10 Insights from Inside an Acute Psych Ward (& recovery afterwards).

Via on Aug 16, 2012
Hard to smile when you’ve just been released from a psych ward

In September of 2004 I spent nine days committed to Lion’s Gate Acute Psych Ward.

That meant I wasn’t allowed to leave. I had to wait until the authorities-on-high deemed me sane enough to walk the streets.

They had good reason to do so. Not a month early, I’d been admitted to the same acute psych ward by my fiance after I freaked out post-LSD, getting weirder and weirder after we’d spent a long weekend at Shamballah Music Festival. The final straw—I started speaking in some language that wasn’t English. Clearly, I’d lost the plot.

Spiritual burglary, the doctor I saw that time called it. My use of drugs had opened doors of perception I had no right to enter.

Now, a month later, this time after my fiance broke up with me, I’d freaked out again. The cops picked me up running half-naked down the back roads of Pemberton, playing Fear Factor games with logging trucks.

I’d have locked me up too.

Waking up in the psych ward, round two, was devastating. I couldn’t blame it on the drugs this time. Plus I was totally alone. No more fiance, no family close by, and no friends dropping by to see me. Psych wards are like that. People aren’t lining up at the door to visit.

Those nine days were excruitiating. My sole motivation for all actions and words was to prove that I was sane so I could get the hell out of the ward and begin the long process of putting my psyche back together.

Hang on a minute.

Surely an Acute Psych Ward would be the ideal place for a recently crazy person to hang out? The ideal place to be supported through a healing process? The ideal place to be cared for and looked after?

No.

And that was insight #1. Institutions are designed to hold people and keep society safe, they’re not designed to heal people.

No surprise there I guess. It’s difficult to remember all the details now—I remember seeing a doctor once or twice. I don’t recall what we talked about. I remember the nurses taking us through some kind of group therapy sessions each afternoon. My interactions with the staff didn’t make much of an impression.

What I do remember was the abysmal food, over-cooked, over-starched, over-dead. Nothing nutritious, healing or life-enhancing about the food. I remember the sterile environment, the lack of plants, the white walls, the anti-septic nature of the environment. Nothing healing about that either. In my enhanced-senses state, the food I was feeding my body, and the energy of my environment was paramount for my state of mind and ability to heal.

I knew that if I wanted to put myself back together, this was not the place to do it.

#2. Mental health services are difficult to deliver, and not all health professionals are up to the task.

A week after I was released from Lion’s Gate Hospital, I was on a plane back to New Zealand. Newly diagnosed bi-polar, and on a prescription of Epilim and something else I don’t recall, I was advised to check in with my local GP and local mental health service when I got home.

So I did. My GP was fine. The nurse I encountered at Mental Health Services was not—she was condescending. The last thing I needed in my fragile, “I’m such a loser state.” So I walked.

That was my last encounter with Mental Health Services. If the health professional who’s meant to support me through this process has an idea that I am less than her… well how the hell is that meant to work?

#3. Drugs have their place.

After my first psychotic episode, I was put on two drugs. Epilim, and something else. The name escapes me. One was an anti-psychotic, and one a mood stabliser. Two weeks later, I stopped taking the medication because, I was fine you know? Nothing wrong with me.

Until the emotional distress of being dumped by my fiance triggered another episode. Would the drugs have prevented that second episode? Hard to say. But after episode number two, I wised up. I continued taking the drugs while I stablized my life, then decreased the dosage in increments with the full knowledge of my family and flatmates. Within six months, I was drug-free. They’d done their job.

Eight years later, I’ve never had any other experiences of psychosis.

#4. Nobody knows what to say to someone who’s been crazy.

I’d had the freakiest experience of my life, and even though I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, all I craved was someone to talk with about the experience. More than one someone actually. I wanted people to ask me about it, and talk to me about it, because that would make it normal and okay. Like getting a broken leg.

“So how’d you break your leg?”

“Fell off a cliff.”

“So how’d you go crazy?”

