Writing 101-Day 15 Your Voice Will Find You

With psychosis, you don’t hear voices, but you do see your imagination as reality. Maybe that would be okay if you lived in a nice, wonderful fantasy world. However, mental illness rarely ever lives in a nice, wonderful fantasy world.

Mental illness is the terrifying and claustrophobic grip of an unscrupulous hand. Most often it is the hand that has been placed there from forces of our past. These horrendous events rise like the erruption of a volcano, releasing the red hot flow of it’s core.


Mental illness is a person’s unconscience screaming from it’s self-imposed prison of despair.


When the psychiatrist first saw me, she asked, “How long has she been like this?”

The person with me replied, “Two weeks.”


“You have allowed her to be like this for two weeks and didn’t bring her in?!”


At that time I was in gripping paranoia that had me (visually) climbing the walls of the psychiatrist’s office. It was the.. it was… I could not speak it. It would be evil for me to speak it. Instead, I suffered in silence. Sleep had not found me in what seemed to be months. I was exhausted and in a major terror which had gripped me for the past two weeks.. unrelenting.

 

My panic attacks began after the birth of my first child. My labor was very long and arduous. After a day and a half of major labor, the nurses of the tiny hospital took me into the delivery room without the knowledge of my doctor and had me push for two hours. Nothing happened.

One and half day later he was born. He was born because my husband finally demanded the baby be delivered by Caesarian if it wasn’t born within two hours. The doctor took me into the delivery room and with the help of forceps, my baby was born into this world.

The labor had not only exhausted me, it had changed something in my brain as well. Every woman that has experienced the pain of childbirth will understand what it would be like to experience it for three whole days. In those days, Caesarian delivery was frowned on and was rarely ever done, especially in a little town of 900, 2500 if you count the cows.

 

“She needs to be admitted.” declared Dr. Barry.


(After this, I really don’t remember much except for being admitted into the lock-up ward of the mental hospital).


I do remember the first night very clearly. I remember pacing and pacing, up and down the hall, in an effort to “run” from the horrible images in my head. Saying I was in distress would be putting it mildly. I was in despair and indomitable fear.


After, maybe thirty minutes, one of the nurses began pacing with me. She was letting me know I wasn’t alone. I appreciated that. I had not had that up to this point. I had been shamed and shunned by my family.


After a few minutes she turned to me and whispered, “Will you sit down with me and talk?”


An inner voice was screaming, “NO! YOU CANNOT TELL! YOU CANNOT TELL! IT WILL BECOME WORSE IF YOU TELL! DO NOT TELL!”


Confusion and panic gripped me, “I..I…can’t.”


“Yes,” she responded, “Yes you can. Please sit down with me.”


We sat at a table across from one another, her eyes showing me she cared.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.


“I can’t tell you.” I responded. “If I tell you it will come true,” looking down at the table to avoid her eyes.


“No.” she said softly. “No, it won’t come true.”


My eyes found hers to search for any sincerity. They were soft and brown and they spoke to me, saying, “you can trust me.” I wanted this to be true.


Pausing, I whispered, “It’s the end of the world.” Mentally hoping the roof of the building didn’t crash down on us all.


She kept her eyes focused on my eyes and answered, “No. It isn’t. It isn’t the end of the world.”


She planted a seed that day, a seed of hope among the many thorns of a hopeless world.


Healing, step one had begun.

 

…more to follow

 

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39 thoughts on “Writing 101-Day 15 Your Voice Will Find You

  1. I really admire your strength in sharing; this was such a powerful post. I have personally never been affected by mental illness (in my family it is cancer) so I have never really thought about what it could be like. This definitely opened my eyes to how much some people are suffering. Thank you

    • Thank you Ashley! If it can help people to better understand mental illness then it will have been worth the “shame” of posting it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. I have a personal experience with mental illness-psychosis to be exact. Wow, how I can relate! I don’t have any other words right now, but wow! Your writing is beautiful; poetic.

      • Did you get my reply to your comment on my mental illness post? My reply doesn’t appear to be connected to your comment and I don’t know why. This new iOs 8 is doing strange things to me. Thanks you and please let me know.

  3. Wow – so well written – you definitely shared your voice. This piece left me wanting to read more, wanting to understand, feeling compassion. I send my best. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Jodi! I appreciate you reading and commenting. I am pleased that you want to hear more about it. I do want people understand mentall illness to help ease their fears and the unknown surrounding it. I know how much more difficult it was for me by the shaming and shunning of my family. Thank you again!

  4. I actually teared up a bit reading this. But it’s okay, I’ve been having sort of an emotional day today. But really, this piece took me places. I Love It!!!

  5. I am about speechless! Powerful writing, your emotions come through so much and your descriptive words, its just Wow! My heart goes out to you, I got choked up reading it! Thank you for sharing such a personal story and I do want to read more! So glad you had such a caring nurse to help you begin the healing!

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am sorry it choked you up, but I guess that is the purpose of writing and especially when writing the truth. It is a long story so it will have to come out bit by bit. Again, thank you!

