A Love Note from the Psych Ward
Updated: Feb 12
Hey dear ones,
This message is coming from a new place - not my usual bedroom, but instead a cozy unit in one of Paris' psychiatric hospitals. I was hesitant to post this for many reasons, mainly the stigma that surrounds mental health. It'd be much easier for me to have said I'm here for a broken leg or a heart condition - but in a way, mental health is a heart condition. So rather than lie, I thought I'd be upfront and say : I'm in the hospital because I've been sad, more sad than usual, for longer than what's considered to be "normal".
For the past month or so, I've been feeling overwhelmed and anxious - afraid to leave my house, afraid to take the metro, afraid to be in my house alone because the sound of airplanes passing over the sky made me curl up like a dog in a thunderstorm.
In any case, I tried to keep it pushing, tried to pretend like my mind wasn't a battlefield, and that just a little more meditation and exercise, a little less junk food and drinking would help - but I found myself getting worse and worse.
For those of you who don't know me, I've been hospitalised for depression twice before, with 4 suicide attempts to date. The past two years I've felt so much better - not like my depression / anxiety had disappeared, but that I had reached the point where I could manage the ups and downs. I promised myself I'd never end up back in a psych ward, told myself it would never get that bad again.
I'm going to attach a diary entry here, written in 2015, back when I was 16.
I copied this in to remind myself that I have gotten so much better, that despite the voices in my head that tell me I'm going backwards, I am so much more prepared for what it is and what is still to come. When I was 16, I didn't see a point in going on, all my hospitalisations were forced by the people who love me and who saw the potential in me before I could recognise a single reason why I deserved to be here.
So I remind myself now, that even though I'm in a place that looks quite similar, with white walls and scheduled pills, I am so much different than the girl I once was.
When I picture my life, I see so many beautiful things to come. And I know it's often difficult, but those difficulties will not prevent me from persevering. For the first time, I'm in this place because I chose to be, because I know there is something worth living for, there is still love to be had and dreams to be realised. Just because I need some help, doesn't mean I can't be helped. Just because there's darkness in my mind, doesn't mean the world is made of it. I'm learning that again, or maybe for the first time, step by step.
This will not be how my story ends, this is simply the beginning.
On a parting note, I urge you - if you feel the way I've felt, the way I sometimes feel, please reach out, to me or to someone close or far from you. I've never felt so overwhelmingly loved as I do in these moments when my heart feels devoid of all tenderness.
A last quote, and one of my favorites :
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” -Brené Brown
With love, always and forever