I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. No one forced me to go, I admitted myself to the psychiatric department in a large hospital. I thought I was losing my mind. What started out as mild postpartum depression turned into crippling panic disorder, PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and probably something else I can’t remember now- it’s been a few years. Some symptoms were new, and some stuff had manifested a very long time ago.
At the time I felt guilty. I was leaving my young child in the care of my husband because I was losing my mind. He was great. He was the only person that knew I was doing this and he supported me every step of the way. I had so much guilt and blamed everything on myself. My husband and I had this beautiful child, and I couldn’t even leave the house with her without having a full-blown panic attack, or worrying that I will have one. Panic attacks are something else. They feel like a 500-pound boulder crushing your chest mixed with thoughts racing at 100MPH.
Why me? I think that’s the question many of us ask ourselves. I still don’t have the answer to that question even after spending a few weeks in the psych ward. But the first thing I learned during my stay was that I wasn’t alone. In fact, I was far from being alone. So many other people were suffering in the same way I was.
The first two nights were rough. You don’t realize how much your personal space means to you until it’s taken away. I even had to take my earrings out. I’m not complaining; I completely understand why they had these rules set in place. Anything could be used as a tool to self-harm; we were monitored on what silverware we took and when we disposed of them.
It started out difficult. Very difficult. It was a complete disconnect from the outside world. At first, this scared me, but after a few days, it brought an incredible amount of peace. I had this solid amount of time to learn about myself and get help when I thought I was physically and mentally dying. Everyone there was just like me. It’s not what it’s like in the movies. Trust me, that’s what I thought it would be like when I got there. Straight jackets and walls covered in weird demonic writing.
The people there were just like me, and I learned a lot. Everyone there had similar problems that I did- they had gone too long without seeking help, and everything exploded. These were regular people like me who got to the point of completely breaking, yet being vulnerable enough to bring themselves to a place to get help. There’s nothing wrong with getting help.
Every day there was group therapy, group activities, and one-on-one therapy. I learned how to laugh again. Everyone that I met there had such interesting stories, and they smiled when they talked about what made them happy and who they loved. I felt at peace when I saw people getting the help they needed. I felt at peace getting the help that I needed. In this day and age, it’s kind of different being disconnected from social media. You don’t realize it until you’re away for a while. And really, it’s kind of amazing getting away from it all.
Healing is important. I wasn’t there for long. Some people were there for a few days, and some were there for a few months. I was somewhere in between. However, I know I was there long enough to realize that disconnecting was important to my mental health and that it wasn’t an experience that traumatized me. I learned that talking to people with similar conditions that I had made me feel less isolated. Most importantly, I learned that there is nothing wrong with being vocal about how I felt and what I was going through and that I was a better and more understanding person after I left.
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About The Author: Natalie is a published article writer who has traveled the world and now resides in a small town in Kentucky enjoying the outdoors and family.