“Oh, had this childhood behaviour pattern of suppressing all emotion, leaving my body and disappearing into my mind.”

Didn’t happen. People didn’t ask me questions. They pretended it hadn’t happened, they glossed over it, they looked the other way. Craziness freaks people out.

#5. Breaking a leg is just life. Breaking a mind is personal.

No one feels bad about themselves when they break a leg. It doesn’t strike to the core of who they are. It’s just their body, and it will heal.

Different story when you break your mind. We identify with our minds, so mental illness means there’s something drastically wrong with us. With who we truly are. Only this is false too. We are not our minds at all. There is no core failing in a person whose mind doesn’t work as well as it might. A broken mind can also be healed, just like a broken leg can. Maybe even better.

This extends to any kind of mental illness —you are not your illness. You are not depressed, you are not anxious, you are not mad. You are having an experience of depression, an experience of anxiety, an experience of madness. Experiences come and go. You remain.

#6. Any breakdown can be transmuted into a break-through.

My mind/body/emotions interface wasn’t working. So it broke.

Once it broke, it was easier to see why it wasn’t working—mostly because I couldn’t just ignore it anymore.

So I figured out what was wrong and I put it back together again. Better than ever.

That initial fault that caused the mind/body/emotion interface breakdown? Healed. Why? Because I got real curious about why I’d gone crazy. That curiousity led to answers. Answers led to solutions. Solutions led to healing. And now here I am, rocking it.

Sounds easy right? Maybe—but this process took eight years. The first year was hell. The second and third year was only Hell-ish. By the fourth year I was starting to feel some semblance of almost normal. It wasn’t until year six when I was starting to feel good again on a regular basis. But I was bloody-minded and bloody-determined to claw my way back from the pits of Hell and turn this experience into something amazing. Which I did.

It doesn’t matter what’s happened to you, it only matters what you do with it.

#7. Craziness is an aspect of the continuum of our human experience.

Here’s what I noticed when I was crazy.

Being crazy is believing the stories that your mind is telling you, even when the actual evidence from the here and now is presenting something else completely different.

Many of us, at all times, hold grains of craziness inside our belief systems, and in the filters through which we see reality. It’s just that most of us are able to continue functioning in step with the dominant reality to avoid detection. Fifty shades of crazy people, fifty shades of crazy.

We’re all crazy, one time or another.

#8. Persistence, faith and love will carry you through. Always.

It’s been eight years this September and I have never been crazy again. Oh I’ve made bad choices, and ignored my inner-knowing, but it’s all just been a part of the learning.

In the last eight years, something inside me has loved me enough to always seek understanding, to always inquire into my experience, to always burn with a desire to be real.

That something has been a daily persistence, fueled by a faith that I had a power inside me that could lead me to healing. I don’t know where this comes from. I only know that it is there, because I observe other people in their difficult life circumstances and I see that not all of them have that fire to blaze on through. I have the fire. For that I am grateful.

Find that fire inside you. If I have it, you have it. It just needs lighting.

#9. Truth, honesty, and expression of Self are the key to healing.

A huge part of my journey has been fronting up, just as I am. I started writing my first blog in 2006 (5?), and just being able to talk about what had happened to me was healing. Every time I shared the truth of my experience as I knew it in that moment of time, another layer of Not-Me dropped away, and another understanding floated to the surface. There was something so strong, so empowering, so liberating, in being able to own my experience, and own mySelf. This happened to me. And I’m okay with that. It’s just a happening.

Having the courage to talk about your experience, whatever it is, will change your life.

#10. People sit up and take notice when you casually drop into a conversation, “This one time, in the psych ward…”

I see now that I’m a Warrior, a warrior of the psyche. I ventured deep into the forbidden lands where ordinary mortals are terrified to go, because few men or women ever return intact. I ventured. I returned. And I’m intact.

This journey, deep into the psyche, has taught me how the psyche works. I understand it intimately, and now I can work with it, on a daily basis. This is an extraordinary gift.

