During my time in the hospital, I generally lived from visiting hours to visiting hours. It was all about the survival in between. Although they were often awkward and uncomfortable, they were a welcome reprieve from the doctors, the meds, the screaming and sadness of other patients and most of all my torturous insides. They offered connection and sometimes I forgot that I was locked on the second floor of a mental hospital with bars on the windows. Just sitting in silence brought comfort even if just for a moment.
Most times I didn’t really know what to say and really couldn’t talk much because I was so foggy and jumbled inside. Many of my loved ones had no clue what to say or do. None of that mattered. They showed up. Just being in the presence of familiar people was enough even if we weren’t saying anything at all.
The days felt unending. Each day felt like a week and I had no idea how long I would be there. I went through a few roommates during my stay.
One visit that I especially awaited was the one from my pastor. I didn’t know when he was coming but I knew he would show up.
For those of you who don’t know, there is basically no privacy in a mental hospital. Even in the bathroom and shower the door must remain unlocked and people can enter and exit as they wish. There are no private bedrooms or locking doorknobs. Life is lived out in the open.
Pastor Bill suggested that we put two chairs toward the end of the hallway so we could be a little bit away and have a little quiet to talk. I don’t remember much about our conversation that day. But six years later I can still hear one thing clear as day……
Shannon, I can’t say this about everyone but I know you are going to make it.
I have kept that in my heart reminding myself of that truth countless times in the past six years. When things are tough and even when I am completely desperate, I return to those words.
Ever since I was a young girl, people have been telling me that I am a strong person. Only in these past six years have I finally started to believe them. Even when I don’t feel it, I know I’m going to make it.
Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I’ll keep an eye out for your answers.