection that you desperately need.
It is okay not to be okay!
I won’t stop shouting this message.
I am tired of having to hide where I go when I disappear off the planet for a while because I am in a psychiatric hospital ward.
I am tired of looking over my shoulder every time I have a bad day just in case anyone notices and thinks I’m depressed.
I am tired of being scared to walk outside now that I’m back, worrying that someone who noticed I was gone will bump into me and question me.
I am tired of worrying about getting married.
I am tired of the feeling that I am alienated from the rest of the world because I have been in a psychiatric hospital ward.
I am tired of being afraid of judgement.
I am tired of living in a world that’s afraid of judgement.
I am tired of living in a world that isolates people because of mental illness.
Being a patient in a psychiatric hospital for mental illness should be just as normal as being a patient for diabetes or cancer.
How sad is it that people don’t access treatment that is so essential because of the way mental illness is viewed?
I won’t stop shouting this message until everyone feels that they matter and that they are worthy of help and love.
Please remember you matter and that there are people that can understand you. Please don’t stop searching until you find those people. Please, don’t give up. Please, don’t let the world’s view allow you to stop yourself from getting help that is there for you. I promise you will finally begin to heal once you realize that you aren’t alone.
Want more personal stories?
- Why the Grass Always Looks Greener
- Child Loss Tried to Destroy Me But Failed
- My Journey Through Comparing and Despairing
- Surviving a Narcissistic Friendship
- What Not to Do: Parenting No-Nos
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