Those nine days I spent committed to a psych ward forever changed my life. And I’m so grateful.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is the author of Forty Days of Yoga - Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice, and the publisher of New Zealand’s own awsome yoga website, The Yoga Lunchbox. She has just released her second book The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. A born & bred Kiwi who spent her twenties wandering the world and living large, Kara-Leah has spent time in Canada, the USA, France, England, Mexico, and a handful of other luscious locations. She lives in Wellington with her young son, a ninja-in-training.

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77 Responses to “10 Insights from Inside an Acute Psych Ward (& recovery afterwards).”

  1. Amy says:

    Brilliant, Kara-Leah! You make excellent points about mental health and healing. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and insights!

  2. Linda Buzogany linda buzogany says:

    Amazing story, Kara-Leah. Thanks for the insight into your process to mental health…inspiring to many who are told medications are their lot for life. I spent many years as a therapist inside acute psych hospitals trying to do my work before moving on. I agree that they are not a place to heal. Having that 'listener' who cares is such a key to healing. Thanks so much for your story and best to you,
    ~Linda

    • Alexander Le says:

      Congratulation Kara, you sure have some very good insights so far. Wishing you the very best on further discovering and seeing into the nature of "psychological constipation, psychological masturbation, and psychological cancer of the mind.

  3. devacat says:

    Fine testimony. Brava!

  4. cesar says:

    wow..warrior indeed. you honesty is breathtaking. thank you.

  5. crazypants says:

    Beautiful and so astute, and inspiring. Thank you sister!

  6. Anna White says:

    At least you are somewhere you can get GET care! Here in Amerikka, unless you have a corporate medical insurance plan,
    forget getting any help – no one will even return your phone calls. Even if you have diabetes and just had a heart attack. No one cares if there's not a company they can bill.

  7. giannakali says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Kara. I wish more people knew that people recover from psychosis all the time…a lot of people get sucked into the system and never figure out the fact that many of these episodes are attempts of the body/mind to heal and transform…psychiatric medication, like you suggest, can be critical during crisis, but people are told they need it for the rest of their lives…which unfortunately can be soul killing. You are lucky to not have been convinced of that since it's pretty routine to tell that to anyone who gets a bipolar diagnosis.

    I'm sharing a page that has a collection of stories of such people…for you or the readers of this page. Thanks again for sharing your story. http://beyondmeds.com/recoverypsychosis/

  8. Loren says:

    This is such a beautiful article and so true, healing is something you have to take responsibility for and do yourself. Feed your body, nourish your soul and don't expect some institutionalised mental health system to fix you as you are the only one who can do that. This could be my story, I also spent 2 weeks in a clinic after a breakdown and now, 6 years later I am immensely grateful for that experience as it set me on my path to healing. As a NZ'er myself (living abroad) I really appreciate the part below as I have had that exact conversation!

    “So how’d you go crazy?”
    “Oh, had this childhood behaviour pattern of suppressing all emotion, leaving my body and disappearing into my mind.”

    I wish I had been able to read this article years ago when I really needed to know that other people out there had experienced similar events.

    I am so grateful to you for putting it online so that others in this space can know that finding yourself in a psych clinic is just one more step on your path and can be a really important one, especially when it fuels the urge to get well and be your best. I am off to look up your blog and read your other articles, thank you!

  9. Nathen says:

    Well lived, well said! Thank you for your courage and honesty in owning and sharing your life in this way. I'm on a very similar journey, myself, and it helps us to hear from others who have the courage to warrior up and look honestly inside of ourselves. It ain't nearly as ugly as we fear in there! NAMASTE <3
    !

  10. this lowercase life says:

    i really needed this. right now. today. thank you. much metta to you.

  11. Morgan says:

    Brave. A warrior at it's best.
    Thank you for being so painfully honest about your journey. We've all been there one time or another – some of us lucky to snap back into reality more quickly than others. Much luck to you on your continued state of healing. Much love.

  12. jadedone says:

    My best friend spent a week in a psych ward after a bad mushroom trip. They gave her zyprexa and one other med I can't remember even though she was never diagnosed with any mental illness. She went from being an active, awesome human to an overweight zombie. I believe that by giving her those unnecessary medications they MADE her mentally ill.

