November 21, 2019

20 Things I Learned from my stay in a Mental Hospital.

Everything I needed to learn about life I learned in a mental hospital.

1. Black, white, brown, yellow, red—we all get blue.

2. Straight, gay, trans, alter egos, and service dogs are all respected equally. We all root for each other, regardless of the team we play for.

3. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist—we all have a spiritual yearning for a sense of purpose. That void must be filled.

4. Everyone is an aspiring philosopher, with something valuable to contribute.

5. Group therapy is a superb way to see that we have far more in common in this life than we are different.

6. Everyone tells their story somewhere, but not always with their words. Some drink it, drug it, cut it, stave it, eat it, gamble it, game it, screw it, cry it, or rage about it—but it always comes out somewhere. Choose your voice instead. It’s those secrets that are making you sick.

7. Often, and sadly, it’s easier to be honest with strangers than your own family and friends.

8. Hugs are one of the greatest healing forces on earth—to feel connection.

9. If you carry Hershey’s Kisses or mints, you can literally make someone’s day.

10. Being a psych patient gives one a whole new appreciation for “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Shameless,” and “The Breakfast Club.”

11 There is not a thing on earth that can ease pain like laughter can.

12. There is unequivocally no such thing as a non-dysfunctional family.

13. The world is an ugly place. The world is a beautiful place. Life is both. Find the message in the mess. It may be hidden, but it is in there.

14. Holding hands isn’t an act of romance; it’s an act of love.

15. If you can’t walk a labyrinth without losing your temper, emotional regulation may be of benefit.

16. Everyone loses it on Family Day.

17. As Gloria Steinem says, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” You are allowed to be angry. Nonetheless, most hospitals were built a century ago. The walls are plaster, not drywall—so be careful what you punch.

19. That fine line between brilliance and insanity isn’t a tightrope to walk without a safety net. It’s the road that leads you back, from despair into hope.

20. After the deep discomfort of doing the inner work, everyone gets a graduation ceremony, a celebration, a diploma, and a book of hope with loving mentions, personalized by the best darn people you might ever know.

The sanest people I’ve met so far in my lifetime were in a mental hospital. We have all gone a little mad.

Only those who are honest are willing to admit it.

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