At this moment, I have a view from the inside. A view of the world passing by outside my window. A view of life continuing on while I am here feeling like life is on hold. I am on the locked down psychiatric unit waging war against the beast of depression. I have been here for nearly three weeks, with no discharge date in sight. My time is marked by activities and mealtimes as the days have stretched into weeks. It’s interesting how perspective changes when you are on the inside looking out.
The greatest change I am undergoing is the ability to be grateful. When I first was told that I would be admitted I was overwhelmed and undone. I felt that I had failed. I felt that I hadn’t tried hard enough to be better. As time has passed, I realize that being here is not a failure. Being here means that I am doing what I need to do to get better. Being here means that I have the support I need 24/7 to walk me through this valley. So instead of bucking the system and all the rules that come with being on a locked ward, I choose to be grateful for this healthcare system that allows me the space to heal.
The second hurdle I have faced in my time on the psych ward is the decision to undergo Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) again. In my mind, I wanted to slay the beast with medication. For me, ECT would mean doing something that I had set in my mind that I would never do again. But, after two weeks of increasing medication doses with no results, I realized that ECT needed to be an option. Again, I faced the thoughts that somehow, I had failed. I had been unable to manage and now needed this intervention of ECT in order to heal.
My logical mind knows that if I had kidney disease, I wouldn’t consider myself a failure if I needed to have dialysis, so why does needing ECT for my depression make me a failure? It doesn’t. It means that I am doing what needs to be done to get better to get home to my kids and be the healthy mom that they need. That being said, it doesn’t mean that any of this is easy. After the first session, I woke up and the tears began to flow at the smells and the sounds of being in the recovery room. I never thought I would be here again, yet here I am.
I need to say this. It is okay to be admitted to the psych ward. It doesn’t make you a failure or a freak. It’s okay to need help in the battle against mental illness. You need people. I would not be able to walk through this valley if I didn’t have people walking with me. I am grateful every moment for the forever family who have made this time less overwhelming with their prayer and their willingness to brave the locked ward to come for a visit. I am so blessed and thankful for my view from the inside as I fight this battle.