    Where is she now? She's dead.

    • Linda says:

      I'm so sorry for the death of your best friend. Psych drugs have there place but are only a small part what can be a very difficult process. A former sufferer.

  13. korumaze says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Kara-Leah – rings a few bells in me, having touched the mental health system from both sides. First as a client during a point in my life where I didn't want to see what was happening around me, so started to shut myself down. How did the mental health system help me? Given that I was withdrawing from the world almost to the point of death, you would think that their solution may have included ways to help me feel more alive – unfortunately their solution was anti-depressants. I took them only for as long as I needed to (around six months), then eased myself off them when I knew in my heart (not my mind) that I would be OK. What helped me the most at this time was not counsellors and psychologists, but other people who had successfully walked a similar path, and were able to help me see that. A few years later, I worked as a support worker in mental health, with the intention of helping others the same way I had been helped – after a year in this role, I realised that I was shackled, i.e. as an employee of that system, I was not as free to voice my true feelings. Now, I simply express what I feel I need to directly to those I feel need to hear – there are so many of us out there ready to express and ready to hear the truth, that soon everyone will realise there is no shame – it is all about growth! Much love to us all :-)

  14. korumaze says:

    “Oh, had this childhood behaviour pattern of suppressing all emotion, leaving my body and disappearing into my mind.”
    This comment triggered some anger in me, and I've just worked out why… I'm still recovering from blaming little girl me for following this pattern for so long, and putting some of blame right back where it belongs. Society trains us to be this way so we can be controlled; little girls do not naturally suppress their emotions – that is where my anger came from on reading this, though it is a totally true statement for me as well, Kara-Leah!

  15. DeeDee says:

    Excellent blog…

  16. Thank you for this, Kara-Leah. We feel honored that you share your story with us at elephant.

    Bob

  17. cathy says:

    wow, Kara. Thank you fo ropening to the world your inner life and history. If I may nudge you a bit.. can you tell us or others in another platform if neded, what held you together the first few months as you put yourself back together. This may help anothe ron their way with thin hope and a drug prescription.

    • What held me together… journalling, yoga, and forcing myself to run just another ten metres around a walking track near my Mum's house. Getting the endorphins moving was key. Plus having a couple of really good girlfriends who could totally relate to my experience – we all moved in together about four months later and having that support network was vital.

  18. chris says:

    As someone who just spent 10 days in the local psych ward I really appreciate the honest account of your journey. I hope to someday be grateful for my experience.

  19. Capri says:

    true that! ; )

  20. Crazypants says:

    Being a person who practices yoga, has had similar hospitalization experience ( and a lifetime of outpatient psychiatric care) as well as a healthcare provider to people with mental health and psychiatric issues, I appreciate this wholly. The system is extrely flawed and oftentimes a total waste of time. However medications do Certainly have a place and need, buy are often ill- and over- or misused and prescribed.

    Just yesterday I had a patient who was very reticent me if and what antipsychotics she was on as we were screening her for anesthesia for a necessary surgery. She told me that she finds that when she tells people what she's on and that she's schizophrenic that people start treating her differently. I hear you, girl. I hear you and I'm not going to judge, but just love. Craz

    Wishing for More yoga to all. And equanimity and respect in care and human interactions all over.

  21. Cort says:

    Well written and full of inspiration. The ending (#10) painted a funny picture & gave me a nice laugh. Thanks for sharing… I'm happy everything worked out for you!

  22. Ramani says:

    Interesting. I was going to do a write up about my experience in a psych ward too. I had a spontaneous kundalini awakening in the middle of the Chicago suburbs when I was 20 which quickly devolved into psychosis because everyone around me was freaking out and didn't know what to do, even though I told them it was okay while trying to get them to see " the truth".
    After shooting me with a horse tranquilizer to calm me down, the psych ward first said my experience was a drug reaction, which it wasn't, then I was schizo, then I was manic bi-polar whatever…Your right about psych wards not being healing or medical people not understanding much. Here I was having what could have been a liberating experience turn into complete hell. But that is my karma and a great learning experience on the institutional insanity we live with daily. They tried to put me on drugs as well, but since I knew more about what was going on than they did I decided to play doctor and go my own way….

