Category Archives: Life after lockdown

After an emergent admittance to the psych ward, I thought I had truly gone to hell. Yet during the next several days my eyes opened and I saw things a bit differently. With my HR background, I could see things from the staff’s point of view and understand why they did things the way they did. As a patient, I could see it from this painful side as well. I discovered some disconnects; I discovered some pretty great work going on; I discovered miracles happening all around me and within me. I guess you could nickname this section “lessons learned in the loony bin.” I think that is actually appropriate because I also learned the critical need to laugh and invite happiness in, even behind locked doors.

Is your head buried in the sand regarding the mentally ill?

???????????????????????????????I think many of us can remember the lesson in grade school about the ostrich. It is, relative to other birds, HUGE. But while other birds have the luxury of flying away from predators or danger, the ostrich is land bound. It does, however, pack a pretty powerful kick.

We’ve all heard the myth about ostriches burying their head in the sand, thinking that if they can’t see their enemy, then the enemy can’t see them. Ignoring the enemy will somehow make it go away.

It sounds pretty absurd, doesn’t it? Continue reading Is your head buried in the sand regarding the mentally ill?

Why do we leave the greatest tool locked in the toolbox?

This article is part 5 of a 5 part series.

For part 1, click here.

For series summary, click here.

We’ve been asking a lot of questions about the mental health care system in this series. Nothing wrong with that. Questioning can lead to answers and solutions.

Digging a little deeper into what happens that someone ends up in the system in the first place, realizing that those who are there are certainly not lost causes but real people with real stories, and evaluating the reality of the mental health care system versus how we wish it would be has hopefully brought the picture into a little bit clearer focus.

Or at least helped us to ask more questions.

Being honest about things I learned about myself while there certainly exposes me a little (or a lot), but I believe if I want to make a difference in the world, I have to start with me. I can’t really expect people to be willing to be more honest than I am willing to be.

Neither can you. Continue reading Why do we leave the greatest tool locked in the toolbox?

Lessons learned in the loony bin

This article is part 4 of a 5 part series.

For part 1, click here.

For series summary, click here.

I think the timing on trying to put together some words to express thoughts and feelings from lessons learned is pretty great. That doesn’t make it any easier to try to share, but the timing is good.


Ann and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this week. Over the past few months I have been experiencing an increase in the intensity of my love for her. I feel as if I could reach out and grab it as a tangible, real entity that surrounds us. I am humbled by the whole thing. To have the love of someone the quality of Ann Batty makes everything else seem kind of trivial.

But at the time that my love feels like it is exploding inside me, Ann is trying to work through a real fear of what she may come home and find at the end of a long work day. And this would be every day. After all, I was admitted to the psych ward for suicidal and harmful ideations. This isn’t something imagined or can be ignored. It has become a real part of our life that has to be addressed and conquered.

I really learned some important things during my stay in the nut house that will help us conquer. As I go through them to help us figure a way to relieve some of Ann’s concerns, there may be some things that could help you on your own journey to safety and security. Continue reading Lessons learned in the loony bin

Is this the best we can do?

This article is part 3 of a 5 part series.

For part 1, click here.

For series summary, click here.

You’ve seen the commercials for those exclusive addiction centers that look more like a spa weekend at a resort than a treatment center.


Well, I can emphatically tell you that that is not what it is like in the psych ward.

Maybe it’s the trainer in me, but I felt like I missed an orientation and was kind of flying by the seat of my pants at first. It was because of the other patients looking out for me that I made it to where I needed to be that first night.

Initially, I thought that the staff was just too busy and running too hard to be able to keep up with it.

But by my third day I found myself doing the same thing that my fellow patients were doing, looking out for the new ones who had just come in, recognizing that look of terror at feeling they had landed in hell, and giving a smile that shared that it would indeed get better.

I’ve always felt it was medicinal to forget yourself and reach out and help someone else.

Is that part of the therapy?

I wondered. Continue reading Is this the best we can do?

There really are wonderful people under there

This article is part 2 of a 5 part series.

For part 1, click here.

For series summary, click here.

That first night I looked around and could only feel that I did NOT belong here with these other people. They seemed to be kind of a mess: not in control, dependent on medication, unhappy.

That wasn’t me.

Well, okay. I guess that I had kind of lost control. And I really did need the medication to keep me from doing some pretty horrible things. I loathe admitting, because I truly consider myself to be a very happy person, but I think I was unhappy.


I guess that was me.

It’s in my nature to watch people and get a read on them. Usually, I can tell relatively quickly some of the most important pieces of characteristics and behaviors to help me understand better where they are coming from.

So I watched.

And I learned. Continue reading There really are wonderful people under there