I spent a week in a mental hospital:
This is what I learned.
Like most average American’s, the picture in my head, when I thought of a mental hospital, was that of soft walls, sad and angry zombies walking around, avoiding the zombies in straight jackets. Doctors with large glasses, demanding recognition of ones own “craziness”. Pills and horrible slop, they call food. Kind of like jail, but for people who are nuts.
Yeah, I was a judgmental little fuck, for most of my life. Also, I was raised by media, which…lets just say, had an INTENSE impact on my psyche and my ability to perceive things in more than two ways. Black and White.
Judgmental prick it was.
It wasn’t like that though. NOTHING like that. In fact, for a first timer-shit, I fit right in.
It was like I found my people. As fucked up as that might sound, for where I was, for the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who GENUINELY wanted professional help for the messed up shit in their brain—like me.
Men and women, from across the state, all gathered in one place under the guise of the same thing. Mental Illness. The very thing I have been studying and researching and learning, trying to learn myself.
And I found myself. In all of these crazy—beautiful—wonderful people that I met, in the last place I expected to meet any of them.
I want to tell the story of my week. I want to share the beauty, the pain and the inability to fully want to leave, at the end of that specific journey. Exiting felt…cold, empty, and eerily reminiscent of being tossed back into the matrix, after only an hour of being out, and no training.
I want to tell my story, and I will. But I need to know first, that it is okay with my people, my tribe, before I do so. Because I’m learning, slowly and surely, that all of my people, are just that: people. These people that I’ve grown to love, the people that I’ve always loved, they can see me, occasionally, when not inundated with their own storms and traumas. Their lives.
And if they can see me, then it’s my responsibility to see them too. Maybe not all the time, because now I have MY own life. But as much as I can. The ones that saved me, and let me become exactly who I was meant to be.
And I can see so much. But a lot of it is pain, and things that took me YEARS to open up about. So I see them. And I see that I must ask permission, before I can ask anything else. Before I can tell anything else. Before I can share.
I can at least share this, though:
You are going to find beauty where you least expect it. Peace, where you last look for it. And yourself, not in the mirror, but in the mirrors God places in your life, in the form of your tribe.