  23. Katie says:

    Honestly, I read little of what you wrote and a smear of your comments. The photo you have here just makes me feel like if I don’t have abs and hip bones showing that I am uphotogenic. Of course, this is my issue, but why do I even have this issue!?

  24. Lorpa says:

    Wow—insightful blog. We've evolved a long ways from Bedlam and chaining the mentally upset to the wall, but this story reminds me that we have further to go regarding working with this pathology.

    "This journey deep into the psyche and has taught me how the psyche works. I understand it intimately, and now I can work with it on a daily basis. This is an extraordinary gift."

    I would love to hear you unpack this, regarding your "work with it on a daily basis." Because this could help many who've gone through your Dark Night of the Soul and are looking for liberation from the anguish aspect. I'm grateful for your story.

  25. grawp says:

    I spent years being told that therapies and meditation were the way to heal (or "changing your belief system"}, and then I received medication, and that changed my life, and then later I took more, and realized I had been on a stepping-stone back to health, and then I took even more, and for the first time in my life the anxiety alarm that had always been going off in the back of my head–which I had learned to hide and accommodate as a child, so well that I stopped thinking about it, but somehow it undermined every good thing in my life–just turned off. For two years now I have been contemplating my 6 decades on earth, uncovering one blindness after another, and slowly coming around to seeing how it was all a series of genetic and experiential factors that combined into a train wreck that no one in my family had any ken about, and I hid it so well that no one ever noticed it, just out of cultural ignorance. Tragedy, out of ignorance. So, spread the truth: the brain can be ill, short- or long-term, and our precious will comes from some of those neural networks that can also be damaged. The fire itself can be snuffed, and the social networks fail.

  26. Thank you to everyone has commented, for your insights, your shared experience, and your feedback. The last eight years has been an extraordinary journey, and reading about other people who've had similar journeys was definitely a key part of my healing too. It's the way we support each other I guess, and mirror each other, and make it ok to be who we are. Ourselves.

    You've each given me something to muse on for future articles. Stay tuned ;-)

  27. Matthew Cohen says:

    Excellent post. Thank you for sharing what you've learned through this intense experience. It's wonderful that you were able to learn and grow from your experience.

    Want to alert you and other readers to a great resource for reading others' stories in this realm or sharing your own.
    (full disclosure, I help run it this site!) See: http://madinamerica.com

  28. elizabeth says:

    ” This extends to any kind of mental illness —you are not your illness. You are not depressed, you are not anxious, you are not mad. You are having an experience of depression, an experience of anxiety, an experience of madness. Experiences come and go. You remain.”

    It is true that those of us in the medical field judge these patients. I think that is a coping mechanism of sorts, we see such tragedy on a daily basis that if we didn’t separate ourselves from it from time to time we would all ‘go crazy’.

    Thank you for this. I work in an emergency room and have noticed an increase in patients that have lost their way. I will share your experience with them to ease their pain and show them they are not the only ones.

    • Hey Elizabeth,

      Judging is just part of the human experience… and I think with mental illness, it's terrifying to see what can happen so the ego likes to create a sense of Us/Them in order to feel safe – that such a thing could never happen to ME.

      Working in ER would be intensely difficult – so much trauma of all kinds of hold space for… and I'm not sure if staff are supported enough to be able to cope with what constantly comes at them, without engaging their own defense mechanisms.

  29. Skylor Powell says:

    This is an amazing article. It inspires me to want to change the world a little bit.

