One year ago today I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. I want to be able to say that it was the most terrifying night of my life however, my mind at this point was so unable to comprehend simple demands that it was incapable of processing the consequences of something so beyond my everyday life experience.
Once I arrived at the hospital, walking through doors which locked behind me, hands clutching my red and white polka dot bag filled with pyjamas and toiletries, my mind seemed to make the decision to switch off all but the most basic functions of my brain. I was near mute, only able to take in tiny bits of information, completely numb and (bizarrely) getting very concerned about the social etiquette of the ward. Was I supposed to engage in polite conversation with the other patients? Do we ignore the fact that we are in this confined little bubble together and make chit chat about the weather? Do I point out that the woman sitting at the table has one breast casually flopping out of her shirt as she enjoys her tea, or do I ignore it and ask how she is? So many potential pit falls! It actually still hurts my head thinking about it.
This post is wandering away from the original theme I had intended, perhaps I am subconsciously mimicking my state of mind this time last year, getting lost wondering about the complexities of human interaction. My time in the psychiatric ward was one of the most interesting, hilarious and heart breaking and trying experiences of my life but also the beginning of a year of piecing my mind back together again. I am sure my family and friends will also agree that this was an exceptionally difficult time for them, I hope they at least found some amusement in amongst the pain.
This time last year I had no idea how different and wonderful my life would be in merely 364 days. I was stuck in the prison of my mind, only able to comprehend the immediate time I existed in. I wish I could go back to that moment and sit in the hospital room with my self, holding my hand as I lay curled up in the foetal position staring at the wall and listening to the screams down the hall. I want to stroke my head and tell myself that I would get through it, that I am strong and this is just the beginning. This is raw pain of removing a scab in order for the pus and poison to seep out, leaving tender flesh open and vulnerable, before delicate layers of new skin grow over. That, in time, I would be so grateful for this experience. Who else gets to rebuild the foundations of who they are, gets the time to spend a day staring at the birds in the garden and wonder if the values the have been living by match the values of their soul?
Thank you to my family, friends and all the professionals who have supported me. Thank you to the new people in my life who have had greater impact than they could know. Thank you to the thrawn wee girl inside me who refused to give up, more stubborn than I knew. Here is to the next 364 days…