Get Real Mama, a fellow blogger at http://getrealmama.blogspot.com/ responded to my post "There is no Before" and remarked, "I hope you are proud of yourself..." It took me back. I had to think about it for a second. Not to contemplate whether I was proud or not, but a little surprised at the fact that I am proud of myself.
Confessing my hospitalization actually provided a release for me because my relationship to it is different. In the time it took for me to write my post, those three days in a mental hospital went from a terrible secret to a mere experience. Yes, it was a profound experience that changed my life, but an experience none the less. Experiences are in the past, but secrets - secrets are always present.
You have to keep a secret.
Secrets need a cover-up.
Secrets need attention.
Wherever there is a secret there is a lie.
I think we form secrets when something traumatic changes what we believe about ourselves.
A college counselor once pointed out that I had plenty of reason to be depressed. I was in an unhealthy relationship, totally broke and my father died of cancer. She insisted that healthy people get depressed all the time after stressful situations, so I had nothing to be ashamed of. I never breathed a word that the depression was there long before my stressful situations.
There was only one thing for me to believe. If I feel like jumping out of a window even when times are good, than I must be...crazy.
Cut to April 2012. I am laying on a stripped down gurney in a cold cinder block room. There is one ceiling light enclosed in a dusty brown cage. I am wearing creased straight-out-of the bag scrubs because my clothes were confiscated. There is no pillow or blanket. My arm is thrown over my eyes even though the light is dim. I can hear the people come and go through the locked door in the adjacent room. People are screaming and crying. The police are in and out. One woman is begging to leave. The nurse tells me it will be a couple hours before they can get me a bed in the psychiatric ward. And this is a nice hospital. I picked it myself.
I am so anxious and sad that I feel like my insides are on fire. The only thing keeping the flames from erupting is the confines of my skin. I am trapped in my own body. I find myself shaking my head back and forth because I can't believe that I am here. Please God, don't let anyone find out. I am so ashamed I let this happen to me.
I stayed ashamed until I decided what people thought of me wasn't as important as my need to tell my story. The funny this is that after I hit 'publish', the nerves vanished and I didn't give it another thought until I read the comments. I actually thought about that day I checked myself into the hospital. It was a traumatic dehumanizing experience. One day I will write about it in detail.
Once I found my way onto that gurney, I didn't budge. I waited alone and scared in that nasty hole of a room for almost 8 hours. That memory alone would have made me cringe in sadness a couple of days ago. Today is different. When I see myself on that gurney with my eyes covered, I am proud.
I got well.
Thank God I can't keep a secret.