  30. elephantjournal says:

    Wallace This is pretty much *exactly* why I stayed away from LSD – no matter how attractive it seemed.
    21 hours ago · Like · 1
    Beth Van Ness I have been there. Getting to the knowledge that I needed to get divorced helped break me. Yoga helped me endure a psych ward. I agree with nearly all of what you wrote. It has given me so much strength and compassion that I can't regret any of it.
    21 hours ago · Like · 1
    Nancy Meier Enjoyed reading this – thanks for sharing your experience.
    21 hours ago · Like · 2
    Pamela Darlene Can totally relate!! Thanks for the excellent article, as usual!! :)
    21 hours ago via mobile · Like
    Lisa Fladager most excellent.
    21 hours ago · Like
    Angela Chapman power!
    20 hours ago · Like
    Mara Lindstrom Beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    20 hours ago · Like
    Mara Lindstrom I would love to hear what you learned about your mind and how to negotiate life successfully with it.
    20 hours ago · Like
    Chrystal Assee Gignac Namaste
    20 hours ago via mobile · Like
    Genny Trickett this is powerful…it will bring hope to those who mind. and spirit is broken.
    19 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
    Michele Mongare Thankyou :)
    15 hours ago · Like
    Kathy Costello Everyone should experience this in some form at some time in their life, preferably early, so they can say they've been to the bottom of their soul and it wasn't so bad. They made it back.
    10 hours ago · Like · 1
    Briana Healy Beautiful and liberating. Thank you! This is the kind of expression that's needed to move beyond the stigma. The sharing alone (reflecting on your #4, 5 and7) will make a huge difference for many, and will likely save some lives too. Keep up the great work :-)

  31. Melissa says:

    The most important thing I took from this article is the isolation and shame one feels. It is so important that the stigma of mental illness be abolished and SOON!

    This is a great article and I found it very uplifting. However, there are a few thing I wold like to address:

    1. An ACUTE psych unit is just that: acute. It is to bring you through the CRISIS state, to stabilize you after which you are discharged to continue your work (much like the young lady in the article). Acute units are time limited so unfortunately they focus more on meds and group therapies. But they should be warmer than the one she experienced.

    2. Finding a mental health provider to continue your work is very personal and very important. It can be difficult to find a good fit.

    3. Degrees of mental illness vary. This young lady was very lucky that her degree was obviously low enough that she was able to work through it herself. She is obviously very insightful, strong, persistent, and capable. Obviously her “brain” isn’t as “broken” as some. For this, she is blessed. Others require the assistance of professionals despite their desire to be well and may require long term or even life long medications (Schizophrenia, most true Bipolar disorders, Clinical Depression). Self titration of medication can be very dangerous and med changes should be done under the supervision of a physician (preferably a good Psychiatrist).

    Unfortunately, I have to take antidepressants. My brain is apparently more broken then hers. I have tried to stop taking them several times in the past. No matter what I try, after being off antidepressants for 4-6 months I become very angry, withdrawn, tearful, and suicidal. On them I feel like myself. I am able to live a normal life. Too bad I didn’t find them until I was in my late 20′s. Let me add that nothing bad has ever happened to me. I’ve led a charmed life. Apparently I am just not wired up right. Something I can live with…..as long as I am on my meds.

    4. Faith, belief in something larger than you can be very healing. She mentions faith and something within her that helped. I wish she had felt comfortable enough to name it. I find my faith in God.

    Body, Mind, Spirit….the combination is very important. I find that a combination of faith, family/friends, yoga/cardio, lots of sunshine/yard work and meds are what it takes for me to live life to my fullest. God bless and namaste!

    • Hey Melissa,

      1. Great point – Acute is just that, acute.
      3. And yes, degrees vary enormously. Difficult to quantify too as to what degree each person is experiencing.
      4. Ah that something within… the yogis call it the Atman. The Self as opposed to the self. The Divine, God, that which is Us and yet not us. That which resides in all, and also within us…

      Many blessings, sounds like you've found the way that works for you!

