“When the 8:00pm announcement goes on over the hospital intercom that visiting hours are over, it is the loneliest time ever when you realize no one came for you…”unknown
This was both a blessing and a curse for me in the hospital. Everyone in my small world knew that I was there. They knew the reasons why. But nobody bothered to visit. I think it is kind of like the bystander effect where everyone assumes someone else will do the visiting and so no one steps up and actually visits. Deferred responsibility.
I guess I was hurt on some level. I mean I thought I had people in my life outside of mom and dad that cared about me. Maybe they just couldn’t stand the idea of being in a psychiatric hospital. Most people have no clue what they are like nowadays. They have images of cold sterile large rooms with multiple cots and patients dressed in blue or white pajamas just cursing at the air; Kinda like a “cuckoos nest” experience minus the Jack Nicholson grimace. They don’t realize that at least in my experience the places are kind, warm and patient friendly. Visitors are usually allowed to bring patients treats and other things of comfort that are always nice; books, magazines, games, homemade goods, fast food, sodas. It seems like small potatoes but when you are in a locked unit those things are gold. If only people knew.
On the other hand, I was a mess. I mean I had just had a nervous breakdown and tried to commit suicide and wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind to greet people and put on a happy mask. I needed the space. I needed the absence of words and small talk; the absence of trying to make others feel comfortable when I was so uncomfortable myself; the absence of awkward silence and avoided glances. I needed to be totally selfish honestly. I needed time to just be in my head and not worry about the “outside”; not worry about what other’s were thinking.
Still I wonder if I had had someone force me to talk, to open up to be greeted with a hug and a smile and diet pepsi if nothing else, if maybe I would have recovered more quickly. They say we are social creatures, not meant to be alone; that fellowship is important and necessary especially as a Christian. I don’t know. It’s all really confusing to me. I mean my illness itself is isolating. And that is kind of my nature. To put myself out there on the line with people, out of my comfort zone then be pretty much shunned when at my worst really hurts.
I feel more safe without people in the end. And that makes me sad. I feel like a freak; an anomaly. Schizoaffective disorder and Depression depletes the victim. There isn’t energy left to give to others. Yet at the same time we are told to love one another as Christ loved us. I can totally do that at a distance; in a non-confrontational way. But to interact socially and in community I just find very exhausting and difficult.
My point…”visiting hours are now over, please leave the hospital quietly and promptly….” was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I didn’t have to anticipate an “intruder” into my mindspace and a curse that my space was so empty and lonely. I need to make peace with my situation in the real world though…really delve into the Word of God and pray earnestly for some semblance of normalcy in my relationships. I may not have tons of friends but I sure could use a couple great ones. And the next time, if there is a next time, I need to suck it up and ask for help and company. I think the heart and mind heal a lot faster that way. In fact they may not even break in the first place.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”Galatians 6:2