It’s been a couple of weeks now since I was released from the psych ward in Salt Lake. I posted a few feelings of gratitude upon my return, but then chose to write on other topics immediately following for a few posts.
I’m not ashamed or embarrassed about my stay there; probably more the opposite. But I needed some time.
I have taken that time to think and mull over and remember and try to sort things out. I think it was a blessing to have had this experience. Not that I’m EVER interested in repeating it, once was certainly enough.
But I think there is some good that can come out of it.
I think there is good that can come out of just about anything, if we work for it.
I think I’m ready to try to make a little sense of something that on the surface seemed so senseless. A little time and some sunshine and good music and a good workout will do wonders in helping to see things from a brighter perspective.
As I’ve gone through my notes and writings and thoughts from my time in the psych ward, I’ve discovered that there are several distinct areas that are part of what I feel I learned, or at least in which I gained a better understanding.
Rather than try to cram all the thoughts into a jumbled mess, I’m going to break them up into their own stories and lessons over the next five postings.
Here’s what we will be talking about:
I think it is worth looking a little deeper into just how someone gets to the point that admittance to the psych ward seems to be the best, or only, solution. Surely from the patient’s point of view, it usually happens without realizing it.
What if those around us were aware enough to help us stop before things spun so out of control?
What if we were willing to listen to them?
My first impression of the fellow patients was changed dramatically to what became my lasting impressions of them. Just as on the outside, everyone has a story and a unique personality and dreams; so it is for each individual on the inside.
Who is looking to see the real person under the medication, the blankets, and the depression?
How do we learn to see our own real self?
It was a pretty interesting experience for me to look at the situation from both sides. With my education and practical understanding in human resources, training and management I could look clinically at why the staff did what they did. I understood, for the most part, the reasoning behind it. I could see the legal implications of potential issues and how they had to be very careful. I grasped the logistical problems of keeping things going under an ever-changing scenario.
But from the patient’s point of view, I saw it very differently. At a time when our bearings are zooming and we feel off balance, we need consistency and compassion. Each person was starved for human connection; yet, it is restricted very carefully in the ward.
Are there things we can do, working from both ends and perspectives that can improve accomplishing the overall goal of both the facility and the people working hard to get out?
This would most certainly be the most personal and vulnerable section for me. I really did have my eyes opened to things about me while there, both positive and negative. I think there are benefits to both, and both can make me a stronger and better person.
I guess the question would be: ”Am I willing to step up and become the person I saw and felt that I could be?” More importantly: “Am I willing to keep stepping up day after day after day?”
Finally, I’d like to talk about the biggest missing piece of the puzzle. I’ve made no secret that I have a solid testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and am grateful for the spiritual influence that is a part of everyday life. I was struck repeatedly at the programs and group sessions that were trying to accomplish things that were very familiar to me from a religious participation point of view. I kept thinking, “Oh, this is just like…” and would equate it to something provided in my forms of worship and service.
But there is never any mention of God, or religion, or faith, or repentance, or the hope that results.
By forcing things to be completely secular, are we trying to keep the boat from sinking by simply bailing water, and never plugging the hole?
At any rate, these are some things we’ll try to dig a little deeper into. Knowing me, we will be asking more questions than providing answers.
But that’s okay.
I think the fun is discovering the answers for our self.
We just have to ask the right questions.