My therapy took shape. I learned early on I wasn’t ready to deal with the interruption of memories and feelings that began to surface. I couldn’t deal with it. I would often cancel my counseling appointments, or just not show up. Over time, my anxiety and depression took a toll on me. Little did I know how drastically life was about to change.
Linda, my therapist, convinced me to “voluntarily” check myself into the psychiatric center she worked so closely with. She promised during my stay, she would visit with me every day. I took a leap of faith and thought if anyone can help me, she can. After all she was the first and only person I shared my deepest, darkest secrets with. She knew me best…right?
As I was finished checking in to the hospital and said my goodbyes to Mom, it really set in. I was scared, alone and truly shaken to my core. The nursing staff went through all of my belongings rummaging as if nothing was off-limits. There were no boundaries, no mine or yours, it was just communal. They took the shoe strings from my tennies, my shampoo and tooth paste too. You take what you get and don’t look back. The nurse handed me my clothes and walked me to my room.
I lay in bed within a cold sterile room. The bed across from me was empty. I had wondered who all had been there before me. What was their story? How long did they stay? Who touched them? Were they as messed up as me? My mind raced until I finally fell asleep. Over the next couple of days group therapy became my friend and everything else a blur. I waited for Linda as she promised we would work together in my pain. Every day I waited and she never came.
After three full days in the hospital, and not one visit from Linda, I decided to check myself out of the hospital. I was so angry that she went against her promise. She dropped me as a patient because I left the hospital on my own recognizance and from that point on, I never spoke with her again.
My time in the hospital was not for nothing. I did grow as an individual and learned I was stronger than I was going in. I found healing in group therapy and in others who had been through similar experiences as mine. I will never forget the words one gentleman said to me while I was leaving; “You are like a happy cancer you know! Your smile is contagious”. To this day some 20 plus years later, I hold on to those words as they have become a part of who I am.