I would like to preface this piece with several things. First, this is something that really occurred in my life and is in no way fictionalized or exaggerated. It’s taken me a long time to process what occurred in my life five years ago, but I have come to a point of forgiveness and grace for how I was treated. I am in no way trying to make others feel sorry or take pity on me. I am merely publishing my treatment and my account as it exactly happened. Sometimes, or well, all the time- the truth is the simplest explanation.
In many ways, this night helped to steer the course of my life in a radically different, yet radically beautiful direction.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quite waters, he refreshes my soul. Even though I walk through The darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever.” – Psalm 23
I was acutely and ravingly psychotic. My blood sugar was rising, I feel my eyes blurring, and my head starts to pound. I am here for help, but I am not receiving it. I was without sleep for a week, a stressed-out high school student worried about exams and girls. I thought I’d be fine, but everyone needs sleep. My mind blurring reality and fiction together, I start pacing frantically around the halls of this “mental health facility” in my hometown of Raleigh. I was taken back to where the patients were, and I saw a group of people in a room with hospital gowns on and looks of complete and utter despair. I had never seen this before, and my mind, already sleep-deprived and in a precarious state, starts to tell me that these people are actors. I repeat this several times out loud, and some thought it to be amusing. Two security guards each laughing at me. They take my phone and place it in a baggy. They tell me to untie my shoelaces and give it to them. They jokingly give me their ID’s when I ask who they are. They let me see them and continue to joke around.I need insulin. I repeatedly beg for my insulin kit. I heard someone say to get my insulin kit from my mom in the next room, but I assume this was either unheard or ignored. I am livid. Both acutely aware that my blood sugar is soaring and my grip on reality is fading- I grow angrier. The two security guards keep laughing, telling the nurse jokingly that I think there are listening devices in everyone’s ears. I did say this, and my mind did believe it at the time. I suppose that I expected wouldn’t be laughed at and mocked for saying it. In my darkest and most trepid time of need, I was failed by a mental health facility that should’ve known better. It’s 2019 now. I’m working towards two degrees at the school of my dreams. It turned out to be OK, but I wish I didn’t have to experience what I did. Too often, we compartmentalize emotional and mental health They are interdependent. There is no shame in asking for help. There is no shame in getting treatment. What is shameful though, is the current state of mental healthcare in our country. For a time in 2014, I experienced the brokenness of the system. I pray that no one has to experience anything remotely similar.