Gendusa: The Story that needs to be told…. Part one
Published 1:51 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Often when I know I have a deadline to meet, my brain decides that it can’t think of a thing to write about. When I get stuck on writing days I just ask God for help.
Today, I am looking to get out of writing a story that I feel the Good Lord is trying to convince me tell.
I am not embarrassed or afraid of telling this difficult story. My prayer is that you will come away with more hope, understanding, and faith at its conclusion.
Many years ago, I was in a dark place both mentally and physically. I was raising three children alone, working 60 hours a week, and trying to simply survive. One day my body collapsed.
My ex-husband brought the children back from a weekend visitation and found me sobbing on a freezing garage floor.
To make a long story short, I wound up in the psychiatric unit of a county hospital.
They said I had a complete “burn out.” My heart rate was off the charts, my brain was reduced to tears.
Oddly, there was an article in the paper at the same time about extreme exhaustion and how it can lead the body to shut down. I was the poster child for this condition.
I was in the hospital for two weeks in a private room across from the nurse’s station. They wanted me close to monitor my heart.
I am not sure in today’s world I would be admitted to that unit of the hospital, but you know what, I was supposed to be there and I am glad that I was.
I found that most of the folks were men and women who suffered from depression or bipolar illness. They were normal to the eye, yet abnormally suffering.
Most were there to find a way out of the locked doors into a world where they could cope. In those days, the drugs that were used to treat brain illnesses had horrible side effects that many could not tolerate.
All the patients were seen by a variety of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and nurses several times a day. Group meetings were mandatory and necessary.
“Sarge” was the head nurse on the floor. If you didn’t follow her orders and comply with the rules, basic training would start all over again.
There was a woman in a private room down my hall that never attended a group session or any mandatory meeting. Sarge, and all the other doctors, would go in her room and then walk immediately out.
Often, I would pass by the room of this strange patient. She would spew hatred while sneering at me so alarmingly I thought she might be possessed.
I learned through others she had tried to take her life several times, but no one could find the source of her pain. She was cloaked in silence. She had been in the ward a long time.
Basically, she was left alone in her room with her demons to completely consume her. It was hard to pity her because of your fear and it was hard to pray for her because you thought she just might be pure evil.
One morning near the end of my stay, I woke to one of the most frightening experiences of my life.
Because of an emergency admittance of a male during the night, they moved one of the female patients to turn a private room into semi private.
Betty, the evil one, was now in a bed right beside mine.
Honey, I am sorry, we had no choice last night,” Sarge explained as she came by to tell me to get ready to go to the dining area for breakfast. “The ward was full!” She exclaimed as she shut the door tightly.
Sarge never shut the door! Betty started to stir in her bed. I started to panic. I needed to get up and go to breakfast before she realized where she was.
I found I couldn’t move. My heart rate was making me dizzy and the room was, weirdly, turning cold as ice. I started to shake.
Betty woke cursing at being in the room, at me, at being cold, at living.