In my senior year of high school, September of 1984, I found myself in a padded room, wrapped up in a straight jacket. There was a mattress on the floor and a thin blanket. The lights were on all of the time. There was a door to a bathroom but it was always locked unless someone opened it for me to go. There was also a tiny window on the door to the hallway. I felt utterly lost and abandoned in this room. I didn’t think anyone would ever come see me or check on me. Who would? However, I was very depressed and didn’t see any reason to live or any reason anyone would come see me in this state either. I thought for sure, I would die there. After what seemed like forever, they took off the straight jacket.
My foster mother, at the time, came to see me. I was so ashamed and embarrassed of myself for getting in this place. She offered to take me home, but I declined. I didn’t want any of those people to ever see me again. In my mind, I was completely a lost cause. I was hopeless. I thought people would make fun of me and tease me. I had been teased and made fun of before. After a few days, I was moved to a regular room in the psych ward and stayed for about 5 weeks. I recall another family who was waiting to get their foster care license coming to visit me, too.
So that was 32 years ago. It was the first time I heard of major depression and post traumatic stress disorder. It was the first of many hospital stays. I think back on those days of feeling worthless, lost and confused. I thought my life was over. Yes it was a struggle and it took me many years to heal my depression and trauma but here I am today! I’m very thankful for the foster mother and the other family who came to see me while I was there. It told me someone was thinking of me. Someone cared for me, even if I didn’t care for nor love myself.
My whole life, I struggled for love and understanding. I spent many years just trying to escape life because it felt awful. It never occurred to me to hold on to hope and faith because of those few who did express concern. I can see this clearly now. How could I have seen or known back then? But I’m sharing this story because I hope to encourage someone to not ever give up on their lives..You are worth it. Don’t let shame and embarrassment keep you from those who love you. Also, love yourself. Your life depends upon it more than anything or anyone else! You matter!
Life is beautiful and precious no matter what darkness has descended upon our lives. It is struggling and finding our way back to the light. It seems senseless but it all makes sense when it’s over. In the midst of it, there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel but there is a tiny speck even if we don’t see it. As long as we have breath, the light shines within us. It took me a long time to remember. Remember, there is always hope.