  32. Maribold says:

    Thank You for what you wrote! I was locked up a total of four times, years ago. It was all such a night mare. I learned how to keep out of such places eventually. It took nearly 20 years, but now, fabulously, I am on the right meds and my life has improved by leaps and bounds! I will be on them for life, as my situation is severe, and there are side affects. So I have to take a lesser dose than I need and people just have to get used to my some times odd behavior! I also feel such a strong need to talk about it all. But my family forbids the subject. My husband will always listen though. I've taken to just blurting out the facts when someone asks about why I can't do this or that. I got tired of making up lies to cover! For the most part, people are supportive. I try to show my friends that there are a lot of us out here and there are actually very few "Psycopaths" so they shouldn't be afraid of us! Thanks for opening the door here! I appreciate you!

  33. Aella says:

    It’s nice to see someone talk about this kinda thing. No one wants to talk to my best friend anymore because he had many issues that led to him being in the hospital, and then the psych ward a few times. No one believes he can get better except his family(who was never there before, and rarely there now), and me far as I know, It’s disheartening to know how the dozens of “friends” he had before have all abandoned him for the time being. But it makes it easier to not get down about it when I read this. You help remind me he can get better. Thanks. :)

    • Hey Aella,

      It can be a long, arduous road back, but yes, it is possible. It's made more difficult when other people can't share that vision though. It's great your friend has you on his side.

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      Thank you – you touch on so many aspects I haven't even eluded to in my article. The extra resources you've added are useful too… so much more going on than what is apparent on the surface!

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  40. Carolina says:

    Hats off to this brave woman. No doubt that this is one of the most inspiring, and honest articles I´ve ever read. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  41. Dr. W. Davis says:

    Thank you parents. Psychosis is long proven to be an issue of nurturing. Drugs have their place? Yes, but only in place of parenting. Example: Methylphenadate.

  42. Guest says:

    Thank you!

  43. David Foster says:

    Love it! Very inspiring and wise

  44. Krystle says:

    Thank you!!

  45. Tammy says:

    "My use of drugs had opened doors of perception I had no right to enter." This particular statement resinated with my younger self. Fortunately my experience wasn't as dramatic as yours, but it did require a reevaluation of how I handled problems and emotions. I believe your strength and courage will help others to find theirs. Thank you for your wonderful words.

  46. meganhale11 says:

    I am so inspired by your article, Kara-Leah. As a Mental Health Professional, I am an ambassador for raising more awareness and empathy for the experiences you just shared with the world. Every emotional state and mental state is always changing and evolving, which you so beautifully captured in your article. I am so very happy that you did not give up and stayed fast to your journey toward healing. You ARE a warrior, in ways other people will never be able to imagine. You have done battle with the most difficult aspect of the human existence, your own mind. And you have triumphed. You are incredibly empowered and I look forward to sharing your story with my own clients to offer them hope and resiliency. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. It was the perfect read for me this morning. Blessings to you!!!

  47. Sue says:

    Wow, that was beautiful. You are so brave in sharing your story and for especially for not giving up. Blessings to you! Keep shining…

  48. Erin says:

    I am a therapist in a psych ward for children. I will definitely say that this article is skewed. I do agree that the mental health system needs help and more funding. However, this lady admits that she couldn't remember much about being in the hospital. This is usually the case, and this is why psych wards are not necessarily places of "healing", but rather places for stabilization. It is a moot point to do therapy in a short-term hospital setting because a) many patients are psychotic/oversedated and b) for those who are not psychotic/oversedated, it is counter-therapeutic to open a can of worms(i.e. start therapy) and begin developing a therapeutic relationship with a patient, only to terminate and send them on their way in 5-7 days.

    • Dillyb says:

      Maybe we should look at the reasons behind "over medication." Keeping people sedated to maintain order is not a way to deal with their illnesses. Nor is isolating them inside sterile walls with no access to nature. Many people are hospitalized for debilitating depression, not merely psychosis, because they are a risk to themselves. Holistic and integrative measures are needed so that' real stabilization can occur and healing can begin. We should not be discharging before healing begins but we have to because we dont know how to begin the healing. As a mental health professional with a loved one who has been hospitalized more than once, I do remember, even if he thankfully doesn't , and it was a dehumanizing event each time, even under the best circumstances.

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