There I was, alone, in this unfamiliar place. All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and sleep until I was able to go home. I got into bed and rethought my action. If I stay in bed they'll probably keep me here forever I thought. I looked over at my roommate and she just lay there without movement, as if wanting death to absorb her. I walked over to her bed and I began to talk to her. She had been there for a week, just laying in bed, barely went out even to eat. There was such sorrow in her eyes.We talked for a little bit and then I told her that we couldn't just stay in bed.She looked up at me and smiled.
Together we walked out of the room. I felt intimidated as the halls were crowded with people. I was unaware of what I would encounter in this new place or if I would be safe. Lauren, my roommate, and I sat in the living room as we waited to be called for our lunch trays.
The living room had a kitchen, tv, and a table with seats where we could gather around to talk, read, play cards, color, and eat. The whole room filled as everyone sat down to eat, there I got to know the people I would be staying with for the next few days. There I got to hear the famous question, "What are you in here for?" and I got to hear all their stories. Although they were different, so many were the same. My roommate had been sent there because she had tried committing suicide. The majority of them actually had been there for the same reason. What I found interesting was that the people that even the people who heard voices actually had voices tell them that they were not worth anything that they should kill themselves and the method of suicide. I was amazed.
I realized how much the enemy lies to us! Telling us that we are better off dead!
He had no bias on age, gender, or ethnicity.
As I got to know each person, each person was beautiful and complex.
My heart grew for them, my heart ached for them. I wasn't the only one in pain. There was a room full of people, hearts aching to be loved. Slowly, my old self came out again. I desired to serve them. I would find the smallest ways to show them someone cared, whether serving and refilling them their drinks or giving them an ear. Throughout the days I saw all our relationships transform. One guy had come in all angry, by the end of the time we were there, I saw his heart softened. He began to serve these people, getting them water, offering them his chair, his expression had changed. The simple act of seeing someone else serve him had moved him so much he wanted to do the same for others. We started to work together as a group to help one another, in that crazy place, we became family.
There was one kid that would never come out of his room, slowly but surely I began to talk to him. Letting him know that no matter what, I was not there to judge him but to be there for him, who am I to judge anyone?
He would tell me how he often heard voices telling him that people were out to get him , or that he should die, or not to listen to what people were saying. I told him of God's love, prayed for him, and read to him the bible. Through that time he began to ask me and another patient to read him the bible or lend him ours. We all tried helping him to not hide alone in his thoughts but to come out and mingle with the rest, so that the voices could not overtake him. By the end of the week he no longer hid in his room and actually became more talkative with others, smiling more often.
There are so many stories I could tell you from the 4 days I was there, but ultimately they all lead to God's love and restoration.
In the midst of that place I found myself again. I was genuinely smiling and happy, something I hadn't been in a couple years. God showed me what I was supposed to be. That He created me to help others through counseling. I know, you would think? You? Counsel? but you ended up in a Psych Ward??
I know, I honestly don't know why God hasn't given up on me, but I'm so glad He hasn't. And I can't imagine why He would ever want to use me, but I know that He does. Perhaps He sees how weak I am and that when He works through me everyone will know that it was not me, but Him that did it all.
God renewed my love for Him and people that week. God let me see people with different eyes, His eyes. Here were people whom society outcasts, mocks, looks down upon and judges, but God sees them beautiful.
I lived with people who were homeless,people who struggled with bipolar disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, schizophrenia, major depression, drug/alcohol addiction, and other things I may not have been aware of, but those people became family.
I realized it is so easy to judge from the outside when we haven't walked a mile in another persons shoes, but when I listened to their stories, there was no way I could see them in any other way but God's children whom we are called to love.
They all saw something different in me, God's love, and I pray that seed was planted in them. God planted His love in me that week.
God's love and peace and joy was restored in me again.
Although I may still be facing struggles, I know that I am not alone. I know that God is with me and He will not forsake me! I know that God is my Father, my Love, my King, and I am His daughter. I know that my Father created me with a plan in mind and although I had lost hope, my heart is strengthened in His hope.
And through counseling and prayer, God has healed me of my depression. It feels amazing to feel again, to laugh, to just be me. I honestly just want to thank God for never giving up on me and after all my mistakes, being so merciful in healing me.
For any of you who are feeling hopeless, know there is Hope. When you think you'll never see the end, know that God has a purpose. I'm not saying that God wanted me to attempt suicide, that was me taking matters into my own hands, but God will use my mistake for His purpose, as He already has.