  6. Thank you for post. Your story reminds me of many people I have nursed in my 30 plus years as a psychiatric nurse. Their fear, shame and confusion are very real and can be paralyzing. Fortunately, over the years, brave people like yourself telling their story has helped reduce the stigma. Mental illness can happen to anyone at any stage of their life. Statistics are something like 1 in 4 people will suffer some form of mental illness in their life. The more education and personal stories out there help anyone who needs help to get it.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! Yes, I felt so much pain and shunning from my family because I was “mentally ill” and that has had a very negative impact on me. Probably why it is so difficult for me to open up about it. Yet I know, many people look upon mental illness in the same manner as my family. I think with writing about it not only will help me, but will help others whose lives are somehow touched with, whether it is themselves, family member, or a friend. You could say a lot on your posts from your view “other side” of mental illness.

    • Did you get my reply to your comment on mental illness? I had to load iOs 8 on my ipad and it has been doing some strange things. My reply doesn’t seem to be attached to your comment. So please let me know.

  7. Mental Health is something I have not experienced but you have described it for me in such a way that I am beginning to see the affect it can have on a person’s life. Thanks for the insight in this nicely written post.

    • Thank you Jim! Thank you for reading and commenting. Many people really don’t understand mental illness and associate all of it with the “ax murderers”. But that is far from the truth. Most people with mental illnes would rather hurt themselves than someone else, ie., mental illness itself, suicide, self-cutting, etc. Many people do need to understand “the other side” of mental illness. I’m happy that I have helped your awareness. God bless you.

  8. Thank you for being willing to be so transparent. As a retired nurse I understand the need for a greater awareness of what mental illness is and does to a person. And one never should have to be ashamed of it any more than they would be ashamed of heart disease or diabetes.
    Your writing is so good. I found myself disappointed that it ended and wanted to jump to the last chapter, alas that is yet to be written. But your posts in this writing course and your comments to others tell me it will end, in my favorite way. Happily ever after!
    Keep writing and letting your voice speak out. Others will be blessed by it!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! It is difficult to write because of the shame I experienced by my family. But that is exactly why it needs to be told – so other’s will understand it and will not shame those who have it. Thank you for wanting to read more. There will be more but don’t know when due to these assignments. Maybe Writing201? Again, Thank you!

    • Thank you Lauren! It took a lot of courage to hit Publish. I have lived with it as “shame” all of my life. But truth needs to get out so everyone can understand it better. Thank you again for reading and commenting.

  9. Yeah, that’s about right.

    Reading this was a double-edged sword. I breathed a sigh of relief as I thought, “I’m not alone!” At the same time, it pained me beyond belief as I thought, “I’m not alone.”

    It offers me comfort knowing that there are others who can relate to the debilitating illness that has plagued me for years. On the other hand, it pains me to know that others have felt the same agony. I vacillate between wanting company on my journey, and praying to God that no one be burden with this cross.

    I humbly thank you for sharing. I wish you every joy and peace that you so freely give to others.

    ~victoria

    • Thank you Victoria for reading and commenting. I know exactly how you feel. I always thought, I would not wish this on my worst enemy, and especially on a good and kind woman like you. I’m sorry you had to go through this, and I know and understand the anxiety and depression that still lingers. I wish for you complete healing. I wish for you much joy.

  10. This is amazing. So many great sentences used here. All the different metaphors used to describe mental illness, that cows population line (great way to insert some humor!), and just very well-written. This was a (probably) hard topic to tackle, but you nailed it. Great job!

  11. Thank you so much! I was wondering about sentence structure, wording, and just about everything mechanically a story needs to be good. I also appreciate your comments about the humor. Yes, this is a very difficult topic to write about especially since I was “shamed and shunned” by my family. That shame is still with me.

  12. I am stunned that you went through all that. Just stunned. I always am when I find someone that has been through as bad as I have and still finds it in their heart to give to others. Me branching out again to others is a slow process that the internet helps. (and sometimes hinders)
    Thank you for being so brave to share.

    p.s. It says a lot that you started this blog for healing but the name is about joy, not grief.

    • It is a very very difficult thing to go through and it saddens me a great deal to hear that you had to go through it too. I struggled for 10-15 years of healing and even now, will have anxiety or depression. My internet (pseudo) name came from, finally finding joy after so much emotional pain. I wish you the very best of joy and happiness as you branch out and touch other’s lives. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  13. Wow, what a wonderful piece of writing. It was so emotional and so carefully depicted by your choice of both words and sentences. Great Job. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you very much Harry. I was hoping to hear how the “mechanics” of my story was. I forgot to ask for specific suggestions. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Thank you again!

  14. You did a great job of conveying your restless, panicked feelings here. I can easily picture your pacing. It really felt like you were right here, telling and not writing this story – good job with the challenge!

  15. Thank you for sharing this with us. Those of us who haven’t known this kind of despair need to hear about it so that if one of our loved ones experience it we can be caring and understanding and maybe help them get through. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. You are right, people need to be educated about it. Had I not been treated as something to be ashamed of and shunned, I think my healing would have been much sooner.

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